You always want to try to figure out exactly how to celebrate your milestones as a person who 'blogs'.
Somehow I missed 400.
Slipped right under the radar. That's because I used to store all the unpublished heated rants, all the works in progress of various chapters in that Chronolillogy thing I started and so on in the Blogger Dashboard. So I never really saw my actual post count.
When I moved everything to a storage folder recently that changed, so I was able to see exactly where I was, and today finds me writing a blog entry for the four hundred and fiftieth time.
The sad thing is that I should be at 500, and WAY beyond, by now. But I get sidetracked very easily. It's a combo of Life, Stuff, ADD and my nature. And even though I have been writing some at Mission: iPossible! and creating graphic content, that does not count over here.
I had hoped to bring in Post 450 with much fanfare and talk about a ton of great things going on, and there are plenty of great things to talk about. It was going to address all the dangling strings in my personal life, and there are many. I'll save that for another time and instead devote this post to the one topic that this blog always, no matter what, circles its way back to.
We are getting very, very near to the 2-year anniversary date of the removal of his brain tumor.
Hard to imagine that, huh? That's a long time. Two years ago that I watched him on his recovery room bed, wishing there was something more I could do for him, feeling helpless and confused. In a room full of people I loved and cared about and who cared about me, I never felt more isolated and alone in my entire life.
On August 31, 2009 Bennett left Cleveland Clinic after his Temporal Lobectomy. Almost two years to the day later, on September 2, 2011, Bennett is returning to have an un-scheduled MRI at Cleveland Clinic. Any of you that keep track of Bennett's Post-Operative MRI and other tests he has regularly might say 'Hey...wait a second, UN-SCHEDULED!?! And didn't he just have one around 6-8 weeks ago!?!'
Yes, he did.
Around a week ago, I began to notice a very subtle, almost imperceptible swelling on the left side of Bennett's head. There was a very slight, nearly imperceptible increase in vascular intensity there too. His left eye just looked more tired, more...weary. And very occasionally, he would rub it.
For a couple of days, none of those symptoms came together in my mind. But one day my eyes widened as I realized...I had seen this set of symptoms before.
A long time ago...right before he started to have Infantile Spasms, the most incredibly badly-named, under-rated seizures of all time. A short time before we discovered he even had a brain tumor. I guess this failure to put the pieces together for a couple of days will be, if something turns out to be wrong, another thing to add to my Guilt Portfolio.
When I tried to show people though, no one else could see it.
And I do mean no one, not even his nurses and other medical professionals.
This is nobody's fault, by the way. I am a mutant.
I am a creature of extreme detail. Ask my former boss at Palisades, he'll tell you. He was shaking his head in a good way and smiling the last time I was at his house going through old Palisades stuff in his basement that I hadn't touched or even seen since 2005 and explaining to him why two action figures of Adventure Kermit, that looked almost identical to anyone else, were different in the sense that one was a PRE-production sample and one was a mass-produced product.
Lately, I have had reason to have a measure of self-doubt. So I was a little slower on the draw in accepting what I was seeing in Bennett's features, and even I was not 100% sure I was seeing what I was seeing. Was I over-reacting? How could I be sure? Even so, when Bennett was at the Cleveland Clinic last Monday for his Psychological Evaluation we had him checked out in a cursory way by the Psychiatrist up there, who also did not see this set of symptoms in Bennett or any other signs of strange or unusual behavior.
Other than severe, SEVERE, delays...but I'll get to that another time.
On Tuesday, I remembered something. I should have remembered it sooner, but dammit all to Hell this Topamax really does screw with my memory access. I can't WAIT to go off this crap. The last time this occurred with Bennett it showed up best in photography, NOT when looking at him in THREE DIMENSIONS. So I went to the computer and started pulling shots from the week and examining them. I blew some up, cut, shifted, moved, drew lines...much the same thing I did in late 2008 and early 2009.
And just like before, even though subtle, in 2-dimensions, these variations were much easier to see.
So we called the Clinic, explained the situation, and they moved his November MRI to the soonest they could do it.
Do not misunderstand me. I have never, not once, had a bad experience with Cleveland Clinic or the doctors there. And Bennett is not in any kind of distress. If I called them today and said 'He's having seizures.' I am confident that we would be packing a bag and I would not be writing this.
But Tom Petty had no flies on him...the waiting really is the hardest part. I look at my beloved son and wonder if there is a ticking time bomb in that sweet-smelling head, waiting to explode. It does not make for a restful sleep, that I can promise you.
This is because I know that if the tumor has returned, then two years is actually not that long at all. Two years is quite short in 'tumor years'. It means that the next steps to be taken will be brutal. They will be harsh. There will be an immediate surgical reaction, followed shortly thereafter by some probable radiation and possibly followed by some chemo-therapy though not necessarily.
More of his brain will be removed. Much of his progress will be lost. The boy I know, part of him at least, will slip away from us. And whether or not we find him again I do not know.
And if it has returned, there is a higher probability that it could be worse in Grade than before, and it was scary previously, and there is a higher probability that it could return AGAIN after this, more quickly, more regularly, and Bennett's life, and the word 'Life' itself and how it relates to my son overall, is forever and irrevocably changed.
Or...it could be nothing.
Unfortunately, I'll be in surgical recovery, a week out from a Tonsillectomy, when that 09-04-11 MRI takes place. I'm going to have to play it by ear (or mouth). If I can handle it physically I am going to go up with Jen. If not I will hang back with my Mom, who is coming up for that week to help out since I will be off my feet for a while after I get these stinky, awful things ripped out.
I am monumentally frightened. Shaken. Worried. But all I can do today is keep a watchful eye on my son, see if there are any changes, try to rest, stay motivated about the things I care about and be strong for my family.
They will need me to stay frosty and as focused as I can be, now more than ever.