I thought I'd come back and share some words. It's been two years and eight months since the craniotomy and clipping of a non-ruptured aneurysm. This site has been an important part of my healing. I blogged about everything. I read many of the stories and comments. Although we all have different experiences, there are still commonalities that in sharing help us feel that someone actually understands. I lost friends and became closer to my family. I made friends here that led the way through the dark.
The physical part of healing wasn't as tough as the mental part. There were days I would rather succumb to the weakness and confusion I felt. There were moments when I'd look in the mirror and have that weird disconnected feeling as I wondered 'who the hell is that!'. The stronger my body became the weaker my brain felt. I started compartmentalizing life into Before Aneurysm and After Aneurysm. Before Aneurysm I could do this, that and the other. After Aneurysm I was an idiot. A fool. Or so I told myself. My brain would freak out with too much noise, people, questions, movement...whatever. Eventually I figured out how to reintroduce these things and what I needed to do to help my brain heal.
I recognized the danger of sitting there comparing life now to life then and decided to join the local Habitat for Humanity. I still struggled with reading and writing but I sure could talk so I put that to use. I've since joined the Board and am working on several committees. When I struggle with a task I remind myself that my brain just needs to exercise that particular cell/nerve. With practice it gets better.
I still slur when I get tired. I still get a bit overwhelmed if someone is asking too many questions. I still feel annoyed when someone says 'oh you look fine' on days when my brain doesn't feel like it's my brain. I still struggle with letting go of the things I can no longer do. I've learned to respect my body when it gives me warning signs. Because if ignored, it's going to knock me out anyway.
But most of all I've learned that life will never be the same as it was before. We stepped into a bit of hell and survived. It's up to us to then move forward in this reality. We can't go back. We can't stay still and knock our heads and try to force something that just isn't going to happen. We can only move forward with what we have. In some cases it may be taking a new road. Starting a new adventure. Maybe one we don't like but maybe one we'll like better. I'm about to start a new part time job doing something I've never done before. As scary as it is, I know I can do it. I survived brain surgery after all. I'm not a fool.
Good luck to all of you. Don't give up. It does get better.