The thing in my brain

It sits at the base of my brain in a place that can’t be disturbed. Why? Because you have two carotid and two vertebral arteries and I have only one abnormally formed artery. This is the complicating factor that is connected to my aneurysm.

Oh, it is really there. The docs did the MRI and I saw the tiny little thing with my own eyes. As a matter of fact I have a picture of it here on my desktop. They tell me that as long as the thing doesn’t grow I’ll be ok. BUT if the thing grows there is nothing they can do for me.

When I left the KNGF this past June I had no idea I would hear these words the next day. All I knew when I left was that Maira was not going to come home with me. Who thinks that some doc is going to tell you that while they can see the problem getting to it will never happen? So I’ve been thinking a great deal. That weekend sitting in a hospital bed alone what hard. As my head floated in and out of proper functioning I was just scared. Now I’m trying to make sense of things.

The reason they can’t go in and fix the aneurysm is that with only one abnormal artery surgery would kill me. Any surgeon that tells me s/he could do the job; widen the artery and deal with the offending aneurysm: should either be stripped of a license or be given the Nobel Peace Prize in medicine. They get the prize because I lived through it without brain damage. So here I am coming to terms with what could be the way my life ends. I could get lucky and the aneurysm may never grow and then again it could already be growing. They’ll look next year in June.

Everybody dies and we have wonderful ways of joking about it. Her number was up, he bit the dust, he bought the farm, and she fell off her perch. You get the idea and you can Google for other phrases. The fact is I don’t think my sofa in the sky is ready yet.

I plan to do all I can to live a nice long life. I plan to work and give to others. I plan to be the best wife, step mother, aunt, therapist and world citizen that I can be. Who knows maybe I’ll live long enough to help with research in this area. It could happen. I can’t control “it” but I can choose to be positive.

I’m not doing anything different, not looking for a miracle of any kind. I need to just be smooth and calm and take one day at a time for now. I don’t have any profundity within me. Quite frankly I just want to learn to live with the knowledge that I could die sooner than I ever thought I would.

I’ve always wanted to travel but haven’t been able to afford to do so. I have a short list. But I’ve always had the short list. When I think of it not much has changed. Life will go on. I’ll get up tomorrow and go to work. Just like I did today and hopefully for many days and years to come, I will get up and do what I want and need to do in life.

When you can’t control something you befriend it as best you can. This isn’t my friend and it is my enemy but I can make peace with the thing in my brain. I can do my best to live a good life and make peace with whatever stuff I need to make peace with so that I can shut my eyes quietly when that time comes. Then I’ll wander off to my sofa and blue room in the sky peacefully.


About Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff

I am an American who is living in The Netherlands. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist with a license to practice in California. Music has been a huge part of my life. Singing is something you can find me doing at any time and anywhere. I have to admit that I try to not sing while out in public though. You can also find me in the kitchen cooking up wonderful things. cooking is something that I have just recently (in the last ten years) discovered that I'm talented at doing, and it is really fun. The best way to know me is to read my blog.
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4 Responses to The thing in my brain

  1. Mikole Concidine says:

    Wow. What a shock! You are an amazing individual with great courage! Keep the faith and trust in your Heavenly Father. Seek for His will. Befriending your trial will help you meet it and live with it. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. You have always been such a great example of making the best of every situation you find yourself. May you find peace in your pathway. Light and blessings to you.

    • Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff says:

      I’ve had a wierd life. This just seems like one more thing that I will deal with. I’m fine and hopefully I will stay in this state for some time. As weird as it is it really isn’t that strange at all. This doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the thoughts and prayers. I’m becoming at peace with all of this.

  2. misspaulette says:

    That’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I’ll pray for many good years for you if The Lord wills it.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Denise says:

    Be peaceful and I hope it comes to live alongside you in the same way. This is very sad news 😦 Good luck.

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