It's My Birthday, and I'll Cry If I Want To


We traveled down to Rochester, entering those carefully planned buildings, beauty even from 12 stories up, the geometric curves of the architecture breathing life into a scary place. No one ever goes to Mayo to get good news. It is two days before my 33rd birthday, and I am nervous, palpably anxious, as they screw my head into a vise (they have named it a "coil" which sounds slightly less terrifying).


My eyes dart furtively from inside the cage that is clamped down less than an inch from my nose, and I ask, "How do I get out of this thing?" "You don't", they reply, and decide to strap my arms and legs down down, too, to prevent me from going all kinds of crazy and prying myself free from the giant tube into which they are planning on loading my body. I push against the restraints, just to see if I'll be able to get out, and it's worthless. And so I start practicing my breathing techniques instead. You know, the ones you use to get through childbirth.

The next day, leap day. My one extra day every four years to be the age I am. I got to be 32 for one extra day this year. I had an appointment with my regular physician to talk pain control, figure out how we're going to navigate these next few weeks of nerve pain brought on by the injection I received into my ear drum on the 13th. I wasn't expecting to get the results of the MRI until March 1, my birthday. It did seem like some cruel joke, to find out whether or not you had a tumor on your birthday.

Well, apparently God thought that was cruel, too. Because, after a few phone calls to the right people, my regular doctor was able to procure the results of the MRI. And they were {drum roll please!!} NORMAL! I do not have cancer in my brain!

Nevertheless, the pain continues, and this morning was bad enough I went back to the emergency room for more tests and drugs. The tests revealed nothing (I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing at this point) and the drugs helped. I had the joy of spending an hour with a very dear friend in the ER while my mom graciously tended the children (again).

And so I start my 33rd year taking narcotics around the clock and somewhat resembling a pincushion.


The diagnosis, for now, is trigeminal and facial nerve neuropathy. I am praying that I just wake up one morning and it has just disappeared.