Post-Surgery and Into the Light

We were up at 4am in order to arrive at the hospital by 5:30am.

Showing up for brain surgery before you normally even think of waking up draws certain parallels to international travel. It's as though long journeys seem to feel obligated to administer a pre-test of fortitude and conviction before extensive adaptations begin. As if to say, "Do you REALLY mean to go through with this?"

It was an excited sleep that preceded the early wake up, which essentially means, not much was had.

But nevermind--when Tobias is ready to do something, neither hell nor early mornings will stand in his way.

And he was ready.

There is a certain level of Fate that buoys you in times like these, rather like stepping into the inevitable flow of a tide pulling you out to the deeper sea. In these moments, the action required is to go with the current and trust that your lungs will continue to act as a preserver.

So far, they are standing us in good stead.

Being awake for brain surgery is an intense proposition for many folks, it sure was for me. In a jumbled series of contrasting feelings and thoughts, I was both intrigued and apprehensive-only able to imagine what Tobias must be experiencing as the minutes tiptoed towards go time.

I have known since I met him, that Tobias is capable of great feats of courage and possibly abnormally high levels of attraction to challenging himself. It was one of the qualities that attracted me to him. The spirit of an adventurer and the heart of a lion. He is not only able to endure hardship that might level most people, he seeks out that which is truly daunting.

Over the last two years he has undertaken a quest of the spirit and heart, treading into the jungles of his Great Wounds in order to understand, befriend and soothe them. He has learned to name his feelings instead of numbing them, to face his fear, greet it and allow it to move through him, instead of paralyze him. He has embarked upon a quest to become a Warrior of the Heart.

And so as they wheeled him into surgery and I headed to the waiting room with my circle of support, I knew that he was prepared for the encounter.

The need to trust the tide was constant as the hours ticked by...I reminded myself out loud that this whole procedure would take less time than a long haul flight to Denmark. That he would be through and on the other side before rush hour.

But Time is a funny thing. It crawls when we are alone and wracked with worry. It sails when we are held aloft in the arms of love and fellowship.

Throughout this process which upgraded in February to all hands on deck, we have been so supported and cared for by our Community. People I have not heard from since high school have emerged from the shadows with resources and goodwill. Family and close friends have stopped by, brought food, offered encouragement and loved on Espen.

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After typing the entire experience over the last 3 days, I went to post it and lost everything after the last sentence above. Clearly, there are other plans afoot besides a detailed recounting of The Great Recovery. Let's see what happens.
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Here's the truth. Brain surgery is a big fucking deal, regardless of how well the person recovers. They drill through your skull with a burr drill, they remove a piece of your skull, slice through the dura which covers and protects your brain and then cut through the brain itself to access the tumor. And they do all this while you are awake, at least in Tobias' case.

Hence, his speech is slurred because they had to cut through the facial motor control center to get to the walnut. He is doing amazing considering what he underwent and it's still going to be awhile before he can do things like sneeze, bend over, or lift more than 10 pounds.

The doctors signed off on him walking unassisted today, which might not seem like much, but consider this: how would you feel if you woke up one day able to walk wherever you wanted without thinking about it and waking up later that day to find that walking is a feat of will and extremely conscious actions.

This is all to say that while he looks physically well and like his normal self, it is exhausting to drink water and walk 100 steps. It is a big challenge to get in and out of his clothing and speak in complete sentences because the part of his brain that makes this happen has been cut through and is literally having to regrow and relearn these things.

The fact is, he is remarkable and amazing and making incredible strides each day...and in many ways it's like being paralyzed after having achieved Olympic proficiency in areas like speaking and eating. He knows what he wants to do but the brain can't execute the commands because it has been damaged in order to address the more pressing issue of the walnut.

So when you see him and think, "Damn, he looks GOOD!" you would be right. He DOES look good and this is the kind of healing that takes place underneath skin and bone and muscle. You can't actually SEE where the injury is, you can only hear that his speech sounds labored or that it takes him longer to eat.

We were speaking last night about how amazing the human brain is when combined with the individual spirit that animates each body. About how neuroplasticity is not just something I've been consciously working with in my own healing over the last year, but is part of the medical conversation on recovery after brain injury and surgery as well.

They say, "Walk, walk, walk." as soon as you can after surgery or injury because it activates the neuroplastic functions in the brain and dramatically improves overall recovery as well as recovery time.

Tobias reflected on how interesting it is that medical science now actively acknowledges and applies neuroplastic principles in supporting recovery but how there seems to be a gap between what science is now verifying and what the general public is willing to absorb and integrate.

It's exciting to have conversations like this from the perspectives we both have on how mind and brain work together because ultimately it is a conversation about personal empowerment. It can be boiled down to one concept.

What you think matters. In fact, what you think determines how you act, how you feel, and how your body behaves. I once read an article by a neuroscientist that said, "Thought is the language of the brain, feeling is the language of the body."

We are living proof of this an
d will continue to apply these principles to not just recovering, but also to creating the lives we are thrilled to live.

This is why we are surrounding ourselves with actively practicing gratitude and challenging ourselves to learn new things, take on new ideas and move into new experiences. We are not just responding to life, we are creating the reality we wish to inhabit by starting with our thoughts and feelings.

So yes, Tobias is doing great because he is actively choosing to participate in the love, the actions and the thoughts of healing. You are all a part of this by offering your support and love so generously.

We thank you and look forward to continuing to engage in a joyous, healthy and inspired life with all of you.



Comments

  1. Jaime, I am so happy to find out that Tobias is doing great! I have been thinking about you all over the past few days! I love reading your posts! Thank you for sharing you life stories with us all and for being such great inspiration!!! -Iryna Mulder

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