Fear continues to drive some of my health related decisions, though in different ways than prior to the surgeries. Back then, I was terrified of the unknown—the seizures, loss of balance, vertigo, tremors, slurred speech—what else did the bloody brain have in store for me?
I saw the brain surgeries as my only chance to reclaim my life. I couldn’t wait for them to be over so I could finally move on and leave the bloody brain behind. It didn’t occur to me to look beyond them, to the future, to my recovery.
Now, the main source of my terror is the mere thought of repeating the nightmare that followed the surgeries, especially during the first two years, the period of acute recovery. I fear the possibility of new brain bleeds and subsequent brain surgeries.
Occasionally, my fears drive me into denial. My mantra during the darkest of times used to be—when in doubt, go to the ER. My mantra now is—when in doubt, hold off for a few days or weeks, or however long it takes to convince myself that all is well.
I am very good at rationalizing my way out of trips to the ER. I told Cindy, “There’s no point. It’s not as if they can do anything for a bleed. And there doesn’t seem to be any permanent damage…”
I even manage to convince myself, to a large degree.
Would I act the same way if a bleed did cause significant damage? Would I allow my fears to entrap me in a state of denial?