Not bad, this obscure reference to a Queen song. Sometimes I start with a title, sometimes I write first. Lately I haven’t been writing at all. What’s it been? Over four months since I last sent something to my copy editor?
Oh, the shame! I blame life of course, as certain events have made it difficult for me to work on my book or this blog. Work has gotten busy, my mom was hospitalized twice, I’ve been in a funk with the sudden, shocking deaths of a couple of acquaintances, and music got hectic as well. It did overwhelm me as it seemed to all happen in a short amount of time, and I was helpless in the onslaught. Why bother, I had pondered. Is the Universe not going to win in the end anyway? Why should I try to immortalize myself by sharing a memoir of my life-changing experience?
Despite it all, I am still happy to find myself singing lead again, something I thought I had given up on. Somehow part of my recover included being able to think 3 seconds ahead and remember the next set of lyrics while playing, which is something I used to do fairly competently many years ago. Quite empowering, to say the least!
I probably should have mentioned this to my neurologist. I saw her last week for my annual check-up following my yearly MRI (which, by the way, was done at a different place and did NOT offer Pandora and head phones – oh, it was miserable). She asked me if I’d had any headaches and how my memory was, and I’d said nothing unusual to report. Although there are gaps in my memory of some events and people I haven’t seen in a long time, but I assumed that was just ordinary memory loss. Maybe it is, or maybe she accidentally removed memories of a Christmas party at our friend Ralph’s house, but at any rate there isn’t much she can do about it now, is there?
So this time I skipped the lengthy description of things that are different now. I decided to accept the little changes in my cognitive perceptions as normal as they can be for someone like me. I mean, my brain looked completely healthy except for that little smudge of leftover tumor, which she suspected might be scarred dura at this point. Sure, why not? This coming from the same person who thought I might have two tumors just from an initial look at the CT scan. So much educated guessing, that’s what I’ve decided that doctors do. Some are actually pretty good at it. I also mentioned the crazy shivers I get in my head from time to time, and after a puzzled pause she said it was probably anxiety. Oo-kay…
I asked if it was true that after a year, you have to live with whatever deficits you have left. I’d heard this from a co-worker who had been told that by her neurologist – she had suffered a concussion a few weeks before my incident. “Not true,” my doctor said. She was thoughtful for a moment. “Any injury to the spine or central nervous system takes up to five years,”she continued,” but in your case I’d say two years is how long you have until full recovery.” I recalled from before that she was very forthcoming with time-related recovery questions, saying six weeks before I should try playing bass again and four weeks before I could color my hair. I was very happy to hear this anyway. Then I thought maybe everything I was experiencing lately was in my mind, having seen proof of no further tumor growth. It did make sense. Even a friend had suggested that it was me “psyching myself out” when I told him I had issues speaking still. His response had pissed me off a bit, like many who had responded with “Oh, that happens to me all the time!”* whenever I talked about my deficits, but now I had to rethink my situation. Perhaps I was remembering what it had been like when I was under the effects of the meningioma crushing my speech centers, and that memory had made me think something was still wrong with me. Having come to that conclusion, I decided that any issues I was still experiencing were going to be ignored or fought through. If I get anxious under the field of fluorescent lighting on the ceiling of Costco, then I’d stare at the ground until the anxiety passes and keep walking. If I feel a sudden panic during the end of our evening walks when I see leaf shadows on the sidewalk, I’ll look at a stable object like a house until I normalize as my social worker suggested before. Piece of cake!
So here I stand, a year and a half later. And another Queen lyric reference – I’m just full of the clever these days! Well, this gives me hope that I can continue writing my book – ye gods, but writing is hard. Thanks to the friend that mentioned that he hadn’t seen any new blogs lately – just the thing I needed to start up again, I think.
*This is a common experience with those in the TBI club, which is why we suffer quietly and hope no one catches on that we’re not how we used to be.