Today is a very special day! One year ago I was being prepped for surgery to remove Marvin, a decidedly unwanted traveling companion! Dr. Edy A. my BFD was probably sharpening his bone saw as he prepared to cut my head like a pumpkin and remove Marvin, and hopefully not too much of my brains! It has been one very long, and very short year, filled with just about everything you could imagine a family undergoing brain surgery could experience. Yes – a family. Sure I went under the knife (saw), but it was as shared an experience as it can be. From that time, fast-forward to today (just like it happened!), my entire family and community has been transformed by the experience. Oh, and me too!
So yes, I think I’ll pull through! Nicole and I know that we dodged a bullet (or arrow) and a pretty big one at that! Slightly more than just a flesh wound (you Monty Python fans will know of which I speak!), but today I am confident that I’ll complete my recovery and be back to near-normal soon! At least as normal as a Gardner can be!
The last three weeks have been especially good, I think the culmination of some fantastic neurofeedback treatments and a great first session with my new Osteopath have really brought my recovery along much faster than I think perhaps the previous 6 months or so. The great brain fog has lifted, I’m thinking clearly, able to handle the occasional restaurant outing, beginning to dabble more at work, and even (ye Gods!) getting behind the wheel for a bit of driving! Don’t worry, I’ve got driving buddies Charlotte and Sue, and I’m staying off the busy highways. For now it’s just back streets for me, but I hope to be ranging far and wide on my own soon.
Marvin didn’t get me! And while I’m still not completely back up and running, recovery is moving along and I’m crossing that bridge! Perhaps I’ll give up the cane soon (maybe another treatment or two from Dr. Porvaznik!), and be ready to face the challenges of ordinary life – looking forward to that! And nothing to see, Nicole says I don’t look any different than I did before Marvin. Heck not even a flesh wound!
Just a few months ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever feel as good as I do today, and I have to rest credit where it belongs to this not-so-dirty dozen:
- Nicole, my loving wife and chief care-giver, schedule master, visit limiter, patient baby-er, and cheerleader. I can’t imagine how she’s managed to get through this all without losing her cool, but she did! And I know I would never have been able to get through this without her. Absolutely my better half soul-mate!
- CJ, my awesome son who matured so much this past year, and has become such a man and a mensch! Over this year he picked up so many of the day-to-day chores and things I couldn’t do, and also managed to finish high school, get into a great college and win some cyber awards along the way. Without his love and support I’d have withered away.
- Sistah Lisa, who was there for us in the crunch, helpful and supporting. She dropped work like a hot rock and came across the country to be with us, driving and shopping, helping take the load off Nicole, and even being my ghost writer! I will never forget!
- Sistah Pam who found me my miracle worker #2 – Dr. Esty and her wonderful neurofeeedback treatments that have been instrumental in my rapid progress these last 2 months (esp. the last 3 weeks!).
- My family, far and wide who supported me, Nicole and CJ at every step. Near or far, you were always close in my heart and always will be. From both sides of the family blood and marriage, each one of you has touched me and I feel the love!
- Friend Barry, who was my barometer for improvement, always pointing out things I could do that I couldn’t last week, and giving me and Nicole the solid rock of support that he is.
- Friend Hemant, always there and a steady beacon of hope for recovery! Perhaps soon I shall golf again with you and Sunil, Sanjay, and Piyush. I owe you guys my life, since that fateful day on the golf course when you scared me into getting checked out.
- Cantor Michael, who sang to me as I awoke for the first time sans Marvin, and has been the kindest and most supportive guy a blighter like me could ever wish to have as a friend! You and Denise have been a great source of friendship and support, and I love you guys so much!
- Rabbi Amy and Rabbi Jeff, at my side always, supporting me, Nicole and CJ with the embracing arms and love of G_d, and helping me keep my sanity and not drop into the pits of depression. A Clergy of Hope – with a special relationship I treasure so much!
- My very wide circle of friends and neighbors (there are a lot of you!) who have helped me, Nicole and CJ get through this. Bringing us meals and treats (oh my stomach!), driving me to doctor and PT appointments, visiting me, babysitting me, helping me do the simplest tasks that I just couldn’t do, and being the greatest bunch of people I could ever wish to call friends! You know who you are, and it will bore readers to see a long list, but let me name just a few (sorry if I don’t get everybody): Sue, Dianne, Charlotte, Melanie, Bill, Tracey, Hector & Joan, Yadi & Hank, Tom & Connie, Paul & Cheryl, Tom & Patti, Vanessa & Jason, Diane, Carol & Ken, Ron & Kathy, Margaret (and Margaret!), Debbie, Lisa, Fred & Jen, Rabab, Ann & Mike, Nick, Peter, Matt, Rahul, Amin, Shane, Yousef, Charlie, Mary (& Mary!), Sonia, Malou, Fred, Dennis & Lynn, Gabriele, Julie & Robert, Ted & Bruce, Steve, Gary, Eric, Caron, Bill & Debbie, Nancy & Stan, Karen, Rachel, Marti, Amy, Susan, Anita, Beth, Laura, Carole, Joe, Mike, Hannah, Dave & Ilene, Julie, Sarah, Kari, Adam, Andy, Karen & Michael, Robin, Bob, Tom, and I’m sure I’ve left a ton of names out – sorry!
- My professional care-givers, Dr. Edy (miracle worker#1) and his merry band of staff (and his awesome wife Gabriele!), Dr. Savani and his wonderful staff, the entire staff at WHC who cared for me whilst I was in-hospital (shout-out to Janet who got us the private room!), and recently Dr. Esty (miracle worker #2) and her staff, Dr. Porvazniak (miracle worker #3), Melanie (miracle worker #4), and the therapists from near and far who’ve helped me recover from Marvin.
- And lastly, Marvin, you big ugly tumor who changed all our lives forever, made us so much stronger and closer. Your presence (and more importantly your absence!) helped me realize how loved I am, helped Nicole find vast bunkers of strength and fortitude, helped CJ mature into a true mensch and a great young man, helped fuel the imagination of Lisa’s wacky humor, and helped everyone who reads this understand just a little bit better how important is the support network of family and friends.
Well, I started writing this morning, and now the day is nearly done. Almost exactly 365 days to the hour I woke up from surgery, alive and compos mentos (sort of!). Today was a day of reflection and remembering, and thankfulness to all who touched my life. Sitting at the beach looking out to sea was a great meditation for me today, and a hope for even better times ahead!
I promise my next post will be funnier!
- One Singular Sensation
- Where’d my infirmity go?