It’s been a month since my procedure and I am finally doing quite well.
I will admit that I did not expect the days and weeks following to be so miserable. My unrealistic expectations probably had something to do with the way I downplayed the whole situation. Sure, I was going in for a surgical procedure to remove a golf-ball sized mass from my skull, but it’s not like I was having all-out open brain surgery! (They removed it little by little through my nose — crazy, right?!). I even brought my laptop to the hospital expecting to “get some work done” in the days after the surgery — HA!
I won’t bore you with the details but 4 days in the hospital were the opposite of fun and a week after surgery, I ended up in the ER and admitted for 3 more dismal days in the hospital here in Santa Barbara.
But, just like my surgeon described, one day I turned a corner and felt better. I noticed a change a few days after returning home from that second stint in the hospital. Yes, those first couple of weeks were the worst in my life (so far) but when I think back to that time, I count myself lucky that this whole ordeal was not more serious than it was, that the pain and discomfort was transient, and that I’m fine.
I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all of the support I received in the past few weeks: from my husband, parents, and aunt who took care of me in and out of the hospital; to Matt, Sarai, and our amazing staff at Titan who took on more work and my share of classes so I could have the extended break; and of course to my family, friends, and my dear Titan Tribe — I thank you all for the sweet notes, get well cards and emails, healing vibes, positive thoughts, gifts, and prayers, they absolutely helped me during this rocky road to recovery.
Surprisingly enough, I can honestly say that I am grateful for this whole experience.
With plenty of time to self-reflect, I’ve been reminded of all of the people and things I neglected when I was preoccupied with work and pretending that everything was all right. I hid behind a smile but felt like an imposter — I was a health advocate that couldn’t figure out how to take care of herself. I was burnt out and unable to appropriately handle stress, I was anxious, irritable, and sad. I wasn’t myself.
With this time to heal, I’ve been lucky enough to spend more time with those I love like my family, my husband, and my dog. I’ve completed work projects without distraction, I’ve caught up on studying topics that interest me and errands that I never seemed to have the time for. Most importantly, I’ve learned to find patience and compassion for myself. It always felt good to cross things off my never-ending to-do list, but it feels even better now to have a sense of awareness of when it’s time to slow down and shift focus to the people I love and the things I really enjoy. I struggled for some time to find inspiration and time to dedicate to my favorite hobby but over the past couple of weeks, I’m happy that my old self is coming back and that I’ve reawakened my love for food and cooking. You can check out my latest creations below.
Short story long, I feel good.
I feel like a better version of my old self that I would never have known or come to appreciate had I not had a massive tumor in my pituitary gland that after several years, completely shut me down. I have a new perspective and the attitude of gratitude is my new M.O. — I hope you help hold me to it!
With love and gratitude,
A photo journal from the last 4 weeks
(1) LA Farmers Market dinner with mom, dad, and Ryan the night before with markers all over my head placed before my pre-op MRI. (2) Waiting room thumbs up because “it’s no big deal–stop taking pictures of me mom!” (3) “Oh crap, I’m about to go in!”
Foxy’s antics were the only thing that could cheer me up after multiple hospital stays. 😂