Monday, June 22, 2009

Brain Tumor



A few people have asked about my post on the brain tumor I had a little over 20 years ago. You can find it here. And while I wish I could hear on one side, that my one eye still had tears, that my face was not disfigured, I do not regret going through what I did. I know that sounds a little Mother Teresa, but it really is true. I don't think I would be the person I am today, had I not been reduced to that dismal, depressed place after my surgery. I had lost my father 15 months before, been in a terrible car accident, my husband was told he would need to find another job, my tiny daughter almost died in child birth, and I ended up with hair on only one side of my head. I was depressed. Really depressed. More depressed than I had ever been.

Eckhart Tolle talks about spiritual awakening often occurring when our egos have no where else to turn. For me, this was true. Without all that went before, I don't think it would have happened, at least not then. "Stressor buildup" is the technical term when stressors become overwhelming and become the proverbial 'hair on the camel's back'. It is when we break. In my case, I had two small children and a husband that needed me to pick myself up and find a way back to being a mommy and being happy. I did that by reminding myself how lucky I was to be alive. There were so many others not nearly so lucky. But I was damaged, and I needed to find a way to deal with it. Enter my spiritual search.

I would bring home stacks of books from the library. Since recovery was slow and required sitting, I would read books on everything. From how the mind works, psychology, brain function, Gary Zukov, (who's book "The Seat of the Soul" changed my life), to every kind of meditative, creative visualization, Buddha, Bible, religious book that I could find. Literally hundreds. Studying is where I turn when I feel insecure. I always think I can find answers in books. Anyway, after recovery and several years, I entered college again as an adult. I then studied Human Development & Family Studies, with a Psychology minor. The end result was my own understanding of why we are here.

I believe what we are is within, not what our bodies look like, or where we live, or how much money we have. We are equals, all coming from the same place. I believe many in our world are finally waking up to this realization.

So, I really mean it when I say - I wouldn't change a thing. I am who I am today because of this great struggle. When I find a blog where someone is in great pain, I can empathize from a place of having been there. But I would guess that most of us can empathize. Very few of us get through this life intact and unscathed.

I am happy to be who I am, to have the people in my life that I do, and to have the opportunities that I have. We are experiencing difficult and amazing times. It's scary and exciting. But I'm not alone, and neither are you.

45 comments:

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

I have often been told that we aren't doing something right if we are sailing along unscathed. It just means we haven't lived to learn. We are all equal when it comes right down to it. We empathize out of pure understanding and if a person doesn't, I think they are fooling themselves. Loved the post as always....thanks for sharing!

Rachael said...

I think that everyone has events in their lives, of different magnitudes of course, that help us realize who we were meant to be. Thank you for sharing yours with us, it gives such insight into your positive outlook and drive to endure. Truly an inspiration as always... :)

Joanne said...

Thank you for sharing this with us here. It seems that what helped with your recovery and great attitude today is the way you put yourself deep inside the situation with immersing yourself in so many books, and then continuing your education as well. That knowledge helps give us a greater understanding of what seems unexplainable at the time. Kudos to you for the manner in which you grew from this painful time.

Butternut Squash said...

Simply beautiful. Embrace life and love as much as you can! I am so glad that you are here to share your positivity with us all. Peace.

Star said...

I must have missed your original post! but I've read it now. You are a remarkable person and I admire you greatly. To be able to live in the moment is a great gift and an important lesson to learn too. I do it when I'm on airplanes! Books are such a delight aren't they? and yes, they are very therapeutic as well. I lose myself in books and have several on the go at once. E.G. one to cheer me up, one to make me think,one to put me to sleep (Pranksy!. I hope you enjoy the rest of your life moments. Your beauty comes through, it does, it really does.
Blessings, Star x

MzzLily said...

I understand completely! Almost a decade ago, I was diagnosed as 4th stage lymphoma. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. It strengthened my faith in God, put my priorities in the right order, brought me closer to my husband, and made me a much better person!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

My grandmother use to say that whatever didn't kill us made us stronger. I think that her life was a struggle out of poverty. She had only a third grade education and was a simple farmer's wife. The only book I ever saw her read was the Bible...... King James version. One would wonder about comprehension. All this to say that her schooling was that of experience.......... You have not only risen above circumstance, but have the ability to use your understanding to help others through your sharing. It is much appreciated.

Meeko Fabulous said...

Love of Life. Your blog brought tears to my eyes. Our own personal struggles are what make us 'us' and defines who we are as people. My favorite saying is, "Whatever doesn't kill me, makes me stronger." Kudos to you!

manxrunner said...

This has really shown me that I should appreciate what I've got, while all these people are being the best they can be- in the local TT a local man died in a crash, but he'd also attempted Everest three times, and won his first podium out of 40 years of motor bike racing :) I guess there are people who will grab every oppertunity they have while others sit by the sidelines- I know which I'd rather be!

Jeff D'Antonio said...

It is in the worst of times that we learn who we truly are.

For me it was my recovery from addiction. I had to lose myself in order to find myself.

I have met many cancer survivors who, like you, say that having cancer changed them in immeasurable ways. The sudden realization of what is important (and what is not) causes a dramatic shift in priorities.

Clarity is the word I've often heard to describe it. We walk around in a fog our whole lives, until some life-changing event comes along, and suddenly we find it - clarity. And once you've found it, there's no going back. Suddenly the fog is lifted and you understand things like never before.

It's easy to recognize the people who have found it and the ones who haven't. You watch them stumble around in the fog, and you feel sorry for them because they just don't get it. And nothing you can say will make them understand. They have to find it for themselves. Some people never do.

I'm glad you found yours.

Kala Pohl Studio said...

Wonderful post - well said. Who was it who said "we are not human beings on a spiritual journey, but spiritual beings on a human journey":):) The essence of who we truly are lies within - not in what we look like, material things we accummulate or jobs we have. I too am on the same journey, fall off from time to time, but keep getting back on it:)

Big hug:)

DJan said...

Thank you for pointing me to your original post, and for this one today. I will forward this to my friend with the brain tumors so she can decide how much to read herself. She also has been on a spiritual journey because of her challenges.

Just a short aside: you seem to have many more male readers than most of us. I wonder why?

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Bravo! Well lived, and well related telling it back. I am inspired by your strength and vitality. Thank you.

Rain said...

Wonderful LOL. Nicely put.
xx

California Girl said...

your words touch me especially considering my post today (whining about my aging body). I can and cannot imagine the struggle you went through. I guess we all have our struggles and they are unique and what is horrific for one may be less so compared to the rest of another's life. Everything for me is about how I feel each day. Some days good; others, not as. You do have a cheerful outlook and that's why you have so many followers. thank you for sharing. xo

Brian Miller said...

thank you so much for sharing this. our experiences in many ways shape who we are and the heart we have for othr people. yours is beautiful and i look forward to following your journey.

TheChicGeek said...

What a beautiful post. So true. I have always said myself that adversity is a blessing. When we come out the other side we have a new and profound appreciation for even the smallest of joys in our lives.
Have a Beautiful Day!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Wow! That's where your book starts!

Bogey said...

I think it has been your eventual acceptance of what will be, will be, that has garnered you such a vast following. And I mean follow in every sense of the word. People know when they read of your life's experience that you have walked the walk and have the right to talk the talk. It is only when we walk in the shoes of others that we can become leaders....the rest of us, merely follow with love and admiration. Your experience is our strength.

Pam said...

What a thoughtfult post. I hope that if I ever have to go through something so tragic, that I can come through it strong like you. I admire you so much.

luksky said...

Great post! It's funny how we always try and protect our loved ones from pain and sorrow but yet that's the thing that makes us stronger and more empathatic...

Grandma Nina said...

You are so inspiring and have made me think differently about so many things. My complaints I know now are nothing. You just put everything into perspective. Now if I can just remember this and hold onto it. I may read this post of your every day as a reminder. Thank you.

robert said...

A deep bow in repect of the way you write and its content.

Y'ra KC said...

Life... is like a box of chocolates - a cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that no one ever asks for, unreturnable because all you get back is another box of chocolates. So, you're stuck with mostly undefinable whipped mint crap, mindlessly wolfed down when there's nothing else to eat while you're watching the game. Sure, once is a while you get a peanut butter cup or an English toffee but it's gone too fast and the taste is fleeting. In the end, you are left with nothing but broken bits filled with hardened jelly and teeth-shattering nuts, which, if you are desperate enough to eat, leaves nothing but an empty box of useless brown paper. ~The X-Files

Jaky astik said...

Cool blog. I am planning to write about health every Tuesday. Let's see how my new blog goes.

Here Under the Rainbow said...

As I read of the painful things that happened to, I thought of one of my favorite poets Rilke, of what he said, "We are unutterly alone, especially in the things most intimate and most important to us." I'm glad you emerged from that dark period of your life and have the empathy and wisdom you do now for us to learn from.

Mary Ellen said...

Your story is inspiring. Not everyone can pick themselves up in the face of fear and suffering as you did. What a gift that was for those you love - and now many more.

Marguerite said...

L.O.L.- I am so thankful that you survived this ordeal. You are an amazing woman and are an inspiration to all of us with your generous spirit and positive attitude. Thanks for sharing.

Nancy said...

the dark night of the soul. I had that happen to me in 2003. I'm still getting over it, but I'm a better person now than before even though every fiber of my being wishes for the perfect outcome I did not have.

Deboshree said...

My dear friend,my respect for you has increased ten fold.
What a lovely post. You touched my heart and I must say that you are an extremely strong human being.
My mom had cancer too and she passed away when I was ten. But her tumour was not benign.
I think you have learnt a lot of life's important lessons in a short time. Thank you for making us a part of it.

Love
Deboshree

Ruth said...

Thank you for sharing that.

My best friend went through breast cancer nearly six years ago. She too began a spiritual path, and at the very outset I was drawn in. We did the same as you, devouring Tolle, Ruiz, Gurdjieff, and many others as we practiced meditation and learned to go inside. She realized she had never been so happy as when she went through chemo. I will forever be grateful to her disease that also helped me find my spiritual center. Interesting that it took that for me, after growing up a Baptist preacher's kid.

Lori ann said...

((hugging you)) for everything you said, you are an inspiration. I love that you said many are waking up. I believe that too. I look for that always and it's what i find.
i'm so glad you are better dear Love.

Stephanie said...

My moment was coming down with Chronic Fatigue 10 years ago. It changed everything about me. Most for the better but I seem stuck in some energy patterns from when I was sick. I guess it is all part of the learning/journey. This was my first visit to your blog. Love it!

Reya Mellicker said...

Wow what a story! You were split in half. Wow. So you are a shaman, too. Wow.

Reya Mellicker said...

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that you were having a Pluto transit during that moment in your life. That's how they work. Wow.

I am so in awe of your attitude! I salute you!

Spiritual Journey said...

"I believe what we are is within, not what our bodies look like, or where we live, or how much money we have." Wow! That is a very profound thing to say. I'm glad you survived those trials and look at you now, much stronger and an inspiration to us.

Phoebe Miriah Kirby said...

You change lives just by writing of your life in cyberspace.
You make me want to be a better person. I want to throw my make-up away and pick up some more Carl Jung books.
Congratulations to you. You know who you are and what you want. In all of your posts you allow us, your readers, to share our own lives which makes you my favorite blog on blog spot. Your empathy is unshakable.
Thank you so much. :)

Dina said...

I really love this post.

I'm sorry you had a brain tumor. I'm glad you're still alive.

I agree with you though. I think sometimes really great things come out of bad experiences.

Emom said...

Thank you for sharing this with us again. To Lose everything, brings into sharp focus what is important.
Smiles.

susan said...

I guess all we can ever do during times of trouble and pain is to embrace it so that someone else can be spared a little suffering. I'm glad you're well now and honored to know you.

Pat said...

That saying of, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is true. When you look back at that time, aren't you amazed at your strength and how you got through that time? I've had some times like that in my life - we've all did. And I agree with you, those experiences shape who we are today. Thanks for the though provoking post.

Hilary said...

Thanks for sharing your story and for always being so inspiring. Nice too, to see your name emerge, Nancy. :)

Boomka said...

I love that idea, of a spiritual wall. A place where your ego has nowhere to turn.I can visualize that, I can relate to that. Its almost refreshing, no it is. It is like... a relief. With your back against the wall you can only go forward.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Such a wonderful post & the one to which you linked. In the moment... you have given the very best explanation of "in the moment" that I have ever read. So sensible and not selfish; so heartfelt. Thank you.
I came to you via Reya at The Gold Puppy... many thanks...

Momma Moe said...

God Bless you! Great post!