Dr. Brains wanted another MRI done to get a baseline of what my post-op brain looks like. I've done three CT scans since surgery, but last week was my first MRI.
It was an eerie déjà vu experience. I walked into the same clinic at the same way-to-early-in-the-morning time that I walked into on September 13, 2012. It was the same receptionist that checked me in. I'm pretty sure I even sat in the same chair in the waiting area.
The first thing that was different was when I went through the medical history questionnaire on the check-in form, I had to mark that I'd had a craniotomy and that I now have metal plates, wire mesh, and screws in my head.
My children think that part is awesome.
It was even the same tech that called my name. After a polite good morning, she told me that she had to look at my films from before, and as soon as she did, she remembered me.
Um, great. My brain is memorable! I had always hoped my brain would be remembered for being intelligent...not for growing large, alien objects.
I walked into the same changing room, locked my purse in the same little locker, went to the same MRI room, laid down on the same table.
Mentally, I was split in two. One half grateful that it felt routine, that it was just a check-up, that there shouldn't be any surprises; the other half paranoid that I would be pulled into The Sad Closet again and Surprise! there is another problem. Half of me loved the sameness, loved that the tech remembered me. Half of me felt like a scared rabbit ready to bolt for the door at the first sign of trouble and overwhelmed by the fact that my previous films were wild enough to be remembered.
I had 45 minutes of stillness to sort it out. As the machine began its loud pulsing...I reviewed the past 5 months:
The panic of diagnosis.
The sleepless nights and heartfelt prayers.
The overwhelming feelings of gratitude.
The adrenaline rush before heading off to surgery.
The amazing people in my life.
The effort of making my body work again.
The lingering side effects that may never go away.
The JOY of life.
All of those experiences washed over me--surrounded me--in my little MRI cocoon. As I reflected on my experiences, I contemplated the fact that every situation in life--EVERY day--whether we get diagnosed with a brain tumor that day or we simply curl up on the couch with a good book for the afternoon is our opportunity to grow.
We pass through hard times and easy times to mold us, to shape us, to help us Become who we are meant to be.
Somehow, that fact, pacified the scared-half of me. We are meant to pass through trials--to be tested and pushed and stretched in ways we would never come up with ourselves--so why be afraid? Why worry that more hard things could come?
Hard things in life WILL come.
They always do.
But I can do hard things!
In the strength of the Lord, I can do ALL things. Alma 20:4
And so, in that claustrophobia inducing tube, I found peace.
No matter what the results of the test were. No matter what changes surgery permanently made to my body. No matter what other hard things come...
I choose to be joyful, thankful, grateful for the opportunity to be here in life.
P.S. Test results came back great. I'm still in recovery and I'll post some more about that later...but Dr. Brains said my brain looks good and he'll see me in September. Holla!