Almost ten years ago, I sat in a doctor’s office with my five month old in her little bucket car seat at my feet and heard the words “They found something. You have a brain tumour”. It’s funny what I don’t remember from that day; I have no idea how or any recollection of how I drove home from the doctor’s office for example. But what I do remember vividly were the cryptic words of the doctor after I pressed her on what my likely outcomes would be: “It’s all possible” she said.
With a prognosis that ranged from you’ll be back to normal in no time to the possibility of paralysis, brain death, or even death, I was sent home to await an appointment with a specialist and eventually a surgery. Unfortunately, in the intervening three weeks it took for me to see the specialist, and four months it took to have the surgery, each day I was forced to face the vast uncertainty of how my life would unfold.
I remember several epic meltdowns during this period in which, through streaming tears and clenched jaws and fists, declaring that I just did not want to go through this. I didn’t want to have to face the surgery, the recovery, ad all that that might entail. That I wanted to go back in time to when I could wake up each morning and not contemplate my own mortality. That simply put, I wanted my OLD life back.
Fortunately, and with more gratitude than I can express in words for our healthcare system, I was placed in the the care of the most talented neurosurgeon, and after a gruelling 12 hour surgery, my tumour was removed, I didn’t suffer any of the “worst case” scenarios, and my healing journey began.
Fast forward to last weekend, when through streaming tears I declared, “I want my OLD life back”.
The irony of my words yesterday is not lost on me.
The “old” life I crave so much is the one I was so terrified of ten years ago.
As our lockdown has been extended for another 2 weeks, and we have been given no promises on when we may regain pieces of our lives as we knew them, the direction our lives will take over the next weeks, months, years, are clouded with uncertainty. Or, to quote my neurologist, “It’s all possible”.
Just like ten years ago, it is so easy to get drawn into the negative possibilities of what could happen over the next few weeks, months, and even years. But instead, perhaps it’s time to start focusing on the good. We’ve had twelve months to slow down. To discover what we really can’t live without (haircuts), and what we can live without (all that business that came in the from of extra activities for the kids and meetings for the adults).
Hopefully as we come out of this season of lockdown and look towards a brighter future as vaccines are rolled out and infection rates come down, we can distill from this past year that which is most essential and build a new, better “normal” for ourselves and our families instead of running back to our old ways of doing things.
Maybe then, ten years from now, we will look back and realize that this “new normal” that we’re all so scared of, isn’t quite as bad as we’re imagining it to be.