Not all that long ago, I talked about recovery being the process of moving from changes that came rapidly to changes that come far apart.  This is true.  At least physically, this is true for me.  Everything else about this after surgery process seems more convoluted.

If you were to meet me today and in the course of discussion I mentioned that I had brain surgery a year ago, somewhere in your head, probably mostly unconsciously, you would think, “It was a long time ago.”  When I think about being a year away from surgery, I think about how much longer it will take for me to understand the body I now live in.  The process of being past surgery has just begun.  Now that my body is unlikely to create sudden differences, I get to feel out all of the little ways in which it is now different.  This will be everything from what my hair is doing to how my body is feeling pain.  It is in these hundreds of little things, things other people assume, that I am lost.  But how do I explain this to someone?  “I’m sorry I’m having a bad day because my hair is seems to be straighter/curlier now and I don’t know how to deal with that yet.”  “Don’t worry, this cold is just taking longer to go away because my immune system got scrambled a couple of times last year and is still working on the kinks.”  And even when I do find ways to talk about this, it is like I can see in their eyes the thought, “But it’s been a year, shouldn’t you know this now?”  And I simply cannot answer the question they don’t know how to ask.  For the record the answer is that most of that time was spent becoming healthy enough to notice this issue.   

Between surgery #2 and #3, I spent a summer working away from people who knew me.  It was a good experience, but the week when I came across my surgery anniversary, I was lonely.  I was surrounded by nice people, but no one I really wanted to call and say, “Hey, three years ago there was this surgery and I’d like to go celebrate.  Want to come?”  My boss at the time noted that that must be isolating, and I replied, “Yes, but the entire experience is isolating.”  Think about it.  How many people out there can say they’ve had surgery three times?  Brain surgery three times?  Who are under 30?  Throw in some other life factors (family history, my chosen career field, etc) and I’m a pretty small group.  This is hard.  Not because there aren’t people who love me and listen and seek understanding–I am blessed to have many of those people in my life.  This is hard because there aren’t many people who listen and know, people who I can talk to without seeking to express all of the intricasies of my emotional responses.  This is one area where I miss what I’ve never had.

I keep finding that there are still more things I want to think about.  But I don’t know when they  might show up here.