For many, having surgery is a welcomed avoidance in life. And yet for others, like myself, it’s an unfortunate part and circumstance of our lives. But how do we know when we should go under the knife? Should we always exhaust all other options? And what about the types of surgery that cause you to really consider what you want from your life? How much time do we think of that type of decision?
It wasn’t until my mid 20s that the hint of any type of surgery was mentioned to me. All in all I was in good health and for a while I thought that my continued issues with my sinuses were the norm. However, at the ages of 22 and 24 I already had two sinus surgeries under my belt. Feeling as though there was something else that was wrong it was soon discovered that I had a brain tumor. Yes, it sounds really daunting and I suppose it is, but there it was, a pituitary tumor. At 26 I had brain surgery. Scary, I know, but since the surgery was done through my nose I feel as though saying it’s brain surgery is wrong. I have no big scar in my head. But it was severe enough of a surgery that I was required to remain home for a month to recover.
Since then there has been other surgeries and procedures. As time passed I’ve had to become much more steadfast in my ability to not cry when poked with a needle. There are tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way to help make the now increasing doctors visits, pokes and prodding less of a chore. Having an iPhone and iPad also helps. So too does a bottle of water and quite a bit of time on your hands. The increased cost of medical care seems to be among the list of guarantees in life, right on up there with death and taxes.
Having any procedure can be life changing. As a result of the numerous sinus surgeries it was determined that I’d have to follow a year-round regime to keep those issues under control. Then there’s the brain tumor. Most of it is gone but a portion of it still remains. There is medication that I must take for the rest of my life as well as doing yearly MRIs. All those things didn’t bother me as much as my upcoming surgery. This surgery felt as though it was a long time coming, one I’d made peace with yet still one that I dreaded.
No matter what, you must always decide to do what you feel is best for you. I sometimes think that if I was faced with having to have my breasts removed I’d be able to handle it. And in this case I’m having something removed that makes me uniquely female. I decided several years ago that I would not give birth to any children. It’s a decision that I seldom second guess. However, as months of “female issues” turned to years I was faced with having to decide if I wanted to give birth to any children. In my 20s the doctors wanted me to wait, try other options, cope. Now that I’m older and enough time to think has passed I find it to be an overwhelming decision.
When the time came I made the decision promptly, without pause. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not left feeling changed. It’s one thing to say you’re not going to have children and yet another to no longer have the option of physically bearing them. I’m not foolish enough to jeopardize my health. And had I not already had two wonderful stepchildren, if I wanted other children I would’ve certainly adopt. It’s just interesting the things that we are forced to decide in between what we’re having for breakfast and what pajamas we’re wearing tonight.
We are forced to make so many decisions in the course of a day, in the course of our lives. In your own way and in your own time you have to decide what’s best for you. Do you have a surgery? Do you continue with treatments? How do you consciously affect your quality of life? These are all decisions that many of us have to make. We often silently soldier on as we maneuver through the obstacle course of life. But we must not forget that everything happens in its own time and place. At the end of the day it’s not about public perception, it’s about you and your life. I know that my sleep will not be quite as restful for a time but I also know that all decisions I make I alone ultimately have to live with.
This article appeared on page 5A in the 12/11/13 issue of The Union-Recorder.