Lindsey Bianchi interviews her brother, Brendan (pictured left), about the morning going into a brain surgery at the age of sixteen that would change his views on life.
I woke up at 5:30 that morning, since my surgery was in the afternoon and my parents and I had to drive into New York City to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. To be honest, there really weren’t any initial nerves when I woke up. I felt more skeptical about the situation than anxiety. Questions like, “What is there to come,” and “Will this solve it all,” came to mind.
My parents tried to keep the morning as relaxed and normal as possible. Before a major surgery, you aren’t supposed to eat too heavy, so we just stopped at Wawa for a light breakfast to eat in the car ride over. My dad remained relatively quiet during the drive. My mom was saying the typical mom things; “Everything is going to be okay,” and “You’re in good hands,” which I knew I was. I was fortunate enough to be handled by one of the best brain surgeons in the country, Dr. Neil Feldstein. My parents were great supporters in giving me the reassurance that any sixteen year old boy about to undergo a major surgery needed, and I am truly grateful for them.
When I got to the hospital, I almost instantly began being prepped for the surgery. I was given the hospital gown, along with IV injections. The wait in the waiting room was probably the worst. I had to wait for a half hour with my parents, and it was mostly quiet. There wasn’t much to say, and we all had our own thoughts and concerns. The nurses brought out a wheelchair, indicating my final goodbyes. I gave my parents the hug that they probably needed more than I did, and was wheeled off into the room for surgery.
Before the surgery I had done a lot of research on craniotomy, which was the type of brain surgery I was undergoing, and discovered that many people died from it. My final thoughts as I was losing consciousness was, “Wow, this might be the last thing I see.” However, I wasn’t scared as crazy as that sounds. I felt at peace with my life. Maybe it was my lack of knowledge or young age, but I had no reason to be nervous at that point.
Waking up I realized I was alive and that my body was functioning, so it must have gone well. I heard my mom say, “We are here for you,” but being too weak to speak, I only gave a thumbs up. The last of my concern was if I had all of my normal body functions; fingers bending, walking ability, ect.
I am still going through my journey. After the surgery I discovered that I did in fact have brain cancer. Over time, the tumor grew back. It has been four years since the surgery, but I learned something that I am grateful to have learned. I will never take my health for granted. Although I don’t have the perfect health, being in that hospital made me witness a lot. There are children out there that can’t start their lives due to terminal illness. I learned to appreciate the life I have, and to never take anything for granted.
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