Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color

No Drool Zone

I don’t drool, nor do I run into trees. I’m lucky that way.I could have easily been there—drooling and running into trees.
There are approximately a dozen clusters of malformed blood vessels, cavernous angiomas, scattered in my brain. A couple of them hemorrhaged, mucking my life up royally.
Side-effects from the bleeds included seizures, crippling fatigue, and depression. I also suffered from vertigo and poor balance. I couldn’t focus and I was often confused. Due to the seizures, I could no longer drive. I couldn’t perform my job—teaching college-level mathematics. Reading had become difficult, weaving was impossible, and dragon boating was not an option.
Between my neurological deficits, many medical appointments, and numerous ER visits, my life had become a mere existence. The fatigue and seizures affected my role as a mother, and my kids, Daniel and Sarah, fifteen and thirteen at the time, suffered.
After several months trapped in this nightmare, I decided to try and reclaim my life by undergoing brain surgery to remove the two angiomas that had bled.
A couple of weeks before the surgeries, I sat the kids down to prepare them for the worst. Not sure where to start, I took a deep breath and plunged right in. “The surgeries won’t necessarily make everything better. I could die. Or worse, I could become a vegetable.”
A heavy, suffocating silence descended on us.
After a long moment, Sarah came to life. “Do you mean that you might drool and run into trees?”