Updated: Nov 16, 2019
The first week post-op was the most horrifying for me. I had been eating (a little but not too much due to nausea), drinking, sleeping, peeing, but not pooping. I mean, who doesn't get a visit from the poop monster for 6 days? I couldn't fit anymore food in my gut without first ridding of some waste - my stomach was solid like a rock.
"Here Lasha, take this, you're suppose to drink this lemon flavored drink if the stool softeners aren't working." Chris opened up a clear glass bottle which read, "Lemon Flavor" .
"Magnesium Citrate." Chris looked puzzled, " well, with a name like that it's got to do something." he laughed and handed me the bottle.
I was nervous to take this Magnesium Citrate, I had heard of all it's negative effects on my PGCT support pages, which is why I hadn't touched it, looked at it, or even pondered it for the past 6 days.
But 6 days was too much - the fossilization and crystallization process was occurring deep within my bowels.
I unscrewed the cap, not eager to taste Walgreen's depiction of lemon flavor, and chugged half the salt water bottle down.
"I hope this stuff works as quickly as everyone says because I am feeling so sick" I was rocking back and forth, up on my tippy-toes, and re-enacting a Cirque du Soleil performance on the toilet - anything to get my bowels moving.
"Nothing" I grumbled 5 minutes later.
"Chris, nothing's coming out. Can you please help me back to bed?" I summoned from my throne of lies.
"Of course" Chris walked into the bathroom and lifted me off my throne. He carefully walked me to the sink and held me up. After I cleaned up he sat me back down in Hermando and I wheeled my way back to bed.
It had been an hour and nothing had happened. After 6 days of not pooping I wasn't going to waste another minute. I grabbed the so called lemon flavored drink and sucked the remainder down.
"Something's gotta give" I whined.
My stomach violently twisted in knots.
"Yes, maybe something's moving!" I cried out. I hopped back into Hermando and raced my way back to my throne of lies.
I sat down and started to perform my Cirque du Soleil routine, again.
5 minutes later
"NOTHING!" I yelled from the bathroom to Chris in dismay.
It was at that moment I remembered watching the discovery channel on "how to make a diamond" and realized they left out a key procedure, Vaseline.
I will let your imagination think of all the ungodly and unholy things one has to do to get a diamond from the rough.
Don't judge me people, this was a rough ride, and if you ever go in for brain surgery you too may end up becoming besties with your Vaseline container around day 6.
With the force of 1.21 gigawatts (as measured by the University of Texas campus building next door) the diamond projectile ricocheted in all directions off the porcelain bowl, it was like a gun fight at the O'K Corral.
"WHOOSH" The flood gates of hell opened.
"I'm pooping - I AM POOPING!" The poop sweats dripped down my face as I re-enacted a fight scene from Rocky.
Micky Goldmill, "You can do it Rocky!"
Suddenly I felt terrible, my head was throbbing, my anus hurt, and it felt like I was going to puke... I needed to lay back down. Chris came into the war zone and helped me clean up. But, almost as fast as my head hit the pillow my bowels took a turn for the worst, the magnesium citrate had not finished wreaking its havoc.
With the explosive force of Mount Vesuvius, I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom in 2 seconds flat (covering my anus with one hand and waving goodbye to Hermando with the other).
"It's a miracle, it's a miracle!" Chris exclaimed.
As soon as my buttocks made contact with the toilet seat I could hear Doc Brown's voice from back to the future, "Marty, you're going to have to do something about those clothes."
I foresaw two possibilities; one, I saw myself thirty years in the future pooping out a 7 layered Belgian chocolate cheesecake, which would throw my lactose body into shock, and with that premonition I almost passed out.
Two, I'm thrown back in time creating this poop paradox and ripping the very fabric of space and time continuum. The destruction however might not be limited merely to my own bowels.
Though magnesium citrate was no walk in the park, not pooping wasn't my only nightmare a week out of brain surgery.
I had gained my ability to sleep again (to reach REM) and my body was starting to heal itself. I no longer suffered from involuntary muscle jerks or spasms (though I still find myself with a slight tremor or shake from time-to-time). The the real nightmare a week post-op was reliving the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie every night in my dreams.
~ Back To The Future: My Nightmare
From the moment I met these guys they made my stomach turn.
"Well, we are leaving Lasha. Don't forget to lock the garage door before you go to bed." Dad kissed my cheek and started to walk away.
["No... don't go" I spoke out loud in my sleep.]
[Chris woke up and reached his hand over to comfort me, "It's okay Lasha it's just a dream".]
[I nudged away from him and squeezed my pillow.]
"Dad, I have a bad feeling about these guys.They are really creepy, did you see how they looked at mom?"
"Oh Lasha, stop being so paranoid. They are new here, and my fellow co-workers, we're only being nice showing them around."
Then suddenly my dream shifted and threw me into a new scene.
I was hiding behind a tool box, my feet soaked in the syrupy blood that covered the garage floor, and with each inhale through my nostrils I could taste the blood's irony flavor. My eyesight fixed on my parent's blackened crushed faces. They lay lifeless on plastic bags, barbwire wrapped around their wrists and necks, and their clothes painted in blood.
["Mom... Dad..." I sobbed out loud.]
["It's okay Lasha, you're having a bad dream, that's all. You're dreaming." Chris moved closer to me.]
Without warning one of the guys grabbed a shovel laying against the wall, "Grab your favorite toy boys and let's have some fun!".
The shovel hit my face, knocking me to the blood soaked floor. I couldn't move, the blood was like quicksand and I was being pulled down.
["NO! Stop it!" my eyes well up with tears.]
["NO!!!" I kicked my feet.]
[Chris darted out of the way of my wild swings, "It's okay Lasha, you're safe, it's just a bad dream. GET UP!"]
I woke up, "What? What's wrong baby? Is it time for my pain meds?"
"No, not yet. Lasha, you were having a nightmare again - you kept punching and kicking me. I woke you up so we don't have another black eye incident." Chris was teasing me about a night, a few months prior to surgery, when I was having terrible muscle spasms.
Before surgery I suffered from tremors, jerks, and muscle spasms. The worst part about tremors and jerks were that they not only affected me but they also affected those around me.
~ Back To The Future: The Black Eye
"Woah, you and the miss' get in a fight there?" Tammi laughed.
"Good morning Tammi, how are you?" Chris caroused back.
"Well, so far it's been pretty good, knock on wood." Tammi smiled. "But the morning has just started so ask me again in about 3 hours" she laughed back.
"Seriously Chris what happened to your eye? That's a good hit." Tammi grilled.
"Oh nothing big, I must of hit it on a car or something."
All day poor Chris was running into questions, everyone wanted to know about this mysterious black eye.
When Chris arrived home he walked into our bedroom and leaned in for a kiss.
"What happened to your eye?" I managed to get out.
"Oh, that don't worry about it." he smiled and kissed my forehead.
I shook my head and pointed to his eye in panic.
"Last night you were having muscle spasms and punched me in the face."
You should have seen my face.
"No, I didn't do that!" I professed as blades ate away at my jugular.
"Yeah, last night baby but it's okay it doesn't hurt."
Without warning, I started to laugh uncontrollably. I mean tears were running down my face and my stomach hurt. I knew this was a highly inappropriate reaction, and inside I felt awful about it, but I couldn't stop.
Horrified that I had punched my husband in the face, and even more horrified that I was now malevolently laughing about, my body broke down. My slight shakes turned into full on disturbing quakes. My cries switched between laughing and sobbing. My body pain magnified.
"It's okay Lasha, I'm okay, sometimes these things happen and husbands get black eyes from their wives, it's no big deal." Chris shrugged. "Plus, we'll just say it's payback for the soup incident the other day." he smiled.
~ Back To The Future: The Soup Story
"One more day baby girl, then I'm home with you for 7 days!" My tremors and muscle spasms had just started to increase and I was requiring more and more of Chris' attention and time.
"Here baby, eat this." Chris handed me a bowl of soup and a spoon.
By the time Chris came home from work I was so hungry. I grasped the spoon with all my might and placed it in the soup. I started the spoon to my mouth but by the time it reached it all the soup had shaken off.
I tried... I tried... I tried but all I was successful at was recreating a Jackson Pollock painting on my walls - soup was everywhere!
Suddenly, a flash of the future shot before my eyes, a toilet bowl would one day look like this too.
Due to his exhaustion from working 6 days straight, while learning how to adjust to his new role as caregiver at home, Chris was oblivious to my Pollock masterpiece taking place behind him.
I began to cry, I couldn't get any damn soup to stay on my damn spoon and I was so damn hungry.
"AND, that's how a dam works".
Chris turned around to the sound of me crying. I was shaking, soup was thrashing all over the place, I was still trying to lift that damn spoon to my mouth.
"Oh my goodness, holy cow, what an ass I am. I am so sorry baby!" It was that night, while Chris knelt down by my wheelchair, holding a spoonful of soup up to my mouth, that we both realized our roles as husband and wife had changed.
~ Back To The Future: Post-Op Week 1
By the end of post-op week 1 we were back at the doctors office for my first checkup.
"Hey Lasha - you are looking great" Margaret said to me with a big smile.
"Follow me to the room, Dr. Kim and the other doctors will be with you shortly." I piloted Hermando to the examination room and we waited.
The door opened, "Wow, what a change."
"It's like night and day since your surgery" Dr. Kim and his resident both looked pleased.
"How are you feeling?" Dr. Kim enquired.
"I'm doing well." I said.
"I still can't see out of my right eye and I have a lot of bright lights flashing in it, but I am talking and my constant pressure headaches are gone."
"She's been having terrible nightmares since surgery" Chris interjected.
"Yes, that's common. Nightmares and vivid dreams can be a side effect of brain surgery. Your brain is healing and creating new neuro-pathways." The resident responded.
"Let's have a look at your incision" Dr. Kim walked over to inspect it.
"It's healing very well! The next time I see you I don't want to see you in those sunglasses." Dr. Kim smiled at me.
"You got it and next time you see me I'll be walking into you office." We exchanged big smiles and both left happy with the outcome so far.
Right out of brain surgery I had repeated gruesome nightmares. Now, almost 4 months post-op, I am having fewer and fewer but the memories of that toilet will forever haunt my dreams. My brain is still healing, and thankfully, only throws me into a creepy Rob Zombie movie every once in a while.
For those going in for brain surgery, know your nightmares are all part and parcel of healing. They too shall pass, just like your bowels will around day 5 or 6 with your new besties Vaseline and Magnesium Citrate.
A BIG thank you goes out to my husband for helping me with the comic relief for Part 3 of our brain surgery journey.
We hope you enjoyed it. If so, hit the heart button down below. Also, feel free to leave us a comment down below.
We look forward to sharing more with you all soon - much love, peace, and grace today special.
~ Lasha & Chris Barbosa
#thankyou #loveyou #helpendbraintumors #letsgopgctwarriors #worktogether #medicalcommunitiesworkingtogether #forthepeople #benignbraintumorsmatter #benignbriantumors #canadianhealthcare #globalhealthcare #benignbraintumorsneedmorresearch #helpsavelives #qualityoflifematters #positivethinking