This is ostensibly a health update. While there have been a number of other changes ongoing in my life, I’m writing today to tell you about a big and important one that has a profound effect on all aspects of my day-to-day affairs.
About a month ago, I had a profoundly uncomfortable night. I crawled into bed and I could not quiet my mind. I was stuck in an anxiety thought loop that was edging me closer and closer to a full-on panic attack. Even though I was mindful of the state of my thoughts, I couldn’t break the loop. I stared at the dark ceiling and tried to breathe calmly. After a while, when this didn’t work, I sat up. Then I sat on my meditation bench and proceeded to meditate for the next six-ish hours.
It was a real struggle, memorably so. I was dead tired and knew I should have been sleeping, but I sat there recognizing thoughts as they occurred. Gradually, my mind calmed and I eventually was able to focus on nothing other than my breathing without intrusive thoughts. Then, I experienced what I can only describe as a moment. It was like emerging from a warm pool, but that’s a bad simile for the sensation.
Soon thereafter, I crawled back into bed and almost immediately fell asleep.
The next morning I woke up, stumbled downstairs, and made a cup of coffee. Then, at the table with my wife, something really unusual happened. She asked me a question. I put my cuppa down and began to sign a response. Up until this moment, when I signed, I often tried to vocalize too. This time, instead of a crappy incomprehensible howl, I made words.
Since then, I’ve been able to form speech most of the time. I still have difficulty from time to time, but I’m doing much better now. I’ve been able to make telephone calls, and Google even recognizes my voice these days.
My neurologist and radiation oncologist have both suggested that some of this newly rediscovered ability may be the result of increased blood flow to my brain around the tumor. The tumor hasn’t changed visibly since the surgery, but the type of scans I’ve had don’t/can’t measure a change in blood circulation either.
The thing is, I think I felt it.
Like a boulder moving in the flow of the river, it was profound and completely internal. I know I don’t really have words to describe what happened and I suspect that there isn’t language for it, but there it is. Here I am.