July 09, 2010

The Ravings of Jessica's Brain Tumor

I will try to put into writing the events and the emotions of the past few days.  Why on a blog, you may ask?  It maybe seems a little to public a place to put private thoughts and emotions  Well, there are a few reasons for this.  One is that I can not use my hand to write in a journal due to the constant presence of a painful penetrating saline lock in my right hand.  Typing is a little more endurable, but I fear that if my thoughts don't get out, my gloomy presence will darken the atmosphere of so many people who are trying to help me.  Another reason is that I have had this idea of one day printing up this blog in a sort of book form for our family to look back on in years to come.  It would seem a bit neglectful to overlook an event of such an earthshattering nature that occured during our time in China.  Another is that this is the most effective way for me to respond to all the emails from people asking about my well being.  So that being said, here are some categories of things going on in my mind.
1) Fear (of course)
Having a seizure turns out to be a very terrifying experience.  I have dim recolections of reading Chinese characters at school, watching them change on the page in front of me, smelling an odd smell and feeling a strong sense of deja vue  These pre-symptoms had also happened twice before, but when I laid down they went away.  My mouth suddenly stopped working and I was trying to apologize to my teacher for my sudden intense confusion.  I figured that if I went to drink some water I could maybe shake it off, but as I held the water in my hand, I found that I could not control it and it was splashing all over me.  I remember calling for help, but I don't remember hitting the floor or going into convulsions.  After that it was all a blur of hearing voices until we had been in the emergency room for a while.  They took me for a CT scan pretty quickly, and upon hearing that I had a 4-5cm tumor, I started hyperventilating.  James was very good about acknowledging all of the variety of thoughts that we had in our minds without dwelling too much on any one of them.
2) Confusion/Depression/Guilt
Of course I wondered if I would live to see my boys grow up, or if I would eventually fade into a dim memory in a few important people's minds.  I have also been on anti-stimulant drugs to keep my brain from becoming overly stimulated.  These have made me dozy, somewhat depressed and unfocussed.  The guilt of course comes from the knowledge of just how many people's summer vacation I am personally ruining and how much money is being spent on me.  I know it can't be helped, but it certainly is not anyone's idea of a good time to be running around at all hours of the day and night working out things for me.
3) Curiosity/Humor
I will be very bummed out after my surgery if they do not let me see this thing that has been growing in my head for who-knows-how-long.  Being in nutrition, I have had to take a number of classes on the human body and its goings on.  I would be fascinated to see the small portions of my own brain that they remove and the tumor as well.  Also, if I suddenly require any type of "hair loss" inducing treatments, I will get to see what I look like bald.  That ought to be interesting. James has been trying to convince me for years that I should shave my head.  Another part of the humor comes from how everyone is referring to this as "Jessica's tumor".  I think this is funny because it sounds like something that I have been carefully nuturing and hiding over the years, like a precious fungus or a strange monkey's paw.  For the record, this does not offend me.  After all, what else are you supposed to call it?  Jessica's pet?  It also reminds me of the story from the Bible of the Philistines returning the Ark of the Covenant to the Israelites and placing golden rats and golden tumors inside.
Another part of my curiosity is from wondering what my head will look like after this.  Obviously, this tumor has misplaced something, so it is just going to be empty when they have taken it out?  Will I have a steal plate in my head?  Will I have a baby-like fontanel?  "Hey guys, Jess is getting angry, her dent is turning red!" 
4) Thoughts about the future
Suddenly it seems ironic that I was whining a bit about missing Canada, the clean air and al the open spaces.  While I never really thought that I wanted to go home, this whole thing has made me certain that I am not ready to leave China yet.  If we were leaving for good, my heart would be breaking right now.  We have so many friends, we have gained so much training and ability.  As the days pass, I am beginnging to view this whole thing as something that I will live through rather than an untimely end to my life.  Of course we still don't know for certain what the nature of this whole thing is and my mood changes several times per day, but everyday seems a little more positive (except for my restlessness at being cooped up in the hospital).  I am dizzy and easily exhausted, I do need people to help me do everything, I have limited interest in outside stimuli, my appetite is at an all time low.  Most of the time I sit in a dull emotionless world and wonder "Is this really my life, my story? It seems too dramatic, so sudden! How will it end?"
Thank the dear Lord this happened exactly when it did.  Three days before the seizure I was in Chengdu (2 1/2 hour flight away from Beijing) by myself for the day and it would have been terrible if I had been on some street somewhere in Chengdu where no one knew me and it had happened then.  Or what if it had happened when James was traveling and I was at home with the boys?  They would have been terrified!  God was watching out for all of us!  My sister, Tannis was with me and able to respond very quickly.  My brother-in-law, Carlos, was able to stay with the boys while James brought me to the hospital.  The boys have been in good hands with them, they have been kept in a reasonable schedule and have had just enough questions answered not to be too worried about me. 
My God loves me so much, and he loves my children, and he loves my husband and family.  I have even heard from people from whom I thought I'd been estranged,, and this has perhaps been the greatest blessing of all.  If good can come from this, let it come.  For the trials we face, I want to gain the most from it.  For the blessings that we gain, I do not want to be blind to them.
Thank you Lord Jesus for your faithfulness and for your love!  Amen.


Kris and Char said...

Jess, you're so great. What else can I say?

Love, Char

Anonymous said...


Cindy said...

Safe travels to all of you on your way home this week. Thank you for writing this Jess, it's amazing. You look beautiful even in the hospital. We're all wishing you the best.

Sue said...

I'm still praying for you and your family. How beautiful that you see some of the good in this. God can be trusted, even with this. Thanks for that reminder.

Jenny said...

In spite of a very hard situation, this is a VERY beautiful picture!