Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cracking the Coconut

Remarkable times we live in, eh? Very infrequently in this on-demand, instant streaming, real-time world must we resort to deferred gratification, which is why I felt so compelled to compile this assortment of images after receiving a copy of my ER Catscan of a few weeks ago. When I made my request from the radiology library, they reminded me I also had a scan on file from November 2010, and I realized my brain scan trading card collection was incomplete and just had to order it. I had scans from prior my surgeries, scans following my aneurysmectomy and cranioplasty, but nothing from between the time of my craniectomy and the subsequent artificial "bone flap" replacement. Given how much the jellyfish has affected my life, I've paid relatively little attention to its tank, even though (seizure aside) my healing skull is probably the thing I'm most conscious of above my neck. I continue to have mild headaches (which I'm told are normal), as well as an awareness of clicking sounds at times, especially when I wiggle my ears. That too is a relatively normal part of the healing process as the tectonic plates of my cranium fuse. That process is made slightly more difficult by the fact that bone is mending with plastic. Mostly for my own curiosity and at times disgust, I've assembled the following images, which offer a timeline of the ins and outs of my head. I've added captions for the blog itself, but they probably won't come across if you receive an e-mail of this entry. Remember, left and right are reversed in the scans:
My first CT, from 7/9/10. My skull is intact, and my brain is relatively "unremarkable" (so said the report), aside from the giant aneurysm lurking outside the reach of this particular scan section.
11/24/10, post surgery. You can see the glint of clips holding the arteries and a fairly significant missing piece of noggin. This scan actually provided the measurements used to fabricate my artificial piece of cranium.

10/31/10. By far the most disturbing picture I found. At first, I honestly thought someone had PhotoShopped it with a warping tool. And to think people didn't run away screaming.
Early November 2010. A complete tonic to the previous picture and a reminder of the beautifully-decorated helmet I had to wear whenever out of bed (Did I mention I was missing part of my skull?)

8/7/12. The shine is still the arterial clips. My skull's a bit rounder, but you can see (on, the left, which is the right) that it's not perfectly healed.
cool scars.
8/28/12. None of these are of my good side, if I even have one,but it's settling in.

 I hope you enjoyed this trip down Memory Lane by way of Cerebral Cortex Junction. Putting this together actually gave me the first chance to share some of my scans with the kids. Of course, Gus now keeps asking to see my brain. I've assured him there's only one person I trust to do that.


  1. You've come a long way, for which we are all grateful. In regards to the boys, it amazed me what a great job you and Jamie have done in handling this with such grace that it's had as minimal impact on them as possible. I'd like to think that I could do as well, but I have my doubts. Looking forward to seeing you all...maybe at Ed & Amy's this weekend? Love you guys.

  2. Thoughtful blog thanks for sharing.