on surviving

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm having a rough week. Some of that is the state of the world, but a lot of it is much closer to home: four years ago tomorrow, I had brain surgery.

For those of you who weren't around back then - in the summer of 2012, about a month after my hysterectomy, I went in for what should have been a routine ENT workup, including a CT scan of my sinuses. I got a call less than an hour after I got home from the imaging center: "we need you to come in to discuss your test results."

It is never good when they call you back within an hour of performing a medical test.

The good news was that there was nothing wrong with my sinuses. The bad news was that I had a brain tumor. The original imaging report said it was 3 cm at the largest measurement; when I had a follow-up MRI, it turned out that the largest measurement was 5cm and the SHORTEST was 3cm. 

For those of you who don't speak metric as fluently as I do, here's a visual:

[image: female hand holding a brown and orange beach rock approximately the size and shape of a chicken egg]

(If you're really curious, here's what a 5cm tumor looks like on an MRI. The midline of the brain is NOT supposed to curve like that, just for the record.) 

So on January 28th, 2013, I had brain surgery. There was no alternative. It was horrible and extremely non-consensual and it took about two years of therapy to get my PTSD under control enough that I could function like a normal human being again, and it also undoubtably saved my life. I didn't start having seizures until 5 days before the surgery, which unto itself was nothing short of a miracle.

I got lucky. I didn't need rehabilitative therapy. I didn't have any more seizures. I got back all of my fine motor skills. I eventually got back most of my language and music skills, and while my memory is still terrible, I've figured out how to compensate with external data storage well enough that most people who don't know about the brain damage just think I'm slightly scatterbrained. 

Anniversaries are rough for me. I've been having more nightmares than usual, and I'm definitely seeing heightened hypervigilance. I'm coping, more or less. I have a support network in place. I'll get through it, and life will go on. It always does. But yeah, this is rough.

Today's escapism is a Firefly marathon while I work with Roman glass. Because there is something utterly amazing about holding something that was made by human hands two thousand years ago, and, well... Firefly. 

[image: ornate glass bowl on a wooden surface, full of blue, green, and yellow ancient Roman glass shards, many with heavy patina or encrusted with dusty white soil]

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me

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