The News


Well, I turned 40 yesterday.
Luke was so sweet to take the day off of work to spend it with me.
We enjoyed a nice breakfast and cruising the isles of Costco.
We test-drove a Lexus.
We learned that I have an aneurysm in my brain.

It was a helluva day.

I'll never forget where I was when I got that phone call from my doctor.  Luke wanted to make a phone call, so he sat in the car while I went into the giant Barnes and Noble bookstore with the coffee bar in it's center.  I smiled to myself as I picked up a book about heaven and went about the business of choosing which fall-flavored sugar bomb disguised as coffee I would have.  I went for the salted caramel mocha.   This is the life!, I thought to myself.

I found a seat that would allow me a view of the front door so I could see Luke when he came in.  After about 10 minutes, he came walking in the store.  I could see his green eyes seeking me out.  His broad shoulders seemed heavy on him - it must have been a stressful call.  He smiled and sat across from me.  "I didn't know what you wanted, so I didn't order you a drink.  Want to share this one with me?", I offered.  "Naw, I'm not big on the salted caramel."  Sweet smile from his....my favorite...face.

And then the phone rang and I saw my doc's name flash across the caller ID.  I thought two things....first, I'm glad I switched to the more subtle ring tone - I could even get away with having it ring in a bookstore and no one gave me a cross look!  Next, I was surprised that I was hearing from her so quickly.  It had only been a couple of hours since my MRI that morning - just enough time to enjoy ourselves while test-driving the new Lexus GX.  

"Hello?"

"Hi Daiquiri, this is Dr. I-come-to-deliver-bad-news.  I'm calling because I have your radiology report sitting on my desk."

"That was fast!"

"Yes.  It was.  Looks like you have an aneurysm."

"What?  No.  Wait.  Ummm...no.  Ok....I....wait...I don't....I can't...no...what?"

"The good news is that it's a small aneurysm and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-referral-blah-neurosurgeon-blah-blah-tomorrow-blessing,really-blah-blah-blah...."

Spinning.  Is there something in my drink that's making me sick?  Why am I so dizzy?  Hold on to the table.  Where are those green eyes?  He's watching me.  Don't panic.  This will be scary for him too.  Oh God, I don't want this.  Oh God, please.  Thomas wouldn't even remember me.  Oh God, oh God, oh God.

"Daiquiri?  Are you there? Daiquiri, can you sill hear me?"

"Yeah, I'm...yeah...I'm here."

"Are you ok?"

"I....I...wait...I don't....know.  I don't know."

"Are you breathing?"

Am I breathing?  That's a good question.  Deep breath.  Yes, that's breathing.

"Yeah, I think I am."

"I'm so sorry to have to give you this news.  Can I answer any questions for you?"

"No.  I....I just...I don't know....no, no questions."

"Ok, well I'm sure you'll come up with lots of questions.  Remember to write them down so you can ask the surgeon, ok?"

"Ok. Questions.  I'll write them down."

I hung up the phone and looked at Luke.  

I smiled 
Why am I smiling?  Is this what a mental break feels like?   

"I have an aneurysm in my brain."  

I smiled again.  Giggle.  
WHY THE HELL AM I SMILING AND GIGGLING?  Did that damn bubble in my head just burst causing this ridiculous behavior?!

I relayed what I could remember of the conversation to him, and we sat there for a long time holding hands and staring into space.  We eventually decided to find somewhere to eat for lunch.  The rest of our day went something like,

"What do you want to do next?"
"I don't know."

I have a brain aneurysm

"Do you want to go to the mall?"
"I don't know."

I have a brain aneurysm

"Do you want to go home?"
"I don't know."

I have a brain aneurysm

"Want to see a movie?"
"I don't know."

i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm i have a brain aneurysm....

We finally made our way home, and I decided to walk around the block to pick up Thomas from my friend's house.  Luke offered to drop me off, but I wanted the air.  It felt good to walk.  It felt good to feel my heart beat, to feel my hair move with the gentle breeze.  I could almost feel the blood pumping through my brain.  My brain.  Blood.  Life.  Breath.  Gentle breeze.  Oh God, how can this be?

I knocked on the front door and could hardly wait to see my baby boy.  He was all smiles and energy and jumping.  My phone rang again.  It was my friend Heather.  We'd been playing phone tag all day, so I stepped out onto the front porch to answer the call while Thomas put on his shoes.

"Hey!  We finally connect!  How are you, lady?"

"Well.  Ok."

"How did you scan go this morning?"

And the floodgates opened.  I managed to choke out the words, "I have a brain aneurysm"....but mostly I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.  I had the fleeting thought that I might throw up right on my friend's front porch if I didn't calm down.  

My sweet friend on the other end of the line was FORCEFUL in her optimism.  I started going down the worst case path, and I can still hear her voice as she said, "DAIQUIRI LISTEN TO ME.  NO.  WE ARE NOT....NOT!...GOING THERE.  YOU ARE GOING TO BE FINE.  DO YOU HEAR ME?  YOU ARE GOING TO BE OK."

I don't know if she was actually hollering at me, but whatever she was doing, it was working.  I was hearing her voice over the "I have a brain aneurysm" dialogue that had been on a constant repeating loop in my mind for the past few hours.

Then, I told my friend who had been watching Thomas.  It almost felt worse to tell people because it made it so much more real.  It was out there.  I was saying the words.  Out loud.  

I have a brain aneurysm

As Thomas and I walked home, my Dad called to wish me a Happy Birthday.

"I'm so sorry, but I have to drop a bomb on you, Dad."

I have a brain aneurysm

He would tell Mom for me.

I have a brain aneurysm

I walked and I talked to my Dad and I sobbed.  I could hear the tenderness in his voice, and it made me cry even harder.  I didn't want to think about how hard and scary this must be for him.  I didn't want this to be happening.  

I was just so damn terrified.

And I couldn't think.  Couldn't pray.  Couldn't do anything but be terrified and imagine all of the worst possible outcomes.  

Will they burry me or cremate me?
Will the kids understand that I didn't choose to leave?  Would they know that I wanted to stay with them, but just didn't have control?
Would Luke fall in love with someone else?
Would my babies call another woman "mom"?
Luke and I had a deal - we agreed to grow old together.  I don't want to be the one to break that promise.

As these thoughts threatened to drown me, I wiped my eyes and gathered my strength....and went to watch Clara play her last basketball game of the season.  Then, we took the kids out to dinner for a birthday celebration.  I even had the waitress take our picture.  Surreal.  I keep looking and looking at the picture....can I see my feelings in that picture?  No.  I don't think so.



By the end of the day my Mom, Dad, and Sisters all knew.  It didn't feel better to tell them.  It didn't feel better to discuss plans with them.  I didn't want to be the cause of their pain and fear.  I didn't want to talk about this at all.

As Luke and I laid in bed and held hands before sleep came, I said "Isn't knowledge a strange and powerful thing?  Exactly 24 hours ago, we were in this very same spot drifting off to peaceful sleep and looking forward to a fun day today.  And I had an aneurysm in my brain that we didn't know about.  But now?  Now that we KNOW?  Everything seems to have changed....when, in fact, nothing but our knowledge of the facts has changed." 

"Yeah............I love you Daiq."
"............I love you too, Luke."

*************************************************

That was yesterday....an overwhelming tidal wave of fear and emotion. 

Today, I’m numb.  I have a headache from all the crying I did yesterday (and I'll never quite feel safe about having a headache again).  I’m thinking practicalities.  Is my will updated?  Do I have a living will? Which doctor should I use to do this procedure?  Should I tell my business partners about this, or will it become a distraction for them?  What can I do to ensure that my business keeps plugging along for Luke and the kids if I die?

Will Thomas even remember me?
Who will do Sammy’s hair?
Who will read with Clara?
Who will teach Ben to dance?

I don’t want to die.  I don't want brain damage.  I don't want disability.  I feel absolutely terrified.  I could sure use a little bit of that “peace that surpasses understanding” right about now.

                                  *************************************************

Evening, same day.  I'm calling on my prayer warrior friends. I don't want to burden them, but I can't carry this myself.  I'm falling to pieces here.... 

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