When they told me it would take one to two years to recover fully from brain surgery, what did I think it meant? Not this, though I’m not sure I ever really thought about it in any detail or with any care, and certainly no one ever provided any details beyond “your scalp is the last thing to heal” and something vague about energy levels. I could have used more information. Of course, no one ever told me that it’s fairly common to have endocrine side effects either, nor looked for it until a physician friend referred me to Dr. Thoughtful and he figured it all out.
Since I’ve come to understand that I don’t have and never have had an inner shirker, the fact that I’m low on energy and ambition these days seems likely to be some physical symptom and I’m working to accept and live with that gracefully. I like my work, I have projects I’m interested in, I just run out of steam every now and then, mostly on the weekends and evenings. That’s new for me, and today I’ve reset again, deciding that it’s not that I’m lazy or broken, but that I’m paying attention to my body’s signals and giving it the rest it needs. I’m not giving in to weakness, I’m working on health and strength. Doesn’t it sound better that way? It is helping me get through the current experience of having an alien occupation of my personality, and that’s what I need right now.
I must say that once it was clear that I wasn’t brain damaged from the surgery (beyond the removal of the tumor and whatever happened to my arm and shoulder), I figured it would all be relatively smooth sailing. I’m not sure if that was naive or ignorant or hubris or some combination of all three. Whatever. It is what it is, and working on a fundamental reframing of my attitude has been my work of the last few days. The main difficulty I keep encountering is that my symptoms are subjective all except for the measurable low cortisol levels. It’s entirely subjective that I don’t feel that I think crisply or as well as I used to, that my energy levels are low for me, that I get lightheaded and lose my balance (well, I suppose falling down could be seen as objective, except I’m getting better at guarding against that), that I cannot read fiction or the comics, etc. Still, if you posit the no-inner-shirker hypothesis, something is different about me and so the reframing becomes necessary as a positive way to approach this strange almost-me-experience.
With this reframing, again, I rested over the weekend and am looking forward to a quiet week of family, friends and writing. Cheers.