The Bloom of Scar Tissue

The Bloom of Scar Tissue

Ponderings

I wrote this blog Sunday 22nd October.

Do you reach inside and find the beauty or accept that skin and shape and lumps and bumps are but an illusion you must not fixate on?

That bump filled with brain fluid was not there before. The under layers of skin were not torn and stretched from the swelling of a saw and staples.

It is 2012 and the only story you know that tells of such things is Frankenstein. A monster. A craniotomy will do that.  Little children cannot come in to visit. It is too distressing. Grown men you have known for years are reduced to tears when they see you, and they struggle to hide it. That thing- that expression. It is a pity and sadness. Yet everyone says you look great, you look fine.

They tell beautiful lies to help keep you grateful for the life you have. The life you hold that keeps your heart beating is what is so important. Their hearts shine true in that moment.

In those months after a craniotomy, I was not a monster, just a little broken. But no longer a girl, no longer a woman. No longer a dancer of ballet, of quick human movement and a painter or a poet. No longer the protector of my children at night while they slept. I prayed each night they were okay. That I could trust those loving them on the daily to make sure they looked at them in the eyes and told them they were loved and safe. Like I did.

I think of myself sometimes when it was tough in the third person.

I think it has been a way to compartmentalise. I was a grateful survivor, and yet a soldier of war with battle scars she did not ask for. She did not volunteer for. Yet she did not fight anyone off, she walked right in and took the needle and signed the forms. She wanted to run, she wanted to scream and hide and say no. But she could not. The inner confusion and turmoil, to damage oneself to live. What a notion.

To say goodbye and kiss the heads of your children, to get in a car and drive to a big bustling place. To get your head shaved and your body naked under a cotton gown not knowing if you will kiss their heads again.

Consequence is a word you hold in your hand like a strange seed you found. Which garden shall you plant that in? The one that faces the north and screams of Victim or the one that says Growth?

Then there is the now.

When I lose myself in the energy of the room, I forget about what I look like, what anyone looks like. It’s because I can feel everything, the love, the humor, the frequency of those around. Things like traditional beauty or prettiness or ugliness or any such appearance do not concern me. Until someone takes a photo. Because then it’s like an ugly little version of my surface just got captured in a bottle and can’t get out. Unless you smash it with a delete button. And then there is the fear with social media, that someone else will share the little version of you and others won’t see your energy, they will see the damage the war did. Why does it matter what they think and see?

Blindness was freedom from all of this. It was a relief. I did not need to see myself; therefore I did not have to validate my appearance. It didn’t matter. Out of sight, out of mind.

No makeup, no hair, no eyes to see the damage. Those super hearing marvel style skills were too much fun and the challenge of learning my environment in a new way all wrapped up in the happiness of still being on the planet surpassed any vanity.

Until my vision returned.

So much joy. Because I got to see my children’s smiles again, the pictures they had drawn for me. The sky windows- puddles in the ocean. So glorious and full. My husband, my family. Their physical, visual picture was mine again to capture with my body’s camera- the eyes. I was not prepared for the trauma of seeing myself again and finally understanding why my little boy cried so much. He wanted Mummy to look like Mummy again, and why the grown men cried. Why the mailman did not recognize me at the door and asked me who I was. I told him it was me and he said it was so sad. I asked him why and he said I was so pretty before… but don’t worry you will be again. And the nurse saw my picture on the wall and asked who it was.
”That’s me.”  It is one of my favourites. It doesn’t look like me anymore.

Society tells you it does not matter it does matter it doesn’t.

Like this barge going back and forth between the shores of depth and shallow. Which one is it? Why do we get so distressed with scars and physical damage? We hero worship the survivor and yet as a species we spend millions on maintaining and enhancing the symmetry of the human appearance. A world that celebrates the beautifully broken on one hand and shining perfectional beauty on the other. Where do they connect? For surely beauty is unique, not a blended image of sameness.

Where is the distinction or balance in this? It used to baffle me, now it intrigues me and mortifies me all in one. I now believe when people speak their perception of what beauty is to them, it reveals the contents of their heart.

Then I got the all clear. Then the all clear was taken away. An inoperable option. Not an option. The lack of an option. We can’t do anymore. How much longer do I have? Not sure. Ok.

So we walk that walk. As a family and yet the unshakeable truth sits within me- LIFE IS FOR LIVING. Not for fear. It is the walk of the possibly dying. Because we all are. So it counts. Every day counts- it’s not a cliche. It is the essence of every single molecule and particle, shape, symmetry and pattern that exists for life to prosper. There’s a whole lot of work going on in the living here and in whatever comes after this version of life, there are many more of this I am sure also. But death is real too, and it might just be that death is but a doorway to another life.

So now I live in this one, I rejoice. I choose to live a life that is full with no excuses, to feel my way intuitively, guided by my understanding and perceptions, hoping to keep them as precise and sharp as possible to be valid and true. I listen to the guidance I receive, and I do my best.

I love within an inch of my being, and I hold those I love dearer than my own heartbeat. The patterns of nature and the design of our world intrigues me, as does geometry and physics, the gleaning of the matrix that supports the whole system has captured my fancy in a way unimaginable. The gifts of the spirit are abundant and my cup runneth over.

Yet still, this undeniably human desire to be physical as I was before the surgery haunts me every time a picture is taken, every time I look in a reflective surface, each time my body won’t work the way I want it to. So I will be grateful, and I will work on trying to mend that broken part within. I will be grateful for the scars and the bumps and distortions, I will be thankful for the migraines, the weird inexplainable seizures, the sleep apnea, and the blood pressure, the brain fog, the short-term memory and the fear of the sound of chainsaws, the narcolepsy stuff and the heartache and even the scar dandruff,  because all of this means I am alive. I breathe. I eat. I love and I live. I am surrounded by good friends and family. I live in a country that is not war inflicted and where I can live this life this way. Because we all have our path to walk.

And I could not have captured this view of real life unless this had all happened. I choose growth and the power of the inner spirit guided by my God to overcome all and sit in Grace.

Why? Because you see restoration of the spirit and growth cannot happen without trauma.

Regardless of what any doctor might say I am going to live.

Because my chapters are not written by humans.

October 23rd this happened:

Neuro clinic appointment.

My brain has healed.

Option 2 Happened. (Bye bye Tiffany)

Car Park: screaming and crying hysterical woman spotted ranting loudly in Major Melbourne Hospital. Blue eyed man pacing in shock with what witnesses say was a a look of dumbfounded oblivion.

Incoherent phone calls to family.

Sister may have fainted.

Shock (hot water bottles, blankets and sister needed for this one)

Joy

Overwhelm

Panic

Joy

Humbled like a small pebble in the bottom of a deeeep ocean. Feeling so small.

More Joy (don’t freak out the kids)

Disbelief

Thanks

“Mum- we have run out of milk again”

Prayer

Vomit

Love

Joy

No more fear- running under the moon

Crying (lots and lots of crying)

Dehydration from crying.

“Are you sure you got it right dear? You didn’t get confused?”

More Joy

Anger

Running

Parked outside Flight Centre and considered flying and climbing something really big and shaving my head at the same time and screaming ODONNELL RULES. (That was a weird moment) rang one besty who told me to do it and the sensible one said go home and sleep.

Spontaneous outbursts of laughing

Rage

Sat up in bed next to my sister while we planned our nursing home antics. (We will be room sharing)

Persistent need to kiss my children and it’s now giving them them shits.

Joy

Uncontrollable smiling – it’s a little creepy

Now resting

Life is good. I need a new word. There are no words. I think I am going to faint and cry and I don’t know what.

Bucket list is ticked…now WHAT?

A Transformative Life

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The Case of The Exploding Brain

The Case of The Exploding Brain

What will it feel like?

It will be like nothing you have ever felt.

How will I know?

Oh, you will know! It will be the worst pain you could experience in your life. You will either be dead or wish you were.

Good to know.

Social Skills may not have been in his repertoire but hard facts certainly were.

When someone tells you this, you don’t forget it.

I forget my pin number and my sunglasses. But never this.

Then it happens. The Thunderclap headache. Standing in the kitchen having a conversation, perfectly normal. No build up. No symptoms, no warning. Instant projectile vomit and what feels like someone shooting me in the brain from across the room. Shock. Trauma.
Ouch.
Not in that given order.

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The pain. Today, some six months later I can’t believe I could be in that much physical pain and not be dead.

The ambulance came quickly that night.

Then the sirens. My name, over and over again. Kirsten, can you hear us?

She’s not breathing; BP is dropping. I answer. Why can no one hear me? They can, someone is screaming. I think it’s me. Don’t leave me.

The rolling vomit, the wave after wave of nausea surges through my body, like nothing I have known. The entire contents of my body feel like they are pouring out of my mouth. A tsunami I have no control over, and my whole body shakes and shudders from the violence of it.

By the time we got the hospital I was passed out, pupils dilated, and I was in trouble. A suspected brain bleed. 25% of bleeds cannot be picked up on an MRI; they require a lumbar puncture. I had one of those once. Never again. When one’s spinal chord is impaled with a thick needle by an intern with shaky hands, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I awoke in time in between vomiting to say No thanks. They were not happy with me.

By Friday I was washing the dishes and planning dinner. At my kitchen sink, with what felt like a hangover but no other symptoms. How? How is this possible?

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Gratitude, wonder and then Uh Oh set in. Then “everything is fine today, so let’s move forward, nothing to see here” set in. Its the survivor in me. Thinks she’s a cross between Charles Bronson and a Williams sister. No one likes a martyr. The grief counselor reassured me this sweet denial was a path to potential disaster. It happened. It happened to me, it happened to Lothario, my children, my brother and a lovely friend we had visiting at the time of the “Incident.”

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So I went to Magnetic Island with my youngest son and Mamma bear for a month. I wrote it off, played with him, had adventures, explored my second home some more in all of its pre Summer glory. I enjoyed the company of my island friends. I walked the beaches alone and cried out my fear, my panic. Papa G and I had many conversations on that beach. He was helping me mourn.

What was I mourning?

Well, it’s more than easy, in fact it is downright intoxicating to forget you are unwell when your symptoms do not stop you. You are invigorated by the hypnosis of a fulfilling life and do not want to subscribe to fear. EVER.

But then there is being emotionally truthful. The fact is unless someone comes up with a solution, I am not going to hold my grandchildren. I will not get to be old and grey with my boy. I will very possibly die from one of the most physically painful experiences you can have. Or I could end up a vegetable sucking bacon and eggs through a straw and getting Sunday visits. Sound depressing? It is! Bring on the Tropical Island and a few well deserved Margheritas. 

Rule: don’t ever talk about this to people. They will stop you immediately with: Well I Just Know You Are Going to Be Okay, I Can Feel It. Or No Kirsten, Don’t Say That, YOU WILL BE FINE.

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Here’s the thing, I am really glad you can feel it.

I know that the love we have for people makes us want to make them feel better again. For those reading this that have said that to me, I love you for caring enough to say it. I am invested in believing that I am going to be fine too, 365 days of the year which is 825 days longer that they expected me to live. BUT sometimes shit gets real.

Sometimes it JUST IS. Left with the facts you then rely on your faith to surge through again, creating an equilibrium that is a force to be reconned with. In the meantime? There are moments of emotional truth. Good or Bad. Pretty or Ugly. They just are. But this can be distressing to others. So I don’t do that. I take it to God. I take all of those “thoughts” and talk to God about it. We are sitting in a kitchen eating pancakes and discussing matters of the universe. Like what on earth is She going to do with Stephen Hawking now? Whoa. That’s a big one.

Leaderboard Ponderings 3

There are people out there who walk around with some disease inside them, not of their own making. Someone operated on me and made a mess of my brain. The entire contents of my cerebrum, my grey matter, the old think tank and noggin is being held together with a microscopic thing called a FRED which isn’t doing it’s job very well, because it has slipped and has created a high volume bomb ticking in my head. Sneezes- dangerous. Flying – Dangerous. Humidity and the Common Cold ain’t great.

Constipation now holds a genuine concern. Vomiting? Forget it. Anxiety, Stress, and a raised heart rate are the worst. But head knocks? I can take those. I have titanium in there. One unfortunate head butt from my husband getting out of the car almost knocked him out, and I didn’t feel a thing. It was quite amusing.

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As much as I love Louise Hay, I did not manifest this. I am human. Therefore I can break.
I did not have unresolved anger issues, but thanks and no Frankincense oil under my tongue each night won’t cure me or special drops made from a rainforests Monkey’s toenail clippings, as delicious as that sounds.

Ponderings Leaderboard

There is a process involved, and it has taken me places I never dreamed possible.

So is it a dis-ease? Or is it a blessing of the most peculiar kind? Depends on the day. Everyone lives and everyone dies, why does dying have to be the worst thing that happens to us in the Western world? Why can’t it be a celebration of how we lived and then the next journey begins? Like saying “Wow, you lucky thing, you are off to Hawaii now! Good luck and see you soon!” “She’s gone to walk with Jesus, lucky bugger.”

Because time is relative don’t you know? A word of advice- religion is not just a safety net for the emotionally weak. I am strong. I did my research. I believe in Physics. I believe in science. I also do not believe in chaos, but design. Conclusively. I do not believe in some Zeus like Gandalf in the sky. Please with a cherry on top, do not spruik your disbelief about the existence of a universal architect to the possibly dying. It is unkind. It’s just a shitty thing to do.

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This journey is upsetting at times. Especially times like “the Great Vomiting incident.” If I can change that fear, that sadness I will. Purely because the vibration is heavy and it doesn’t feel very nice. Good one Captain Obvious.

But it is life.

It is. None of us get out of it unscathed or without learning, so why pretend we do or can? For me, its the faith I foster through it and the learning it presents me that creates joy within the crisis, as I have mentioned before, the alchemy of it all is the light that changes any darkness.

Think of it like walking in a deep dark cave, you know you need to turn on the light, so you do. You find yourself looking at a cave filled with magnificent, luminous waterfalls, diamond-lined walls, and beauty. But you are still in a cave. You have stumbled over sharp rocks, trying to find your way in a cold and hard place, and everyone else is standing in the sunshine. You are in a cave. No denying. There’s the emotional truth bomb. It’s what you DO with it that counts.

spelunker-resting-in-a-cave-PMS8WWE

Sometimes the message is clear for me to write about this path I walk.

Other times I don’t think it’s a great idea. I enjoy writing other things more. I enjoy writing for others more. But I am reminded. It’s not just about me.

I reminded that there are 1 in 50 aneurysms out there. I am reminded that there are people out there in Australia who have a Used By Date that just keeps going. There are people out there that every time they cringe with a tiny pain, their child looks at them with fear and they must wrangle with the conversation “no sweety, I don’t plan on dying today, did you put your uniform in the wash?

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There are people out there who are losing friends and family because the journey they walk is too painful for others to bear, so they walk away. Sometimes it’s time. It takes too much time. Seriously? You keep going on about dying, but you are still here.

Sometimes some desperate people feel it would be easier to bring that final journey closer because then it’s in their control. That’s a scary one. Researchers at Baylor University Medical Center believe depression, grief, and suicidal thoughts affect up to 77 percent of people with a terminal illness. Would you like an after dinner mint with your taboo topic?

There are people out there who have been told they are going to die and it feels like someone took your arse and shoved it through your nose and out your ears.

Then you have to get back to being “normal.” You have to make sure it doesn’t ruin you, consume you or turn you into a victim. Becoming a victim to me is like denying the existence of a JEDI, somewhere a light saber just dropped dead. It’s just not cricket. (I was only joking about the Light Saber thing if you doubt my cred about the whole God thing.)

You are out there. Hopefully, you are reading. Hopefully, you feel a sense of connection that says I am not alone.

I see you. You are not alone.

PS- I know Mr. Hawking was an Atheist, but at the same time I wonder if he is having maple syrup with those pancakes?

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Beyond Blue: https://www.beyondblue.org.au

LIFELINE: https://www.lifeline.org.au

BRAIN FOUNDATION: http://brainfoundation.org.au

 

 

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What is that smell?

It is my feet.

Hard working people, fun people and people with awesomeness dancing in their soul like Michael Jackson on crack have smelly feet. It is a fact.

Truth is I do not own many pairs of socks. They don’t like us here. I like bare feet. Bare feet and a nice Jimmy Choo do not mix. Neither do Kmart boots. Just saying. Information is information.

Polished floorboards and a soaring roof glide above like a church cathedral, of glass angles and the smell of the ocean is drifting through the wide open doors. It reminds me of my old ballet haunt. My children are laughing at some random joke they made, most likely inappropriate and just out of ear shot. He walks in and kisses me on the cheek, asking how many goals I kicked today. A little warm and fluffy ewok like animal otherwise known as my Dog licks my ankle. My heart gets big. So big it feels like it will take off like hot air balloon right out of my chest and my eyes start to water. It is too bright in here. So much light.

Love

Happy

Contentedness

Will it leave?

Will it last?

Maybe that is not an ewok licking your ankle darling maybe its the black dog? He is here to ask you Who Do You Think You Are. You Cant. People Will Say Things. People Will Poke At You. Be Smaller. Cmon Turn Down the Volume on that Light. That Little Light That You Let Shine. No, surely not.

Fear

Loss

Gulp

Fear knocked and the door, faith answered, and no one was there. Ah ha, I remembered we aren’t mates anymore.

Gratitude pops in for a cuppa and a squeezey hug. Fear is losing his grip people, he is losing his grip. Fear is a big ogre with nostril hairs so vile Roald Dahl would dry reach. The man has sold millions of copies of books. He would be a great judge.

There is a place we call cuppa snuggles. It is the time when all the ODonnell women folk make a cuppa and jump on my king size bed for gossips and chats, laughter and silly reminiscing. Remember the time Nanna spat her teeth out? What about that time we ransomed the dog for chocolate biscuits?

Sisters Friendship Ideas Imagination Creative Concept

Her and I stand and look at the ocean together and smile, it is happening. It is really happening. We spoke of this, we whispered about this place when we were smaller. When the world was big.

Sacred.

Special.

Mum, why can’t you?

I am so sorry, but I am really tired, it has been a big day, and I am a bit dizzy.

You have time for other people, but not me.

No sweet child, if you only you knew. All my love goes to you and your siblings. I do what I do for you. Your smile makes me breathe, and your heart is my treasure to protect. The universe gave you to me, and now I must give me to you. It is written in the stars and in our biology. We have been friends for eons you and me.

When they are so small and tiny they need you; when they are big and independent, they need you. Balancing…on a budget

I haven’t heard from you; you sound really busy. Things must be going well. You must be doing alright if you are in Point Lonsdale now, business is good huh? Its a bit far away from the go-to people in town though isn’t it? Oh well, each to their own.

Each

To

Their

Own.

That is correct.

Is this a hairdresser? We need a hairdresser. I do hope you are useful here.

No, its a wordsmith agency of awesomeness.

Least do no harm, that is my motto, this anti-seizure medication will do the trick.

Yes Ok Doc.

Leaderboard Ponderings 3

Why am I SO HUNGRY, its the anti-seizure medication. That cow is making my mouth water. What the actual hell is going on? Put down the bacon. I said put down that bacon.

To be fat and live or to be thin and sick? That is the question.

Mum! Dad is going to be pissed, your dog ate his new Yukka plant.

For the love of Jehovah. Eye Twitch.

That bloody dog! Three dogs. Why do we need three dogs?

Its a pack thing. One needs a tribe and a pack. Now we have a pack.

Mum! Dad is going to be cross, your dog just ate his new socks!

Yup.

The actual pair of glorious cotton foot pockets that matched had now crossed into the abyss of dark matter otherwise known as Kelpie.

Awesome.

I have never felt so inspired, your story, omg your story! I was so scared to put myself out there; now I know I can do it. I know I have to do it. Because my story matters. My story needs to be told, and I understand it isn’t just because its mine, its because it will help someone else, and that’s more important than being stuck in fear. It is about communication and human interaction. Smile. Yes my dear bright and shiny human, it does. You matter. You all matter. So much.

Chairs are pushed in, the looks on faces make my heart swell again. They heard. They felt, and they understood. These beautiful seeking, learning humans.

Planet Spectrum

Fear once knocked on this door but doesn’t any more; he’s gone up the road for a listening ear. He worked out his BS isn’t welcome here anymore.

Mum have I told you today that I love you? Would you like a foot rub?

Yes please favorite child, but first may I make you some pancakes?

Let’s turn up that French jazz music, how groovy is it?

You guys are seriously messed up, and lame. Who listens to Jazz Music and talks like that?

You once did before hormones took over you child.  This one still has at least a years worth of reciprocal love left.

Hey, Dingus, do you need me to get milk on the way home? (Heavens open, choir sings.)

Why am I so tired? I wish that nerve would stop twitching every time I exercise. It makes me nervous.  What if its the aneurysm?

Don’t think about it; it will go away.

No

It

Won’t.

It will just pop on you, exploding in your head bigger than the Sydney NYE Fireworks and Y2K back in the day, and Bobs your Uncle you will be standing there looking at yourself wondering what the hell happened and who’s that standing over there? Archangel Gabriel? Wow, you’re much taller than I imagined, Gabe those wings are working for you.

Did you come to meet me personally? What do you mean what am I wearing? I am stuck with this for the Afterlife? No, I did not know that there was a fresh hole in my pants near my… Bikini waxes are so yesterday…

My bad.

You really need to buy some better activewear. You old fave puma trackies and holy t-shirt are so gross. You are not a hot mum. What will you do if you actually die on one of these walks? You know how people are, they won’t stop they will think you are a homeless person. Of THAT ILK, the low brow type. You know what people think of homeless people. Except you and a few good eggs. You know what its like to have no home.

F%$k it, and f$%#, Lorna Jane.

Bikini waxes are out of fashion; bikini waxes are out of fashion.

Leaderboard Ponderings 2

Monash University would like to congratulate you on finishing the first part of your certification.

Mindfulness. Breathe in. Breathe Out. I am that I am. This too shall pass. God give me the strength to move through this world and do not harm but to radiate all that is good and pure.

MUUUUUUUM! Do you shop? There is NO FOOD!

Superb.

We would like you to get on board and donate your time to the cause; we only need you to drive over 6 hours to do it, it will be great for the organization. They need people like you.

My kids need people like me.

No, I do not want to lock the door and put on my sneakers. It’s Tuesday.  What! Is it Saturday? Oh wow, that went quick. Where are those Nikes?

Marlborough Sav Blanc

Tryambakam Yajamahe

Snooze.

Good morning Monday! ALARM SCREECH.

Read More From Ponderings….

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