What is it that keeps some of us striving and some of us not?

I actually went to the grocery store for a few things this past week. I rarely go to the grocery store anymore by myself since I ruptured. Seems if I don’t have an exact, specific list, I come home with more than needed. One time I went with a list and on it said kielbasa. I couldn’t remember what kind we ate so since it was buy one get one, I came home with five different varieties LOL

I struck up a delightful conversation with an employee at the grocery store as we kept getting into each other’s way. She had worked in a neuro care facility and posed this question to me…what makes some patients want to keep fighting while others want to roll over and stay in their bed? I don’t know the answer to why we have different attitudes. So I fell back on some college class I’d had and said it’s 50/50 genetics/environment. It was the answer to the only question on the final for that Psychology class. The professor must have said it everyday. We covered a multitude of reasons from belief in a Higher Power (not everyone has such a belief) to how we are raised, acknowledge that if it wasn’t for the progress of medical science, many of us wouldn’t have survived…

I’ve been pondering that conversation for a few days now and still can’t come up with a good answer. So I thought I’d turn to y’all! What does give some of us more drive to heal after a rupture? Is it genetics? Is it the way we were raised? What do you think?

Hey Moltroub,
That nature/nurture argument is one that has been around for eons, it’s been around that long because there actually is no answer. There’s a few variables missing from the nature/nurture argument, one of those is circumstance. Even the very best of people, raised in the very best way, when faced with circumstances light years from their normal, can act way outside of either their nature or the way in which they were raised. Nature and nurture are only 2 of the ‘inputs’ to a calculation that’s way too complicated for a mere mortal like me :laughing:

What gave me the drive? I think that changed for each operation. For my initial surgery, I’d just started my ‘dream job’. I’d started a serious relationship. Both of which I’d worked hard to establish and maintain, so I had an aim to get back to it and the drive to push through. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t plain sailing, but I had that aim that kept me focused. I got back to work and progressed. I maintained my relationship too (I say ‘I’, but I think ‘she’ had more to do with that than me :rofl: )

Everything was running along OK, then the wheels fell of my little wagon. I ended up back on the neuro operating table again. With the recovery I thought “…I’ve been here before. I can do this again…” but as much as I tried my body had other plans. I still had that drive but the more I pushed, the more my symptoms increased. I got really frustrated and angry with myself “I could before, I can again” so I pushed again, doing myself an even greater injury.

Now, all of my former normal tolerances have vanished and my ‘Drive’ is very much on a sliding scale. On a good day, when all of the stars align, I can go 100 mile an hour all day. You get me on a bad day and I’m lucky to string 2 words together coherently. The mind has the drive, but the body’s already given up or vice versa.

So yea, genetics/environment certainly play a role, but there are many other influences as to how and why others recover or don’t.

Well, thats my view.
Merl from the Modsupport Team

1 Like

I get it Merl. Every time I went for a procedure, we always wondered what I’d be like afterwards. For me, it wasn’t apprehension but more anticipation and yes, we’d sing that song lol.

I’m leaning more towards personality and probably upbringing than genetics in how some of us can keep the drive, if even a little bit. There is no one correct answer in this, is there? But I think there’s something that has us thinking the cup half full and not half empty. You, I and others here keep trying despite the bad days, we just don’t give up.

I am looking for how others perceive overcoming the obstacles. Maybe for me it was related to the first time I fell off a horse and the young girl who seemed older to me back then told me to get right back on. She may have been 17 or 18. I was a bit scared but did it anyways. Over the years I’d fallen off more than about a handful of times re-training horses but there was never any fear of getting back on and I always heard her tell me to get back on. It could have also something to do with my Dad asking if I’d broken his cement when I was very young and would skin my knees, I always looked LOL

Well, initially, I must admit… …I did give up. I’d been searching for answers for many years, been labelled every type of crazy. Something just wasn’t right but I (seemingly) was imagining it all, so I just gave up. A few years later it all came to a head and the medicos investigated a bit more, then came out with the line “ohh look what we found…” as if it was all new. Even after multiple surgeries that same indignant ‘Im the dr, so I know’ attitude continues. The easiest answer is for me to bury my head in the sand and ignore it all, but I seem to have this giant of a man, with a jolly big sledgehammer, trying to bash his way out of my skull on a daily basis and it tends to remind me that somethings not right. I cant ignore it, so how do I manage it, how do I manage it ‘better’.

I cant say my anticipation has ever overruled my apprehension when it comes to neurosurgery. In fact I can say I’ve NEVER looked forward to surgery, because I know what comes after… the recovery.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

Recovery is rarely a walk in the park. For me, anticipation is because the second had me coming out with FAS and a stutter but there was a trade off as I could remember more words and a lot of talking, a lot. The third, we thought maybe I’d lose the stutter and FAS but no and the talking a lot remained as well, but the headaches subsided a good bit. The fourth gave me a better healing and a quicker recovery, and less of a stutter. With all the pre and post angiograms, we learned recovery could be months and months due to set backs but the less anesthesia that was used, the quicker I could recover and instead of the six or eight months, it would just be a couple of months. The last angiogram I recovered within weeks!

1 Like

I think one of the biggest obstacles is depression. The glass half full versus the glass half empty. I’ve not been through the trauma that so many people here have gone through but in my home life, I can say that Mrs D generally starts the day and finishes the day with the cup half empty and my cup is generally at least half full.

If you can look upon your place in the world and see a hint of opportunity (even opportunity, delayed) rather than the beginnings of disaster, you’re off to a much better start in the day than otherwise.


Hey Moltroub,
I think a lot of it is that variability in regard to the outcome. My neuro symptoms had been slowly growing over many years. In a way I’d slowly ‘adjusted’ to them. There were signs but nobody identified a bigger issue until there was a major issue. I got headaches, but I thought that was ‘normal’. All of my previous dr’s minimised it, so I ignored it all.

Each surgery has been performed to manage a physiological issue and the operations have managed the issue. BUT the post-surgery side effects/symptoms for me have been chronic bad and each surgery has multiplied and multiplied that load. I often talk of the ‘Broken Bone Theory’, 6-8 weeks and it’s all healed. I think I started to learn my new signs by 6-8weeks, but the management of it all that has taken me years to get on top of (and I still can’t say I’ve mastered it).

Now, in saying all of this I try to ‘weigh up the balance’ ie what are my options? Are there any options? I could have said ‘No’ to the surgeries, but the fact is… I’d be dead. I’m not exactly thrilled by the outcome, but I can still function (OK, semi function :laughing: ) I can walk and talk (probably too much, seems I keep repeating myself, repeatedly) I try to keep myself motivated doing things around the house/yard (when I can). The way I ‘try’ to look at it all now is ‘Well, things could be worse…’ I could be wheelchair bound and I’m not. I could be mute and Im not. I could have lost my faculties and I haven’t. (Well, not fully :rofl: )

All those years ago when the medicos told me there was nothing wrong and it was all a figment of my imagination, I fell into a great big, massive hole. At the time the whole world was imploding in on top of me. I pulled myself out of that hole and vowed never to return to the dark side. I know my signs when I’m headed in that direction and make a conscience decision to change direction.

When my neuro journey (And life) started to get REALLY complicated I took some time, went somewhere quiet and weighed it all up. I had 3 choices. My default setting was ‘RUN’ but running from self is a waste of time, as the song says "Everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you…'. ‘Divert’ make it all someone else’s problem, but it’s me that has the problem. OR ‘Deal with it’ that’s the most confronting thing and I hate confrontation. But the reality was, I had no choice. Sure, there was a bit of ‘Why me?’, but when I put all of the incidents together, I thought ‘Why didn’t it show up earlier?’ I knew something was amiss. I had to deal with it.

But I think you’re correct Richard, looking at opportunity vs looking at it as a disaster. Personally, I’ve never been a great 1/2 glass believer, but I do believe in grabbing opportunity. I must admit I often doubt my abilities or renege because I don’t want to take on a role if I can’t perform to a standard.

I don’t think there’s one thing or one reason we keep going. I think we all have our own motivations, our own thing that drives us along. I say this as a few days ago I had a B’day, one I NEVER thought I’d reach. In fact I told the wife years ago it’d be a damn miracle if I even made it to this age (The joke was she would have killed me by now. I surprised she hasn’t :wink:), but here we are.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

1 Like

There isn’t. We are all different (and thank goodness!) I went for a haircut maybe 10 days ago. The guy I saw (or one of his employees) has been cutting my hair for over 20 years and, as you do at the barbers, you get into conversation. I don’t remember how we got there but it turns out he wanted to do barbering since a teenager.

Really? Cutting hair?


Not the curling and setting and colouring of hairdressing, just the barbering aspect of it – the cutting & styling. “But I don’t like the direction it’s taking, all this Turkish style barbering” [hot towels and open blades and all that?] “It’s not for me.” Just the rather ordinary barbering that I’ve known in this country forever.

And that’s him. Very straightforward “I like doing hair.” I didn’t dig into what it was that he likes about it: it can’t be the conversation with clients (you’d get that with colouring and so on) so I guess it must be the handling of hair, the concentration needed, the creation of a good looking result, I don’t know. But you know what? It wouldn’t suit me to do that 8 or 9 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week.

We’re all different.

Happy Birthday Merl! I, for one, am pretty happy you gave no cause for your wife to bury you behind the barn! Tell her thank you! :joy:

I have had a pity party or two along my journey and your right, we have to make a conscious decision to get out of it. For me, it was when I had a nasty flare up of the autoimmune disease I now have and the pain was pretty severe. I couldn’t figure out why I survived a rupture just to have to learn to deal with another rather large obstacle. I’m learning to go around and not plough through, thank goodness! I was given yet another medicine and then it was upped a bit. Knowing our triggers is paramount in getting past the problem(s). I think it falls back to the age old Greek saying “Know thyself” when we are dealing with depression or even a task we think we can’t do.

Which now leads me to think is it all about self esteem? Do people who have a higher self esteem better handle not giving up and trying again? I know with my health issues, my self esteem took a battering. I had to consciously decide to relearn everything I’d forgotten. At some point early on I had to determine I was not going to allow my rupture to define and control me. BH thinks I did this before I was aware of any conscious thoughts. I’m unsure. It does beg to ask if we should all be working on our self esteem to try to overcome brain issues and any other health issues?

1 Like

Ohh, I’ve given her cause all right, time and time and time again. :laughing: :wink: :rofl:
I’ve said before and I’ll say it again “Sometimes I really don’t know how she puts up with me…” :rofl:

Merl from the Modsupport Team

1 Like

Depression is something that I am still trying to face. I am working with a counselor soon on some of the emotional roller coasters that I seem to ride each day and the isolation/depression.I have good support from family and friends but being stuck at home all the time or very limited in the sound/light that I can expose myself to … I feel like I am a different person all together but I yearn for the old me. Another part is probably work, I am still not at work and it used to be a large part of my time/energy and has been the investment of my life to get my career where it was … until it was not anymore.

The adventure continues. I love these blogs, I am hoping to do something productive with my experiences after my rupture and recovery…

1 Like