Recovery Part #1
Recovering from brain surgery/brain cancer has been one of the hardest things I have ever endured. I don’t claim to have a rough life, I have actually been extremely fortunate in my life up until I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Going through brain surgery followed up by cancer treatment for those three months from when I had my brain surgery to my last treatment was definitely the darkest 3 months of my life.
It all started roughly in 2016 when I started getting dizzy when I would lay on my back underneath my Jeep or in certain situations when I would be working on my dad's boat. One vivid memory I have of a pretty bad dizzy moment. When I was on vacation at Lake Powell and woke up, I took care of my morning routine and was experiencing the worst headache of my life, so I laid back down to see if it would go away. Unfortunately it did not go away, everyone else was up and ready to go so I had to get up, when I did I got so dizzy that I fell back into my bed.
I was encouraged by my mom to go see a doctor about it but was resistance to that because I had the “I’m a tough 20 year old” mentality”, My mom made me a doctors appointment in January 2018 just weeks before I would take my first ever green flag. The doctor was busy the day I went in so I was seen by the practicing assistant instead, he recommended that I drink more water to see if that would help. After my appointment the PA briefed my doctor, my doctor ordered an MRI scan but never told me that I would be getting a call from the imaging center.
I made an appointment to go in and get an MRI and a few days later I got the call from the doctor with the results of the MRI, ironically this would be the day before I was set to leave for my first race at King of the Hammers 2018. A lot of self doubt crept up after getting the news, but I was determined to race King of the Hammers. I ended up getting third place at my first race so I became committed to chasing the West coast series with Ultra 4 racing.
I went to see the Neurosurgeon when I got back home from the King of the Hammers race, ironically again he is a race car driver himself and when I told him that I was interested in having brain surgery in the middle of the race season he understood. I put off having the surgery for the entire 2018 Ultra 4 race season, which turned out to be the best decision. Towards the end of the season with only two races left to go, I started having worsening symptoms; I was starting to lose my appetite, felt nauseous all the time, and getting dizzier and dizzier.
I called my neurosurgeon and asked him to order another MRI because of my worsening symptoms. When I got the results back it all made sense, my brain tumor had grown slightly. I was feeling so miserable that I set a date for the surgery to get the tumor removed, but I still wanted to finish out the race season so I set the date for the week after the last race of the season, The National Championships. I woke up on November 1st, 2018 to go to the hospital, I will admit that I was very naive to what was about to occur.
I only remember a few things about the pre-op, one thing that makes me laugh to this day is my surgeon asking me what kind of music I wanted to listen to during the surgery. I told him it doesn’t matter to me, I am hoping to be asleep during the entire surgery, he responded by saying “fine, it's a Bon Jovi kind of day.” This was definitely the funniest thing that I could ever think to have happened just before an intense surgery.
These are the only pictures I have from my pre-op, at the time I didn't realize I would be wanting to tell the story later. Live and you learn.