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Copyright © 2017 by Jo Barlow
Crying in the Rain
10th December 2017
I have always liked my own space, especially outside in nature, but since being ill there has been nothing better than walking outside and there being no one else around. Today’s dog walk was in the sleety rain and I was the only person at the park (I much prefer it when it’s too sunny for most people and I am alone-
I walk round talking, crying and laughing to myself -
Is it as I am worried the tumour is or will come back? Well yes I guess a part of me will always worry if it will return. But at the same time I know worry is a pointless emotion. It’s just going to stress me for nothing. Worrying won’t stop anything happening if it does, but it will pretty much ruin much of my life and make me more miserable about it all.
I never worried about having a brain tumour for more than about 5 minutes of my life before 2016-
I guess part of me is scared that the dizziness will get worse again. Actually the uncontrollable dizziness terrifies me more than the prospect of the tumour returning and needing more brain surgery! To feel you are drunk and you want to sober up 24/7 for 6 months was exhausting. Just the longing to eat without spinning, to walk without hitting a wall, to feel you cannot coordinate your legs properly, to stop feeling ‘travel sickness’ type nausea every time I looked at a screen. The only rest being when I closed my eyes.
That is what scares me, the thought of that coming back.
Yes I still wobble easier than most people if someone bumps into me, yes I still struggle standing still with my eyes shut and yes it gets worse when I am tired. But I am fine 99% of the time. I can even wear (wide) high heels and I don’t think I look too drunk! And if this and the still somewhat slow or muddled speaking and thinking (well…and sleeping for England) are my only problems after major brain surgery then I can manage, and even thank my lucky stars. I am so very grateful that no one looks at me and sees a problem. (Many times when I have told someone they seem genuinely shocked and say they would never have known) I know others with brain injury hate the comments that ‘you look well’ when on the inside they feel awful or are struggling, but I am so grateful the problems are only on the inside and no one else can easily tell. If you see someone – how is another person supposed to react apart from saying what they see?
Plus I want to look well on the outside. I know full well that when the inside is hard to deal with my outside doesn’t look as healthy. I look tired, or old, or grumpy.
So if someone isn’t just pretending to be polite, it’s a pretty big compliment as I know I have got over much of the inner shit-
If I wobble and accept it for what it is, a wobble, I can cope. After all someone removed a part of my skull, cut into my cerebellum and removed a 3cm blood vessel tumour for 5 or so hours, I am probably still recovering, and even if this stays it is fine to manage with. Then the physical wobble is just that, and not an emotional one too. It’s only when I start overthinking that the emotional wobble arrives – then the worry from it shows on my face and it all magnifies in a downward spiral…
And you know what? I am proud of myself. Fucking proud. I still want to hug my brain surgeon and often send him thanks in my thoughts – as I know I wouldn’t be here without him! But I did the fixing myself from the day I left the operating theatre.
I’m proud of any and every compliment I get now-
So I start the park walk with tears mixing with the rain, and walk home with a grin. It’s OK. Today is OK and it’s just me, slightly imperfect as I am.
I accept it.