It’s been a while since I posted but this past week held an event that brought back a lot of feelings that inspired me to blog in the first place. I felt the need to post again.
Thursday was my 7 year cranniversary (that’s the cute term for the anniversary of your brain surgery on the brain tumour support Facebook groups I belong to). Ironically, the evening before my cranniversary, I was out for a run when I was hit by a delivery van. Thankfully, although very sore and a bit scratched up, I have no broken bones and needed no stitches. I do, however, have a concussion.
It has brought back some difficult post brain surgery memories of the healing after and how, even to oneself, it is very difficult to understand you are not well without having a physical injury to point to. A brain injury is very interesting thing to try to wrap your mind around.
If you are like I was and have never had a concussion before, I’ll share some of the symptoms and hope they are enlightening (while also hoping they don’t sound like a litany of complaints):
The spins. Moving my head too quickly causes the world to need a moment to catch up to my eyes. Movement continues even when my eyes are closed. Remember when you were a kid and went on one too many roller coaster rides? That’s what it feels like when I close my eyes.
Bright lights. I’ve never noticed how strong my kitchen lights are, for example. I want to wear sunglasses in my house! Even writing these notes has taken several sessions because, though set on a dark setting, the light from the screen is so fatiguing.
Carbs are brain food. I’ve been advised to eat carbs as they supposedly help heal the brain. Sounds great to me, I’ve been enjoying tortellini and grilled cheese sandwiches for every meal. The down side is that every time I eat, I have post meal nausea.
The above are all symptoms that are different from healing from brain surgery as far as I remember. But here are some commonalities I have noticed:
Lethargy, It takes an awful lot of energy to get motivated to do anything. I find myself zoning out on the couch which is something I normally never do. It’s simply that I don’t currently want to do anything. For me that is a very rare statement. I am a multi-tasker to the core. It is driving me crazy that a morning will have passed, for example, and I will have not done anything in it.
Word loss. I’ve been searching for words more than usual. “You know, the thing” has made an ugly recurrence. I can visualize what I want to say but I can’t necessarily find the name for it immediately.
Fatigue. I had a three hour nap this morning. It isn’t even dinner and I could have another. You’d think I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night then but evenings are the worst for body aches and by bed time, I am happy to be crawling back in to bed.
Feeling overwhelmed. It reminds me of my first day back home after my brain surgery. My husband had to work so a friend was coming over to keep me company. My eldest was only 8 or 9 weeks old and we were behind on laundry so I was trying to get it started and clean up a bit. By the time my friend arrived (only an hour or two after my husband had left), I was a sobbing mess who was overheating and hadn’t even realized I needed to take off my sweater or answer the buzzer. It was too much too soon.
Shock. I was HIT BY A VAN. Whaaaat?! In many ways, it’s almost comical to think that it actually happened. Saying I had a brain tumour/surgery still holds the same impact too. “You had what?” is the most common response. Even in my own head, it is something I am struggling to grasp. A van literally hit me and I actually remember bouncing off it. Or that a doctor cut and removed a circle of my skull, like a plug, to access the tumour which he then plucked out of my brain – he actually touched my brain.
In summary, it’s been a surreal last couple of days where the biggest things I’m remembering are to be gentle with myself, that life is precious, and that just because a wound is not visible, doesn’t mean its impact is unfelt.
(Image from: https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-brain-image2569107)