It's taken a few weeks for me to come to terms with what happened (which was absolutely nothing) and take a good look at my response to it. It feels like there is a lot to be learned from the whole experience.
The migraines and vision problems I had were (I think) justification for getting checked out, particularly in the context of pregnancy - there is a suggested link between pregnancy hormones and increased tumour growth.
My last pregnancy was so entwined with the experience of having a brain tumour that I can't remember it in isolation. The emotional recovery, and physical appearance (goddamn short hair!) was apparent throughout, and I actually found myself at the beginning of this pregnancy expecting a craniotomy to start me off. Yikes.
I think this may have played a part, it was like I was just waiting for it to happen. I read the absolute most negative possibility into everything that happened. The aura that comes with migraine? Must be tumour pressing on my optic nerve. I could go blind. How will I look after a newborn, blind?
And the final straw that drove me to middle of the night Googling (never to be recommended) was a numb hand. My right hand, for no apparent reason. This was what alerted my GP to the original tumour, loss of movement and feeling down my right side (also a common pregnancy thing, but I didn't bother reading about that).
By this point I had already had an MRI, and I was waiting for the results. I analysed in detail the behaviour and every single word the scan man said to me. It was ominous, I told myself, that he urged me to chase an appointment to get the results. He already knew by then what the scan looked like. And was that pity in his eyes...?
So I went home, cue major denial and didn't make an appointment. All the while absolutely convinced that I had a tumour and trying to work out how on earth I would manage with a toddler and a newborn whilst recovering from a craniotomy. Or maybe it was more serious than that and they would have to get it out before the baby was born. Craniotomy during pregnancy? Or have a very premature baby in special care? I decided the best thing would be to ignore it. Surely they would contact me if there was anything to talk about.
All the while people were telling me this was normal third trimester stuff, and logically I can see that it was. But I just knew it was a tumour, so I didn't listen. I spent a few weeks just not really thinking about it. And then I finally rang them up. The team explained that the scan was clear, they didn't want to see me, no need, nothing to talk about. Within minutes it was over and the full extent of my self delusion was exposed. What an idiot.
For next time, I'm sure there will be one, I plan to follow these simple rules:
- if worried, get checked out
- don't read the internet
- get results quickly
- do not read the internet