Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Welcoming A New But Uninvited Resident
A very warm welcome to anyone dealing with an uninvited resident in your body . It may have cloaked itself in the form of a cyst, a tumour or other mysterious shape or guise. No matter-it is a new occupant that you are learning to live with and this blog invites you to share your tale, perspectives, anecdotes and questions regarding this oftentimes challenging situation. Now, I have thought long and hard about the content of this blog and I wish to begin by saying that it is NOT intended to diminish in any way the fright, general discomfort, exhaustion, second-changing emotion and even pain...No and family members need not read this if they do not wish to. Their experience is no less real and frightening. However, if you, the new landlord, wish to share your experience with your uniquely prescribed lenses, you can do so here. Also, I wish to remain very sensitive and compassionate toward those who are subjected to continual pain and are too exhausted/anguished to share .
However, this site is to explore other ways of looking at what is a traditionally interpreted as an all-out call for war against not only our interloper, but also our very own, dear bodies. Also, if we can lighten the healing atmosphere a great deal, anything miraculous can happen. Just allowing the slit of light generated by a chuckle, a gruesome joke, gallows or what I call casket-humour can move mountains or one's body to ripple with laughter and strengthen its defenses on all levels. Whatever may be the result, you can share a part of yourself that you may feel too uncomfortable to express to concerned family members and friends.
Now, I will get the ball( or tumour ) rolling. Four years ago, an egg-sized tumour was found in my brain. I had no inkling that the space inside my head was filled and no comments need be made about being empty-headed! This growth slowly settled on the wires comprising my acoustic nerve and from a tiny cell to a blundering wood pigeon-size, it grew. For almost ten years, there was no symptom and the little egg grew in silence while I underwent a series of very deep traumas in that span of time. My father died suddenly in 1993, my dear step-father likewise died from ALS in 1998 and my beloved mother was killed in January, 2004. My whole life had been thrown into a black hole of unknown matter full of sadness, fear and potential-all at the same time. What my life had consisted of for 47 years was wiped away one cold, snowy January afternoon.
Three years later while living in Oxford, I lost almost all hearing on one day in early March. I had gone to the local GP who declared, without even investigating facts, " it is a viral infection and you will just have to learn to live with this deafness". I thought her equally cold and damned arrogant and my body, bless its wisdom, shut out her diagnosis and continued to prompt my intuition into further investigation. A year later, I was back in the States and sitting with a very good-looking neurosurgeon who smiled and said, " You've got the best kind of tumour to have !" Yippeee! Sniff! I was informed that I had to undergo brain surgery fairly quickly due to the tiny cell having mushroomed and that I would lose my hearing in my right ear. After further careful explanation, I was told to go home, grieve for the loss of hearing and balance then begin to prepare myself for the intensive operation. Note: I must add that the results of my initial CT scan were received by me alone on a Saturday afternoon. The date-the 14th of July, French Independence Day....What a symbolic day for such news! My tumour had grown beyond the prison walls of the Bastille brain and, like the newly-freed mob, was pouring into all regions of my crown country! I will describe my experience in another instalment...No wish to overwhelm any readers....
Suffice it to say that the surgery took place 4 years ago and a tiny portion of growth had to be left behind in order to preserve facial function...Standard.....Now, as of Valentine's Day this year, I have been told that my space-hogging lodger is back with the intention of squatting again. At least it enjoys what I have to offer! And even after radiosurgery, my friend will remain a permanent resident... So, how to take all this? Past, present and future....They've been bound together by a gentle growth who really likes where it is-near my acoustic nerve within my very generous and tolerant body...Do I feel like crying, sighing, being afraid, negative, hopeful, angry, philosophical.....? I feel all of these things and more and will do so as I unfold a roadmap with new signs, destinations and directions...The first thing that I have done now is name my hitch-hiker-it seems to be Georg. Perhaps after Captain von Trapp in the " Sound of Music" or Georg Philippe Telemann, who was a jaunty Baroque composer. And this is where I will stop for now to catch breath....I would like to share some artwork generated by this brain-episode and maybe it will help you begin to entertain thinking of any lumps and bumps you may be housing creatively.