I quit listening to the doctor after he said,
“Yes, there it is. There is your brain aneurysm.”
Before last week I didn’t even know how to spell aneurysm, now today, I am coming to grips with the fact that there is one in my head. Lodged deep in the center of my brain.
The only reason I’m writing this blog is for my own sanity. It is not for you. It is not to gain your sympathy. And I know that most people would want to keep something like this totally private.
But for me, sharing my life story is what keeps me sane. As writer, talking about my truth is what gives me strength and calms my fears.
Depression is a real monster that I battle, especially when I find myself in three doctors offices’ in one week. But I’ve learned from my past journey of having a special needs child, that honesty, vulnerability and being wide open is the only way I personally survive the darkness. It is the only way I don’t crawl into a hole, take three naps a day or gorge myself with Oreo’s. (Okay, I may have still gorged myself with Oreo’s!)
I have three brothers and a father who all have or had brain aneurysms. So, it was suggested by one of their doctors that this might be heredity and that I should get an MRI to make sure I didn’t have them. I truly expected not too! As I laid on the exam table I thought, “They are not going to find anything… except maybe the word CRAZY etched in somewhere.” But then, as I sat in the office of Dr. Callahan, the neurologist, and looked closely at the 3D imagining of my arteries and veins, there it was…. a very small aneurysm. Very small… and yet in the worst possible place. Did I mention it is very small?
I left the doctor’s office with a follow up appointment for an ultrasound and an appointment with a neurosurgeon. I pushed back the tears as I drove to a speaking engagement I had committed too for the Mental Health Association of Middle TN. It dawned on me for about five seconds to cancel, but then I knew that what I needed most was to be surrounded by people – and what better folks than those that work in the mental health field!
Plus, I knew that my soul needed to find the good space… the place where sharing my story about James would serve as a source of strength for this new experience I now find myself dealing with.
And it did! The hugs and tears I shared with the attendees after my talk empowered me and gave me the tiniest bit of faith to believe that in the end, this too will be okay. (Even though right now it feels down right shitty and like I can’t deal with one more thing and even eating a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts might not help!) I have yelled at God and screamed and kicked and reluctantly found myself at something sort of resembling acceptance — but still a wee bit angry.
In the deepest part of my gut…in the place that God speaks to me and that I have learned to listen too as closely as I can…
I feel peace.
I am not afraid. I do not think this is a big deal. I do not think this is going to kill me. I do not even think that they will necessarily do anything about this very small aneurism, except maybe watch it. (Or maybe that’s just my hope! My big hope!) I will know more next week.
What I do know and feel is this; life is ridiculously fragile. Things can change in an instant. I am reminded once again that
living in the moment is all we really have.
And in the end, when it feels like you can’t take one more breath or one more step, God and the universe ALWAYS show up and breathe light into the darkness.
James crawled into my bed as I tried to nap today. He played with my hair and I let the tears fall onto my pillow. He sang “E-I-E-I-O” and before I knew it, he made me laugh. And the light came in.