When the Glass is No Longer Half Full

I have always been an optimist. A "Glass is half full", "Every cloud has a silver lining" type of girl. I have found humor in a flat tire, a leaky roof in the middle of the night, and a broken refrigerator all in the same week. Really, how can you not?

Don't get me wrong.  I have had my moments when I thought the world was ending; relationships, deaths, and financial worries-including a failed business that ended in bankruptcy and could have ended my marriage.  Yet somehow, I saw through the negativity that surrounded me and understood that everything happened for a reason.

But all of that is changing.

Everyday for the last year, I have woken up and gone to bed with a headache.  Most days, it feels as though someone is trying to push my eyes from their sockets by pressing a long, sharp object through the very top of my head while filling my entire skull with scratchy, fiberglass insulation.  Other days, the ones I am most thankful for, it is just a dull ache in the back of my eyes.

For the first few weeks of the pain, I tried to ignore it and write it off as stress.  Work was crazy, my son left for college, and I was fighting with my husband more than usual.  I had little sleep, little time for my friends, and little time to worry about how I was feeling.

Then, it wouldn't stop.

Weeks turned into months and I was taking Excedrin like it was candy.  This would get me to where I could function, but never eliminate the pain.

I have been dealing with health issues for the last four years that involved a misdiagnosis; complete with two years of taking the wrong (pretty-heavy-duty) medication, so to say my faith in the medical system is not strong would be an understatement.  It took six months of suffering before I finally broke down and saw a specialist.

Two months ago, I found out that I have a pineal cyst or tumor (the doctors cannot be 100% sure of what it is without a biopsy) about the size of a quarter on the pineal gland in my brain.  I say in my brain and not on my brain, because it is my understanding that the pineal gland is not actually part of the brain, but lies within the center of it.  The Doctors say that although the cyst is narrowing the cerebral fluid and causing pressure, it is not the clear source of the headaches.  Even if it was, a surgery to remove it can be very dangerous. Even with the pain becoming unbearable, I am not sure I would jump right in line for the operating room.  Especially since the surgeon has admittedly only performed only ONE other operation of this type.

They have ruled out two of the four "nasty things", as my neurosurgeon called them, and do not suspect it is one of the other two.  This should be wonderful news.

And it is.  Really.

But the once only positive girl is constantly replaying the words "there's no way to be 100% sure"  and "do not suspect" over and over in her head.

I am on my fourth medication for the pain and it is not working. It's summer now.  Being a teacher I have the luxury of having a flexible work week.  In less than three weeks, I will need to return to my twelve hour work days balanced with the demands of my family. I am not sure how I am going to be able to do it.  Today, the glass is half empty and I am not sure how to make it look full again.

But tomorrow, maybe if I tip my head at just the right angle, hold the glass in perfect lighting, and squint really hard...you never know what might happen.

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