It’s been a while since I sat in a dark room scribbling out my ideas for a post in my phone, but here I am, Late at night, updating the Internet. What a life I live!
Life has been busy as of late but in a different and potentially more fulfilling way than it has been in a while. I have more than enough work at the university to keep my brain from atrophying over the summer and I even taught my first day of summer school today! I have been socializing like a mad man, seeking to fill the void left as relationships changed but more importantly to see where I fit in (or don’t) and who and what makes me happy. I’ve never had more confirmation in life that I’m on the right path.
Life has been an adjustment though. Living with Herbert is not as easy or straightforward as I would have hoped. He gets tired before I do and drags me down with him. I find after a few hours of work and an hour at the gym my body is exhausted beyond compare. I often find myself waking up not really sure if I had made a conscious decision to go to sleep. Then as night falls the pain returns and I find myself faltering in my resolve to “be greater than the pain.” I do the breathing and I focus on anything but the pain but at the end of the day it’s there. It’s not a manifestation of stress or an inability to handle a headache, it’s a tumor and it hurts.
I’ve been living with a minor CSF leak for a while now and while I laugh off the way it pours from my nose when I exert myself, in reality it hurts too. If I sneeze I have to take time to gather my thoughts and let the flash of pain subside. Coughing? Well don’t even get me started on that! Brushing my teeth? I just hope I don’t gag. Such small and basic tasks daunt me making the big things like PHD school look easy (kind of – let’s be real it just looks easier not easy!). I finally spoke to the doctors in Arizona and for the most part they confirmed what I heard from the doctors here. There was a moment where the doctor on the phone (a Persian by the way – yay brother from another mother!), in explaining to me that I have to “collect” my CSF fluid asked me if I have a test tube. Do I have a test tube? Hmmmmm. Nope.
No one asked me questions like that before. No one ever asked me if the “discharge was coming from the ear or the nose” before either. Life got weird. It’s almost been 6 months since someone saw the inside of my head. 6 months since I woke up being grateful for life. 6 months since I saw my family suffer in a waiting room. 6 months since I got a second chance. 6 months since I survived brain surgery. 6 months since I started to relearn how to balance. 6 months since I stopped being able to hear.
It’s been half of a year. In my life I’ve lived that period of time 54 times. In aggregate it doesn’t seem like much but in this 6 months I’ve loved and lost. I’ve cried and laughed. I’ve pretended to be ok. I’ve let my guard down. I’ve let new people in. I’ve fought. I’ve studied. I’ve learned. I’ve shared. I’ve survived.
No longer can I say I just got brain surgery. Even though the effects still drag on me, if I made it 6 months I survived it. Now?! I stop being the brain surgery patient and I relearn how to live with Herbert. Or whatever is left of him. And I relearn who I am. Life is about transformation. Life is about the dirty old caterpillar that thought the world was just a big pile of dirt until he woke up as a butterfly and saw 2/3 of the world in 1/3 of his life.
With every day our reality shifts, our outlook changes. Every person we meet, every show we watch, every tear we cry or joke we laugh at – they all constitute our reality. They construct us and constitute us and we transform. Sometimes we even blossom. In two weeks I’ll have an MRI. I’ll see what became of the ordeal I survived. Until then, I’ll be here, living with Herbert and crawling out of the dirt so I can fly.
Peace and love –