For those who follow the blog, this is a quick recap of surgery and post-op news.  It takes about twice as many backspaces for some reason typing, so it’ll be quick.

Night before operation, family was gathered and “Team Steve” assembled at hotel.  Hung out with my bro and shaved head in war style “side-mowak” to get my game face on.  Had a good night sleep and up on Thursday, 8:55 to hospital.  First I met an “EEG” guy to help monitor brainwaves (and who also, coincidentally,  finished the Appalachian Trail not long ago!).  I then met anesthesiologist who assured me once more my foley catheter would be put in after I go to sleep.  I remember I crawled onto the surgery bed;  somewhere they gave me Propofal, and there was  little else until they woke me.  Supposedly I was out for about four hours, I only remember about 30-40 minutes.  I think I remember they said most of the tumor was removed and we were working the margins around where the speech fibers were as well as of the functional motor strip for physical movement of the right side of my body.  There are no nerves in the brain for pain, but I definitely felt pressure as they poked around.   I read aloud from a flip up chart,  “I walked the dog.  It rained at night. …”  about once or twice, which I’m sure assessed the full range of motor speech.  The rest of the time the EEG guy and I talked trail talk, remembering different shelters such as the absolutely frigid “Trey Mountain Shelter”.   He spoke about what it was like in the Smokies and the 100 Mile Wilderness, and I wished I were there at that very moment.  Some day.   Dr. Stovall then asked for a multi-syllable word, and out of nowhere I blurted out, “supercalafragalisticexpealadoches”.  Honestly, I don’t know where that came from.   Kristina, maybe???  Then Dr. Stovall told me a short time later, an area of the margins had speech fibers and we’d simply let part of the tumor stay put.  Wholeheartedly agreed.  I think they hit me with Versed, and I was out.

I stayed in the NICU Thursday through half of Saturday with family staying in shifts as I mostly slept.  The physical therapist and Occupational Therapist said I was clear next day, though I had difficulty with Speech Therapy (as expected).  Dr. Stovall checked in on me the second day, pulled my Jackson Pratt drain (for any drainage) on Saturday, and told me the CT scan post-op looked like they got 85-95% of the tumor, but they can’t be sure until an MRI six weeks out.  There was surprisingly little pain, but I’m glad for the Norco (narcotic) to keep the pain at bay… at first.   It takes a couple of days for the gut to wake up after surgery and on top of that, Norco is the ultimate in constipation.  I transferred to the Neuro Floor Unit Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday night it definitely became an issue.  “OH, you gonna move it.  Be sure of it,”  my nurse said.  Prune Juice, Milk of Magnesia (anti-constipation) and Colace (stool softener) … not budging.  Problem is I can’t put pressure on my brain; it takes brain pressure to “move”.  Not to mention I’d feel and hear an audible squish in my head.  Avoid that.  I’d had it, and resolved to a “grand finale” of “movement”.  Two Milk of Magnesia, two Colace, a Duoculax suppository (it sounds like it is),  two Duoculax pills and 200ml of Magnesium Citrate (used for bowel preps) … I was up from 7:30 pm to 5:30am often not making to my bed before turning around.  My Uncle said around that exact time of “the blowout,” a 100 mile/hr twister hit the ranch an hour East of Austin moving  a solid cedar porch post about 8″, smashing wooden chairs and nearly blowing in the big picture window.  Yes, it was quite an event.  All clear now.

I left the Neuro Unit Tuesday morning happy to be going to my parent’s house.  My swelling is going down, but I still am dealing with  “apraxia” and a little “aphasia” … not to mention about an hour an a half trying to type this.  It weird.  I can see the words in my head mostly, I can type them out somewhat, but the motor movement actually making the mouth move is like a first grade child with a lisp, stuttering and slurring occasionally, simply refusing me.  I’m slowly seeing improvements now 7 days post-op.  Patience.  That being said, this is absolutely nothing to complain about! I am going home to Weimar, TX tomorrow.  I hope to see a garden with the first buds of ripening fruits and veggies, and I look forward to moving forward in my acrylic paintings.

Thank you all for supporting  me, and much more my parents and bro.  A testament to community.  As a side note, thanks Mom for making this actually legible.

A couple more acrylics:

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