Coming Home To A Brain Tumor

This past Thursday was my last day of classes and the night I flew home directly back to Miami from San Francisco.  I have been very much looking forward to seeing friends, family, enjoying the Miami weather, and taking a break from school.  All that went out the window the morning after I arrived.  My little brother had woken up with a terrible headache and was feeling very nauseated.  My mom decided to take him to urgent care to have him checked out while I left for my friend’s wedding.  Shortly after arriving to the church, my mom had called me saying that my brother had gotten a CAT scan that didn’t look good and he was going to be taken to the hospital.  I spent the entire wedding sitting in the back in the last pew staring at my phone awaiting for updates from my mother.  Nothing…

At the end of the ceremony and on the way to the reception, I called my mother where she told me the most updated news was that he was having more tests done and to not worry and to continue with my day as normal and go to the wedding reception.  Reluctantly, I proceeded to the reception fearing the worst.  After about an hour-long open bar event before the actual reception began, everyone made their way into the banquet hall of the hotel waiting for the new husband and wife.  While waiting, I called my mother again and she had told me, “Your brother has a brain tumor.”  Despite her reassurance that it was a benign (not cancerous) tumor and that he was on heavy meds at the moment and not experiencing anymore pain and to stay at the reception, I left about ten minutes later.  I waited till the end of the couple’s first dance and then excused myself and bolted.

Once I arrived to the hospital, my brother was sitting in a gurney that was too small for him (since he is 17 and still a minor, he was in the pediatric ward, and I’m certain not many kids that are 6’1 and a half go through there) doing of all things, homework.  The nurses informed us that there would be a neurosurgeon coming by the next day to see them to discuss the options we had.

That night, there were floods of family and friends coming and going from his room all day.  This is how I got to see most of my family at record speed.  (Had this not happened, this would have taken months)  People have been coming in and out of his room nonstop since.  On Sunday we met with the neurosurgeon and we all got to see for the first time the MRI in full detail on a huge computer monitor exactly where and how big the tumor was in relation to his brain.  After about a 30-minute science lesson, he got up and walked away.  He explained that (and I should probably research this some more so I can post something in more detail in the future) the tumor was located in the top left side of the brain and was pressing down on the “plumbing” of the brain that moves brain fluid from the brain to the body and the fact the the tumor was covering that up is what would cause my brother’s headaches.  Despite the surgeon saying that the location of the tumor was very easily accessible and that it is far away from critical sections of the brain such as memory and speech functions, understandably, as soon as the surgeon got up to leave, my brother broke down…

He sat there for about 20 minutes afterward in front of the computer screen rotating the image of his brain and staring at the tumor.  We pulled him out of there and put him back in his room.  He didn’t talk for about a half hour… when he finally did, he made one request: to speak to his best friend, alone.  I made the call to his best friend and within 10 minutes, he was there.  I don’t know what they talked about or what he said to my brother, but when he got out, he was acting just as normal as he ever does.

Monday was spent with more visitors coming and going, including my brother’s school principal counselor, and religion teacher, as my parents researched the surgeon we met with and consulted second and third opinions to the matter.  On a side note, Final Exams started today and the principal simply said to not worry about taking them, although my brother insisted that he would take them when he got out of the hospital, but I digress.  It was decided soon-after that the surgeon we met with would perform the surgery.  That day, my brother had about thirty visitors in two hours.  We met with the neurosurgeon again that night and he explained to all of us again in more detail exactly how and what would be done to extract the tumor.  My brother seemed surprisingly calm about everything and much more relaxed than before.

As this blog is being written, (12:08 PM EST, 5/25/10) my brother is in surgery having the tumor removed.  My family and friends and I are all people of strong faith and believe without a shadow of a doubt that he will be home in the next few days and will have made a full recovery.  Thanks to all of those friends and family who have kept my brother in your prayers and I will post again once he’s made it home.

Thank you and God Bless.


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