Brave?

Mum was not the only one to tell me I was brave.

I don’t feel like that title is mine to claim.

Mum was referring to my choice to undergo brain surgery. I was genuinely confused—there was no real choice.

After the brain bleeds, I was only capable of shuffling from one step to the next, living moment by moment, day by day, barely existing. Undergoing the brain surgeries was not a choice. There was no other option.

Between medical appointments and tests, ER visits, hospital stays, and rehab, I wasn’t living a life. I couldn’t drive because of a seizure disorder. Due to severe loss of balance, vertigo, tremors, hearing loss, and debilitating fatigue, I couldn’t work. I was a burden on my family. I was dragging everyone down. Our lives were a shambles.

The only known treatment for cavernous angiomas is to remove them, surgically. There is no other way to prevent bleeds. My only chance at reclaiming my life, my kids’ lives, was brain surgery.

And I was terrified.

Meriam-Webster online dictionary lists fearlessness as a synonym of courage. Dictionary.com defines courage as "the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear."

I was definitely fearful. No, I was not brave.

On the other hand, the Cambridge Dictionary states thatcourage is “the ability to control fear and to be willing to deal wit something that is dangerous, difficult, or unpleasant.” And according to Wordsmyth dictionary-thesaurus courage is “the quality of will that enables a person to confront fear or danger regardless of the consequences.”

Was I brave? I study my face in the mirror. I taste the word on the tip of my tongue. And I shake my head--nope, definitely not.

I’m just me, Deb, a survivor.