One Year Later

It’s been one year since my brain surgery. As you can read in that old article, I had Trigeminal Neuralgia, which made me wish for death every single day for over a decade. Luckily, I was too much of a coward to kill myself. But, whew, there were days, baby…

The article gets it wrong. The initial injury may have done something to speed up the process, but what was really happening was that my body was fucked up. A vein was wrapping around the nerve. This is something we all have — this particular vein and this particular nerve occupying the same space. But then they touch and it’s like crossing the streams, Igon. And, in my case, that vein was getting all cozy with the nerve Giant Anaconda Movie of the Week style.

So the brain surgeon cracked open my skull, shifted my brain around, and came at my face from behind. With hammer and chisel, he removed the vein from the nerve, splinted the nerve with tissue from the muscle in my neck (which is still a little fucked up) and cured me. Most likely forever. There’s always the chance that Satan lives in my body but, in almost every case, this is a permanent cure.

It’s taken me this entire year to really get that through my head, though. I didn’t get my energy back until late October, and my neck is just now returning to normal, and it took till the first of this year to dump the outrageous cocktail of drugs I was taking to “control” the pain. I use the word control loosely, because I was still always in pain.

I’m still not used to being pain-free. The ritual of the pain remains ingrained in my soul. The fear that it’ll return haunts me. Letting go of all that is a monumental task… But I’m getting there. This anniversary is sort of what I was waiting for. A year without pain (though confused and troubled, marred by two family deaths and mounting debt, a hard recovery and self-doubt) is all I needed to reboot. I find myself looking at tomorrow, and the days to come, with a renewed energy.

Well, I’m speaking figuratively. Spring is here and the trees are doing their thing, so I really only have enough energy to suck down Alavert and blow my nose and stare at the flowering beast outside my bedroom window with murder in my reddened eyes.

To help turn your stomach, here’s an article I wrote nine days after the surgery, which includes a picture of the wonderful scar and stitches. I’m actually disappointed, because you can barely see the scar today. It’s a beautiful piece of work… But I wanted the big Frankenstein’s monster scar. My figuring is that it would help me get laid. I need all the help getting laid that I can get, because I’m a 30-something bachelor with a warped view of the world who prefers to spend warm, sunny days inside with bad science fiction. The only reason I ever knew the touch of a woman in my glorious 20’s was because our dorms didn’t have cable, the 1990’s Internet wasn’t anything worth speaking of, and I was a lush.

So what’s on tap for this year? I just hired a PR girl to deal with our latest book, I’m going to work like a dog to pay off my enormous debt, and I’ll try and squeeze out a lengthy vacation towards Christmas. Now fully recovered, I’ll do things I couldn’t do before: Eat food, drink water, roll over in my sleep, breathe, blink, and smile.

There. I’m being sarcastic. I’ll do things I couldn’t do before — like live. Live, live, live.