I couldn’t do a pose in yoga yesterday . . . “It hurts the seam in my skull”, I told my teacher.  “Right,” she said, “I’d forgotten about that”.  And we both laughed.

It’s almost inconceivable to me that four years have gone by since I had a craniotomy to remove my brain tumour.

Four years ago, I had a nine month old baby, an almost 3 year old, and I was planning for the unknown and unknowable.

Four years since this weekend when the photo above was taken.

Trust me when I say there are no cheery articles to help moms of newborns decide when “the best time to wean your newborn in preparation for your operation” is, or “how soon can your kids visit you in the hospital post-surergy without traumatizing them”.  The irony was not lost on my that I spent hours in a class to prepare for the birth of my first kid, but there was absolutely no instruction available to me on how to navigate the lead up to and return home from a potentially changing surgery.

But this isn’t a post to dwell on the past.  Because I’m at a point where I can honestly say, the past really is the past when it comes to my tumour.

Sort of.

I read an article this week about the effects of trauma on a person.  Specifically how trauma can fundamentally change a person.

I know that happened to me.

Health and happiness are my top priorities now, for me and my family.  And our decisions, as individuals, and as a family usually tend to reflect these priorities.  It’s why we eat the way we do; we buy organic food, try not to eat processed foods and limit the sugar we eat, and why I am happy to meal-plan, cook and bake to ensure that we have good food to eat each day.  It’s why we don’t drink during the week, and why on the weekends, we don’t usually over-do it.  It’s why we’ve placed a priority on being active, even if that means the Husband is up at 4:30 to get to the gym, and I spend so many hours during the week in the gym.  It’s why we’re careful with our commitments, making sure to take time to spend just as a family of 4, and for each of us to have some quiet time for themselves, and for weekend afternoon naps if that’s what we need.  It’s why I try to structure my/our life/lives to allow for the greatest possible flow; without discord and obstacles, we are free to focus on enjoying life, and all it has to offer, and all we have to offer each other in this family.

But it goes deeper than that too.  I am profoundly grateful to be here and to experience this life I have with the Husband and the kids and my/our decisions about what we do and how we do it, reflect and celebrate this deep gratitude.  So yes, we are about to take our annual trip to Disney (it is the happiest place on earth!), and no, our kids aren’t yet in competitive sports teams (another year of a more relaxed schedule, and more time for the kids to decide what really makes them happy).

So, while I am quite ready forget about the tumour and the angst and upset that the tumour brought to that time in my life (a time when I would have much rather have focused on being a mom of a toddler and a newborn), I can’t.  It made me who I am today (a much better version of the me pre-tumour, at least in my humble opinion).

It’s been too easy for too long to focus on what I lost during that time of my life.  It’s time to focus on what I’ve gained because of it.

And that, my friends, is why I’m choosing to celebrate the anniversary of the surgery this year.  And yes the celebration just may involve some sort of sugar . . . because what’s a celebration without cake????

(and if you’re curious, this is the article I read about trauma and the effect it can have on a person – it really hits the nail on the head.)