Written by Eric:
Dr. C, Lisa's neurosurgeon, reported back just after her biopsy: she had no hemorrhaging and doing fine. It looked like the very initial pathology suggested the tumor is not malignant, and there are neurosurgeons who may consider at least part of it operable. Her neurologist's bedside checkup was all normal. And she is all smiles. We'll find out more from the formal pathology report on Monday.
Some of the facts:
She has a golf ball sized tumor in her right temporal lobe. Her fall Friday was most likely caused by a seizure brought on by inflammation in the right side of her brain. That seems under control with anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory medication.
She can not drive for at least six months. And of course we're going to limit what we do to lessen injuries if she has another seizure. She will most likely need anti-seizure meds for the rest of her life.
Today we woke up to birds singing, the neighbor dog barking, and the almost overpowering aroma of flowers. We've had about 14 hours of sleep, and breakfast on the screen-porch where she said: "Everything is different now. I don't know how to describe it.... The air smells fresher, birds sound better, and I feel so much love and happiness. More love and happiness than I've ever felt."
Email written by Eric while Lisa was in surgery, sent at home Friday:
As some of you may know, Lisa had a fall sometime Friday night. After taking her to the ER at Cottage Hospital on Monday for a severe persistent headache, a CT scan revealed abnormal swelling in the right side of her brain. She had two minor seizures Monday, but with anti-swelling and seizure medications her headache went away and seizures stopped but she spent the night in the ICU due to the risk.
An MRI Tuesday morning revealed a roughly golf ball size tumor in her right temporal lobe. The neurosurgeon's opinion was that it is non-operable due to the size and location.
The next step, which we're taking as I write this, is a biopsy to determine just what it is, how aggressive it is, etc.
So you know, Lisa and I are fine. Of course we would like this to work out in a positive way. But on the other hand, we know it may not. The most important thing is that we are positive and happy - actually have never been happier. That may seem odd, but we do have a choice in how we think and we would both prefer to be happy and positive with any time we have here together or otherwise.
We have in fact both cried, but I think for the most part, it has been due to being overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and kindness from everyone from loved ones to total strangers.
Of course, pray for her if that helps you, but whatever you do, keep her in your thoughts. In general, keep others in your thoughts - what you give is generally returned many fold.
I'll update more when I can,
[please see www.girlbert.com for updates etc.]
Eric & Lisa
Hi, this is Boyfriend.
Girlbert is out sick for a bit. After working late on Friday, she fell and hit her head. She's had quite the headache so we went into the hospital for some tests. We don't know much right now but we'll keep you posted. We're both scared but smiling. Never forget the power of positive thought.
Happy Birthday, Little Brother.
Maybe you thought I only did birthday tribute letters for horses. And only really old ones, at that.
Fear not little brother, your big day is here, and it's kind of like any other day, isn't it? Full of the unknown, yes, but full of hope and happiness that you create. Only you're taking it more seriously because you've reached some milestone that gives you a sense of urgency about your life. Be grateful for this heighened sense of needing-to-accomplish-something-now, I know I'm so grateful for series of changes that have occurred in my life since reaching 30. I spent my 20s unhappily sitting on my hands. But not you - I'm astounded at all that you've checked off your "bucket list" in your 20s. Your 20s.
Not that it should be about getting a certain number of things done by a certain point in time. I may have a different perspective than most, having just completely turned my life upside-down and reinvented myself in the last year and a half, but I think this philosophy deserves some thought. How is the quality of your life, when viewed through no one's eyes but your own? Life is about about the constant attainment of knowledge and evolving as a person - not what you can tick off a list in a day, a month, or a year.
If I were in London with you, I would risk an enormous bout of constipation just to party with my little brother. We could go to Stonehenge together, talking about American politics, UFO's and Dooce the whole way. Then we'd get get all "Gay and Away", hop a plane to Italy and go have gelato with the Pope. Maybe I'd fall in love with some Tuscan estate and stay, all Diane-Lane-like. You never know with me. But you could stay with me as long as you wanted.
But since I'm so tight on cash, I spent more time picturing you here, showing you around this place I now call home - California. I would take you to the beach, so you could soak in the Pacific Ocean's goodness and I could practice skipping rocks. We'd go to lunch at that crazy little Mexican place we found last time you were here (because they were open on Mondays!) because I know how you're missing Mexican food. Boyfriend and I would take you sailing out of the Santa Barbara harbor. I would make us this delicious Italian dish for dinner, and we'd drink lots of Italian wine. I'd make you any dessert you wanted or I'd even get Hostess cupcakes and those little candles and we'd sing you happy birthday. Then we'd stay up all night, singing and playing the guitar.
I want you to know that you're one of the bravest, smartest, most inspiring people I know. I'm so lucky we're related. Sometimes I can't believe that I'm lucky enough to call you my brother. Sometimes I'm knocked to the ground by how much we have in common, and how much I can learn about myself via your example. And then I realize maybe you might feel the same way, and it makes we want to be a more shining example of an older sibling for you. I want to share the knowledge I've acquired, what little I might have. I want you to know the peace and wisdom I've found in my 30s. I want to hug you until you know it's all good. I want to make you smile, not because it's your birthday, but because I love you.
Our neighbor stopped by to ask us if we'd like to join him for a hike today. We were, as per our recent M.O., holed up in our office, frantically, tiredly, grouchily working. We hesitated for a moment - we usually go for a hike or a bike ride every other day or so, just to remove ourselves from our desk chairs and give our tired eyes a rest, but we've been a bit lax in our routine. Work seems to have had the upper hand over play lately.
But we decided to go. We took a walk down the Santa Ynez River, just beyond our backyard. We walked right down the middle off it, getting our shoes wet and rinsing off our legs on this hot, how-did-it-get-to-be-summer-already day. We dug rocks out of the riverbed and stood them on end on top of the boulders poking up out of the water, a la Andy Goldsworthy. We skipped rocks, threw sticks for Nickel the Wonder Dog, watched him swim after them, laughed and talked and played. We were refreshed and creatively inspired. It was, gloriously, the perfect thing to do at that moment. As all things spontaneous tend to be.
But we all tend to forget to be in the moment. To forget that the present moment is always perfect. If only we would just enjoy it.
I've long prided myself on listening to what my gut tells me to do. On doing what's best for me and my body in any given moment. But sometimes logic and my head win the battle over intuition, and it's never pretty. Gut feelings and spontaniety triumphed today!
When's the last time you fought the logic in your head and did something spontaneous, only to have it be the PERFECT thing?