A few days ago, while waiting to meet someone, I wandered into a high-end boutique. Then I saw the dress. $200. And I fell in love. I tried to justify buying it, but knew there was no justification.
See, I am a new mom. And any mom can tell you that they could drop $200 in record time with a few clicks of the mouse on www.diapers.com. But, oh, how I wanted that dress!
"You could always use a cocktail dress," she said.
A cocktail dress?
The only cocktail that I am familiar with these days is an elixir of baby cereal and sweet potatoes.
I walked away. I was strong. But I went back the next day. This time I had my 8-month-old baby boy with me.
"Oh, you came back for the dress," said the 20-something. "And you have a baby! Well, if you had a baby, you deserve the dress."
And there it was. A revelatory moment if ever there was one. Just like that it all started flashing back in my mind. I was speechless and lost in thought.
I looked up at her, paused, and said: "You have no idea."
My pregnancy was pretty standard for the first seven months. I had the usual symptoms: nausea, daily milkshake cravings, frequent bathroom visits. But my "pregnant brain" suddenly reached a dangerous level. I could barely see or remember anything.
It was time to stop consulting the pregnancy blogs and see my doctor. She sent me to an eye doctor, who sent me to a neurologist, who sent me to get an MRI. As we were leaving the office, a nurse chased us down.
"A neurosurgeon has read the MRI. You need to be admitted to the hospital — now," the nurse said.
So with no clothes, no toiletries, no notice — and no real explanation — I was admitted.
A few minutes later a neurosurgeon came to see me: "You have a brain tumor. It is impressive. We need to talk about your options."
Impressive? A tumor? Was I supposed to be flattered? I kind of was for a minute before I became scared to death.
As it turned out, I had a very rare tumor that started out as a normal cell, but it wandered and got lost. The wayfaring cell settled down in my brain cavity and started to divide. The tumor had been growing my whole life. The good news: It was benign. The bad news: It was making me blind and delirious. I had to get this thing out, but I had to get my baby out first.
So started my journey to giving birth to both a baby boy and an avocado-sized brain tumor.
After numerous consultations with surgeons and anxiety attacks, it seemed that the only option for removing the tumor was to have a craniotomy. (Read: Cut my head open, drill a hole in my skull and physically pick the tumor out of the pituitary and brain stem area for roughly seven hours). That settled it. Once the decision was made, we could get on with it.