This post is difficult to write because I had to relive uncomfortable thoughts that invaded my mind. This is raw for the time being, so please read with consideration that I’m exposing myself here.
Before I go into an explanation of how I got from point A to point Z, here is a list of thoughts that poured into my head that I wrote down so I would never forget.
1. Why did this happen to me?
2. Am I going to die? This is all happening so fast.
3. Who are all these doctors? What are they trying to say? I think I remember the other day “brain bleeding”, “chance of death”.
4. Can I handle all these procedures?
5. They kept me alive, but I don’t feel alive.
6. I just want to scream and cry.
7. I’m a burden on my husband and family. How can they live with this?
8. I can’t handle this pain.
9. Will I ever sleep again?
10. I’m going crazy laying here.
11. So many monitor sounds. Why did they come in quick to check? Is something happening?
12. Why are they pushing me to eat? I have no appetite.
13. This cath in my hand hurts, I want to rip it out.
14. Every single time I’m move, I must be careful to not pull my drain in my head. God help me, I can’t help it.
15. Wasn’t the nurse just here
16. They need to change the neurological questions. It’s becoming automatic to me.
17. I’ve been restricted from food and water too many times and for several hours. Is this my death?
18. They are coming soon to get me. I want to run away. I can’t control my fear. This can’t happen. Don’t wheel me to the operating room.
19. I look like a horror story character.
20. I’m so depressed
21. I feel energy again!
22. I feel like a warrior!
23. I want to help others.
24. I feel depressed again.
25. I feel so sick.
26. I’m home again!
27. I’m struggling to remember things. Am I alive?
28. I sit here doing nothing, my mind is racing.
29. I’m falling, my head hurts. Am I having another stroke? Oh God, I’ve read they can happen again.
30. The nightmares- when will they end?
31. What’s my new normal?
32. A trip to the ER with bad results. When will this stop?
33. Another surgery!
34. I’m so scared.
35. I hurt more than ever.
36. I fee more helpless than ever.
37. I want to die.
38. The stroke should have taken me.
39. I want to live.
40. Will anyone understand my pain?
41. I have too much time with too many thoughts.
42. I will end this toxic cycle.
43. Maybe you took it too far.
44. Am I getting worse?
45. I’m having another good day.
46. I want fresh air and a walk.
47. I want to feel the full shower spray hit me.
48. Will I be treated as someone different- like I lost my intelligence?
49. You will be productive.
As you can see, this ordeal pulled on my emotions, wanting to live, confidence and power. I cried more during this long period than I have ever cried before. I never thought I would be this weak with my thoughts and to let them overpower me during a time I needed strength the most. This game in my head was cruel and I didn’t feel that I was winning. Looking at these notes I wrote during my ordeal however turned out to be formidable. If you look at the long list, it seems like I was in a lifetime series of doom. These thoughts, however, were only fleeting thoughts that drifted away quickly. I had a smile on my face and had hope and happiness more than what’s listed. My neurosurgeon nicknamed me sunshine because when the nurses and doctors walked in, I always joked, thanked them and was overall pleasant. I knew that I was a warrior, but a warrior doesn’t walk through the battlefields unscathed. My thoughts, surgeries and other problems were my battle scars and they have shaped me into something better than I was before.
Any type of trauma will do a number on someone or make navigation difficult on loved ones. Instead of feeling depressed about something out of my control, I decided to expose everything I can to normalize the journey of healing. Honesty is the key to get to this place. I could sugarcoat it and say I’m happy I’m here, I had the best medical team and now I’m at home recovering. No! There is too much filler that goes on that humanizes the experience. Right now, I’m functioning and every day I gain more confidence and control over my emotions. I don’t feel pity, but I still have tears that come from time to time because I am still mourning my former self. I am celebrating the new me that has a great deal of compassion, drive, extra love and the need to reach out to several people as I can to let them know they aren’t alone. Tragedy is not the end but a chance to become someone we want to be.