The Brain Surgery Experience

Why This Is Here

[UPDATE: First, yes, I’m still here and I will answer any notes I get. Second, not mentioned in the original story is that I had one seizure, 18 months after my surgery. My advice: don’t drink a beer and immediately go to bed if you’ve ever had brain trauma, like surgery. All three, sleep, alcohol and brain surgery, lower your threshold for a seizure. Keep ’em separated!]

Some people call it "brain surgery." I prefer to think of it as an attitude adjustment. Keep on keepin' on.

Some people call it “brain surgery.” I prefer to think of it as an attitude adjustment. Keep on keepin’ on.

I decided to put this site together mostly for the fun of doing it. That said I also wanted to do it because when I found out I would need brain surgery I wanted to read about the overall patient experience and I couldn’t find anything similar to my situation. I decided long before the actual surgery that I wanted to document as much of it as I could. Originally, I wanted to post to a web log as the events took place, but for a variety of reasons that wasn’t as practical as I would’ve hoped. I figured I would write down anything and everything that I could remember. As a result this site is fabulously long-winded and self-indulgent.

Another reason I wanted to put this site together is because in addition to having a relatively rare collection of brain tumors (two) I also had the rare luxury of videos and image stills of my own brain. My doctors decided to document much of the actual surgery because, if I remember correctly, they could find only one similar case previously documented.

I’m hopeful that some people will find at least some parts of this site interesting and relevant. If you’re bald, in need of brain surgery for a dermoid cyst, a colloid cyst, some other benign tumor then odds are you will. Seriously though, I hope this site will be able to give some people in similar situations a better idea of what to expect. There are so many different reasons for brain surgery that it’s almost impossible to make generalizations. Some people have cancer, or tumors in different parts of the brain and even the treatments for similar situations can be very different. Please remember when you’re reading through this site that this is just my account of my specific situation.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me. I hope you find my story helpful in some way. I recommend that people also visit the very active Brain Talk community. This is especially true if you are interested in conditions unlike mine. I wish I had discovered Brain Talk before my surgery.

Good luck in your search for answers and I wish you the best in whatever challenges you may be confronting.

10 Comments on “Why This Is Here”

  1. 1 Phil Neuner said at 10:28 am on April 17th, 2012:

    First off I am glad to see you came through that operation. A couple of questions. How deep in the brain was that dermoid? Did it have hair and tooth like enamel,or just the solid mass? were the Doctors who preformed the surgery optimistic, or did they give a percent of success? Do you have any idea how long you had the tumor. I lost a very good friend of mine about twenty years ago due to brain tumor. Maybe if he was alive today they might have helped him. I hope I did not bombard you with to many questions. Last one! Was there a time you were worried about the success of the removal? Did Spirituality play any role. Thank You for your time. Your story and video should set a standard for anyone facing this type of operation.

  2. 2 Tracy Sigler said at 10:55 am on April 17th, 2012:

    Hey Phil,

    There was hair in the related cyst outside my brain, but not in the dermoid cyst in the brain as I recall. It was mostly a fatty waxy mass. Both the dermoid and colloid cysts were congenital, so I had them my whole life. My doctors always appeared totally confident the operation would go smoothly. It did. As I mention in the long story here, the more I found out about my situation, the more sanguine I became about the whole thing, including surgery. Or course, I was nervous the morning of the surgery. Spirituality did not really play a role.

    Thanks for your note.

  3. 3 amy carpenter said at 8:39 am on July 16th, 2012:

    It was a pleasure reading your blog. My husband recently had brain surgery(june 21st). He had also a brain tumor, left side. It was an epidermoid cyst, almost the size of a clementine orange. He had been haivng seizures they figure his entire life and we never connected the dots until he was in a car accident and had no recollection of what happened so the neuro sent him in for MRI, low and behold they found a tumor. They said it was a birth defect. They successfully removed the tumor and he also had a left temporal resection to stop the seizures. 52 staples later….he came home 3 days after surgery.
    It’s nice to find someone who can share his experience.

  4. 4 Tracy Sigler said at 1:36 pm on July 16th, 2012:

    Hey Amy, Sounds like he is doing well. Glad to hear it. Thanks for your note! Tracy

  5. 5 angela said at 3:18 am on October 30th, 2015:

    hello there,
    I would like to know more about epidermoid benign tumour surgery . I have been very apprehensive about it. Does the surgery has any side effects ?
    Thank you very much for the cooperation.

  6. 6 tracysigler said at 7:34 am on November 2nd, 2015:

    Hey Angela, I wrote a lot about that in this collection of posts. Check out the later pages for more details. If this is something you are personally dealing with definitely make sure to ask your doctor about potential side effects for your situation. My surgery went smoothly and I’m still doing great almost 12 years later. T

  7. 7 angela said at 7:16 am on November 6th, 2015:

    Thank u very much for your advice.

  8. 8 angela said at 10:13 am on November 6th, 2015:

    and Best wishes ! :).
    God Bless you and family ….

  9. 9 Heidi said at 9:51 pm on December 21st, 2015:

    I just found this website. I had a dermoid cyst removed from my brain in August of 2015. I so wish I had found your site back then. I relate so much to your experience. I’ve long sought out some one to talk to who would remotely understand what is going on with me every day. I still have horrible headaches. I am working with a neurologist. But I am trying to be back at work again and some days the headaches are too strong. I don’t feel like anyone gets it. When will the be feel good for more then a day or two?
    Thank you again for your website.

  10. 10 tracysigler said at 8:16 am on January 20th, 2016:

    Hey Heidi,

    Sorry I missed your comment earlier. I wish I had the answer to your question, and I’m sorry to hear you’re having headaches. Everyone has a different situation. I’m hopeful the neurologist can help. In the meantime make sure you’re doing whatever you can be healthy in general.


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