On the day of my biopsy surgery I arrived early, adrenaline pumping, ready to kick this tumor’s ass. I remember I was not intimidated because the procedure was performed at an outpatient facility. I would be going home that day and back to work in less than a week. Nothing that was that simple could be so bad could it? While being prepped my anesthesiologist came in and pumped me full of Versed. For those of you who have not experienced the joys of Versed, it is like Valium but without the hangover. You feel a kind of drunk euphoria as it seeps into your veins. Everything makes you happy, you love everyone, you are so thankful for anything that they do for you, and of course everything is funny. I think you should be allowed to take it recreationally like the oxygen bars they have in Vegas. And for some really mean people it should be required. Maybe Dr. O had them shoot me up with happy juice on purpose before he came to my bedside because as he was walking next to my gurney down the hall towards the surgical floor as I prattled on about absolutely nothing in particular he glanced over his shoulder and said “oh yes I forgot to inform you Miss Fahs, after looking at the MRI scan I ordered last week I realized that your tumor has eroded away some of your skull and is pressing up against your brain.” I remember laughing and thinking that was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. Thanks Versed.
The biopsy surgery was a disaster, Dr. O was only in there for thirty minutes and I lost a lot of blood. Worried about controlling the bleeding he took a quick tissue sample for biopsy and then got the heck out of dodge leaving most of the tumor behind. I woke up with an unbelievably painful black eye, double vision, and that foreboding sense that this could be worse than I had ever imagined. When I asked my doctor how it had gone he simply said, “Well, it’s not good but it could have been worse. Not to worry. We’ll biopsy the samples to see what type of tumor it is. If it is cancerous your surgeon may want to remove your right eye to make sure that he gets it all.” He said it in the normal way you would order a big mac at McDonalds, calm and casual. Are there pickles on that? Because if so I’ll need a knife to dig out every piece of the sandwich that they touched. Evidently most surgeons are like this. They stare at blood and guts all day until talking about ripping out eyeballs is casual conversation. I’ve gotten used to it by now but this was my first dose of the “business as unusual” routine. Conversations that would be about things that should make you scream with frustration, cry with despair, and beat against the walls in anger but that were actually held at relatively quiet decibels in dulcet tones. It reminded me of that scene in the movie Inception where Leonardo DiCaprio and that pouty girl from Juno are sitting at a table outside of a café drinking espresso and chatting while she bends the sky in on itself with her mind…and no one notices.