Chapter 5


After I moved out on my own, with my Husband to be, I decided to do something that would prove I was grown up, a benevolent act. Maturely I lied about my age and donated blood. This was an act that would affect my view of receiving blood transfusions for the rest of my life. It took me about 3 or 4 hours to recover sufficiently to go home. I remember that for the rest of that day all I could see was grey fuzz, like a bad TV connection affecting everything I looked at; I had only partial vision at best. My Fiancé nearly had to carry me to the car. It took three days to recover sufficiently to carry on normally. It was less than a month after all of this in the early fall of 1977 that I started having headaches. At first they were annoying. I began taking more and more aspirin as they became more and more severe. Not that they slowed me down, no; I just reluctantly fit them into my schedule. Finally after about a month with me learning weekly a new definition of what a severe headache was, I decided to see my family physician.

Unfortunately my own family doctor was away at this time or perhaps things would have run a little quicker. Doctor’s appointment, after doctor’s appointment, weeks turning into what seemed like months under the guise of agony and nothing seemed to be making a difference. The pain in my head, as well as my throat by now, continued to escalate. Try this medication; try that medication, it seemed at times that they were more baffled than I was. Finally, after about two months of weekly, turning into daily visits, my family physician, who had returned by now, looked at all of the different doctors reports and concluded that I should see a psychiatrist, (quite a let down when you expect/want an instant cure). The reason given was that due to the stress in my life there was a good chance that the headaches were psychosomatic, there may have been an original cause, and now they were just there, sort of hanging on, from tension.

Of course I was furious, to think, that stress could cause headaches! Who did they think they were? The headache got worse just thinking about it! I was sure that they were barking up the wrong tree. Psychiatrist was like a dirty word to me, there was no instant cure there. I felt misunderstood, miserable, and the headaches continued to get worse by the day.

I remember the event that totally convinced me there was more to my problem than a so-called psychiatrist could handle. I woke up in the middle of the night with spiders crawling up from the floor towards me, all over the bed! No account of previous nightmares could have gotten me ready for this unending horror. You may imagine how fast I moved! Zoom down to the end of the bed, my head covered by the sheet. After some time, as I became more awake, I rationalised that they couldn’t be real, so I took a peak. They were still there, crawling up, all over the sheets, onto my arms, everywhere! Not normal spiders, no, they had to be huge, hairy, see-through spiders. I knew I was hallucinating. I knew I was awake, and yet I couldn’t make them go away. On second thought maybe I did need a psychiatrist. For what seemed like hours, I was terrified. I would give them a swipe back onto the floor and they would keep crawling back up. They never sped up, just slowly and continually kept coming. Finally I was able to will them to the floor as I fell into an exhausted sleep. The next day I became even more desperate to know what was going on, there was no way that this was normal.

I was in the doctor’s office before he was, the next morning. Tired of seeing my face I am sure, I explained about the hallucination the night before. I nearly begged him to find something wrong, anything, just something I could fight. Back in his office, for one more check, where almost by accident, he gagged me while doing a routine, routine by now, inspection of my sore throat. He was shocked at what he saw. I had already had my adenoids taken out three times in my past so it wasn’t to be expected that any thing would be growing in that area, and yet, a huge black lump dropped down from the cavity in my nasal pharynx. It seemed that everything moved quickly from that point, calls were made, and somehow I was on the top of the surgery list for the day. I felt somewhat better afterwards, going on with my usual routine, no more hallucinations, not even a bad dream. This was just the calm before the storm; I was really at ground Zero minus two weeks and counting. Two weeks till the biopsy came back that is. (As it was explained to me the spider hallucination was due to a lack of oxygen, to the brain, the lump, the size of a large orange, had all but sealed off my air passage while I was lying down, due to its largeness and location).