Monday, August 10, 2009

Eleven Months Later...

Life is good. Life is compromised in some ways, and glorious in others. Reading information recently sent my way by Google’s meningioma alert, I once again realized how fortunate I am not to have: died, been brain damaged, had seizures, had multiple craniotomies, lost use of one or more of my senses, gotten divorced, been significantly disabled by the tumor/surgery or any combination.

Instead, I had a fast experience: diagnosed on a Thursday, surgery the next Wednesday, home on Saturday. It was relatively problem-free. Yes, my right arm/shoulder still have “issues.” Yet they function well enough to do most of what I want and need to do, with some adaptations. Yes, my stamina is not great and, yes, my cognitive functions are compromised in some areas, most especially reading. At the same time, we celebrate neuroplasticity and are doing all we can to stimulate and grow new neural pathways. My skull is bumpy and scalp still weird-feeling. Balance is not always smooth, natural or steady. Some forms of insurance, like life and disability, aren’t available to me any more. Hormones rage.

That’s a really nice way of saying that I’m sitting here with a fan blowing directly on me and I’m still sweating in our air-conditioned house. Surgery seems to have stimulated a re-run of menopause, which until now was too unpleasant and aversive to mention here. Let me suggest that once is more than enough for any person (or couple) and this only reinforces my conviction, formed at earlier stages of life, that God is not a woman. Not possible. This design is stupid and poorly executed, too. If you buy me a drink, I’ll expand at some length on these thoughts. If you buy me two drinks, I'll keep my philosophising to myself.

Way counterbalancing all of that, not necessarily in priority order, throughout my experience, I had hair, family and friends, health insurance, flexibility in my job, sick leave, loving and caring friends, ditto family, and few complications.

Still, it’s a struggle to integrate the whole experience. Who gets a brain tumor, anyway? Especially one the size of a baseball that had to have been growing for years if not decades? What does it all mean? Beats me.

Here’s what I do know: it’s the people who matter in this life, and we know some of the best. A sense of humor goes a long way. You cannot find the high spots unless you are looking for them. It’s better than the available alternatives.

So, exactly eleven months since surgery, we are toasting, and giving a standing ovation to, all of you out there who have ridden this conveyer belt with us, reading, supporting, coaching, advising, crying, laughing. Our love to all of you.

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