How do you know that you have a blind spot? That’s the problem, right? You can’t know what you can’t see until someone tells you that you should be able to see more than what you are currently seeing. And that is exactly what happened for me this past weekend.
In my medical journey, I feel like we are slowly collecting pieces of the broken puzzle that is my body. It is taking much longer than I would prefer, but we are finally moving forward with gathering information.
It was just an eye doctor exam. I expected nothing to come out of it. The doctor just wanted to make sure that my symptoms were not connected to optic nerve issues, and I expected everything to be fine (I always do). Everything was panning out as I had anticipated, until the last test. The test is called an Automated Periphery test. It basically identifies blind spots in your peripheral vision, and somehow, that can point to problem areas in the brain. To my surprise and ultimately disbelief, I had an abnormal result that was consistent in both eyes. These blind spots indicated, according to the doctor, that I have something problematic in the middle section of my brain, in or around the pituitary gland. During this conversation, he cheerfully used the word “tumor” on several occasions. He also said that it could be benign, and he honestly didn’t seem too concerned or overly urgent. He seems to think that it is sufficient to follow up with the neurologist when we have the appointment scheduled in about five to six weeks at Mayo.
With this information, however, I have a couple competing and opposing reactions. My verbal response to him was something to the effect of, “Yes, I have been aware of neurological issues for some time, and this does not surprise me. I know that there is something very broken in my brain.” A simultaneous internal response was, “Yeah right. Just wait. Everything is normal. He’s a quack. This, just like everything else, is a waste of everyone’s time and energy.”
In this moment, I am going to put aside the latter thought process so that we can deal with the seeming reality of this awareness. It has been difficult for me to assert the idea that there is something wrong in my brain. Maybe it is the fact that I have so many mental health issues that I cart around. How does one sort out what is brain structure and brain chemistry? What are blind spots and what are normal bouts of dissociation that occur within individuals with PTSD? What is normal? I have no idea, but I have something inside of me that screams, “THIS CANNOT BE NORMAL!!!” I don’t know how many times I have told someone that I think my brain is broken. But, really, who am I to say what a functional brain is supposed to be like? I’ve been on psychotropic medications for 20 years. So this is a tough issue, and I would not place myself on a platform as an expert on healthy brains. Evidently, however, based on my most recent medical feedback, it seems that I have more credibility than I initially suspected.
The other side of this “acceptance of reality” coin is that now I have grapple with the “c” word and the potential of a tumor. And I have to sit with this question for six long weeks. Fortunately, I am far from bored, and six weeks in my life zooms by before I can count to six. Time will fly, because I have two tinies to chase after and a wild pastor husband to keep up with. I have one Bible study to teach and two, maybe three others in which to participate. I have playgroups, music groups, story times, play dates, and crafts to do. I have choir and relationships to maintain. I will blink, and the end of October will be upon us. But still.. TUMOR. In my BRAIN. (Possibly). But still…
So this leads to me to my end of the world dreams. For months, I have been having dreams about the end of the world. I find myself in different but parallel scenarios where I am a protagonist in a fight to the end…the end of the world. I am trying desperately to keep whatever forces that be from destroying our planet. These bad guys are super bad, like aliens twenty times the size of planet earth, and they are out to wipe our species out from existence. They can snuff us out at any point, and for some reason, I am one of the few chosen to try to prevent them from doing so. The problem in this scenario is that I have no idea what the heck I am doing, and I am just a sitting duck along with everyone else. I am no hero. I’m just waiting around to be decimated, but I feel the weight of the salvation of the world on my shoulders. Fortunately, I wake up just as I see the fiery fury coming to consume the planet, including this powerless heroine. The key sense in these dreams is powerlessness. I can’t do one thing about impending doom.
So I wait, with one side of my consciousness (the one that comes out in my dreams) doling out heavy doses of doom and gloom and ultimate destruction, and another side invalidating every single step of this journey, unable to acknowledge a single ounce of my experience as real. Could there be hope, validation, and redemption in the midst of this battle? Could everyone lay down their weapons and surrender to the One who is in control, is the Author of truth, and has defeated death, making a spectacle of it on the Cross? I am powerless, yes. In a sense. But the one who is supremely powerful dwells within me. IN CHRIST, I am no longer a slave to the lies OR to death. Neither force will win in my life, no matter what happens. My Lord, the one who indwells me, is Truth Himself, and He is Life. I will not shrink back or be consumed by fear. I am safe and secure, no matter what happens.