The marshmallow in my brain

My acoustic neuroma story.

Cali Bevelander
Apr 21, 2017 · 6 min read

I don’t really share much about myself on social media. I post pictures here and there but making a blog is a first for me. So here goes nothing.. and hopefully I don’t make too many spelling mistakes haha.

I managed to live my whole life with-out ever getting the flu, until December 2015 came around and I was sick in a way I’ve never been before. I actually thought I was going to die, the pain I was feeling was unbearable, the pain was everywhere in my body. I’ve never experienced this before. My mom rushed my half dead self to emergency as soon as I could get myself off of the floor and away from the bucket I had latched onto for the entire night. I was instantly hooked up on IVs and on track to comming back to life haha.. After all of that was done with I finally got to come back home and was excited to be in my own bed. It took me a little bit to recover and while I was recovering I didn’t realize that I had lost one of my senses...
Two weeks later then I was back to my "normal" self. I was driving around in my Acura rsx and it didn’t sound the same, My exhaust is pretty loud, you could probably hear me comming before I even enter the neighbourhood. Anyway I didn’t think anything of it until I was trying to listen to music and figured that my speakers on the left side were completely blown. But I didn’t understand how this could be! I was so good to my car, when did these speakers blow and how didn’t I notice them blow before? It took a few weeks but I finally figured out that this was a problem with my hearing. I started having a lot of pressure and pain in my ear. I booked an appointment with my doctor but in the meantime I tried candeling, eardrops and even put peroxide(I was desperate) in there to try and clean it out. But it was clean as a whistle. My family doctor tried some experiments on me to make sure it was clean. He had a water suction machine he used on me, felt interesting.. but nothing came out, my ears were clean. My doctor referred me to an ENT specialist right away, thinking it might be an inner ear clogging.

Six months later..

Finally it was time for my ENT specialist appointment, at this point my ear had been driving me insane, I wanted to rip my ear off and throw it off a cliff where a bunch of elephants would then trample it a thousand times. The doctor put me through a hearing test and came to the conclusion that yes I have some hearing loss and some negative pressure in my ear but since it took 6 months to get in with her that my hearing damage is probably permanent. I forgot to mention my nostril on the same side of the problem ear was permanently plugged up. (To this day it’s still plugged) I figured the problems were connected to eachother so she put a camera down my nose to check. If you’ve ever experienced that, it is the strangest burning feeling. Anyway she ended the appointment with, "Lets see you in 8 months from now and we will check your hearing again"

Fast forward 8 months and I’m back in her office. I’ve now lived with this annoying ear problem for over a year. All I could hear was my heart beating in that ear. Constantly. For months. It was loud and annoying. And sometimes very painful. So she did another hearing test on me and guess what! My hearing actually improved. She was satisfied. But I wasn’t. What the fuck is going on in my head! This isn’t normal. Clearly there was something wrong. I felt different, and these weird side effects don’t just happen for no reason. I told her I wanted an MRI. That also took a while to get.. it was scheduled for 4 or 5 months later.

January 2017 came along and I went on vacation with my fiancé and my best friend Kaitlyn and her boyfriend Kevin. The trip was unforgettable. Before we arrived in Cuba my fiance mentioned to all of us that we are going to drink so much on this vacation that when we get back we will be having withdrawals. I definitely didn’t believe him, I figured that wouldnt happen and especially not to me. Then we got back from the trip and I was completely fucked. There’s no better way of explaining it. I was fucked up. The world was spinning a thousand miles a minute. I was throwing up constantly and it wasn’t getting better. I thought for sure Ryan(fiancé) was right about this whole alcohol withdrawal situation. Its a real thing, I can’t beleive it, I never thought I would have it but I did!

The day after we arrived home was my MRI for my head.. FINALLY. throughout that long year and a half I ended up going for about 6 MRIs and 3 cat scans and an endless amount ultrasounds, but that’s another story for later. Anyway it was finally time for that MRI that I’ve been dying to have. I still felt incredibly dizzy.. And was still determined it was alcohol withdrawal. I went into the MRI and it took 2 hours, I’d say I’m pretty seasoned with MRIs, I know exactly what to wear so I don’t need to change into their hospital clothes. This MRI was different.. usually an MRI would take about 30 to 40 minutes. This one took 2 hours. 2 horrible hours of not moving a muscle and feeling like my head was slowly flattening into the metal table I was laying on. What was taking so long? I wanted to move so bad. They kept staring at me through the mirror they attached to the caged headpiece that was holding my head still. Then all of a sudden it was done and I was set free.

Two days after the MRI the hearing specialist and her mean receptionist called me and told me it was urgent that I come in right away. So a week later I went, since all of a sudden it’s "urgent" now.
I went to the appointment and that’s when she told me I had a tumor. My mom and I were shocked and sat there mouthing at eachother “did She just say tumor!?!” and yes unfortunately we heard her correctly. She referred me to the top surgeon in Canada for this tumor But by this point my "alcohol withdrawals" feelings have kind of decreased. I left that appointment and littery convinced myself that because I felt so shitty when I went for the MRI that it read my brain wrong and that tumor was actually just a little inflammation.
 Soon after was my consultation in Toronto at Sunnybrook, and was still convinced that I didn’t have a tumor at all... even though I saw it with my own eyes. So upon meeting Dr Chen at Sunnybrook, I asked him if this could all just be a miss understanding cause I felt like shit that one day and maybe threw off the scan. He told me that wouldn’t alter the MRI so it then kinda hit me that I had something growing inside my head. And there was no way of denying it. He told me my 3 options that all equally suck. And they all have shitty outcomes and side effects. I’ve made my decision and I’ve picked what I thought would be best for me.

So that’s a little bit of what I’m dealing with right now everyone. My surgery is about 8 weeks from now. I’m a little scared to be honest, but I’m positive I can handle it. Thanks for taking the time to read my first ever blog post. Just remember everyone has issues, and were all dealing with something. You have one life so make it a happy one. ❤

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Cali Bevelander

Written by

25 year old hairstylist

Cali Bevelander

Written by

25 year old hairstylist

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