Jul 31, 2011

Mapping My Brain and Surgery

When I woke up the second time not much had changed but I had potassium running through my IV and apparently they were getting access to my brain (removing a piece of bone). They gave me some kind of meds so I was EXTREMELY relaxed. I could have been the most wanted woman in the world but I wouldn’t have cared. I heard chitter chatter above my head but I couldn’t make out what they saying. I heard Dr. Cohen explaining something…I assume to one of his residence.  Dr. Cohen is a fantastic individual with a distinct voice. I can tell the difference between his voice and someone else’s voice from a mile away. It’s hard to explain; it’s kind and gentle but strong and confident. Anyway that’s where the counting began. If you have watched the video in my previous blog, you will see what I call and mini Taser gun. When the doctor touches the Taser to your brain your brain will stop working in that spot. (just watch the movie lol) Dr. Cohen told me I could start to count now. So I start counting and he touches my brain with the Taser if I lost my speech he would know not to cut there because it was my speech section of my brain. So the count, cutting, and Tasing went on for a while and he was done mapping my brain so just cutting the tumor was left to do. I was still there laying carelessly on the surgery table looking around trying not to distract the Doc. Though I really wanted to jump out of my skin and join him. I mean how many people could say they have seen or touched their own brain? I don’t know anybody do you? But that was not possible so the speech pathologist and I started to talk. She asked what do and I said I work at a preschool with special needs and at a hospital during the weekend while I finish up school. Then I heard the distinct voice shout over the sterile zone “over achiever” then everybody including I laughed. I said back to him….you’re the brain surgeon, and we laughed again. The speech pathologist asked me what kind of needs I have worked with. Fragile X, Shaking Baby Syndrome, Downs, Cerebral Palsy, Prenatal Stoke, Autism and the list goes on and on.  She asked what is your favorite to work with. I replied autism and shaken baby syndrome and I went on explaining those are the two I have seen most behavior from. I am fascinated with behaviors.  Another voice in the crowed asked why do you think autism has a high behavior rate….I said I don’t know but I would like to study it someday but I do know most of the time there is a language barrier. They are indeed smart kids. We doubt them too often. Most of the time they know what they want or need but can’t verbally tell us. That would make me frustrated to, on top of the sensory issues and the stimuli around them 24/7.  Dr Cohen then follows, “Sarah Tweed, you my favorite patient I have ever had.” Considering he was taking my filter out as we speak (the tumor, I was convinced, was my patience and my filter) and without a thought I asked him, “just wondering, do you say that to all of your patients?” He and the residence laughed and one voice stood out and said “NO! he sure doesn’t.” the room was silent for a few minutes. It was kind of awkward. Then Doc said the tumor was out and pieces of it were on the way to pathology and the other half I donated to IU Med Center. When they started closing the brain I was confused when Doc. told me to start counting as high as I could. I didn’t ask question I just did what I was told. I got to 8 and then I stopped. Doc asked if I know the next one. I said yes and then started over. This time I got in the 20 and stopped. I was having a seizure and I remember all of it….  

Jul 25, 2011

Some People

Some people were to watch, some were there to chart my behavior, some were there to put medicine in me, some were there to keep me comfortable, and some were there to the dirty work, but my main man was Dr. Cohen. He called the shots in the room and he was the single man I put my trust as he literally put his hands and pointed sharp thing at my brain. As you all know you brain controls about everything your body does, your breathing, your mobility, your speech, and considering your brain holds your memories and experiences and those factors make an individual who they are. Dr. Cohen had all my life and everything I am, 24 years of good memories and growing experiences in his hands. As I lay there amazed by the different things that are going on in O.R. I asked if the lady resident could shave my head. I knew she would understand how it was important to me that she did the minimal shaving. As was shaving my head people started asking about big hot pink cast on my leg. I assume it was to get my mind off things. So I told them the story and most of them thought it was cool so we made derby name to all the residence…the anesthesiologist came up with one for herself too. I was completely surprised how cool these people where. I actually had fun talking to the guys, but it didn’t take away the sound I was hearing in my head. They were putting at 6 point halo on me so I could not move my head during surgery. I don’t know why they called it halo because you don’t think of angels when you see this thing in action. They stabilize your head by literally screwing in long rod from different angles into your scull. I heard the bone when they screwed it in. While we were still talking about derby names Dr. Cohen made the cut of no return. I didn’t feel a sing thing except for when the blood started dripping in my ears. The anesthesiologist said I would be taking another nap….again it was a useless one.

Jul 24, 2011

The First Thing I Saw was My Enemy

I had a late MRI scheduled the night before the surgery. It was a special MRI to help the surgeon map my brain. The doc gave me a Valium the night before but I still did not sleep a wink; infarct it did the opposite. I was bouncing off the wall. Our hotel room was directly across the hospital helicopter launching pad I sat at the window playing Bejewled and watching the helicopter launch and return. What I was having done the following morning was an awake craniotomy. I could describe it but instead I have my surgeon doing the exact same procedure on a young manJ………. CLICK THIS

4:45am came tooooo quick. By 5:30 we were on our way to surgery perp where the 100 question began again. The speech pathologist came into my prep room and she held a book of notecards in her hand. She asked me to take my glasses off and she held up some cards and then asked if I could read. I replied what note cards? (I’m practically blind) I could not wear glasses because of the sterile zone so they made an exception, they let me wear contacts witch I have no idea why that made me so happy. The anesthesiologist and the speech pathologist took me back to the surgery room where I met my enemy for the first time.The first thing I saw was a huge screen computer with my MRI for the previously night on it. 

 I was blessed through my research and resources to find out Dr. Cohen-Godal was the best neurological surgeon in surrounding states. In the surgery room I watch the surgery team preparing: opening the tools that will be used on my head, arm extensions being put on the medal table, and IV bags out the butt. The anesthesiologist put a 18 gauge IV lind into my left arm and said you be taking a little nap. It was a useless nap because it seems a minute later they were waking me up. I was on the surgery table with an artery line in my wrist and another 18 gauge line into my other arm. There was a ton of people in the room, 10 residences to Dr Cohen, nurses, the anesthesiologist, speech pathologist, not counting the people I couldn't see…

Jul 15, 2011

Spelling and Grammar

  •  I'm sorry to all who read my blogs. I haven't quite conquered spelling or grammar since surgery but I hope blogging will help
 Sarah <3

Jul 14, 2011

They Wrote "YES" on the Left Side of My Head


My family and I were waiting in the waiting room. I remember saying to my mom, “if there’s nothing wrong we wouldn’t be here.” She did not a have response she knew I was right. The receptionist took us back to where doc was sitting waiting for us. I tried to smile as we said our hellos and I plopped myself up on the examination bed. The first thing she said was I called you guys here was in regard the MRI results early that day. Then she said “Sarah you have big tumor on your left frontal lobe and reaches your temporal lobe. I’m sorry.” She went on reading the report so some of question we had could be answered but most of them she could not answer. She said it's very important to head down to Indianapolis where she had previously schedule an appointment with neuro surgeon first thin the next morning. I was absolutely disgusted as I walked out of the doctor’s office crying. There were so many things running through my head. How long has this thing been inside of me? What about school? I have finals the next two week how in the world am supposed to focus now?!? My dad response was to forget that all this happened and concentrate on finals. ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!?!
     The next morning we headed to Indy to see the neuro surgeon. I was sitting on the table and I was very uneasy about the situation. The doctor knocked on the door and my heart stopped. He came in and introduced himself to my family and the endless questions began. Before I knew it I was getting prepped for surgery.

Jul 8, 2011

It was the start of never-ending questions

When I was in the emergency room the Doc ask if I hit my head. I told her no, I did not hit my head...I didn't even fall; I was still standing. She did not seem to believe me because she asked that same question 4 more time. My friend jumped in and told the persistent doctor that she was there and she didn't hit her head. Besides she ALWAYS wears a helmet,it's the league rules. The doctor left me alone after that.
I came out of surgery with 1 plate and 10 screws in my leg to hold it together. Three week later I started running a fever for several day. Back to the doctor I went. They checked for infection just in case but there was none. I followed up with our family doc; she gave me antibiotics for the fever. Before I left she asked me, "Did you hit your head when you broke your leg?" by this time I didn't know what to think. She and my mom began to talk and my mom told her sometimes I have slurred speech and other times I lose my speech completely for seconds. I told the doctor that this has been happening for about a year or more. I thought it was because I'm tired all the time. I work midnight on the weekends and days during the week on top of 5 classes. She knew our family background of seizures so she recommended an MRI and EEG just to be safe. I agreed to that.
The following week I set my MRI and EEG appointment for 7am so I could go to work that afternoon. The MRI was to be without contrast. The tech was so nice and calm as she set me up for the MRI. She explain what to expect and she headed out of the room. When she came back in her body language was totally different as she brought in a HUGE needle. She told me that she called my doctor and got an order contrast. 2 hours after the MRI my doctor called me and she told me that she needed to see my family and me today. My heart dropped to the bottom of my stomach. I still went to work that day. We headed to the doctor after my shift was over. 

Jul 3, 2011

The Start/End of Roller Derby

Joel is fantastic man. He would go out of his way for anybody. I work just over 40 hrs a week and I went to school full time, and he was juggling 6 classes, sick mom and a little sister. The time began harder to find to spend together. When I told him I was trying out for roller derby it became a touchy subject (rightfully so). Joel and I ended up going our own ways but we still keep touch. For the next month I would get off work at 5 and to the skating rink I went to train for derby tryouts, and to home to finish homework. My family was criticized me; "You have got to be kidding me; you broke your arm 2x on roller skates!" I thought that was 15 years ago. I have been rollerblading and I haven't had any trouble with that. The following week I met with the coach and he invited me to join the team. I was soooo happy.It was outlet of my frustrations and stress of my busy life... until my first scrimmage practice. I've have been an athlete ALL my life. I was state competitor in high school and broke a state record in weight lifting but no practice I have ever attended was harder than this. I remember looking at the clock and saying to myself only 30min left!! I CAN DO THIS!! The last drill I trying to block our quickest skater and she, of course, past me. The coach told me to wait for her next lap and wait for the other blockers to catch up so they could help me. I immediately put my brake on and heard a snap in my leg. I took my skates off and walked back to the bench. It didn't hurt but there was something moving inside of it. Come to find out I had a spiral fracture and 3 ripped ligaments...this meant surgery