On the eve of my last post, I was channeling my inner child on the night before school starts – for my first day back at work since my various and sundry health issues, I had a new notebook, a new lunchbag, and a new ‘do. I strode purposefully into the office in my sturdy new Danskos (farewell, beloved 4-inch heels!), joyfully reconnected with my friends and colleagues, and promptly wound up back out on medical leave.
Well, to be honest, it wasn’t that prompt. It took a month before the headaches and light sensitivity, respiratory infections, zombie-grade insomnia, and more involuntary twitching, popping, and locking than seen on an entire season of So You Think You Can Dance finally got me to admit that perhaps I was not actually ready to return to life as I once knew it.
Well, to be even more honest, I didn’t even really admit it; it was more… pried out of me. My wonderful boss, who had only started the week before my surgery(!), very gently suggested that perhaps I needed more time to heal. Because he is such an excellent salesperson, I left the conversation feeling like I was the one who had the brilliant idea in the first place.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my husband, mother, and neuro-endocrinologist all made themselves hoarse via their deafening chorus of “WE TOLD YOU SO!!!!1!!!!1”.
So, I’m on the sidelines for a while. Ever since my surgery, I have been dealing with the aftermath of hypopituitarism. WTF is that, you ask? Basically, it means that my body is not producing several hormones necessary for, well, living.
This can be a real problem, as I enjoy being alive, and would like to remain that way for at least several more decades. My doctors are unsure whether this is a temporary thing (can something be considered “temporary” if it’s already been seven months?!) or whether my pituitary gland is now a paperweight in the middle of my brain. The good part is that every hormone can be replaced with synthetic versions. The bad part is that the correct dosages can’t really be determined apart from frequent, vampiric blood tests and the more scientific self-reporting of “How much/few ‘roids can you take before you feel like you’re on speed/complete shit?”. Basically, we’re all just giant chemistry sets. #science
Had I written this post last week, the tone would have been much different. I’ve gone through a veritable Lifetime movie of emotions about this decision – or, more accurately, how my body made this decision for me. I’m world-renowned for being stubborn, and I’m still pissed that sheer willpower alone was not enough to make it all work. I am furious that this tumor has taken yet another thing away from me. However, at the end of the day, I am so grateful that I have been given more time to focus exclusively on healing.
Something I have been fairly private about during this whole process: I struggle daily with things I used to take for granted. I used to multitask like a boss, and now there are days when I have to sit and actually think through in which order I should put my clothing on (I mean, like reminding myself that it’s called UNDERwear for a reason). Procedures and processes often elude me – squirting hand soap on my toothbrush, or putting my cell phone away in the pantry with the groceries. I know this happens to everyone now and again, but it’s a constant, pervasive issue for me, especially given that I wasn’t exactly what you’d call “coordinated” before.
When I am tired (which sometimes happens right after breakfast), the more apparent it is to other people that something is a little ‘off’. The aforementioned involuntary twitching is always a conversation starter. Just to make it even more interesting, I often can’t get my words to come out at all, or can only speak in a weird, Shatner-esque lilt.
However, my doctors feel much more confident that this is just part of my brain healing from trauma, and not some horrible canonical Star Trek disease come to life.
I know, deep inside, that I am still “me”. Case in point: I cringed a little bit typing that last sentence, because it reminded me of that HORRIBLE
Asslee Ashlee Simpson album titled I Am Me. So profound, Lesser Simpson Sister.
Anyhow, I’m going to spend the next few months fighting like hell to get stronger. I know I won’t be exactly the same as I was before, but that’s okay – something really fucking crazy happened to me! I’ve changed! I’m going to be different, but better.
Different, But Better. Now THAT’S an album title… if only it were true for poor Ashlee. #burn