Sorry for the lack of update after my last post before heading into surgery the other week. Even though I think it's probably the superior social network, Google+ can sometimes be a bit of a ghost town and I've been unfortunately contributing to the tumble weeds while I make sure my larger social networks are kept abreast of my situation. But, for those that aren't connected to me personally on Social Networks A or B, here is the update on my status for Network C, slightly edited for the public consumption:
I know many of you have been anxiously waiting to hear back regarding the final pathology results regarding what the Fates have in store for yours truly related to my recent adventures in brain surgery, and I apologize for the temporary radio silence; however, I still haven’t heard the entire story back, so I’m asking everyone to please continue being patient with me. Jumping to conclusions without complete facts can yield sloppy results, so I’ve been patient in the hope that it will produce less ambiguous conclusions when the full results do arrive.
It’s been approximately three weeks since I visited OHSU to extradite an unwelcome tumor with unclear motives from my cranium using a state of the art procedure with a fancy name (Right Frameless Stereotactic Pterional Craniotomy for the Resection of an Insular Mass). The final pathology results from that fancy procedure will likely not come until this Friday, the 17th, which is when I will meet again with the incredible neurology staff at OHSU. So, for the full status report on where exactly into the river I’ve waded, and whether I’m in over my head or just ankle deep, you’ll have to wait until this Friday to find out. As of right now, be aware that I’m excellent at staying afloat, there’s a snorkel somewhere in the attic, and in the meantime there’s no reason yet to start crying, or dancing, or dance-crying, or whatever new trend people have started in on while I’ve been busy recovering for the first few weeks of 2014.
What I have been while recovering: patient.
What I have not been while recovering: succinct.
If you give someone enough free time to reflect in bed for the majority of their day and a fresh vacancy of headspace hungry to be filled in with new ideas and inspiration, you can rely on some drawn-out and protracted thoughts. I'm going to take a moment to share a few of the things that have been on my new-and-improved mind and what I've been up to lately, so you may as well get comfortable and prepare for another long post as part of my continuing series of updates attempting to break the world-record for wordiest social-network bulletins.
I know there’s been a fair amount of talk regarding my own "super powers" lately, but please be confident that some of my new personal super heroes—the incredible doctors, nurses, and staff at OHSU—are diligently working on my case. My first-hand witnessing of their scholarly wisdom, compassion for their patients, and passion for their work has earned them my unrivaled respect. I completely trust that they are working as fast and flawlessly as their brilliant skills allow and the pathology results will come when they are ready. For now, I want everyone to know my neurological team has been impressed with my speedy recovery and what news I have received back from them has been displaying hopeful headlines set in Cheltenham Bold rather than Comic Sans.
Besides having complete trust in my doctors, I’ve been fortunately successful at remaining calm and anxiety-free while waiting for pathology results by keeping focused on the present. Again, you can probably anticipate January 17th to hear back on complete lab results, but right now I’m finding incredible pleasure in living every breath and every heartbeat in this precise moment. There’s no value in obsessing over what flash-floods might be careening down the river at me tomorrow. If the dam goes to hell, there’s very little to be done about it other than attempt my best pine needle impression and float along with the rest of the detritus; all I know, for the time being, whatever happens to be floating down the stream is currently bobbing along to the tune of, “merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily…” and that’s satisfying enough.
If I just sounded like a crazy person, feel free to blame the recent craniotomy. If I just sounded like someone making total sense, feel free to blame the recent craniotomy for that as well.
It may seem difficult to comprehend—especially for those of you who haven’t received the new 2014 Brain Upgrade yet (totally worth the scalping, plus the hospital has lovely facilities, I see a 5-star Yelp review in OHSU’s future)—but I may feel the best I have in my entire life right now. I’m feeling strong, optimistic, and appreciative of the privilege to temporarily live rent/work/care-free via the grace of my two incredible parents in their home. I’m staying hungry for improvement, augmenting my inspiration, and busying myself making sure all of my mental faculties are still working as per “normal” which includes a healthy prescription of developing a few new personal projects, diving back into the incredibly rewarding world of graphic design and art, wearing down pencils, filling new notebooks, documenting the experience in awkwardly worded and grammatically incorrect run-on sentences such as these, and permitting my face to grow a rugged post-brain-surgery-survivor beard.
The beard pairs well with the minor gut I’m working on—another boon from having the luxury of lounging about in bed most of the day—but even though I’m not technically supposed to do any extraneous physical activities like biking, extreme bocce, or hockey-boxing, it should be noted I’m walking fine, I can take the stairs two at a time if I want, and I honestly feel energized enough to potentially wrestle an enraged clan of badgers if my doctors (and local zoo) allowed.
I'm also not supposed to drive a car yet, but I've been fortunate enough to have had a wealth of incredible visitors keeping me entertained, and my father and generous friends to taxi me about town as needed. Despite being car-less, I was able to have an incredible New Year's Eve, a few wonderful meals out with amazing friends, and I was able to catch a Blazer game for the first time in years at the Rose Garden with my sister and her family.
I’ve gratefully been able to continue to abstain from all pain medication since I first left the hospital, allowing me to interpret my situation with a more precise qualia, which is something that has been critically important to me since the second I woke from my anesthetic slumber. When you have your skull popped open and brain cut into, understandably, you'll want to make sure it’s genuinely working the way it’s supposed to without having to search behind a hazy gauze of medication to find out. I’ve been keeping up on practicing ample amounts of meditation and breathing exercises which have proven successful in keeping me pain-free, positive, focused, and calmly healing. If I have more battles coming my way, I am more prepared for them today than I was yesterday, and I am attempting to build on that alacrity with each moment.
I also completely recognize I’ve been handed the opportunistic reigns of the Uncommon-Experience Wagon, traveling full speed along the Chasm of Curious Moments and over the Aquifer of Atypical Brain Functions (AKA: the Well of What the Hell is that on my MRI Scan?), and I want to do something positive with the insight that comes from a wild ride like that. You could easily say that’s an awfully unfortunate part of the universe to find yourself in, but I’m honestly grateful for the opportunity to drink from a well of perspective that few people get a chance to sip from, regardless of whether those waters taste of fresh young coconut or rancid pond scum; it would be foolish of me to apathetically let pass a glass of something as significant as that simply because I don't like the way it smells or I'm afraid of what it may taste like. Instead, I’m doing my best to leverage the entire journey as a catalyst for positive change in my life and capture that inspiration to call on as needed.
Speaking on positivity, once again I want to say how amazing all my friends and family have been for me through this entire experience. I earlier mentioned my new heroes at OHSU, but the other heroes of this story have undoubtably been them. This will not be the last time I mention how much love my family: my friends. I have such a deep affection for every single one of them. Brilliant doctors and rare experiences are one thing, but being blessed with friends like mine has been the most empowering and lucky experience of my life. I’ve mentioned this to a few people in personal correspondence, but I feel like the enormous outpouring of compassion I've been receiving has created a miniature reactor of positive energy inside of me that's been diligently churning out strength, optimism, patience, focus, confidence, insight, and a wealth of other productive inspiration each time I breath in all the love and support that's been sent my way. For that feeling alone, I’m as indebted and grateful to my support crew as much as anything. I’ve been storing up all that energy, using it to heal, but I’ve also been cultivating it, allowing it to develop and grow and soon I’m going to have a surplus of it ready to send back to them whenever they need it. Their love and encouragement through all of this has doubtlessly been the most profoundly moving moment of my existence. I feel nothing short of a man who deserves to wear a super-hero cape, and when I wear it, it will always be in their honor.
So now, after the potential world-record for longest post in social network history has been achieved, I hope I’ve made it abundantly clear that despite my recent adventures in brain tumor resection, and beyond not knowing exactly what’s in store for me upstream, I feel legitimately good, right now. If there is some unanticipated and unfortunate news for me Friday, so be it. Today, I feel exceptional and I will cross whatever river I have to, when I have to, even if there's an angry clan of badgers in it. Like I said, I'm good at floating and I have a snorkel if needed.
One more time for now: I love you all, so so much. Don't ever forget it.