Brain surgery. Are you serious?

I don't write much about myself here, preferring to write about technology and my opinions. Sometimes I write, and sometimes I'm quiet because I'm too busy or too lazy to write. 

This past week has been a little different. I'm not sure if I want to write this but I can always delete the post if I have second thoughts. Here goes.

I went to visit my father a couple of weeks ago. He seemed a little tired, despite always being vibrant and energetic until now. I didn't think much of it but had a call a few days later from Dad to say that he had been to a doctor and they thought he had had a stroke.

That's pretty worrying.

He was losing fine-control of his left hand and was having trouble spelling words in emails and text messages. Very worrying for a man who had seemed young to me until this point.  

The doctor referred my father to the hospital for a CT scan and further investigation. It seemed to be fairly routine. 

On the Tuesday morning we met with a doctor at the hospital who asked some questions and did some tests. He checked feeling and vision on the left and right sides of the body. He checked strength and feeling in the left and right arms and legs. Then Dad was sent off for a CT scan of the head.  

Until now I was assuming that the diagnosis was going to be stroke again. 

After the CT scan there was a bit of a wait and then we were back in to see the doctor. He seemed a little reticent to tell us what was going on and then came out with it. "Unfortunately it's not a stroke", he said.  

That was a surprise and a shock. I didn't really know what that meant. I hadn't really looked up what a stroke was, on Wikipedia or anywhere else. If it's not a stroke, what else could it be?

"We think it's a brain tumour."  

Hmmm. That's a shock. Where do you even start with that information?  

The doctor said they were going to try and admit my father that night and do some further tests in the next day or two. My healthy father was being admitted to hospital and I didn't really know what was happening. 

After a bit of a wait we were sent up to the ward and shown to a bed. I took a trip home to get a few things for him and came back. At this point Dad seemed to be fairly healthy and I was more worried about his boredom than his health. 

That was Tuesday. No worries. 

On Wednesday there was further testing. An MRI scan of the head and a CT scan of the torso. And a lot of waiting around. The medical history is that he had had a melanoma skin cancer cut out of his neck about three years ago. I hadn't been concerned about it at the time but the doctors all thought melanoma was the obvious cause of the current situation.  

The MRI scan showed just the single lump in the head. That was promising. There was talk from a doctor about going into surgery as soon as practicable. There was an outline of possible problems from surgery: lack of strength in the arm, and maybe in the leg. Death, obviously. That was a possible outcome too. Probably a few other things but those were the most important ones.

The CT scan of the torso was also done but I still haven't really heard the outcome of that. I think that the surgery wasn't going to go ahead if his torso was full of cancer. So it's probably OK. I guess. 

We were told that surgery was going to happen in the next few days. On Thursday I got a call from my sister that Dad was going into surgery. Now. He had about 15 minutes notice that he was heading in to surgery.  

With a lack of much information I was concerned about what was happening. I thought surgery was necessary and useful abut still a little risky, as with any operation. I spent most of that day in hospital waiting for some news. Waiting around in hospitals for news is hard.

I spent six hours waiting At some points I had company from family and friends which helped but it was still hard. Surgery took about three hours longer than I expected, maybe six hours in total. That seems serious. Waiting is hard, especially without news. 

Finally about 6pm we got in to see my father. I didn't know what to expect so the reality was always going to be a shock. In my opinion, I thought that mentally he was better than I expected and physically he was worse than I expected. He was feeling nauseous, tired and thirsty. Not surprising after general anaesthetic. We stayed about 15 minutes and that was about all he could manage. Six hours waiting for 15 minutes of time with Dad.  

I wasn't sure what to expect the next day. I thought that a bit of rest would lead to a big improvement. Or at least I hoped for a big improvement.  

I got in at about 9.45 am on the following day. As soon as I got into the room, it seemed like the spark of life was back. That was encouraging and still is.

It was a stressful week. Waiting around in hospitals isn't much fun.  

At this stage I'm not sure what's going to happen from here. I think there is going to be chemotherapy or radiotherapy but I'm still not sure. More waiting.

Two weeks ago I thought my father had had a stroke. One week ago there was brain surgery. Now he now longer has a tumour but I think there is a long process of recovery ahead.  

Not fun.