This time last year I was just starting my recovery process after sudden brain surgery. I was born with a cyst on my left optic nerve and at some point in late 2021 or early 2022 it burst resulting in weeks of migraine like headaches and a ministroke.
Long story short, I needed surgery in the next few days or else I would have either died or had severe brain damage. It's taken me a while to process what happened to me, and what that means for me going forwards. Here are some of my main take aways.
First off, this was a huge wake up call for me in terms of my mortality and frailty
I’ve had brushes with death before like a bad car wreck, or friends and family dying way too young, but this episode just hit different.
For the first few days after surgery I couldn’t speak.
I was aware of what was going on around me but I could not speak. I even motioned for a pen at one point, but my hand just made scribbles not letters.
When I was first able to speak I mainly just swore constantly, which is common for brain trauma. Once I could get my self to the bathroom on my own I was ready to be discharged and start the recovery process at home and at the Roger C Peace Rehabilitation Hospital.
On that note, amazing place! I can’t say enough good things about them. If you see them at various markets - check them out!
I guess one of weird things about bouncing back from brain surgery is that after a couple of weeks, I looked totally normal, I was just incredibly weak, and not all of my brain was working the way it had before.
Lots of folks would comment on how I was back to normal, but I really wasn’t.
I had months of rehab and tests to see how my body and brain were functioning.
At times it was rough and incredibly frustrating to not be able to do something I had done before, or to get totally worn out from walking a few hundred yards.
Even now, I still have bouts of dizziness and sometimes trouble thinking or getting my thoughts out into words.
But when it comes down to it, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made. Why?
It showed me that everything that I think of as “me” or “mine” can be gone in an instant if God allows it.
That kind of leads into my second take away. Which is, “don’t get so wrapped up in chasing a dream that you miss out on life”.
For me, that was starting the farm. I had spent way too much time working at the farm, and when I was home I was so burnt out that there wasn’t anything left in the tank for my family. That’s no way to live!
I had been telling myself that once the farm was successful, then I would have time to spend with my wife and kids and it’d all be great. But there is no guarantee that I’ll be alive the next minute, much less a few years down the road. And that’s also kind of a lie. Farms, business, etc. always want more than you can give, you have to set healthy boundaries and stick to them.
Don’t put off the truly important things to make time for the things that are ultimately trivial.
And my third take away is, it's okay if the whole farming thing doesn’t work out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super hopeful that it will, but “farmer” isn’t my primary identity. If the farm crashes and burns around me that’s okay because it doesn’t reflect on who I truly am.
To kind of wrap it up, I’m thankful I got to go through all of this. Clearly, not while it was happening. But if this hadn’t happened at all, I would have kept working myself right into the ground. Maybe I would have lived to a ripe old age, but I would have missed out on what is truly worthwhile.
During my recovery, at times, I was really pissed at God. But by His grace, I’m grateful for the life I have now. Each day is a gift and I hope I’m ready to receive each one as such. I hope to savor the joy and to grow from the pain that comes each new day.