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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Rolling With the Punches

Please see the follow-up for this post at:
It’s been a tough year for the Marzecs with too many hospitalizations of family members.

I’ve never watched television soap operas and for the most part, I’ve seldom been intrigued by any television series because I’ve got plenty of drama all around me.

Unfortunately, it’s not simply drama in the theatrical sense, it’s real—it’s painful—it doesn’t go away—and there isn’t always a happy ending. (Which is why I’m hooked on romances—I always get a happy ending no matter how bad things look in the beginning.)

Of all the difficult circumstances this year, the hardest one to take was discovering the tumor in Daughter #2’s head grew back after last year’s surgery to remove it. (You can read about that operation HERE.)

As soon as she found out the tumor had returned, she eliminated anything artificial from her diet and began to eat everything thought to reduce tumors. Yes, the tumor is technically benign, but it’s in a bad place. It presses on the facial nerve, the brain, and has been the cause of the loss of her hearing in her left ear.

This past week, Daughter #2 had her second surgery for the acoustic neuroma.

(Above: Waiting for surgery to begin.)

(Above: The surgeon's mark)

As we did last year, hubby and I stayed at Daughter #2’s Brooklyn apartment and took the subways to NYU Medical Center where the surgery was done. It was a long, delicate procedure and we did not see Daughter #2 in the recovery room until around 8:30 p.m.

Though she was groggy, she was able to speak to us. She was very concerned as to whether her facial muscles worked. The ones on her left side are weak, but minimally—so she may regain her wide smile. She told us to take out the garbage and to tell her landlord she was okay.

Exhausted, we headed back to Brooklyn late that night. However, we stopped to listen to an accordion player at the 14th Street station. Music is magical, no matter what else is going on—music touches the soul in a special way. The elderly accordionist played old folk tunes on his very ancient instrument. It was nice to take a break in all the hectic craziness of the 14th Street station.

By the next morning, Daughter #2 was doing very well. She was eating. Last year, for the first few days after surgery, she spent a lot of time being nauseous.

(Above:The morning after surgery--looking good.)

The doctors claim to have removed 95% of the tumor. They could not get it all because the facial nerve rested on it. So if the tumor grows—as it did last time, the next step is the gamma knife. Daughter #2 had an MRI on the third day, the results of that will give the doctors a baseline to assess any tumor growth.

(Above: The view from Daughter #2's room in intensive care.

Also on the third day, Daughter #2 had all the wires and tubes removed. Though she was still in ICU, her coworkers came to visit, which cheered her immensely.

(Above: Daughter #2 and some of her co-workers.)

(Above: The Impressive Scar)

The next day, the doctors took the bandage off. She has an impressive scar. Discharged from the hospital, she will now recuperate at home.

As for me, I’m just rolling with the punches.


grace graupe-pillard said...

Thanks for the photos and of course your clear and moving narration. Sounds like things were a whole lot better this time around. Hope to see you take a break and paint - which like writing is good for YOU.

Debbi said...

Just wanted to leave you a quick note here - we've been corresponding via twitter, so limited to short blasts. The pictures in the hospital look great - I think she looks wonderful for someone who just had brain surgery! She looks a darned sight better than I did, that's for sure. Her view looks just like mine when I was at NYU, although she probably didn't appreciate all that much - hard to appreciate the beauty around you when you've got the lovely turban wound tightly around your head! :) I am keeping you in my prayers and hoping for a speedy and complete recovery for Daughter # 2.

Penelope Marzec said...


Yes, some ME time is definitely in order. :^)


She was very sick after the first surgery. This time she bounced back very quickly.

Thanks so much for your prayers. We are praying that the tumor does not grow back again!

Irene said...

ouch! That scar looks like it really hurts! All good wishes for your daughter, Penny, and prayers that that bugger tumor stays where it is and doesn't grow back.
Trust me, I know the feeling.

But she's smiling and the facial features are beautiful. Hugs