Dr. Beth’s Blog

A Brain Tumor, Really?

by | Oct 19, 2014

I had seen the small white spot on my MRI that indicated I had a brain tumor. Hmmm… it didn’t look too threatening and I was reassured somehow. It appeared to be contained in a small sac, no tentacles reaching inside my brain tissue to entwine itself with my precious control center. I thought perhaps we could just leave it there and ignore it for a while. It looked fairly innocent actually and I felt relieved somehow having expected worse. However when I saw the neurosurgeon I could tell right away that he thought it best to remove it. For some odd reason every time I would ask him a question about it he would turn to my husband and explicate the answer. This seemed odd to me…why is he talking to my husband when I am the one with the brain tumor? Is it because I am a woman and he is an older man? Is he trying to show respect to my husband? Is he maintaining an objective distance from me his patient so that he can easily cut into my skull and brain without concern for me as a person? Having him focus on my husband allowed me to hear their voices as if from a distance while I sat on the hard chair and thought “how is it I am here, listening to talk about brain surgery?” “This must be a strange dream of some sort, it feels surreal, can I rewind and skip this chapter or skim over it to avoid the reality of what we are actually discussing here? like when I am reading a book and don’t like some parts I skim over them to get back to the good parts.” “This must be the denial setting in that often happens in times of trauma or a bit of shock. But here I am listening to them talk about drilling 3 holes in my skull and then just sawing between them to remove a large piece of it so he can get to the tumor inside. I am sure I have seen my husband do this when he is building something… drill holes and saw between… the doctor explains how first he will just cut my skin away and leave it hanging there so it can be replaced easily. He drew a picture on paper of the small plate with a hole on each side into which he will place titanium screws to hold the skull in place once he puts it back on. Okay, wait a minute here…are we still talking about my skull and my brain here or are we just talking about a construction project and I am in a weird sort of warped dream state? Oh and he says he likes to shave at least half the head so as to better avoid infection. I picture myself half bald and somehow that seems the most appalling. He seems non nonchalant about the whole thing but then I realize this is what he does every day. I feel very emotionally detached, no fear of breaking into tears. Perhaps this is why he speaks to my husband as if they are both inside of Home Depot planning how to build something together while I sit on the sidelines tuning in and out of reality but realizing on some level that it is I that is the construction project.

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Dr. Beth Haggett

Dr. Beth inspires transformation in areas that make the most difference for people. Her vast experience as a psychotherapist, organizational consultant, speaker, coach, trainer and facilitator over two decades help her to reach people and ask powerful questions that inspire.