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.

Monday Morning Ready!

Good morning all. I know it’s been a while since I posted anything or read any blogs. My health has been my primary focus lately. Brain surgery in 23 days!! But, while I’ve been basically bedridden, I have been doing a lot of thinking.

I have a million ideas for projects, community involvement, books I want to write, and opinion pieces I want to write. However, my brain is total mush!

Any suggestions for organizing my thoughts and getting these projects underway? 🤔

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.

When You Love Someone

When you love someone, you will do the most ridiculous things! When they don’t love you back quite the same, or at all, you will reach new levels of ridiculousness. You will look like a fool, to them, to yourself, and at times, to those around you. You will put yourself out there only to have your heart crushed by the inevitable truth that they just don’t love you the same, or at all.

Love them anyway. People who have been hurt in the past may be a little more difficult to love, but no less worthy of your love. So love them anyway. Love them with all that you have. Show them what love should be. Sure, you have to learn at some point when to stop pushing for something that may not be meant to be. And finding that fine line may be difficult. But don’t give up. Love that person anyway. Even if just from a distance. And if you decide that it’s best to walk away, you can still love them. Nobody can make you stop doing that. Love them anyway.

Understand that their inability to receive your love is not a reflection of you, but a reflection of all that they are struggling to overcome. As humans, we inherently crave love. We seek out those that we find can provide us with the comforts of a loving relationship. But some people have been damaged by the toxicity of their pasts. Those people are the ones that deserve a little more love.

I’m not telling you to give so much of yourself and get nothing in return, time after time. I am telling you to be patient and understanding. If the person you love tells you they love you, but they are struggling with demons of whatever kind, be patient with them. That is part of the deal. Learning to be patient, considerate, and compassionate are all difficult things when you feel like it should come as easy for them as it does for you. I get that. Trust me! It just isn’t that easy for some. Not after some of the things people have gone through.

I write these words as a woman that is very difficult to love, or at least I once was. Now, I’m the woman trying so desperately to be patient with the man I love while he figures out how he wants to move forward; scarred from his past. And I think of all the times people gave up on me because I was a little more difficult than they thought I should be. I won’t be that person. I won’t give up on him.

~Kristen

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.

 

My New Normal

Yesterday I was diagnosed with now a 3rd pain disorder… Er disfunction/disease/ailment/illness that causes pain. I don’t even know what to call it. All I know is I’m really over it.

I’m over not being the woman I want to be. I’m over not being the mom I was; the mom my kids deserve. I’m over people questioning my constant illnesses and my constant pain. I’m over people making jokes when I slur my words or when I walk with a limp. I’m over this daily struggle.

But it’s my new normal. I have to learn to deal. 3 years ago I woke up with a migraine that never left. Thankfully, botox injections ease them enough so that I can function. Almost 2 years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. That was also a major change and adjustment. One I still struggle with daily. And now trigeminal neuralgia. I do not know much about it yet other than it’s rare, it’s painful, it can happen to anyone, and there is no cure; only the attempt at treatment.

I am not looking for sympathy or anything. I am primarily writing this just so I can get it out. So I can face the music and say to myself, “this is your new normal so learn to deal”….

I’m not sure what the future holds or if the meds will help me. I also don’t know what fresh hell awaits me for next year. Anyone wanna place bets? I’m kidding, don’t be so sensitive!

Until next time….

Knowledge of My Ignorance

I found a new book recently that is a daily devotional for intellectuals. It offers various readings each day presenting facts from the seven fields of knowledge. While reading the other night from the area of Philosophy, I came across an interesting idea presented by Socrates. Without the exact quote, the book presented it like this:

Socrates explained that he was no wiser than any other; it is only that he is aware of his own ignorance. That is what made him intelligent, in a sense.

I went online and found a few quotes that were similar and wanted to present them and discuss them here along with my thoughts on the concept.

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

 

And


I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.

~Socrates

Socrates evidently challenged men that claimed to know so much about various topics just to prove they did not know as much as they claimed to know. I think we can learn a lesson from this. It is our ignorance and our lack of knowledge that allows us to see ourselves for what we truly are. The ability to realize that I am ignorant to so much is what provides me with the wisdom in my life. Understanding that my knowledge is limited allows me to respect that which I do not yet understand and strive to continuously add to my knowledge base. However, I know that I will still be learning as long as I live, and I also know that I will never in my lifetime gain every bit of knowledge which exists in the world.

Something that has always fascinated me about those with intellectual disabilities is that they are content in their ignorance. Consider those with Asperger’s and their superior “hyperfocus” on topics which interest them; they continue to learn as much as they possibly can about a topic and are not concerned with their lack of knowledge of other topics. To me, that seems to put them at a higher level than most people. Many of us like to pretend that we know so much (myself included) and we are merely full of useless facts that do not provide anything to the greater good. We like to deny our ignorance of certain things in order to maintain a superiority complex. Those with intellectual disabilities seem to be aware of that ignorance and completely accepting of it. They do not need to know everything. They know what they know, and they are happy in that knowledge.

It makes me wonder if my desire to know so much is commendable or detestable. Should I continue to strive for knowledge or be more accepting of the fact that regardless of my quest to learn as much as I can, I will never learn it all? Should I be content in my ignorance of those things which I do not, and may not ever, understand? What are your thoughts?

~Kristen