In life, we bicker, take ourselves too seriously and lose perspective often. Even when we’re at our most positive, someone triggering our pet peeves can light a fire under us, a fire that burns a little too hot too quickly. We misunderstand one another and don’t take time to listen. We are impatient with one another in our daily struggles. This isn’t all the time but it happens and it happens to even those of us who have dedicated our lives to mutual understanding and things like “the greater good.” Then, things happen to give us perspective. In my life these have been too often to count but the most recent perspective offering moment in my life was the sudden but not totally outlandish appearance of Herbert, my benign but deadly acoustic neuroma.
I mostly believe that each of us has struggles and to us, in those moments those struggles are meaningful and important. I also believe that seeing more dire struggles can open our minds, trigger in us some type of patience and give us more compassion. So here, I’ve compiled a list of the good, bad and ugly from my life this past year with a brain tumor. It’s only part 1 because this, now, is a forever part of my journey. Having a brain tumor will not always take up the space in my life that it does now (or in my head…because they cut him in half!!!! ha…) but it has fundamentally changed the way I approach my life, just as many other traumas and joys have done in the past.
Here we go:
Don’t be a complacent visitor in your own life, take whatever control you can and let go of what you can’t.
The pressure of difficult things may cause small fractures in relationships turn into big breaks, and pain can make people do crazy things.
Hospitals don’t offer BOGO deals.
Hospitals really should offer BOGO deals.
Despite hating that my mom struggled through three painful surgeries this year as well, it was nice to have someone to take care of and vice versa.
Good insurance can pay off.
One day your insurance will get tired of you and shun you when you’re not yet recovered.
Community can be found anywhere, the #btsm community on Twitter for example has helped me immensely.
Don’t retreat too long, keep going forward, this will someday be a memory.
Someone said something to you, it was mean and you are now stewing over it. Ok, let it go now. Go hug someone you love.
Headaches are in fact a very real thing, they can interrupt your life and cause you great discomfort.
You can overcome this.
Cats, well they’re pretty much assholes, and despite offering moments of cuteness and distraction, they, much like any other arbitrary thing, can’t cure your tumor.
Your health and wellness is not a mandate from an expert. It’s ok to second guess doctors and follow your heart or gut or tumor or whatever guides you.
It’s ok to laugh at it.
Your problem is still not the worse in the world, so stop feeling sorry for yourself (of course after you’ve taken the time to ugly cry about your current state of affairs) and go help someone who needs it more than you do.
When you make jokes about your life and tumor and all that, don’t be offended when others try to as well.
Don’t trivialize your situation, sometimes things are bigger than we were ready for.
You don’t get better at having surgery. More is not better!
Someone should really put BOGO surgery in the hospital suggestion box.
Neurosurgeons? Not cuddly.
Tattooing the word laugh on your wrist only sometimes makes you feel better.
Love really purely.
It’s ok to have a bad day and cry that you spilled coffee on your favorite shoes even though you recognize it’s really just a shoe.
It’s ok to be scared.
Try to workout, sing out loud in the car, or run up a mountain, it may make your head hurt but you’ll feel free.
Dancing with babies is the best!
Hug a six year old, you’ll forget what you were sad about (preferably a six year old you know and already loves you!)
Trying to escape hospitals, not that easy.
Tumors don’t make you a better cook.
Sometimes, yea, even combing your hair is an effort.
Know how much is too much.
Get help if you need it.
Learn everything you can.
The most important things in life are the people around you, find your people and be there, be present and love them whether it’s a funny text, overdue phone call or hot cocoa on a cold day.
Let the love in, life is short.
Many of these lessons contradict each other or sound like Hallmark cards, but I’ve really learned them and I think they’ve been valuable and I’d like to pay that forward. So that you guys, people who care enough to take a minute to scan this, don’t have to go through all the trouble to figure it out on your own.
Peace and love-