As has seemed to be the case on several occasions on this epilepsy “journey” of mine, I’ve once again gone from what’s felt like an excruciating, never-ending waiting game to a sudden, overwhelming flurry of activity.
I got a call yesterday afternoon from my neurosurgeon’s office. They had a cancellation for next Friday. Could I take it?
I immediately knew that I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, say no. Sure, a little more notice would have been nice—members of two sets of parents had tickets to book, from different parts of the continent—but it wasn’t strictly necessary, and my frustration as I sat around, not working full-time, having relatively frequent seizures, had been steadily growing over the past few weeks. A surgery date was what I’d wanted; it was what I’d been hoping for.
With so little time to spare, the neurosurgeon’s (very efficient, very kind) assistant made arrangements for me to come in for a preoperative examination less than twenty-four hours later and scheduled the preadmission appointment for this coming Monday. Today’s visit to the neurosurgery clinic was pretty straightforward: a basic physical exam and simple inquiries about my health, the opportunity for me to ask questions I hadn’t thought to before. Like, how long the surgery will take (four or so hours). Will I be asleep the whole time? (No.)
My husband was at a work meeting when I received the initial news. I texted him, asking him to call as soon as he was free. Duly informed, he came right home, and we—stunned—briefly celebrated the fact that I’m going to have my brain cut into before we switched into business mode, telling the most interested parties and then our wider network of family and friends.
A few hours later, reality hit me like a ton of bricks.
“I don’t think I can do this,” I told my loyal life partner. “It’s too much. It’s too scary.”
He tried reminding me why this is happening, even if it’s terrifying. It’s an investment in my future, which currently looks predictably seizure-y.
“You don’t like how your life is right now,” he said. “This isn’t easy, but it’ll be worth it.”
“Nope,” was my obstinate reply. “Nice try. Cancelling it.”
He gave me an “I’m just gonna let you be a stubborn child until you get over yourself and realize on your own that this is the right thing to do” look.* It took a few hours and some high-quality sushi, but I did. For now, anyway.
*(Or, you know, a “I’m just gonna let you feel your feelings” one, depending on your interpretation.)
I’m already sensing that the coming week is going to be full of ups and downs. Realizing, intellectually, that something is the “right thing to do” doesn’t always ease the emotional crush of it. We’re lucky to have an incredible support system, which we plan on doing a better job of coordinating and taking advantage of during this hospital stay than we have during past ones, in part to avoid husband burnout and in part to ease patient boredom. But until the surgery happens, until the waiting is definitively over and I’m settled into an all-too-familiar hospital routine, I’m going to have to keep myself hyper-distracted. This is finally the homestretch: at this time next week, my first surgery will be over. After months and months and months of anticipation, it’s hard to believe that the end is in sight.