Bumps, Divots, and The Wasting

We paid a visit to the most excellent Dr. Dodd today for my 6 month post-surgery check up. It’s really been 7 months, but it served the same purpose.

He agrees that my MRI looked great. As if hearing it from the neuro-oncologist wasn’t enough, it’s nice to know that 2 brilliant brain specialists agree. It was a pretty unremarkable visit since I’m doing so well at the moment and my primary care is oncology related, but it’s nice to see the man who saved my life and my brain function and tell him ‘Thank You’ once again. With any luck, I won’t ever have to see him (or any other neuro-surgeon) again.

We discussed the bumps and divots along my scar and the ‘dent’ in my left temple. These things don’t really concern me, I’m just curious to know what’s going on. They’ve become more obvious in recent months – perhaps as I’ve lost more weight. It’s funny that the first assumption made by the resident was that I was worried about how I looked and she immediately started offering cosmetic surgery options. I’m not entirely unconscious of my looks, but these things are SO minor compared to what some people go through after brain surgery. I’m proud of my brain battle scars and have hair that covers it all up if needed. But I was seriously just curious to know what was going on under my skin.

The bumps are caused by the titanium plates they screwed into my skull to cover the initial holes they drilled to get the saw in to cut a piece of my skull out to get to my brain and tumor (grammar police, I ask for a pass on that one please). Those plates look like throwing stars and apparently may be purple or pink. They do NOT give me super powers or set off metal detectors. The resident didn’t know why they come in pretty colors since no one can see them when it’s all said and done. My guess is that they help to make it easy for surgeons/nurses to identify different sized plates in the operating room.

The divots are caused by the gaps in my skull that remain after they replace that piece they removed. These are fairly small gaps so before you ask (you know who you are) NO, I do NOT have new Fontanelles.

The dent was identified as ‘the wasting.’ Now, I don’t know about you, but that conjures up an image of the effects of extreme illness on a body. I’ve lost a fair amount of weight, but I don’t think anyone would say I look like I’m wasting away. BUT, anyway, the dent is caused because the facial muscles that connect my skull to my jaw had to be cut during surgery. They reconnect it all as best they can, but some of those muscles essentially atrophy – i.e. waste away. Some patients have more ‘wasting’ than others. Apparently there are no exercises to rebuild these muscles – once lost, they shall never be returned to their former Arnold Schwarzenegger-like appearance. So, my hairstyle has to suffice to provide any necessary camouflage if desired.

So now you know.

Here are some flattering pictures that will perhaps make this post more interesting.

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This is me making a duck face for the camera before I had my stitches taken out. The ‘wasting’ isn’t showing yet because I’m still swollen from surgery.  

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You can see the ‘wasting’ in this photo…and perhaps even how little I actually care about it.

9 thoughts on “Bumps, Divots, and The Wasting

  1. You look prettier than ever! The “battle scars” are just fine…. Glad things are going so well and sending positive energy that this continues forever….

  2. WHOA.

    First – HURRAY for brilliant brain specialists! 🙂 WHOO HOO! What a great post to read on braintumorthursday! (Are you on Twitter? If so, you should copy this there!)

    Second – I too have a divot in a few places in my head. I don’t like to feel them. But no one ever mentioned cosmetic surgery. I think it’s because mine are smaller in nature?

    Third? – How many stitches did you have? Where was your tumor located? YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR. Literally. The pic with your stitches FLOORED ME.

    • 1. I AM on Twitter – but still a novice. All of my posts auto-tweet (is that a thing?)
      2. I don’t mind the little divots and bumps – or really the ‘wasting’, but it was the ‘wasting that makes my left temple look a little caved in that the plastic surgery was all about. Putting an extra plate in my head for the fun of it…no thanks.
      3. I think there were 42 or 43 – my daughter counted. Tumor was in my frontal lobe.
      Hope you’re feeling better!

      • WHEW. You are a rockstar. Really and truly. I think I had 15 stitches or so (back of my head, cerebellum). Man, you are INCREDIBLE. Really and truly!

        Yep, I think auto tweet means your posts automatically go to twitter, but if you care/want/are interested, you can tag your posts (when that box comes up?) to use #btsm and/or #braintumorthursday (on Thursdays) or really any other hashtag that you wish to reach a bigger audience. I’m just a huge proponent of both and actually if you’re interested there is a #btsm tweet chat on Sundays – 7P/10 EST. Would you care to join us sometime? This Sunday maybe? 🙂

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  4. Thank you for your story. My tumor has been gone for two yrs now. My was also frontal lobe on the left side. Still have scalp tenderness and also divits as well. Had three surgery so multiple scars. Tha k you for sharing your story.

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