Sunday, July 24, 2011

The finish line's in sight! And man, does it look good!

In 2007, when the surgeon came into my hospital room to explain the craniotomy to me, he explained the risks. He told my family they needed to be thinking of long-term facilities that would assist with my care because there was a really good chance that I would not be able to perform my daily tasks after the surgery. The picture he painted was grim. He'd told my family of the chance for me to end up a vegetable and dependent on mechanical ventilation to survive. If it was a surgery that I could have opted out of, just based on hearing him talk, I would have totally chosed against it.

After surgery, he let us know that everything "went well". I was able to breath just fine on my own (so no need for the mechanical ventilation). However, he told us, once he opened me up, he saw that the tumor had entwined with my brain tissue so bad that he had to stop cutting because he no longer knew what was brain tissue and what was tumor. He warned that I might always suffer some disabilities. Always.

He was a great surgeon, but hope was certainly NOT his strong point. However, he was right to warn me. I had to work hard. Really hard. 17 months of therapy hard. Coordination was a huge problem. I couldn't get a spoon to my mouth. Eating for me was like watching a 6 month old try to feed itself. I had to wear a bib and everything. Not a cute look for a 24 year old. My husband did my make-up because when I tried to do it, I'd have mascara on my cheeks and lipstick on my nose. My memory was horrible. I'd go in the grocery store, with a list, and stand in the middle of the isle and start crying because I couldn't remember why I was in there, and couldn't remember to look at the list. Physical therapy had to work with me forever to teach me how to walk. Just how to walk. I'd been walking for 23 years of life, but 3 days a week I had to have somone spend an hour at a time working with me to teach me how to walk. I had to re-learn how to drive. I could go on and on, but surely that paints the picture.

And I remember being angry. Angry at that stupid, unwelcome, THING in my head. Angry that it had robbed so much from me. Memories of my son when he was 2 - I have none. My daughter when she was 8 and missing teeth? None. All I remember is post-surgery headaches. The kind that left me alone, and in the dark, and crying praying to God that He'd have taken my life during surgery instead of leaving me here to live like that.

But that anger did something. It fueled this determination. I became determined that a dumb brain tumor was not going to beat me, or at least, not without a fight. And so against all odd's, I started nursing school. I'm sure no one would have blamed me if I had've never attempted it. After what I'd been through, no one probably expected it out of me. But "I can do ALL things through Christ". And so that's what I did.

Every single semester, it's been a battle. I have literally had one health issue after another. I've been diagnosed with more junk, I've had surgery, and I've continued to battle risidual post-surgery headaches - BUT tomorrow, I'm taking the last final of my ASN career. In just 4 days, I'll graduate with an RN degree. Not only that, but somehow (as long as tomorrow goes well), I've managed to pull a 'B' in every single one of my classes.

This has just served as a testiment to me that no matter WHAT things might look like, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!