It is over a year since I last wrote about the brain damage I suffered as a result of surgery to remove a life-threatening brain tumour.
Lovely SoSensational readers, you always respond so warmly when I write about my brain injury rehabilitation, so I thought I’d catch you up on my progress…
TBH, not a lot has changed since my last blog. I have resisted the urge to write about the minutiae of recovery as I don’t wish to bore you about the effects of brain injuries.
However, with two female acquaintances now suffering brain damage symptoms, I felt that other people might gain some encouragement from my brain injury survivor stories.
No longer A Dormouse on Valium
On the plus side, another year on, my energy levels have picked up slightly. Last year I observed that I had the energy-levels of a dormouse on Valium. These days, I would characterise my energy-levels as those of a dormouse without the sedative. I can definitely do more before needing a little lie-down – or more accurately a big lie-down.
As an example, I recently decided to cook a classic Italian supper-dish. It is quite labour-intensive (all that slicing and grilling of aubergines, chopping of onions and garlic, stirring of tomato sauce and putting the whole thing together). But really not such hard work. Afterwards, however, I felt so exhausted you might have thought I’d run a marathon rather than made Melanzane Parmigiana.
Not Drowning, Not Waving, But Doing Hand Exercises
While mentioning food, another year on, my weight has settled at almost pre-surgery levels. However, as I have previously observed, much of my pre-surgery wardrobe remains off limits. Despite being able to fit into things, I find it difficult to do up zips and buttons. And I’m not ready for Velcro!
The problem with fastenings is that my right hand and arm are almost normal but my left hand has barely improved in terms of grip and dexterity.
I had kind of given up on my left hand and arm when a comment from a daughter sent me back to physio to try to improve it. I am now doing arm work in the gym and a series of exercises, including one strange undulating waving movement that makes it appear as if I am practising to join the royal family…
No, not a new product from Apple but just to recap that my eyes have consistently been problematic, in terms of vision and visual processing. In addition, “droopy” eyelids exacerbate all the issues. Then I had a CACI facial.
A CACI facial is a beauty treatment that uses a micro-current to “lift” facial muscles.
My motivation for having one was, of course, pure vanity. But it turned out also to be mildly therapeutic. The micro-current helped. After the “lift” my eyes looked and felt normal for the first time in four years. I am not recommending it. You may need to talk to your GP. I am just saying it helped me!
Goddess or Porn Star, Who Am I?
So, I was feeling a bit better about myself, which led me to a very weird moment. Actually, two very weird moments.
Weird moment #1: I was getting ready to go out one evening recently when my husband called me “a Goddess.”
Did I mention that I had just had my hair blow-dried, that I was in full maquillage and I was wearing a super flattering outfit (a white trouser suit since you ask).
Weird moment #2: Still getting ready to go out, I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and thought: “Whoa, Porn Star.”
Did I mention that my hair has grown back to pre-surgery length. And thanks to Anna at Mia in Friern Barnet, North London, and Adina at Bliss in Marbella, my hair is very blonde and quite “big” compared to how it used to be. Also, while my weight is virtually back to pre-surgery levels, I remain in possession of a generous bosom. (I have written before about how brain surgery gave me a FF-cup bosom).
Anyhow, looking at my reflection, I was reminded of Dolly Parton’s quip: “You’d be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap.”
(I then began thinking what my Porn Star name could be. The received wisdom is to combine your first pet’s name with your mother’s maiden name to get something like “Fluffy Smith.” I did not have a pet growing up, so my first pet was not mine at all, but my daughters’ hamster, Harry. That made my Porn Star name “Harry Miller,” which sounds more like an accountant than a Porn Star…)
Can You Be A Goddess In a Wheelchair?
Hmm, here was the dilemma. Goddess? Porn Star? Disabled Woman? How Do Others See Me? How Do I See Myself?
I still need a wheelchair some of the time, and when I walk, I still have a wobbly, shuffling gait. I also have a drooping arm and slightly unfocused eyes, so inside my head I feel about as un-goddess-like (and un-Porn-Star like) as it’s possible to feel.
In my head, therefore, I am a Disabled Woman.
However, it seems that if one puts in enough effort (and cash, remembering what Dolly Parton said). And if one slaps on plenty of make-up. And if one chooses the right clothes, it seems that, even at 60-something (and in the latter stages of recovery from traumatic brain injury), one can still appear a bit goddess-like…
I think that is a Good Thing. And perhaps gives us all hope?
Let me know what you think…
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