It kind of became a joke at work even before my diagnosis. My face was numb so I figured if I said I had a brain tumor then it could never possibly happen. I have employed this type of magical thinking throughout my life. If I say the plane is going to crash, then it can't possibly happen. I'm not psychic. So the brain tumor idea became a convenient excuse. When I forgot to take my bagel out of the toaster oven and left it sitting there all day, my fellow teachers might comment. Then I could say sorry, I have a brain tumor. Who left this half a cup of coffee sitting around? Excuse me, brain tumor. OMG even I knew that crossword clue. Do you have a brain tumor? Once Maddie said, "You don't know that yet?" "Yet!!??" I teased her about it but I thought it was really funny.
After my diagnosis, no one had ever heard of a cavernous angioma or a cavernoma, so "brain tumor" had to suffice. Benign brain tumor is, of course, more accurate but it's a bit wordy. Now it is my free pass. I can say it with my family and they know I am joking. I think it in the elevator when I ride to my apartment on the second floor.
It also might explain a lot from my past. Two years ago, I fell on the tennis court trying for a difficult backhand. Two staples in the back of the head. Last summer, I fell on my face after tripping over a pair of Brian's jeans. Six stitches in my chin. The day after Christmas, I fell into the side of a train that I was running to catch. Torn jeans, bloody knee, dirty face and hands, public humiliation being helped up by a seventy year old man. Clumsy? I guess I have always been a little uncoordinated. I remember when David tried to teach me to play squash in college. He was as close to infuriated as I have ever seen him. It's true, I have taken over twenty years of tennis lessons and am still only able to get the ball over the net 70% of the time, okay maybe 60%.
Right before I had the bleed, I was seeing this great organizational specialist. He was helping me figure out why I am so scattered. I lose everything I put down. I forget what I was looking for when I try to find it. I remember almost everything I hear, but dates do not seem to register. I frequently schedule two different things for the same time and date and remember them both until it is suddenly time to do them. I once scheduled Sachi to fly home from her dad's house in Japan for the exact same day that her sleepaway camp started. It's as if there were two different July 19ths. I can pretty much only stay on task for 15 minutes at a time. (This trait is actually fairly helpful as a teacher because kids need to change activities about this often to stay engaged.) Soon after we got married, Brian commented on my large collection of Get Organized books and how they did not seem to be working. I have developed some effective coping strategies but Chris was teaching me great new stuff. Now I am pretty sure I won't need all that.
After the surgery, I will no longer procrastinate. I should be able to read more than five pages of a book before putting it down because it is boring. I will be able to stay engaged in a conversation with my daughter on her birthday even if I think I see someone I used to teach across the room. My house will be tidy and my desk clutter-free. No more turn-off notices because I lost three months of Con Edison bills. If you open my sock drawer, you will find socks, pairs of socks, not smooshed tank tops, crumpled receipts, safety pins, tried on and rejected Spanx. And ... I challenge anyone to beat me at tennis.
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