Getting Ready

The last few weeks have gone by so fast. I knew they would. It’s crazy how fast we go from crying about pictures on an MRI scan to the part where I’m writing about my surgery that’s taking place tomorrow.

There were so many preparations to be made for tomorrow. We had to find a hotel in Rochester that had enough rooms for my family members coming in to visit. I provided Alicia with a list of all my logins and passwords and online accounts, just in case. I had to get all of my medical records transferred from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Mercy Hospital to Mayo Clinic. I had to drop out of my spring online classes at the U of Iowa. Alicia and I thought it would be smart to finally get our will and power of attorney stuff done. We kept putting it off to the point to where we actually had the paperwork witnessed and notarized during dinner with our friends at the OP in Clear Lake. At work I found myself busy providing my team members with instructions for when I’m gone. I thought the instructions might be helpful for me when I get back to work, in case the doctors accidentally take the part of my brain out that remembers how to do my job, in addition to the tumor. 🙂 Secretly, I hope the doctors take the part out that remembers how to mow the lawn, in addition to the cancer – but nothing else. I hate mowing the lawn.

We couldn’t have gotten through these past few weeks and the coming days without the love and support of our family and friends. We truly have the best support network. I’ve got Alicia and our dog Kujo when I need a hand (or a paw) to hold and a shoulder to cry on. I’ve got all my moms and dads – real ones, step ones, in-law ones, and the ones who’ve claimed me over the years as one of their own. I’ve got an entire network of cancer survivors and caregivers – one phone call or hug away thanks to Above + Beyond Cancer. I am fortunate enough to be able to go to the best hospital in the world for my surgery and treatment. The Extended Stay America Hotel in South Rochester is about to be taken over by an army of my best friends and family, who will be there every step of the next few days and beyond. I’m fortunate enough to have amazing co-workers who are willing to walk through this journey with me, right by my side.


Tuesday was my last day at work. Throughout the day I was overwhelmed by visits and hugs from numerous co-workers wishing me luck. At lunch they organized a potluck for me. When I arrived at the potluck, my whole team was standing there waiting for me – and they were wearing grey for brain cancer awareness!

Yesterday Alicia and I arrived in Rochester for my neuropsych testing. The test took four hours. Basically, the doctor and the testers asked me a ton of questions and had me put together puzzles and stuff. They asked me random questions, like “Do you know where you are right now?” “Do you know who the President was during the civil war?” They would tell me stories and have me recall as much information as I could. They showed me pictures, took the pictures away, then had me draw the pictures by memory. And there were more math problems. How do these people know I didn’t pass Algebra in high school?

Example of one of the tests I had to do at my neuropsych exam. Had to do this with my left and right hand.

If I understood the doctors correctly, the purpose of the neuropsych testing is to determine kind of how my brain works. Where are its deficits? Which areas are likely very active? Which areas are not? The results of this test are provided to my surgeon to help him get a little more familiar with my brain before he cuts it open and starts digging around.

I meet with my surgeon (Dr. B) in a few hours to discuss the plan for tomorrow. The rest of the afternoon is going to fly by. There won’t be time to finish all the things I need to finish. There never is.

Tonight, I’m going to sit down for dinner with the ones I love and soak it all in.

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