Let me start out by saying what I always say, "that I am forever GRATEFUL!" I repeat, I am eternally gratefully that I survived a brain tumor. That is no easy task. As many of my readers know, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor (*meningioma) in November 2013. I was fortunate to have been blessed with a benign diagnosis. Nonetheless, life changed. Not many people can see it because, my scar healed and my hair grew back, but it is the little things, one must live with that change you.
Everyone expects you to go on as life was before, but that becomes difficult when little by little you realize, you do not remember things so well anymore. It is not the normal "oh I forgot where I put my keys this morning." It is the "Oh, I forgot to pick up my child at the bus stop today" kind of things, or not remembering if I showered or ate or having to ask for help to spell the most basic words, because my brain can not momentarily remember. I can only explain it in Spanish right now because you see, I can't come up with the phrase in English. The way I feel is "No cuadro los pensamientos." Sorry - go to Google Translate - I mean, yeah, sure, I can think and write, but my "agile" mind has slowed down a few notches and that sucks when you are still relatively "young!"
What really bothers me is not having the confidence to take on new tasks for fear of not remembering something or not be equipped to do my best. It is having to stop and realize I have been in a "staring trance" for minutes because now my brain does that constantly.
Sure, these are things that aren't really a big deal. Everyone forgets things, but when you are accustomed to "sharp" thinking and being accurate about things all the time, it is hard to live with doubt.
Recently, I went on a 2nd job interview and forgot that I had already met one of the people there and re-introduced myself. Sounds silly, I know but it made me feel really stupid afterwards when the person said "oh we've met."
The only real comfort is knowing I am NOT alone! Those of us out there who have had brain tumors removed, are forever grateful at surviving. The outcome could have been much worse. Some people are worse off than others, some people go on with their lives and they are fine. Some of us have real shitty days. (Sorry, I curse now more than ever...no filter.)
It is annoying to wake up on a perfectly sunny day with a big headache and a "mask" feeling over your face, knowing full well it will rain that day. It sucks that my kids tell me things, and I don't remember sometimes having had a particular conversation with them, when before I definitely would have! Like most moms, I want to participate in my children's school activities, but there are so many days I wake up feeling like a "mack truck" is literally on my face and head, that it just becomes depressing and I become a recluse.
It frustrates me to have more headaches than BEFORE my "M" but I keep trying to remind myself of how badly it could have gone. It is no fun to feel worse than before when everyone EXPECTS you to be "better." On the outside "you look fine," they say.
Intellectually, I know what I have to do to get myself up and going,
it's just the moments where I say, "Damn, I didn't feel this bad before
my surgery. Why do I feel like this now?"
Luckily, I have learned and have become wiser with the challenges I have faced. This is where I am now and I will conquer the "bad days," especially for my children.
I CAN DO IT! (as Louise Hay says.) Sure, I will keep bitching and complaining, being a being a crabby bitch is part of my charm but in the whole scope of things, I see myself as very LUCKY!
No one wants a brain tumor, but I am lucky to have survived. We, (all of us who have survived) must find a way to fight the pain, go to the doctor and insist on help and try to live a more holistic life.
We have to adjust to the fact that our lives have a new reality.
MOMMY WARRIORS! There is a group on one of the social networks that I am a part of, Meningioma Mommas that has been a life-saver and a sanity saver, for me. It helps in knowing that I can vent and get advice from others on this topic.
If you are living with a brain tumor or struggling with the "after-life" of one, I wish you well! You are not alone, there is life after a brain tumor, it is just a new reality!
What is a Meningioma?