Life On The Other Side

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Perspective Shift

In August 2018 I suffered a series of seizures that were seen by someone else of I was awake for.  The first rule after any first aid is NO DRIVING!  Which was cool because it turns out I have been having tiny seizures for a while…even driving or eating or swimming.  Thank God I didn’t ever hurt myself or anyone else.

As most of us who drive know, it becomes very easy to become a driving commentator or worse, a passenger/back seat driver!  It has now been six months and I have had difficulty adjusting to being at the mercy of whoever is driving me, but one day I had to sit in the back seat.  Having multiple cars allows me to sit in the front usually, but ole’ Yukon had a misfire so my stepdad picked us up and sitting in the back seat was very different.  As a child I loved watching the scenery roll by whether we were going down South or to the bank.

Suddenly I realized there was a while Las Vegas out there that I have ignored in favor of memorizing streets and geographical locations, zip codes, addresses, and everything I needed o get around this city for the past 23 years.   Now, I was able to focus on mountains in the distance and appreciate them, look at buildings, watch birds, and I was amazed at how much of the world I have blocked out of my mind.

I think this may (or may not) be a good analogy for my life.  For so long I was in charge of it.  I decided what I did, ate, how long I slept, and basically everything else.  I pushed my body through canyons, up mountains, on rocks, and I god my desired results.

Now, my meds tell me when I will wake up and go to bed.  They control my appetite.  I have trainers for my body and mind that tell me what to do, how often, and for how long.  I have a body that has taken control and tells ME when we go to the bathroom or have insomnia.  At first I fought every bit of this by doing more, working hard until I was exhausted.  Then the testing period came and I little control over my life, all the tests showed I was normal and that made this process more frustrating,

The seizure in the neurologist’s office is what gave us the green light to start treatment with some confidence until we can get more information.

*Update (because I forgot to publish!): I have spent some time in the emergency room after a seizure last Friday morning and life has only gotten more interesting from there.  I did not post because I was completely out of it and I don’t always schedule weeks ahead unless something is coming up.

I have been having seizures any time I participate in a lot of physical activity or even just talk or sing for a while. I woke up Friday morning and I couldn’t move.  At the hospital they explained that it was Todd’s paralysis (part of a syndrome, I guess) and it happens after a seizure and you are just kinda stuck there.  Luckily I had my CPAP on, but it was a terrifying experience.

I am back to PT twice a day and dance and choir and whatever else I need to do to feel good about my life.  If it puts me in a condition to get us closer to the answers I am not going to stop.

Ok, bedtimes!!

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The Wild Michellicorn

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Michellicorn: the power of awesome!

I don’t live much in a fantasy world, but I have loved unicorns ever since watching Legend back in the day.  I also watched a lot of The Last Unicorn.  I could always picture myself as one of these magnificent creatures; endowed not only with the grace and strength of a horse but with magic in the form of a breathtaking horn set high upon it’s regal head.

Yeah, very into that scenario in my head.  That’s not a cutie mark on me, that is the brand from the music farm that I live on where we all sing in harmony and our magic is harvested to make pop icons.  Not how I thought I would spend my existence as a unicorn, but it is good money and the hours are awesome so I can take care of my growing filly while earning some carrots.

I should have given myself wings and been an alicorn, but it’s too late for all that now.  Now we just look at this picture and all be a little thankful that I am not a unicorn as I see them because I look kinda creepy, like “I would take you to town, but I would also go through your bags while you are sleeping” kind of creepy.

I imagine the freedom of running through open fields can’t be beat, unless you are an alicorn and can also fly.  So, there’s that.  I hope you have enjoyed Michellicorn: the power of awesome!

Don’t forget to visit The Life Of A Music Monkey my blog on life with Chiari behind the veil.

The Pain Is Everywhere

This is a point in my journey I could not have predicted. I have never considerd myself a “happy” person, but I have always felt that I had some direction and motivation.  

The loss of my job, my memory, and some of my higher functioning has left me feeling robbed.  Chiari has stolen the things about myself that made me feel like my life had value to me or made me feel valuable.  

The hard part is staying transparent.  I began this journey so that those who came behind me would have a record of the trials I faced in case theit situation was similar to my own.  

I have a complicated history that involves some childhood horrors and now I have lost my coping mechanisms (work, work, work, work, work).  So, at my neuropsych evaluation it was recommended that I go into long-term therapy with a PhD level psychologist because now I have to work through my current life change and wade through my past so it can be fixed.  

That sounds reasonable.  Still, on the inside it drives me into an anxiety attack just thinking about it.  I don’t want to re-live that part of my life, but in a way I already am.  I feel just as trapped and hopeless as I did when I was a child, but with the added bonus of having my own child and remembering independence. 

Slowly, the enjoynents of my life are fading.  I am checking in less often.  The neuropsych eval stated that my intelligence surpasses 99% of people in my age range.  At times, I have the clarity to see that I am severly depressed and I am getting worse quickly.  I recognize the trail of red flags that my mind is desperately flinging all over, anywhere someone will look.  

That is why I have chosen to keep my battle as public as possible (without incriminating anyone or tarnishing anyone’s reputation) because it is time to stop being ashamed.  We are not ashamed of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, broken bones, or any other health problem.  We should not be ashamed if our brains aren’t functioning well either.  

So, this is why there have not been any updates.  I haven’t cared enough to do any.  I have barely cared enough to get up every day and pretend like I want to be here.  I hope that as I go through treatment, this cartoon with flourish and once again be what I created it to be.  A mockery of the crazy things people aay to me. 

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“I can’t believe it’s been a whole year!  I just got a promotion, what have you been doing?”                                     “Surviving!”

The world at large does not have a thorough understanding of recovering from brain surgery.  While their lives breeze by marked by accomplishments and milestones, my days are monotonous and almost indistinguishable from one another.  My memory started fading over a year ago, and I only have vague recollections of what has been going on in my life.  I have not achieved anything, and it makes for very awkward conversations.

Dreaming…

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Dreaming the dream!

Life is full of dreams.  They change and mature as we grow and sometimes when we are on the cusp of achievement, the dream dies.  I felt this way last year when my doctor told me I would need brain surgery.  Everything that I had worked for was snatched from my hand and I was left with what felt like nothing.  I could no longer sing arias or even hold my guitar.  And when I could hold the guitar, my fingers wouldn’t always cooperate.  After surgery, I got a ukulele to help me with retraining my fingers to listen to my brain.  It has been the most comforting item during this period of my life.  When everyone is sleep and I am wide awake, I can sing and play and feel like my voice is still relevant.  I may never go back to school.  I may never perform a solo again.  I may never be what I thought I would be.  I will sing though, and I will imagine all the people whose hearts I could have touched.