Life After Brain Surgery

A week ago my family was all meeting up at a parking garage outside of University of Maryland Medical Center Baltimore, gathering our belongings necessary for the long day ahead, and rushing inside to get to where I needed to be by my 5:30 appt time. Sadly, the hospital sent us on a long run around until we finally landed right where we needed to be, but we got there. Tension was high among the group, of course. The nervousness in the air; palpable.

I was asked if I was ready, more times than a few. How do you answer that? How are you ever ready to risk leaving your family behind? How are you ever ready to risk not coming back to them the same as you left them? So I lied. I was ready, yes. I lied and said I was fine. I lied and said I was going to be okay. I was petrified.

Questions began, IV was started, prepping was moving at the speed of light, but I was still stuck. Lingering, waiting for my entire family to hug me all at once. What would be my last thing to say to each one of them? How do you decide that? You cannot scare the kids, Kristen. You cannot upset your sisters, Kris. And my God, don’t let my parents feel my fear.

Last night I was asked what I felt in those moments. What was it that I told myself to help me get through it and make the final decision to go through with it.

The answer is my life. I wanted my life back. The vibrant, exuberant, fly by the seat of her pants girl was gone. She was replaced long ago by a zombie of a woman that was barely surviving this world. She could no longer head out on grand adventures, planned or otherwise. She spent her days hardly able to make it up and down the stairs let alone to a school event with homemade brownies.

She couldn’t make it to concerts with her sisters anymore. She had to cancel plans with friends more times than a few. She couldn’t get outside and run around with her two sons anymore. Life as she knew it ceased to exist.

But this morning. 7 days after the scariest decision of her life, that girl woke up at 5 am without an alarm clock, went downstairs without a single creaking or aching bone (stairs are a different story), and made herself a cup of coffee. Do you realize how long it has been since that has happened? I won’t count the nights where sleep never happened and I got up at 5 to start a day after a night of no rest. I’m talking actually slept for hours, woke up, went down, and made my own damn coffee??

Let’s ask my little baristas when they wake. I bet ya it’s been a while.

Good morning, world. It’s good to be back.

Too Much

I guess I was just too much. Too loving. Too strong. Too resilient. Some people don’t like that. Some people can’t handle that.

I guess I was just too much. Too much woman for a small minded man. Too strong for a weak man. Too much of myself for a man still searching for himself.

I guess I was just too much. Too outspoken. Too opinionated. Too loud. Too bold. Too powerful. Too much.

I guess I was just too much for the man unaware of my offerings. I guess I was just too much for the man too blind to see my beauty. I guess I was just too much for the man too stuck in the past to live in the present moment. I guess I was just too much for the man afraid of the future.

Getting Back to Me

I’m not sure where I went

I got lost along the way.

I thought I found myself in you

But it turns out that you were lost too.

I realized that your appeal

was an illusion in my brain.

I never noticed all your faults

I never saw that you were him.

All the things I wanted

that I was missing in my past.

Were all the things you offered

but like most things, it didn’t last.

I’m moving on now.

Now that I see your flaws.

I am letting go of all the hurt.

Moving on from all the wrong.

I’ve admitted my mistakes

and I think that you have too.

So, goodbye, for now.

I wish the best for you.

~Kristen A. Ruchalski

January 17th, 2017