: One of the strangest side effects of brain surgery has been having a numb scalp. An itchy numb scalp. When they shave your hair off and cut into your scalp to get to your skull, nerves are severed. Muscles in your scalp are severed. Where that incision is made will change which muscles are cut, obviously. With a frontal lobe tumor, it required a 6 inch incision just
behind my hairline. As a result, some muscles that I use to chew were impacted. This didn’t mean I couldn’t
chew, but it felt like I’d also had some serious dental work done. Aside from the jaw pain, the rest of my scalp was numb…but itchy. How does something that you can’t really feel itch so badly? I have no idea. Now, 5 months later, most of the feeling in my scalp is returning. While it’s improved, I still have some pain in my jaw. These are minor side effects of my experience and almost not worth mentioning — except that they’re noticeable to me every day. As an aside, having a numb scalp can also be a side effect of Multiple Sclerosis which is another perplexing and unpredictable disease that needs research funding. You can learn more and help support a good friend of ours who’s also experiencing a numb skull – just click here
The Scar: As I mentioned, my scar is about 6 inches from just above my left ear to the top of my head – right behind my hairline. They shaved just enough hair off and when it all grows back, you should barely be able to see that scar. I had sutures, some people get staples. I think the surgeon chose sutures because they cause less scarring and because he’s kind and didn’t want me to have a scar that would terrify my children and their friends. Maybe not, but I like to think that’s the case.
After a craniotomy, you also get strange bumps around the site where they’ve removed and replaced your skull after noodling around in your brain. These are generally small and unremarkable and will be hidden under my hair (assuming it does all grow back), but I have one bump that will never be covered by my hair. People probably won’t even notice it unless I point it out to someone…at which point it will become enormous in their minds and they won’t be able to stop staring at it, ever. I also have a ‘line’ right above my left temple. Essentially, the shape of my face has changed a little and my skull has a ridge or my temple has become a little more concave, like I’ve had part of my brain removed or something. I’ve lost weight through this process, and I think it’s made that change in my bone structure become more pronounced. It’s like having well-defined cheek bones only it’s higher (as in nowhere near my cheekbone) and only on one side and it doesn’t make me more likely to become a super model. I’ve just started to brave the world outside without hiding under a hat – my daughter reminds me to not tuck my hair behind my ear or wear my sunglasses on top of my head because it pulls my hair back. She tells me it looks ‘freaky.’ I tell her it’s a battle wound that I should wear proudly, just like my belly button (which was totally changed by my pregnancy with her). It means I’m a survivor.