I have mixed feelings this week and I am a little bit more wibbly and my head is definately letting me know that something is on my mind.
I know the reason so I'm not too worried. It's my paper anniversary tomorrow on the 8th of March of when I had my SAH and it's bringing some strange feelings. They'll pass if I give it time.
Interestingly International Women's Day falls every year on the 8th March and will always hold special significance for me now. The irony that my greatest life challenge started on a date that marks a day that is set aside to review the struggles of women worldwide and examine them in a hopeful manner is not lost on me. It is actually quite helpful in realising I am in very good company when trying to overcome my own challenges. Huge it may be for me, but small in the context of others suffering.
Ive had a lot of people get in touch over the last few days as the approaching date has reminded them of the dramatic events of last year and they want to check I'm ok with that which is nice. I am. Mostly. Its weird, it's not a date for me to celebrate anything but it is a reason to mark how far I have come and I'll be doing just that.
Ive not written about what happened when I 'popped' and here's the reason, I have no definite memory of it. Sure there are some snippets that have filtered through my sub conscious, but in the main I cannot recollect anything past a very pleasant evening the night prior spent in the company of good colleagues which finished with a nightcap with two very loved and dear friends. That's probably a very good thing. I wish I could gift the same amnesia to others. I think the horror and fear of what unfolded in the first few weeks has probably stayed fresh for those two people and for my amazing scaffolding network of family and friends who visited me constantly in the coming weeks and months. I wish I could take those memories away from them. I hope they are fading now and replaced with new and better ones to keep.
The simplest fact is that a team of doctors and medics saved me a year ago. There's not a lot I can add to that but I owe my life to the courage, skill, awesomeness and pure ability they bring to work at the cutting edge of brain surgery. Thank god there are people who can do that job, I couldn't, certainly not now anyway, haha!
We can laugh about some of it and we did at the time. My bed sit out: wheeling my brain drain kit off down the ward when I could hardly even move to stage a protest at the MRSA vomiting bed neighbour who should have been isolated and who was finally moved as a result. My repeated delight at seeing people who were visiting my bedside even though I had already welcomed them at least five times already. (Groundhog day isn't that bad. )The larger lady who refused meals but then pulled her curtains like a cloak of invisibility and ate crisps noisily, did she really think we couldn't hear her? The emergency confiscation of my phone when I was emailing work, in my defence I had no idea I was on line, well frankly I didnt even know where I was or what date it was , I probably thought I was on the crappiest assignment ever!
Much of my time though contained much less humour in truth and those of you who have been part of my journey know And share that with me. I am thankful, so thankful , then as now , for the love and support I received and still have surrounding me. I can tell you all that even in the darkest moments I could feel that love. It lifted me up. You all gave me strength. I was never alone. I'm so very lucky.
And so this first year has passed with James and the gerbils as my new full time companions. I survived something that many don't. Certainly not without scars, mental and physical (and new mechanical parts), but I'm here and enjoying life. I don't think I ever stopped enjoying it really but its been hard at times to see through the tears.
What has helped me get through the toughest times was always having small goals in my mind and although mine over the last 12 months were very back to basics it was still good to tick them off and mark my progress. I read back my diary ( which is hilarious by the way, such rambles!) and pulled out some of them below.
See my darling daughters -it was a long 2 weeks before I did. It was amazing.
Get home to my own bed - took an even longer number of weeks but oh the smell of your own bed is special.
Stop getting blue light taxis back to hospital -three times a lady is enough, we have driven ourselves up the last few times which is much more civilised and far less noisy.
Walk to end of road- YEY i can walk at least a mile now without the stick.
Grow back hair - its all cut off now and very Human League but it's growing and is not much greyer than before.
Stop being in pain - Im living with it , dealing with it and learning all the time.
Return to swimming - 16 lengths today !
Start knitting - yes and friends are suffering the consequences, sorry!
Complete a new project - antique chair restored , tick.
There's lots more, all of them small but significant and they track my steps and journey since last March. I'm proud of them all.
Im really Looking forward To making even more progress this year, i know i may get knock backs along the way, who doesnt? but I hope to add at least the following; get back to driving, get back to work, take a flight, spend even more time with friends, keep enjoying the slow life.
I read a quote yesterday which made me giggle and comes from a German saying which basically says 'there's only one end in life , only sausages get two ends', I'm sure one of my friends could provide the real quote. I guess I got a wake up call that day that Im not a sausage. ( ok sometimes im a silly sausage but you know what i mean.) What ive learnt is the small stuff is really what it's about,( not the hokey cokey) , enjoying it all and riding the highs and the lows. You may already know that so sorry for the patronise but I think I probably was paying more of my attention to the big stuff.
So, with a little more luck and lots of hard work I keep easing towards a different normal whatever that looks like and with each step I can get a little bit more ambitious and a little less scared.
There is one goal on my list though that has remained constant throughout this time that I'll try and keep doing as long as I am able to,
always appreciate the small things.
Be well everyone.