Posted January 5, 2018 at 5:15 pm

So I'm alive and it appears that I'll be staying that way for a long while. Here are the details of how that went down...


On Saturday December 23rd, I was sitting at my desk, drawing stuff. I'd had a pretty bad headache for most of that day, but I get a lot of headaches, so I didn't think much about it. Suddenly, I got super dizzy and nauseous and my headache kicked into a high gear that was new to me. My right eye crossed and gave me double vision. I kept rubbing the eye to try to correct it, but it stayed crossed until it corrected itself a few minutes later. During that time, I sort of... fainted I guess? I remember going limp in my chair, unable to move, but my eyes were kinda open and I was aware. Once that all passed, I was feeling really sick and under a lot of pain, so I laid down for about 45 minutes before getting up again. This was the start of a migraine unlike anything I'd ever felt, that would continue for the next 2 weeks.


With the pain continuing the next day, Danielle drove me to the hospital where they gave me an I.V. drip of Maxeran. We went home, with my headache slightly lessened. The morning after that, we returned to the hospital where they gave me a CT Scan and sat me in a chair, explaining that it'll take them about an hour to get the results looked at by a Neurologist who was in Vancouer (I live in a tiny town that is a ferry trip and a couple hours drive away from the bigger cities). The nurse explained that the Neurologist handles scan reports in order of severity, not in the order they arrive, so it may be longer than an hour.


After about 10 minutes of waiting, a nurse arrived with a wheelchair for me and started wheeling me into a private room filled with a lot of expensive looking, high-tech equipment. As we were entering the room I asked if anything was found on my CT scan.

"Well, we found some bleeding in your brain so we need to decide how to proceed."

"You mean like... aneurysm type stuff?"


 Now, I don't know a ton about brain aneurysms, but I know they commonly kill those who get them. Y'know what, here's Sterling Archer to explain better than I could...


They quickly decided to have me immediately helicoptered to Vancouver General Hospital, where there would be much more powerful scanners that would be able to pick up more info on my condition. During all of this, Danielle had yet to shed a single tear. As soon as I was wheeled around a corner on a stretcher (Danielle couldn't come with us on the helicopter), I asked someone to go back and help her. I knew that she was holding it in, to stop from freaking me out and the second they wheeled me away, she was going to break down. It was one of the helicopter pilots who darted back and hugged her. That man's name was Graham. Graham was amazing.


After being injected with some kind of radio active dye and being put through a CT Scan with VGH's much bigger machine, they discovered that what had happened, was a subarachnoid hemorrhage. A doctor said that I was very lucky to still have an active mind without any confusion as to who I was or what was going on.


After a few days of close observation with the nurses taking bloodwork and asking me every 1 to 4 hours if I knew my name, the date, asking me to identify objects in the room, etc (by the way, one morning when the nurse asked me if I knew my name, I said in a very serious tone, "I'm Batman". I couldn't resist.) Anyways, they wanted to do an angiogram just to make absolute certain that they knew everything about the hemmorage. This is where they put some kinda camera thingy into an artery at your groin and snake it up through your body and into your brain looking super duper closely at how it's doing. I remember the doctor casually telling me that there was a small chance that I could have a stroke during this process. I know, right? I was pretty damn scared.


Okay, so here's where it got really weird.


While looking for more info on my subarachnoid hemorrhage, they stumbled upon something else. Something unrelated to the hemmorage. They'd found a dural fistula. From what I understand, I think this is where an artery in the brain is growing into an outer layer and becomes a ticking timebomb that will burst at any moment. It's fatal and from what I've been told, can only be discovered with one of these scary angiogram operations.


From here on out I was no longer talking to one Neurologist. From that point on it was always a team of 4 or 5 of them at once. I was very seriously explained that given the severity of the fistula, I had a 10% to 15% chance of dying per year. If I hadn't had that extremely rare hemmorage that amazingly, didn't kill me or do any damage to my brain, no one would have discovered the fistula. I would have suddenly just dropped dead within the next handful of years. As a friend put it, I'm clearly made of natural 20s.


So I was scheduled for some serious brain surgery to fix the dural fistula. Surgery that, again, could give me a stroke on the operating table. But all went well and after 13 days in the hospital, most of it feeling the worst pain I've ever felt in my life (I admit to crying noises that I didn't know I could make), I was starting to improve and I was finally discharged.


Danielle stayed by my side the entire time. I slept about an hour each night, never more than 10 minutes at a time. She slepted only slightly more than I did, focusing 100% of her attention on me. Between the two of us, her experience was the worse one. I'd rather be the one going through it, than have to watch her go through it and I know she feels the same way.


When we finally got home last night, I could barely stand with a cane. But we put on a good, slow Ed Sheeran song and quietly slow danced together, sobbing. We'd made it. With all of the possible outcomes of this, this was the best one and it had happened.


There was awhile there in the hospital that Danielle and I had both accepted that I wouldn't be surviving this, as everything at the time suggested there wasn't much of a chance of any other outcome. In the middle of the night, I carefully went through a few future scenes from Goblins that she didn't have all of the details on. We both kept breaking down in tears as I spoke. She recorded what I was saying, with her phone. Luckily, she won't need those recordings, though we decided to keep them anyways.


So there it is. My story of how I was dunked in concentrated luck. More than I deserved. Thank you so much for all of the kinds words of support. Currently, I'm still in quite a bit of pain and I'm not up to drawing just yet. But I promise that the moment I'm able, comic updates will return. And since you amazing people funded the Goblins: Animated mega trailer, I'll not have to focus on that campaign along with drawing the pages. We'll see what that does to update frequency.


If you missed out on the Indiegogo campaign, you can still grab yourself some loot if you like. And again, thank you!


For everything. -Tarol

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