Why There Will Always Be a Problem

Note to self: There will always be a problem.

It’s crazy to think my brain surgery was a whole year ago (and everything is weirdly the same!) The recovery process has been far longer than I anticipated. I still struggle to do certain things – my vision is still double in certain directions, my writing is shakier than it used to be, my right arm aches when I overuse it and my weaker right ankle still makes walking a challenge.

But I’m also at the stage where if I didn’t mention these things to you, you probably wouldn’t tell. 

We’re always the most critical of ourselves and I find that I’m even more so because I now constantly compare myself to my ‘old self’ and what I was capable of before my surgery. But I do also know how much I’ve improved overtime.

When I think back to my life in the months immediately following brain surgery last summer, I think of how my housemates had to help me with my weekly shop because I couldn’t carry the smallest thing. I walked either holding a stick or holding someone’s arm as I needed assistance of some sort and I wobbled terribly even whilst sitting down or leaning against a wall as any ounce of balance just went out the window.

Even on photos I can see there were also far less teeth on show, my face was incredibly ‘pulled’ to the one side, even whilst resting, and for ten months I patched my right eye every night as it didn’t fully close on its own, like it does now. 

Above: Sept 2019; Below: June 2020

Although I’ve still got a long way to go to where I’d like to be, I’m no longer dedicating time to walking up and down the stairs without holding on or relearning to use the escalator so I can actually go shopping and catch the tubes again.

It’s hard to believe I ever struggled with such simple things but the important thing is that they did improve with time, as most things do. During that time of struggling, it honestly felt like that was the end game and that I just had to accept these things as they were. The improvements have been so gradual that it’s not until I look back and see that the 1% of daily progress added up. 

Right before brain surgery last year, my sister and I fantasised about how wildly different “this time next year” would be. We always planned to celebrate my anniversary by having afternoon tea in Sketch and looked forward to the surgery naively becoming a memory.

Well this year is different, that’s for sure. But rather than afternoon tea in Sketch, we had a socially distanced Prosecco picnic in Bourton on the water.

Bourton Prosecco picnic to mark one year

To think I’m still not back at work after 54 weeks and we’re now in the middle of a global pandemic blows my mind. But it’s also a great reminder that there will always be a problem. Just when you begin to think a problem will soon be resolved, you’re presented with another one. That’s just what life is.

It’s about tackling these problems each day, little by little, and simply keeping calm and carrying on. No matter what they are, or how impossible they seem, you’ll get through them. That’s because you’ve already got through so much.

All we can do is just keep going and do what we can. 

My super thoughtful best friends also threw me a surprise BITB (social distancing) party Friday night on my craniversary. I had no idea and walked into balloons, BITB quotes, cupcakes, cookies, flowers and gorgeous cards!

1 comment

  • Sammy – How frustratingly slow your progress is, but it’s progress nonetheless, and I’m glad you’re able to focus on how far you’ve come. I know I’ve shared this before, but I’ll mention again – after twenty years, my son is still getting better in ways we’d never imagined. Every day you work at improving, you’re building new neural pathways for your brain, and your brain will adapt. So keep goin, girl!!

    Karen Debonis

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