The Grape

The Grape

Ryan

It all started several years ago, when I was about a Sophomore in high school. Once every blue moon, I would have these “episodes” where I would zone out for a few seconds at a time. I originally thought it was due to stress, so I ignored it. Then, as the years went by, it began to happen more and more. These episodes started to occur once a month, then once a week, then once a day, then multiple times a day. At this point I was really starting to fear for what was going on inside my head. I got the courage to tell my parents what was going on, and unsure of what to think, they scheduled me a neurologist appointment. I went to my neurologist appointment, and the neurologist said it could be anything ranging from epilepsy to even a brain tumor. The neurologist scheduled me for an MRI the following week. I’d never had an MRI before and was pretty terrified. However, I got over it and the MRI went just fine. I went to work that day thinking everything was good and that there were no issues.

I was out taking trash to the dumpster at work, when I looked at my phone and noticed I had a missed call from my neurologist. Shaking, I called my Mom. Through broken words she told me she didn’t know what was going on. I hung up and called my Dad. No answer. At this point I’m panicking. I called my Mom back, and this time she told me what was happening. They had found something on my brain. They weren’t sure what it was, but it wasn’t supposed to be there. She told me that I would have to leave work early, because I needed to be rushed into the hospital. With tears in my eyes, I walked to my boss, who was already informed of what was going on, and gave her a bear hug. We were both in tears at this point. We walked outside and sat on my curb to wait for my parents to arrive. The only thought in my head was that I was going to die. Life as I knew it was over. This was the end. My parents pulled up with my brother and I hopped in. It was off to the ER we went. We arrived to an ER full of injured patients. I felt so out of place, because I wasn’t in any sort of pain. No sickness, no broken limbs, just something I couldn’t see or feel. It was in that ER that it really sunk in. I had a brain tumor and my life would be changed forever. I sat in the ER for 45 painfully long minutes, waiting for the neurosurgeon to arrive.

Being a Christian my whole life, I didn’t know how to act. I got out of my chair, walked to the wall, and said that there was no God. But then, I went and I sat back down. With tears rolling down my face, I prayed, and I prayed like I never had before. And then I heard God. He told me everything would be alright. That I would be fine. Shortly after, the neurosurgeon arrived. He told me that there was something on my brain, but they weren’t sure what it was. It could be an infection, it could be a tumor. I then spent the next day getting prepped for my surgery. The surgery was scheduled for Wednesday, July 3rd. I was beyond nervous, as brain surgery sounds very very terrifying. But, they rolled me back and it was cranial time. The surgery lasted 5 and a half hours. The tumor was the size of a grape, and was in my temporal lobe. It was a very rare form, with a name I don’t remember, and couldn’t spell in a spelling bee if I tried. But it was removed from my brain. While I was lying in bed waking up from surgery, I remember very clearly a doctor coming to my room and pulling my Dad out of the room. Outside of my doorway the doctor said that the tumor was cancerous, and that I needed to find a good cancer doctor, in case the cancer had spread. Of course, the results of the biopsy weren’t yet known. I spent the next day, July 4th, recovering.

From what I hear, the fireworks were pretty awesome. We had a great view over the city. I was too knocked out to remember them unfortunately. It was the next day that I was released from the hospital. To break this all down for you in terms of how quickly it happened, I got the call on a Monday. I was in a hospital bed being prepped for brain surgery that Monday night. I had my brain surgery on Wednesday, and was sent home on Friday. I had to wait a painful 10 days before I got the biopsy results back. After praying and praying, the day finally arrived. I went into my neurosurgeons office with my parents, and got the results. It was benign. They were on the fence about it, but it was benign. It had probably been in my brain since I was a kid, and grew very slowly. I went back for my 3 month MRI, and there were still some fragments of the tumor left. When I went back for my 6 month MRI, those fragments were totally gone. It was a clean scan. I just had my 1 year MRI and I’m feeling confident. God was right, I emerged from this nightmare just fine. I couldn’t have gotten through this without my friends, my family, my God, and my neurosurgeon, Dr. Allen Waziri.

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