The effects of my post-surgery anti-seizure and steroid meds made it impossible to even nap on the ride home. To pass the time, I called a friend and asked about brain tumor organizations, and was told about the National Brain Tumor Society. I looked them up, found them on Facebook, then I set up a fundraiser for Giving Tuesday on my phone. It ended up raising $2,200 in two weeks!
For the past six weeks, I’ve been extremely motivated and active. I attributed this to my new lease on life, but I learned from a fellow brain tumor survivor that my incredible energy was possibly due to steroid-induced mania. Either way, I’m in the midst of a wild recovery ride. I have learned is that recovery (for myself and my family) is not to be underestimated, although the amount of love and support received from family, friends, and co-workers has been beyond humbling and gratifying.
Thankfully, I feel like I’ve also been gifted back my brain as well as some basic human emotions after a year (at least) of increasing malaise and strange issues that, despite going to multiple doctors had never been connected to a cause.
About a week after getting home, I was surfing Netflix in a medication haze on my couch after a day of maniacally cleaning everything in sight (thanks, steroids) and yelling at people (thanks anti-seizure meds), and I landed on a Russell Brand performance that struck me. Mr. Brand showed a Michelangelo painting called The Creation of Adam from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Some bright wonk noticed relatively recently that Michelangelo painted God sitting in a brain, with his finger stretched out to spark Adam into life.
Mr. Brand referred to this in relation to the recent birth of his daughter as the beginning of consciousness. However, this seems to me to also give a message about the seat of human potential, of all progress, innovation, and creativity. None of which is achievable without the human brain. Just one little thing we collectively take for granted. That I took for granted, and never will again, now that I have my brain back.
A weird and karmic post-script: There I was, sitting with the neuro-oncologist at Georgetown University Hospital for my first follow-up poring over nerdy data and reports. My phone rang – it was NBTS calling to talk to me about my fundraiser. I apologized and said I would call back. Then I looked for a pen to take notes on the steroid ramp-down protocol. The good doctor lent me hers. It was an NBTS pen.
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