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My wife and Natasha Richardson potentially saved my life January 3, 2010

Posted by dskillz13 in Uncategorized.

Whats up. Thanks for visiting this blog. Normally, I’d blog about something that our lunatic politicians are doing to destroy the earth or humanity, but it’s not the case right now.  I’m writing this because I have 17 days left until I undergo a craniotomy, a brain surgery to remove my 4.5cm-diameter, frontal lobe tumor called a meningioma. My hope in writing this is that it will help whoever else is dealing with this disease, as well help me cope with it and recover should I survive the surgery.

How and When I found out

The prior weekend I had just celebrated my 30th birthday. I was a little bummed out though because I felt like I was getting old. I was no longer a twenty-something and that sucked. I was headed to work on a Tuesday morning on March 31st when just minutes away from home I got pulled over because my registration stickers were on my front license plate and not my rear. After failing to negotiate with the cop, I just drove on to a stressful day at work. My wife and the kids had left that same day to spend time with a family friend out near Penn State for a few days, so I was looking forward to a few productive days and nights to get some work done.

That evening after work I drove to JHU APL to play some basketball with a few friends. We were really getting into the game because we had some good competition. I must have been going either for a steal or a rebound, but I remember running, jumping and then tripping over some guy who was much bigger than me. I pretty much bounced off of him. The next thing I know, I lost my footing, and ended up falling backwards, hitting the back of my head on the concrete. I remember the fall as if I were in slow motion. I remember my whole head jarring and hearing the dull thud that my head made when it hit the ground. I got up very very slowly, knowing that if I got up too fast, I might collapse or I might make things worse. After I got up, I felt the back of my head and I was cool. No blood, no pain. I just shook it off, took a little time out and then got back to playing some ball. I ended up playing for at least another hour and a half, until it got dark outside.

On the drive home, I called my wife to ask her how her day went and if my girls are having a good time. It came up that I was playing basketball and I hit my head.  My wife insisted that I go get my head checked out. After all, it was around the same time when “that woman” a famous actress or something, had that ski accident, hit her head, felt fine and ended up dying a short time afterward. The story was in the media for a while and still fresh in everyone’s heads for the most part. Ironically, I remember reading the week prior a story like this one, where a little girl hit her head, and the parents rushed her to the hospital to get it checked out and a lesion was found incidentally. The father rushed her to the hospital as a result of hearing the same story.

So after some persistence from my wife, I decided to go first to an urgent care place in Laurel – but they couldn’t do anything so I went to Howard County General’s ER. I was admitted in sometime around 10:40pm – I didn’t have to wait long at all. At the ER, I underwent my first CT scan. I was put into a hospital bed and and was actually left in the hallway (the nursing staff was busy that night) until I was assigned a cubicle. I was moved out of the hall eventually, into the triage area near the reception desk, but not into a cubicle yet because they were all full and there was a code blue. One of the scariest things I saw that night was an old Asian man, very greenish-pale looking and lifeless, on a gurney being rushed with a team of nurses and doctors, right by my bed into a cubicle. The team was administering CPR. Looking at him, I could tell just by how his body wiggled as they did chest compressions, that he was gone. Minutes later, I could hear the family screaming. I said a little prayer for him and the family, but I knew what had happened.

After being admitted to a cubicle finally, I could see the computer monitors of the staff near the reception area from my bed (which I wasn’t allowed to get out of by the way). On one of the monitors, I saw a picture of a brain scan, with some weird symmetric blemish near the front. I had a sinking feeling that was my scan, because I don’t recall anyone else coming in there for a CT scan. Sure enough, around 12:20am, on April fools day, Dr. Morris (ironically the same name as my current PhD advisor) broke the bad news. He said that I have an unknown “mass” on my frontal lobe and will need an MRI. He said it could be blood from a lesion from falling on my head, or something else. Shortly after, he said I have to go to Baltimore Shock Trauma to receive an MRI. Just that quick, I was put on a gurney, lifted into a cold ambulance and sent to Baltimore Shock Trauma, where gunshot and car crash victims are sent.

When I arrived, a whole team of doctors came to my bed with concerned looks on their faces. I joked with all of them. They had me do a variety of movements – arms, legs, follow the pen light.. etc, to see if I was conscious. After they determined that I was fine, they just ran an I-V line (my first) and said that it’s going to take a while to get an MRI. After waiting several hours, after acquainting myself with a very courteous professional staff and a very reassuring nurse named Carmen, I got my MRI. A few hours later, everyone concluded that I had what was called a Meningioma.



1. wifey - January 11, 2010

thank you 🙂

2. Jen - January 17, 2010

What do you mean “should I survive the surgery????” You’ll survive and you’ll live to complete many household improvement projects and to be there with a shot gun when the girls have gentleman callers (unless it’s Xavier).

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