Thursday, July 21, 2011
Odd Side Effects
The sense of humor and shock effect were their own problems but I still was trying to keep going. I went to my running group and I hadn’t been cleared to run so I walked as fast as I could, literally going back both days of the workout the days. I kept focusing on the language stuff but I also started to think about things that would make the house feel more like home. I encouraged my wife to go to pick out new stuff to redecorate her bathroom. We were working on the garden and she picked out plants. I kept hoping something would help her realize that it was time for a new approach to our family and she kept going shopping so I thought maybe, just maybe something was connection.
Still there were still some literal brain side effects that were interesting and with the emotions being overwhelmed by other things, they were discouraging but minimal by comparison. On the memory games I was playing, I seemed to keep improving everyday and was about 80% back to my ‘high scores’ on the ones that I had done before the surgery and the ones that I had purposely not done was improving each day. I was sucking at games I’d always excelled at like scattegories and scrabble and boggle and it was fairly obvious to me and to anyone who had ever done these types of games with me that I wasn’t anywhere near myself. I had always been a guy who was extremely social and drew energy from crowds but for the first time ever I may have understood introverts because for reasons that I couldn’t understand or explain, when I went to the store or the mall or places with large crowds I was uncomfortable. Not overwhelmed but definitely uncomfortable and wrote a note to myself, wondering what it would be like to be at a football game or events that had usually so thoroughly pumped me up. I never had the opportunity and because I felt off and was incredibly self conscious because there were literally staples sticking on the side of my head, I was sticking to only people I knew and who knew about the diagnosis. Originally I had decided to not make any new friends for a while because I didn’t want people to start a relationship with me out of pity or sympathy due to my cancer deficit. I wanted friends who liked me despite my cancer, not because of it.
Another strange side effect was the fact that I hated talking to anyone who had a common name for the first couple of weeks. The associative center of my head has still never healed correctly and now its been a few months but during those first several days I was not a fan of names like David because when I’d talk to someone and said their names, every other David would come to my mind from almost every stage in my life. Friends with names like Joe, Will, Rachel were tough because I couldn’t control when their name was said the images of several others like them. I started enjoying friends who had odder names and was very curious as to what if I had not had a unique name. A few months out, I still sometimes call people by the wrong name like Kiana her mother's name and vice versa or when referring to the cancer I call it the marathon. I know this is common for some people but I’d never made these types of mistakes before the sugery.
In the midst of all this, a friend, who thankfully had a unique nickname, Egon, was the one who took me to get my staples removed. Oddly enough apparently some of them were stuck pretty tough as the nurse struggled to get them out. It was bad enough Egon passed out as he watched because he said that the stitches were making the side of my skull both squirt blood and the skin itself was getting pulled very far. I watched him pass out and told the nurse and all of a sudden we had to have a second nurse in there to see how he was doing. I was grateful he had taken me because I still wasn’t cleared to drive and all of a sudden we had to have two friends come get us because one to pick his car up and drive him home and someone to come along with them to drive their own car home. When we got home, I took a nap and he worked on the garden pretty hard and then after my mother fed us to where he felt good enough to head home.
I had a rare cancer that cause me to have little control of my mind, cause my friends to pass out and my wife was talking about leaving me. I’d always had a unique life but man it was going strange fast