Brain Surgery Memoirs Part 4

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A selfie I took 3 days after surgery

Part 4 – Closer to Fine

“Wait a second, that can’t be right….”

Those were pretty much my thoughts when I examined my body a few months after giving birth to my first child. Although I was back to my pre-baby weight, my body was not the same, and I was not happy about it. I knew my life was going to be changed after having children, but I didn’t really contemplate all the physical and personal alternations that would also be included.

Surprise.

Recovering from brain surgery for me was no different. There were the things I knew that would change about me, along with other changes which I had not previously considered.

Surprise.

I knew I would lose hearing, and balance on my left side. I knew recovery would take several months. I knew that my body would be s-l-o-w at a lot of things, and that I would have to be patient as my body tried to relearn some skills.

I did not know my left side tears would not come back. I did not know my face would stay partially frozen. I did not know about the shooting face pain that would never really go away.  (It is kind of like tooth pain in your face.) I didn’t know that resting would become part of my daily routine. I didn’t know about the fear that would come anytime I had a new ache or pain with no specific origin. I didn’t know how my recovery would also include mental heath challenges that I had not encountered before. Basically I didn’t know squat.

But I am fine. I went back to work. I use/d an eye cream or drops every day.  I took/take medication, and try to keep in good health.  It is all good, but I know I am not the same, and there is no going back.

My husband says you can never look at a car the same once it has left you stranded on the highway. That is how I feel about my body. I don’t trust it anymore.

But it is not all bad. I feel pretty grateful actually for what I do have, and most days I am just happy to be alive.

Some of the unexpected changes were positive.  I have experienced pain and loss. I’ve lost something precious to me, and it is never coming back. At least, not in this life anyway.

I have noticed that unrecoverable loss is a common trait found in most of life’s tragedies.  So even if I don’t understand other people’s difficulties in specifics, I do know something about personal loss and pain. This allows me to at least try to empathize. As REM would say, Everybody Hurts.

As far as brain surgery,  I have taken the

“your are never the same once the air hits your brain”

to heart when considering more surgery. Yes, this will not be a one-time show for me, but an ongoing part of my mortal, maintenance schedule. My price for being alive as they say.

This experience has taught me to be weary of any doctor who pushes surgery since unanticipated side-effects are par for the coarse in brain surgery, and these side-effects are usually irreversible. When you are an interesting case, like me, you generate a lot of medical curiosity. Surgeons are just like anyone else, and their jobs get boring sometimes. They long for something different and interesting— even if it would require them to punch above their weight. You see my brain is pretty unique (no surprise there) so I have a lot of medical admirers.  Lucky me.

My road to recovery did have one unexpected medical experience you might find interesting. When my tears didn’t come back I went to see an eye specialist. He recommended we close my tear duct to help keep the artificial moisture in my eye.  This sounded like a good idea at the time.

What you need to know is that they burn your tear duct shut to accomplish this task, and you are awake the whole time.

So we have just been talking about this great treatment for my eye and then the doctor proceeds to put me in those chin/head things and secures it tightly so I can’t move my head. Then while I’m stuck in this thing he tells me we are going to seal my tear duct right now!  He then proceeds to come at my eye with a long, hot poker, and says, ” now hold still”.

So the fix was great. I am fine, but that experience was up there with brain surgery for the most unsettling experiences of my life! He stuck a hot, pointed object in my eye!! I would just like to say that there is a reason that stick a ‘needle in your eye,’ and ‘hope to die’ are considered comparable undesirable events!  My husband tells me that I should have run for it, but I was cornered. Apparently, they have had runaways before so they already had a mitigating strategy.

So it’s been 18 months since surgery, and I am doing fine. As with any difficult experience it was not without much help and support that my successful recovery was accomplished. Thank you! Thank you)! You know who you are 🙂

Overall, I am pleased with my recovery, and life carries on.

Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.  – Helen Keller

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7 thoughts on “Brain Surgery Memoirs Part 4

  1. Ugh, hot poker in the eye, I would have fainted. I read in one of your posts that you are from Toronto. So am I, north of the GTA. I’m headed to a support group tonight in Mississauga. I know it’s last minute but just in case, check it out sometime. Let me know if you need more info, or you can Google it. It’s through the Brain Tumour Foundation. Every 3rd Monday in the month at 7pm at 4094 Tomken road, it’s a room they rent at a church. Thanks for blogging, I’m so intrigued by your experience.

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  2. Hi, I just read all of your brain tumour posts, thank you for sharing. I am happy to hear that you are recovering well. I had a brain tumour removed 3 weeks ago and I am feeling pretty lucky that I am almost back to a regular routine. All the best. Sarah

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