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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Surprise Ending to a Medical Moment


26 Kislev, 5775

I promised to clue you in to a surprise in my medical life, today. Brace for impact.

As you know from following this blog, I've experienced several benign brain tumors called meningiomas, over time.

Doctors and I monitor my brain for instances of new meningiomas, to catch them before they cause harm. That would let us strategize what to do without the pressure of a life-threatening situation such as I'd survived shortly before this blog began.

Several weeks ago, I experienced my every-2-years MRI. 

The scheduled MRI event has become routine. But I'm human, prone to fear and worry about my significant medical history. 

I do a 2-step process aka ritual to prevent or to minimize fear, or any sort of negative emotions, on MRI-taking days. Before I clue you in as to why that ritual saved me a lot of heartache this past month, let's look at the keep-me-calm process:

1) Before anyone can slide me into the machine, I greet the doctors in attendance of my medical exam with an update on my health and visual acuity progress. 

I also hand over the music CD I brought for drowning out the mechanical banging of the MRI magnets and machinery. 

I find it fun to surprise the medical staff with my diverse tastes in music. And I enjoy the music when I'm in the machine.

I've neglected to bring a CD to the MRI site once or twice, and actually slept through the noisy exams, lulling myself into calmness with focused prayers and upbeat mantras (the EMPOWER Yourself book explains the importance of making your own coping with a medical challenge mantra, and how to do so). 

Yes, I actually sleep through some MRI exams.

2) I buy yummy fruit or carrot smoothies after each biennial photo-op finish, drowning any vestige of fear or concern with nutritious happiness. That enables me to calmly wait a few weeks until the analysis of the MRI reaches me and my doctors.

The analyses are always a delight to share. They indicate astonishing recovery and healing.

But the whole routine fell apart 
a few weeks ago, 
when the newest analysis 
arrived in my mailbox.

A meningioma had been identified, close to the site of the one that had almost killed me.

The report indicated a specific part of the brain that it seemed to be pressing on, and which parts of the brain would be threatened if it grew.

I bit my lips and prayed from my heart. A lot. Several times daily.

Scared? That medical moment left me terrified, and perplexed that this could have happened despite all the healing efforts I've made. I was curious as to the spiritual meaning of it all.

I chose to re-read passages from

and prepared an appointment with the new neurosurgeon necessary for my medical team. 

Mine had left the hospital where I'd had surgery.

The appointment was scheduled for this past Sunday.

True to the book, I'd arranged for a trusted confidante to be at the meeting with me, to be an impartial set of ears able to hear what the doctor actually said, versus my possibly tainted, emotional misinterpretation of remarks.

I'd prepared the questions I wanted to ask, and listed the issues I needed to clarify before the appointment. I packed them in my purse, with writing materials to bring to the appointment.

I'd practiced being patient all that time, and deserved an Oscar for my outward appearance of calm. I realized that there was no sense in alarming anyone over the situation until I'd reviewed necessary facts. They might prove the lack of a need for alarm. I needed to conduct myself in a cultured, calm manner to best cope with the situation.

My confidante drove me to the appointment, remarking the whole way on my apparent sense of serenity.

"Yay!" I thought to myself. "I fooled her. Now I have to keep up the act a little longer, so I can deal with realities I'm about to learn of."

The doctor summoned us into his office. He responded to my queries as my confidante took notes. I did, too.

As he examined the MRI in question via the CD I'd brought along, he asked his own questions:

  • "Do you really see as well as you're telling me, after a surgery like you've had?"

  • "How is that possible?"

  • "What else are you doing to see better and better?"

He took notes based on my This is the Patient Instructing the Doctor answers to him, the medical expert. Both of us noticed the shift of who was more important in the conversation with good humor.

And the payoff for my feigned patience was learning that the doctor who'd analyzed the new MRI had erred.

Nothing was amiss.

Since I understand anatomy, the neurosurgeon was able to show me several angles of the MRI to prove his "An honest mistake was made" point to my satisfaction.

We agreed to conduct a new photo-op within 1 year, not two, to keep us aware of possible developments or the lack of them.

After exiting the medical office, I bought a calming smoothie nearby.

My confidante and I breathed our relief during the drive home, agreeing that the steps we'd taken had minimized the opportunities for more mistakes on either side of the doctor's desk.

We compared the notes we'd taken. Mine only lacked one item present on hers. The "Bring a friend or relative to medical appointments" safety measure had worked in my favor.

I've been thanking GOD aloud for the ability to face my fear with calm, good sense and the opportunity to make my medical specialist an ally instead of alienating him with moodiness.

I also thanked Her-Him for my wealth of fabulous friendships.

This blogpost has been written from my heart, as was the book.

Let me know if my life lessons help you.

Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.  

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Face your fears with good sense and behavior.



Hannah Blachman said...

You are a true heroine! Thanks for the inspiring blog.

Caryn said...

Kol HaKavod to you. Such a hard thing to have to keep on revisiting and you are doing a remarkable job keeping yourself healthy and your spirits up. Takes a lot of concerted effort...

Batya said...

This post is included in the latest Shiloh Musings: Chanukah 5775 Havel Havelim!

Please visit it, read, comment and share the posts and the blog carnival, thanks.

Yocheved Golani said...

I appreciate your moral support, and praise, ladies.

Past practice definitely paid off. I've learned the drill of how to behave calmly, despite disaster, down to the cells of my very being and mindset. I can feel the fear and deal with it rationally. The bonus of being that way is that I don't fall apart when I'm frightened. I don't pay an expensive price - optimal health under given circumstances - for losing control of my behavior.

Rickismom said...

glad that in the end the test was OK

Anonymous said...

I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for
your next post thanks once again.