Saturday, August 25, 2012

From this point

Counting down the days.  Who knew that going under the knife could be so appealing?

It's all about what I have said so many times before: perspective.
A couple of people have said, " Are you sure you wanna do this?"
That's a question asked from THEIR perspective.
From their point of view, having brain surgery sounds ridiculous, formidable, horrific.

From my perspective, however, which you have heard tons about, brain surgery sounds like the ring of the doorbell, when you have waited for a guest to arrive, someone you long to see.
It sounds like  a promise, hope, relief.
Sweet relief.

Today I did normal stuff, acting "as if" everything were just that, normal.
I walked Roy, went to the studio, did morning chores.
On the way home to do more preparation for leaving, I stopped at the Farmer's Market, and bought some lovely bread, and some huge, fresh tomatoes.
And I made myself a sandwich.

You will note, however, that this is not a pristine tomato sandwich.
But that's because I sprouted my own fresh sprouts, and they were too tempting not to include them.

I sat quietly alone and ate my sprout and tomato and mayonaisse sandwich, and I thought about how sweet the most normal daily things can be.  I took my time.  I relished it.
I savored every bite.
 I thought about all those sandwiches that I have wolfed down throughout my life, in a hurry to do something else.
Sandwiches every bit as deserving of my attention as this one.

When this is done, and I have a new and improved head, I am not coming back to my 'old' life.
Oh, no.
I am coming back to my new and improved life.
A more thoughtful life, a less hectic and rushed life.
I am going to give myself time to access that part of me that just wants to BE creative, without all the hoopla.
I am making a bucket list, folks.  You think it's for people older than me????
No, it isn't about age at all.
It isn't necessarily about illness.
It's about reaching a point, where you know you haven't been paying attention.  And standing there, you are certain that there is more, and you want it.  You want every minute to be as meaningful, and as precious, as it can be.
That's where I am standing.

Today, I went to the nearest salon, and got a hair cut in preparation for this surgical EVENT.  Because it IS an event, right?
I very calmly got a #3 buzz cut on the back of my head.
Hey, why not??
They're going to shave a strip down the back of my head anyway, so I figured I would make it easier for them to do that, and for me to let my hair all grow in together after it's over.
It was kind of freeing, actually.  It makes me want to buzz cut my whole head.
Can you imagine that?    Totally disassociating yourself from all that caring about what you looked like, and what other people thought?
Maybe there are all kinds of positives here, that I am just beginning to see.

Remember a couple of weeks ago?  I was ready to sell everything, and move to Maine???  My daughters said that it was my headache talking crazy.  I didn't think so.  Now I'm not so sure.
Oh, yes, I love Maine more than most.  And I have always dreamed of Maine, living there as an old lady, in an old house, in a little seaside village.
And who knows, maybe I will.
But it was more than that, I know that now.
It was 10 and a half months of incredible, unrelenting pain in my head and my face. Pain that first nagged at me, then chased me down, and finally just held me hostage.
I thought about just getting in my car, and driving away.  But the knowledge that I could not escape the misery kept me from doing that.
I have pushed myself all the way through this.  Every single thing I have done, day in and day out, from just getting in the shower, to grocery shopping, to changing litter boxes, everything has been done under duress.  Sometimes it has not as much duress as other times, but lately, it has ramped up to a level that occasionally frightens me.
It's ok, I am not complaining about the way I handled this.  It was the only thing that "I" could do.  It was my way.
But, God, I'm glad it's coming to an end.  Because I can't do it anymore.

I am so looking forward to my new life, the one without a headache.
The one where I allow myself to savor the journey.
One year ago, this coming week, I was on vacay in Maine with my girls, and grands.
This week, I will be getting my head straight.....pun intended.
But I will be dreaming of Maine.

You can count on it.


Karen said...

Dream on, Hilary.. and make it a reality, I just know you will :-)

Friko said...

You are the bravest lady; my vry best wishes to you and your head, may both of you come back good as new soon.

Connie in Hartwood said...

I am absolutely, totally inspired by your attitude, and uplifted by the positive feeling that I get from you. Hilary, dear, I admire your outlook and your heart. Hair is temporary ... Your life is worth a whole lot more than that.

MarthaVA said...

I can't wait to hear you after you have surgery.
Life changing event. Good to see what you really want from your life at this point. Yes, you CAN change it.

Shuttle, Hook and Needle said...

Why does it take something like surgery or a tragedy in our lives to make us sit up and notice all the little things we are missing and how precious life is?
I had a point in my life where I slammed up against the wall. It gave me the courage to totally change my life and I have been better for it ever since.
I know that you are going to come through this with flying colors.

messymimi said...

Maine is beautiful, and i hope you get to spend many wonderful years there.

Country Girl said...

Love that you got a buzz cut. It is so YOU!! Love your way of seeing things.

Mary said...

Your message is beautiful and profound.

It causes me to look at my own life.

POR. Press on regardless.

With hugs of aloha.

Anonymous said...

I would have gotten it all buzzed off. ;-)). When this is over.... Get thy ass to Maine, girl!!!

Anonymous said...

You're going to be just fine in the end. I promise.

I promise.


DJan said...

I can almost feel that awful headache, and I am looking forward so much to the day when it is a distant memory of yours... and then you can decide what you will do with the rest of your amazing life. Wishing you all good things this week, along with that wonderful sandwich.

(GBS) NewsFromTheHill said...

When my DH had hip replacement a few years ago, he'd been in intense pain for far too long. He pushed through and rarely complained though toward the end he couldn't walk a step without a cane.
Like you he finally hit his wall and decided to go in for surgery knowing/hoping it would give him relief and a life back.
The reward for having gritted it out for so long was that that his recovery was an immediate improvement compared to life before surgery. Literally the afternoon after his surgery he could feel the benefits....yeah he was on morphine, but he knew that he could lay flat in the bed, could rotate his joint and that the pain in his hip from the operation was different....not that same noxious type that he thought would be with him forever.
So I hope that it will be the same for you.... you'll surely feel pain and be weak and tired for a while BUT the joy of not having your constant headache will be your reward and you'll know that this new pain in your head will be blessedly temporary!!!
Dream on about that lake in Maine! We're rooting for you!!

Rita said...

Sweet relief!! I pray for sweet relief for you!! And then a trip to Maine. ;)

Sweetpea said...

Hilary my dear, I don't comment very often so I'm not sure when you added that quote above from Mary Oliver's poem, but there is no other writer more sublime (imho) to focus on when facing uncertainty than her. She knows things. I'm not sure why. She would probably say she doesn't know why either. No, she'd say she doesn't know. period.

Your word ~ hostage ~ that's a powerful one. Now, you are setting your own self free. Brave woman.

Sending you strong, powerful, POSITIVE thoughts for every path you have to walk this week!

Sweetpea said...

Hello, me again...just one more thought, Hilary. I came across this:
"To one who has been too long in city pent,
Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven, - to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament."
~ John Keats, Sonnet XIV

Me thinks perhaps your headache has been your "city"....and now you aim for heaven ;>]]

Frank's Corner said...

Hilary, You are precious and courageous. You have made it through an extremely tough time with grace and beauty. Now is the time for trust and surrender...let those doctors do their work and your body will heal. All will be well. You will have so many people praying for you and holding you in their hearts next week...I know I will be. with love, Candace

Lydia La La said...

Why does it take trauma to make us rethink our life styles? We are all the same. Wishing you a speedy recovery. xo

Unknown said...

You're still in my prayers for a speedy, pain free recovery. I think about you everyday.

Anna M. Branner said...

I remember the feelings when The Surgery has been decided upon and scheduled. Relief. Anxiety. Excitement. Appreciation. This entire experience IS such an eye opener. Reminding you of all the glorious things that happen every day that we miss! Your writing today was a fantastic reminder for ME not to fall back into those old ways...but to keep that appreciative outlook for all I have. Thank you for sharing what you are feeling....And next week will be a different world for you! HUGS!

Anonymous said...

Hilary, I googled The Chiari Institute--looks like you are going to be cared for by the best there is in this field. You will do terrific. As others have said, after suffering with HH for all these months, recovering from surgery probably won't even be that big of a deal. Just think, you will wake up without HH! We are so excited for you. Keeping you in my thoughts. Becky

Anonymous said...

I will be thinking the best of thoughts for you and your recovery. I wont say speedy, because these things are not speedy- but I hope you wake up without a headache and it gets better from there. I know about actually looking forward to the surgery- I had to have my spine fused earlier this year, and while scary, at the end I would have crawled to the operating room, and very nearly had to. And modern surgery is flat out amazing now - I still cant believe I had my spine fused through a 2 inch opening, and no muscles were cut. I was walking without pain the next day for the first time in a decade. So I wish you similar results, the institute looks like about the best place you can go. Nice to know your surgeon will be a specialist. See you on the other side.


claudia w said...

Hilary, You are such a special person! You amaze me every time I read what you put here in your blog. And I thank God for you. You are such an inspiration.
God Speed.

Cait Throop said...

Here's to a new life...without pain!!

Donna S. said...

Can't wait til this is over for you!! I will be glad when your head is on straight!!! LOL

Daryl said...

Excellent post ... stay strong, stay focused, keep breathing and trust your surgeon ... xoxoxo

spindrift,maine said...

Hilary, your post today reminds me of a very moving book which I have read over and over again. I have never had brain surgery (though my husband has), but I have had several surgeries, including two knee replacements. There is something about being really sick, or recovering from surgery, that puts just about everything in perspective. The small things that really constitute a meaningful life, just as you said here. The book is called "At the Will of the Body" by Arthur Frank. Here is the Amazon link
SO glad your surgery is behind you (I'm reading this a day late.) You are in my thoughts, and I hope for speedy return to NORMAL! xo

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