Forging ahead with fictional endeavours: ~ Write a life on a page and hurry not to its grave; abhor not the coming age, for eternal is the next page. ~ Read what you will, I hope you will enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Posts tagged ‘cancer’

Brain malfunction

simpThis one is a true story.  IT happened to me while I was in Brissy.  I was out with a friend shopping and she left me looking after her youngest while she went off to look at other shops as I said I felt a little tired. I’ve been busy dealing with forms, appointments and I made a possibly silly decision to apply for a Masters course in Social Work recently so all my ability to write has been drained away by those activities.   But I wanted to post something so I went with a memory.

The woman pushed the pram out of the clamor of Big W.  Though it was lightweight and contain a child not yet 2 it now felt much heavier then when she had started out. With gritted teeth a focused stare she searched out prospective sitting places.  Her head was buzzing. Brushing back a lock of her dark fringe to rub her temple in an attempt to stymie the headache and blooming energy she felt, her eyes settled on the closest seat: an uncomfortable metal number belonging to one of the numerous sushi cafes in the Westfield shopping centre that she still preferred to think Mt. Gravatt’s Garden City shopping plaza.  The need to sit down pushed all complaints about the centers re-branding out of mind as she parked the buggy by the closest seat.  A glance from a cashier warned her it was easier to pay for something, then sit there as an uninvited guest. The buzzing surge grew louder as she selected food and processed the transaction as quickly as she could, all the while fighting the urge to hurry the poor woman up. She began to rush to pick her purchases up as the buzzing grew stronger. She Needed to sit down before she was caught in a dangerous position.  As a bolt of sensation raced down her leg the woman knew with a sense of dread that she was too late.  A split-second later the strength went from her right side as her leg started to convulse. With a reflex act born of practice the woman threw her left arm over the counter top to cling to it for support.  Much too her own surprise her arm started to convulse as well; from a distance it looked as though she was waving at someone across the way.  Only those close, a customer and the woman who served her, paused to throw worried glances in her direction.  After a panicked moment of indecision, the woman hurried over to ask is she was alright.  With a hint of exasperation the result having a seizure while being expected to explain what was going on, She simply said “It’s a seizure.  If I lose consciousness support my head and call an ambulance; other wise I just have to ride it out.”

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Brain reconstruction in progress.

I travel to Oxford to see my specialist yesterday.  Today I’ve had a persistent headache.  I’m struggling to write this short note about my lack of writing ability.  I’m giving myself the day off from prose.

The good news is over 90% of my brain tumor was removed in the operation.  I’m still having focal seizures despite the high doses of Keppra and phenytoin so I get to visit another specialist (yay…).  Next stage of treatment: Functional MRI and eventual second surgery. Par for the course, so far. 27 and I’ve never broken a bone, had a major accident or developed and massive organ failures; yet I’m already looking at second brain surgery. Go me!

Life between gears.

The jolt that hits you when you pick up the letter containing your next appointment time is unsettling. You try to rationalize it but deep down the sense of foreboding will never completely disappear.  My last MRI was in early January.  I know that the specialists have left my appointment till March – a whole 2 months later, is a very good sign.  I’m only in for a follow up, which is brilliant; all considered.  I may have had a door cut into my skull and sizable portion of unnatural brain matter removed, but for now the only problem is recovery.

I’m no longer sure what ‘recovery’ means for me.  My ‘normal’ ways of living are a thing of the past. I can count on seizures to knock away my control.  Brain damage impacts ‘normal’ functions on a regular basis.  My sense of normal is now completely askew.  Thankfully I’m no longer badly depressed about the loss of my lifestyle.  However, I’m now going to struggle with roadblocks to successful functionality placed in my way by society.

I am currently job hunting for a job that will allow me to phase into work.  I’m unable to work over certain hours for medical reasons. Now I am actually timid about the whole prospect about returning to work to begin with. I have had chronic pain for years but now I have a horde of physical limitation that will affect the kind of work I can do.  In this aspect I will just soldier on like I always have. The clincher comes in during interviews.  Every time I explain my current medical state/enforced sick leave, I can see in the interviewer’s eyes what’s going to happen.  The are going to dismiss my extensive experience and politely tell me that they have either a more suitable candidate or give me bullshit about the job being ill-suited for me in some way.  Now I’m being very careful in choosing the jobs I apply for at the moment – taking into consideration my condition and the job demands, so the idea that I’ve picked an unsuitable job is ludicrous.  I will, literally, apply for anything I think I’m capable of doing.  The example that best exemplifies the challenge I face is my recent experience with Mcdonalds.

I have a culmative 2 years of experience working for Mcdonalds.  I have a Customer Care Diploma from  their ‘university’. I applied for a part-time position at a store 3mins walk away.  I worked at stores far busier than that one. I also have a diverse set of experiences from other areas of hospitality.  Basically, I’m good. And that’s not intended as a boast.  I just have been working responsibly, diligently and without adequate rest since I went independent.  They had me in for 2 interviews (not ever happened with maccers, the last time I was hired on the spot!).  Then I got THE line: I need to speak with the store owner.  I knew exactly what to expect when I got the auto email once I heard that. It was generic template email.  It suggested I either apply at a closer store to where I live (Ha! I knew they were putting in one downstairs) or that I apply for one more suited to my availability or hours (Hmmm when did fully-flexible become restrictive?  And isn’t 16 hours part-time?). I am irritated because this is what I’ll face no matter what job I apply for. But it’s such a ridiculous response that I can’t stop laughing at it to be offended.  Still, at least they bothered to interview me; I know a lot are just skipping over my application.

I really do have better things to with my time then to be hampered by society devaluing my labour value because of a unavoidable medical condition that has given me disabilities. I will attack job hunting from other angles. Meanwhile I write.

“Heart of the Sea” – Spray Paint on Canvas by Me…

Perfect for those who like vivid art

Ray Ferrer - Emotion on Canvas

As Ray deals with the hard news of a baseball sized brain tumor, I, his wife, am adding some of his works for public availability / purchase to offset some of the expenses and costs of his costly procedures.

His latest….
“Heart of the Sea”
Original was spray paint on canvas.

Prints now available of this and they are signed and ready to frame.

If you would like to order anything from his Etsy shop that would be a huge help to us right now to offset some expenses. You can use Coupon Code ART50 during check out to save 50%.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/UrbanWallArt

Ferrer - Heart of Sea

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Writing for good health

I found a prompt today that I felt drawn to write for only to discover that my work over the past three days has left me cognitively and creatively drained. So today I thought I would take my post in a slightly less fictional direction. As I am struggling to produce even a smidgen of flash fiction, I decided to produce, instead, a personal article on how writing has helped me over the years.

Past:

1) The outlet: this is actually a fairly standard reason to write. I claim no originality on that front. Around those I don’t already know I’m quiet, shy, and awkwardly social. Big surprise there, right? I think I have scared people in the past with my ability to talk the legs off a donkey when I’m in my comfort zone, and, for me, my ultimate comfort zone is the written word. The written format allows me be far more expressive then a social situation ever will.

2) The challenge: I always was the one who could never refuse a challenge – creative writing provides one at every turn. There is always something to read and always something to inspire.

3) The confidence booster: When I was in my teen years I had anxiety attacks at the though of anyone reading my work (even the bits Mum claimed were good and the short stories my teacher insisted I submit for competition.) This extended from and feed into my social anxiety (again, who didn’t see that coming.) I began blogging fiction precisely because it was against the grain – and, of course, I gained more confidence in my writing and, because I was putting myself out there, social situations seemed less nerve wracking.

The present:

2014 was not a good year for me, so feel free to skip this paragraph if you are not interested in the reasons for 4 and 5.
Shortly after my birthday I began to experience grand mal seizures with no history of epilepsy. 2 days in critical care and an Mri later I was discharged with a brain tumour diagnosis. One week later my neurosurgeon told me he felt it might be cancerous (thankfully it was not!). After the seizures my partner of 4 years began to distance himself from me and then, on the day I was told it may be cancerous, his uncle died suddenly; meaning he had to go back to his family. With the funeral scheduled for the day before my time on the surgical table, I only saw him once before he broke of with me 5 days after my operation (and, yes, I was still hospital thanks to an infection and temporary paralysis of my foot) and on that day he was more interested in spending time with his friend then with me (God, I choose well). The minor details here are that I am still not sure I can return to care work thanks to seizure that give me muscular weakness in one leg and a lack of a driving licence on which my current job depended. I am still ‘in recovery’. It’s safe to acknowledge that sense of self and self worth died for a little while.

4) Occupational therapy: Brain surgery has some pretty powerful after effects. Between fatigue, lethargy, inability to focus, cognitive deficits, and ongoing seizures any form of work, no matter how easy it was. Continuing write allowed me to build up energy levels, cognitive functions, focus and resistance to screen triggered seizures (being that most of my writing is done via computer.) I also managed to regain fine motor control of my right hand on the occasions I did resort to handwriting prose.

5) Returning to myself: Character exploration and plot building combined with the expressive nature of prose allowed me to get back in touch with fundamental parts of my self when I was no longer who my self was. This is aligned with the principles of art therapy. From a personal view point I would actually recommend creative therapy to anyone regardless of state of mind. Even without the therapeutic aspect, creative methods of exploration of who you are as an individual is certainly freeing; you are sure to facets of yourself you did not know existed.

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