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.

Moving On

When you realize your worth, you laugh at those that didn’t see it. You pity them for missing out on all the awesomeness that is you. Yes, of course you mourn for the “what could have been”. But you look ahead at what will be!

We have formed these ideas in our minds of what could be. And we get excited about the possibilities. We begin to feel like we are finally heading in the right direction. Being led to our destiny. And then the crash. The realization that we aren’t going to have what we thought we would. That moment when the truth hits is like a knife in the chest; a punch in the gut. Why couldn’t they have just followed through? Those fears that held them back have now crushed your dreams. It’s a terrible feeling. I know.

Moving on, though, is a beautiful thing. When you can feel yourself getting stronger each day. When you can finally hear that song or see that person on social media without feeling weak inside. When you can feel your strength building little by little. One day at a time. When you realize you are worth far more than you ever knew. When you see what you should have seen all along. And then you apologize to yourself. You need to make it a point to do that. Apologize for being blinded by love. Apologize for the way you viewed the world through rose colored glasses and ignored every red flag your inner self tried to point out. Apologize for being human. For wishing and dreaming of what would never be. But warn yourself, it’s probably going to happen again. And that’s OK!!

Too bad they were too scared of what could be. It could have been amazing. But what is to come will surely be better. Because now you are wiser. Do not put yourself down for trusting the wrong person. And do not allow that person to influence the way you view the next person. Do not hide away, either, my darling. Do not cut yourself off from the next possibility. Live your life one moment at a time. Allow things to happen, both good and bad. Because that is the beauty of life.