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The Headache The brain, the masterpiece of creation, is almost unknown to us” — Nicholas Steno, 1669. Ancient medical practitioners had conflicting views on the significance of the brain. Aristotle considered the brain to be a secondary organ that served as a cooling agent for the heart. Anatomist provide a general description of this convoluted toolbox. Basic structures such as pons and medulla regulate our life. Now, what happens when these primitive systems slow down? When abnormal and excessive cells are produced? What happens when the regulation and control of brain cells is lost in a single cell? As the cell makes more and more copies of itself, it grows to form a tumor. This is known as brain cancer.
As I write this, a dull headache passes into the space above my right eye. The same headache visited me yesterday and the day before that. In fact, for the previous eight months, my headaches took over my life. On favorable days, the pain was just a mild throbbing sensation. Although,most often there was a sense of an ever-tightening pressure. There were also those unforgettable days when it felt like screws were being fastened into the hemispheres of my head and a pounding hammer upon my right eye. The way I classify this sentiment is the headache, a familiar electric current behind my retina. I’ve always gotten more headaches than the average person. Drugs and prescribed medication is what I relied on. I started to get them everyday, and they were more painful than usual. It was as if sharp objects were cutting through the centre of my brain leaving everlasting concealed scars. It’s an intense pain where your brain is trying to forcefully come out of your skull while the constant pressure throbs with each heartbeat.
Most of all, when people don’t understand the effects. “You just have a headache”, they say without hesitation. “No, it’s much more than that”. A couple months later, I underwent multiple brain scans such as MRI, CT and EEG. The most horrifying being the electroencephalogram. Just my luck having an unsympathetic nurse technician who treated me very poorly. The procedure lasted for about 40 minutes which consisted of small metal discs with thin wires placed on my scalp. The outcome of these scans revealed the presence of hemorrhagic colloid cysts. According to World Health Organization, nine out of ten people diagnosed with brain tumor will die. Unfortunately, I am apart of that fraction. The most meaningful individual in my life is the one that survived. Following two years of surgeries, endless radiation and chemotherapy sessions has saved my mother from this terrible fungus. The only one who continues to inspire me with patience, perseverance and strength.
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