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[personal profile] pyjamapants
We had an extremely eventful weekend here in Chicago. Thursday night the following fangirls met to see Deathly Hallows Part 2: [ profile] annietalbot  (and her awesome sister), [ profile] apollinav[ profile] christev , [ profile] drinkingcocoa[ profile] geminiscorp[ profile] juniperus[ profile] machshefa[ profile] mischievous_t[ profile] pyjamapants, and [ profile] voxangelus.

Friday, [ profile] drinkingcocoa  and [ profile] geminiscorp  left us, [ profile] sc010f   joined us, and then some bad things happened.

This afternoon, after the events of the past few days had some time to settle, we asked [ profile] mischievous_t  who she wanted it shared with, and she said, "The world." So, I am posting this information at the express wish of  [ profile] mischievous_t  who said she needs all the help and support she can get.

What Happened
Friday night, after experiencing ocular migraines that came and went for a couple days, [ profile] mischievous_t  (T) had a seizure. [ profile] annietalbot  was able to intervene and provide immediate aid to T. [ profile] christev  summoned emergency services, and they arrived within minutes. AnnieTalbot accompanied T in the ambulance, and [ profile] christev and [ profile] apollinav followed.

A CAT scan at the hospital revealed a brain tumor, and T received drugs to reduce brain swelling and prevent additional seizures. AnnieTalbot and Christev stayed with T overnight. 

Saturday morning two of T's aunts and a cousin flew in, one of whom had 30 years experience in a neurosurgery ward. T's husband also flew in.

Saturday afternoon, she had a full-body CAT scan and an MRI. The doctors were able to determine that T's tumor is golf ball sized, located on the outside of her brain between the Occipital and Parietal lobes and growing towards the skull. The tumor and swelling have placed pressure on her optic nerve, and she has a reduced field of vision from her left eye.
What's happening on Monday
At 12:30 Central time, T is scheduled for surgery in Chicago to remove the tumor. In the operating room, they'll be performing an initial, quick and dirty biopsy to determine the immediate course of action in terms of how much tumor is removed, how any surrounding tissue is treated, and what, if any, immediate chemotherapy is administered. Post-op, the tumor will undergo the traditional biopsy for complete testing and development of a course of action for followup treatment. Based on the tumor's size, growth rate (based on previous CAT scans), and growth behavior, the signs do point towards it being a cancerous tumor.

Post-surgery, I'll be posting updates or point you towards other posts with updates.

T is restricted from air travel. Following her recovery from Monday's surgery, she'll be travelling by land to return home for any followup treatment. The doctors predict that she'll be released from the hospital on Friday, but it's not clear when they'll give her clearance to begin her 1,000+ mile journey home.
The good news in this
Okay, so that's the round of bad news. But there is some good news in this, and that's what I get to share now.

1. The doctors said that the trip this weekend was a REALLY GOOD THING because the change in air pressure during the flight was probably what triggered the brain swelling, which led to her headaches and seizure, which led to the CAT scan and discovery of the tumor. If the trip hadn't happened, it could have been several more months before the tumor grew large enough to trigger severe headache/seizures.

2. The CAT scan showed NO suspicious activity in other areas of her body. So there are no indications that, if the tumor is cancerous, it has metastasized to affect other areas of her body.

3. T's seizure happened when we were nearby, available to help rather than any number of other scenarios.

4. T is handling this REALLY well. She's being positive and focused and is going to receive the best damn care possible.

5. T has an AMAZING group of friends both on the ground here in Chicago and across the globe. T has felt EVERYONE'S love and support and has been buoyed by everyone's concern and positive thoughts.

6. [ profile] machshefa  has been an amazing, steadfast, trained, qualified, and, frankly, magical friend. She met with both T and her husband last night at the hospital (as soon as she un-pumpkined) to provide them with psychological support that they may not have received otherwise.
How T's Doing (Courtesy of Machshefa)
All of us who have visited T have been blown away by how well she is addressing the medical and practical issues facing her, and how gracefully she is riding the emotional waves that naturally accompany this sort of medical crisis. She informed us today that she is saving her “Hufflepuff panic” for later. Even so, there are moments of deep emotion as well as moments of giggling and silliness. We should expect this ebb and flow to continue; it is a normal part of the grief and adjustment to a serious (and ongoing) medical crisis.

T is approaching the medical and emotional ups and downs with a recognition that staying in the present moment (and not getting overly caught up on “what if?”) serves her best. She is comfortable with the scary feelings though she also doesn’t want to ‘wallow’. So, if you talk with her and she is having one of those moments, the best thing to do is to honor and acknowledge her feelings and then take her lead as she makes her way back to a more hopeful and positive place. As T said, it’s just like when you’re complaining about your spouse to your friends and they say, “YEAH!” and then later, you’re telling them how  you’re telling them how awesome he/she is and they say, “YEAH!” ☺
What you can do to help
-Emails, buzz posts, and LJ posts today and tomorrow. She may be reading them. Someone may be reading them to her. Please feel free to point your own flist to this post, if you want to signal boost. [Lots of signal boosting tonight, y'all are awesome! Maybe some signal boosting tomorrow? (if new readers are wanting to signal boost.]

I have officially absolved T from having to respond to individual posts, and it may be some time before she's able to pull together a post herself.
-Continued email, buzz, and LJ support as any follow-up treatment progresses.
-PODFIC. T's vision has been affected, and it's unknown how soon she may recover it. While she CAN read out of her right eye, it's exhausting and straining. We've established a community to organize, explain, and post podfic. The community is empty at the moment, but you can join [ profile] smokingbaby  and details will follow. We have some specific requests for previously written fic, and we'll be contacting those writers to organize recordings. ANY fic you have to offer, new and old is acceptable and encouraged. (Although, Dicky, T has requested NOT the HAGRID story). No fic will be recorded without the author's permission.
-If you regularly chat with T and 1) need help processing and coping with this or 2) are concerned that you may say 'the wrong thing' or have no ideas about what 'the right things' might be, then [ profile] machshefa has offered to support anyone who needs this kind of help. Additional, she's recommended the following links:
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February 2012

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