Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cosmic Roller Coaster


Cape Cod, with Dom, Charlie & Chris.

I figured on Cape Cod I'd experience lobster, clams, fishing, and beach fun with our fabulous friends.

I never considered, though, that I'd experience a seizure, resulting in diagnosis of a meningioma--a brain tumor.  


Steamers!
I'm so fortunate that the seizure took place while I was in bed--not driving or swimming, both of which I'd done quite a bit of in the previous days.

It was early morning of Dave's and my first wedding anniversary.  I was having a dream about my mentor and friend, Gabriele, who recently died.  She was telling me that the veil between worlds is even thinner than one could imagine.  

I was awakened by what at first felt like a Charlie horse. I then realized every single muscle--and my organs, including my skin--was seizing.  A roaring filled my head.  I thought, This is dying.  Part of me was terrified.  Incredibly, another part of me was at peace.  I was aware that I had no regrets, that I'd been living my life fully and authentically.

Dave was awakened by my moaning. He said I was curled up awkwardly on my side, my eyes open.  (I'm sure I was much lovelier a year prior in my wedding dress on a Hawaiian beach!)

Dave said the seizure seemed to last 15-20 seconds, and then I fell asleep.  He leaned into me, making sure I was breathing normally.  I slept for a little while, which I don't remember.  But I do remember waking up with an empty brain.  I didn't know where we were or why.  I wasn't sure who I was--and yet part of me knew I had a history to remember.  I vaguely understood Dave was my husband.  The one thing I knew for sure:  I needed to go the emergency room.

Fresh tuna dinner with Charlie and Lois.

So we spent our first wedding anniversary in Cape Cod hospital. It took about 30 minutes for my memory to return. An MRI confirmed I have a 2.5 centimeter meningioma on my front-left meninges, the tissue that covers the brain.  These tumors are usually benign and slow-growing.  But I need further testing to determine my status.

My brother-in-law put me in touch with his good friend who's a neurologist.  Generously, he talked to me on the phone and told me I will probably need to have the tumor surgically removed.  

I certainly never imagined I'd add "seizure" and "brain surgery" to my list of new life experiences.  But I can see how my interest in the past few years in spirituality, quantum physics, and near-death experiences has prepared me for this.  My friend Mark said I'm "surfing on the leading edge of human experience" and enthused, "Wow, darling, you are really a thrill seeker!!!!"

Charlie's striper.

I do suddenly feel like I'm on a cosmic roller coaster ride. The day after the seizure, we went to a Robert Plant concert. How beautiful to hear that uber-powerful, familiar voice live. I knew he wouldn't sing "Stairway to Heaven" (which would have been fun since I use the song in my novel For the May Queen).  But he did sing the next song on my wish-list: "Going to California."

And that's where we are now.  Mark picked us up last night at the San Jose airport and took us right to our favorite BBQ joint where we celebrated our "return" with great food and awesome live blues. How many incredible friends am I to be allotted in this life?  As we slept in a super-comfy bed in Mark's guest room, I felt wrapped up in love.

Lobster extravaganza.
This morning as I stood in line at Starbucks, a weathered-looking man asked me if I'd buy him a coffee.  I told him I'd be happy to--and anything he might like to eat, too.  He introduced himself, shook my hand, and chatted with me in line.  I knew he thought I was doing him a favor.  But he was doing me one.  I was grateful for the human connection.  And I was grateful to be able to give a little back for all that has been given me.

Cape Cod sunrise.
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