Five years ago today was my last ride in the gamma knife machine. Since that last surgery. It was one that I like to call a “touch-up,” because unlike my first gamma knife surgery, which was to treat nine lesions in my brain, the second one was in response to a single spot of concern on my MRI.
I remember how tormented my neurosurgeon, Dr. K, seemed at the time. An MRI can only tell you there is bleeding, without giving a sense of what might be behind the bleeding. Metastatic melanoma tumors bleed a lot. They bleed when they form, but they also bleed when they are dying out. Dr. K consulted with many colleagues about my case, and all of them recommended that he cut. Gamma knife being his specialty, however, he wanted to give it another try.
“Another try” has given me, so far, five years. At the time of my last gamma knife surgery, Young J was eight and Young A was five. Dr. K could have been wrong, and I might have missed out on all that has happened in their lives since then: all the major milestones in their lives, but all the minutiae too, like buying them new socks. Like their obsession with sushi (we are making it for dinner tonight. Again.). Like hearing their voices imperceptibly, gradually, lowering to the timbre of adulthood.
I know. I have lucked out so far. I know it could be Otherwise. I try not to dwell too much on these milestones because there are so many of them, and they threaten to overwhelm the emotional buffers. But right now, before I set up the table for our sushi-making and before our evening goes the way evenings go in 2020, I’ll see whether I can write a quick note to Nurse Practitioner A., who works with Dr. K (or at least did in 2015), to make sure they know that thanks to the call he made five years ago, I am still here.