Thursday, January 24, 2013

Three whole months!

Well, who would have thought it - quarter of a year has gone by.

I thought there would be a point where it would all hit me like a dollop of porridge in Wallace and Gromit. I'd suddenly grasp the significance of what had happened and declare something profound and impressive. Or collapse in a heap of post traumatic depression.

But it's still as surreal as ever. I sometimes can't believe I've had actual brain surgery - it doesn't sound like the kind of thing that would happen to me.

Now that things are pretty much back to normal, as normal as they ever were anyway, it's got even more surreal. There's a chance that the dealing with it will still surface but I'm starting to think that's it. Just move on. No profound thoughts necessary, it's over now.

Anyway I'm celebrating three months with a packet of ginger nuts.

Update: As my very wise mother pointed out, I should really explain better for anyone in the same recovery boat as me - I'm not quite fully recovered yet. I'm utterly exhausted by the commute into work (which only involves sitting on a bus for an hour). I can't concentrate for more than about three minutes and my mind wanders horribly.

I think what I meant by being back to normal is that I am no longer dwelling on having recently had surgery, and I'm not defining myself by it so much anymore. I've really started to look forward to things and feel much more like me, inside. I'm just ignoring the exhaustion as it seems almost normal now anyway.

Also, I kid myself I'm better (as I clearly did in writing this) and then I realise after a day out the house that I'm not quite there yet. Nearly though!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Life goes on.

In my first year at university I learnt about personality. I can't remember what the thing was officially, but the concept struck me as good. It proposed that you didn't have one clearly defined personality, but many (or an incredibly flexible one) - and you unconsciously used them differently depending on who you were interacting with. Hence the uncomfortable feeling when your friends meet your granny.

At the time I had many different groups of friends from different environments, and when they got together it felt strange. I didn't know who to be or how to act, so this idea made a lot of sense to me. I liked it.

When I started Henrietta, I was in a pretty weird place. None of the usual politics bothered me, and although I didn't want to offend anyone with what I wrote, my attitude was fairly blasé. I didn't really care that much to be honest.

Being ill had a way of focussing me. I could suddenly see really clearly what mattered - and what didn't. I became a single personality, the same person to everyone. I didn't feel the need to hide parts of me, or mould myself to what I thought people wanted me to be. I just was me. One of the best things was just being able to write. It was liberating: not giving a shit.

I made some resolutions during recovery, about how as I felt my way back to normal life I wouldn't slip back into the old ways. The ways that I had suddenly and clearly seen as unnecessary, like worrying too much and not aways saying what I think. I also resolved to do more exercise and eat more healthy and generally view this as a second chance, a way to start again (but better this time round).

None of these things have happened.

What I am particularly sad about is this loss of not caring. I now really question what I want people to know and I find myself not communicating as openly anymore. That's the real reason that I stopped writing so much. I can't be as honest. Life has got in the way.

It is sad, but it's real, actual, life. I feel naive to think that I really thought I could maintain the simple mantra. I go back to work tomorrow, and I'm very much looking forwards again and getting excited about the future. I don't actually mind that much really - it's been such an interesting experience but it's nice to feel a bit normal again.

Life goes on.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Have you seen my brain?

Last week I managed to get hold of a copy of my medical record, as part of my quest to find out if I had a blood transfusion during surgery (I didn't). I had to pay for it like, but it's a fascinating read. Things I faintly remember happening and things that I had no idea about are documented in black and white - it's a relief to be able to read through the sequence of events that led to my diagnosis and then surgery.

Anyway, the thing that got me thinking was the notes from the surgery itself. It made me realise that several people have actually seen my brain. I don't know how many or who they are, isn't that strange? It seems like an intimate thing, my brain. There it is just minding it's own business, never intended to be seen by human eyes. And yet some people have actually seen it. In the flesh, as it were.

When I was little we (my sister and I) stayed at my granny's for a few weeks while my parents moved house. I must have been about five. I remember this book at granny's that I read every night. I have no idea what it was called but it was about a boy (maybe a prince?) who had been tasked with finding something that no man had ever seen before. Not sure why.

After much searching and failed attempts, he finally came up with an unhatched egg out of which popped a baby chicken at the correct moment. My five year old mind was blown. Nobody had ever seen this chicken before. Nobody, ever. I'm not sure why this had such an effect on me, and I hadn't thought about this book for years. But the notion that someone had seen my actual brain brought back the same sense of wonderment.

I wish they'd taken a photo, I'd quite like to see my brain too.