Brain Surgery…I didn’t Have a Clue

I wore a three-strand turquoise necklace a few weeks ago. It looked lovely with my brown outfit. I got several compliments. I accepted them graciously. It was a milestone.

Not the accepting of compliments. Although I admit, that has never been my strong point. But the ability to wear a necklace for over 12 hours, that was the milestone. It’s been almost a year since I could do that.

When told that I required brain surgery for Chiari I Malformation many things went through my mind. The obvious: would I live or die there are always risks; what kind of aftercare I would require and who could provide it a complication of living alone; the possibility of staff infection I am a nurse after all.

But, as all these things ran through my mind I never considered that I would have major changes in common, ordinary everyday things.

I had no clue that my head would feel like it had a two-by-four attached to the back of it, stealing the simple pleasure from lying on my back or reclining in a warm bath.

I had no clue that my hair would be sore, literally, or that it would sparkle when the sunlight hit it. Not a comfortable feeling I might add.

I had no clue that wearing my favorite earrings would suddenly feel akin to hanging a cannon ball from each ear.

I had no clue that the seeming weight of my head would make sitting at the computer for more than five minutes totally out of the question…no writing then.

I had no clue that because my surgery also involved my cervical vertebrae that wearing a necklace would become unthinkable.

I had no clue about a lot of things. The list could go on and on. Honestly, I’m glad I didn’t know. There was enough to dread, enough to fret about without concerning myself with the foolishness of accessories.

Although the post-op symptoms are improving, I know my life will never be quite the same. Permanent nerve damage occurred prior to my surgery. Most of the symptoms of numbness, headaches, and pain like unpleasant relatives…don’t seem to be going anywhere. Even so, the surgery was a resounding success. And I have the necklace to prove it.


Jane Carroll is an author, Life Coach, Registered Nurse, Reiki Master, Mother, Grandmother, and long-time student of life. She has one published book, Bertha-Size Your Life. Carroll has been a nurse for over 30 years and has seen her focus change from illness to wellness to wholeness, now seeing healing as a spiritual process even more than a physical one. She personally experienced this following brain surgery last winter. Carroll currently divides her time working as a School Nurse, blogging and writing her second book.


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