I think I blinked a couple of times when I heard the doctor say ‘brain tumour,’ but I can’t recall saying anything. I guess that explained the mood swings and strange dreams. I had put it down to inherited family eccentricities that I was either going to have to live with, or retrain my brain for change. In some strange way, I felt relieved.
Living with a tumour growing inside my head became a surreal experience. People would ask me how I was. I didn’t know how to answer that. How was I supposed to feel? It didn’t feel like I was facing a huge physical battle until surgery loomed and the drugs that I ingested made me feel like I was floating two feet above the ground. Quite frankly, I would have been grateful for any relief from my zombified state.
My operation was considered a success, although my success as a person post-surgery depended entirely upon me. I had been left with no pituitary, and was to flat-line on all known human hormones for the rest of my life.
The new me had a new agenda, which at first was to adapt and stop feeling sorry for myself. This was easier in theory than actual execution. I read all the self help books I could get my hands on and tried all the alternative therapies. If something didn’t work, I would sink deeper into the black hole of misery and self-destruction- which ironically was easier to do than working to pull myself out of it. I stayed there for a while, but I learned a lot from the experience. Life doesn’t wait for the non-participant. The world still moves on without you. You make what you can of what you’ve got, or have no life at all.
I have moved on folks, that’s for sure. I’ve been to college, retrained my brain, got degrees and diplomas. I’ve also got a new motorbike, which was the veritable dangling carrot – reward for effort – something sweet for something sour. My life has left a bitter taste at times, but the tastebuds have adapted. The sweet tastes even sweeter and is appreciated more than it would have been fifteen years ago. ‘The Black Dog’ still occasionally still nips at my heels, but I refuse to let it take a big bites. I won’t accept that this is all that I can be, all because of life changes.