Before we move on to the fun stuff, let’s take care of the semi-serious first. As they say, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, or, after a rainstorm, comes a beautiful rainbow. Let’s weather this storm for the next few blog entries, and I promise the rainbow that follows will be the most beautiful you’ve ever seen!
Let’s get started: how does one cope with a medical condition? Regardless of your age, panic, depression, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness, are only a few of the whirlwind of emotions one feels when they are told that they have a medical condition that will affect them for the rest of their lives. When I was first told about my disorder, I instantaneously cried. And honestly, not for the reasons you might expect. I was told I had an acoustic neuroma that was affecting my hearing, balance, and facial nerves on the left side of my brain. The neuroma had grown to an incredible size, and evidently surgery was the only option to remove it.
When an ENT (Ears-Nose-Throat Specialist) told me I had to undergo brain surgery to remove it, he showed me exactly where the incision would be by my left ear. In order to open up that area, the hair on top would have to be shaved *cue waterworks.* To this day, I still don’t quite understand why shaving a bit of my hair was the part that got me so worked up. I mean, forget about a disorder I’ll have for the rest of my life, or I won’t be able to hear from my left ear ever again, but mention shaving my hair, and suddenly I’m a mess. I think at that moment (or what I would like to believe) is that the whole ordeal became so unbelievably real, that this was actually happening. That now I would be known as a medical patient and I would have this disorder for the rest of my life. And a bald patch + some scars here and there would characterize me forever.
I was used to worrying about assignments, exams, and boys at school and whether they noticed me or not (usually they didn’t), not brain surgeries and yearly MRI check-ups. This was new and unplanned territory. I was the only one in my group of friends that was going through something of this nature, and although some of my family members had their own medical issues, no one had NF2! I felt so alone! For the first few months I definitely threw myself a few pity parties here and there. Along with the typical, “How could this happen to me?” and “But I’m such a good person!” Blah blah blah.
Did I mention that all of this came during my last year of University? ‘I’m supposed to graduate with all of my friends!’ Oh gosh, how I was so stuck on a timeline, and worried about graduating at the 4-year mark. God forbid if I have to come back for a fifth year – that would just be social suicide.
I wish I could tell you that there is an easy way to make all of these feelings go away. That once the surgery was over, I didn’t worry anymore, and I went back to my life doing the same things I did before. I mean I kind of stopped worrying, and I did start doing the same things that I did before, but it was different. And it took me a looooong time just to get to that stage where I finally accepted what was happening. You know what they say, ‘acceptance is the first step.’ And honestly, it really is.
I think accepting your situation begins when you stop feeling sorry for yourself, when you stop blaming others (or yourself, or God in some cases) for what you’re going through. I know it’s a sucky situation. I don’t disagree with that at all. It’s crappy, especially if no one around you is going through the same thing, because honestly if they aren’t, they can’t really relate to you. But that’s okay! As long as they support you, that’s all you really need. And this is your journey, your life, and your time to learn and grow from this experience, not anyone else’s.
Truth be told, regardless of if you’re feeling down about your situation, or if you try to turn it into something positive, the issue is still going to be there. I mean, if I’m crying all the time and isolating myself, it’s not going to help get rid of my NF2, right? I’m still going to have it, but now I’m just upset all the time, so living would just seem so miserable and futile. And yes, if I’m positive, that doesn’t take away my medical condition either (although, I have heard of some miraculous stories….), but at least I’m not miserable. At least I can enjoy the many other things in life that truly are wonderful. Why should one bad thing take away from all the other good things?
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! And honestly make it the best kind of lemonade ever. Not the kind children sell on sidewalks for 25 cents. Make a pitcher of kickass lemonade that Gordon Ramsey would be dying to know the recipe of. And if I’ve learned anything, it’s that if things don’t go according to plan, don’t worry so much! Try another route, another recipe, and most of all, don’t let it get you down. You are so much more than the problems in your life. You is kind, you is smart, you is important (do I have to cite this properly….? It’s from The Help =)).
This entry is super long I know, I’m sorry! I hope it didn’t scare any of you away (which I’m sure it did eheh). But for those of you still sticking around, and to even those who just glanced at my page, thank you a million times over! I’ll try to keep the next entries shorter and funnier, but I make no promises (muahahaha).
Until next time my fellow readers, bloggers, and internet trolls alike, I bid you farewell, and wish you the best for today, tomorrow, and for all your days ahead.