The irony of “Why I hide my truth.”

It’s ironic that my essay, Why I hide my truth, posted today at The Sunlight Press.

The irony is that yesterday, David and Goliath duked it out within me about that very thing–sharing my truth when I’m most vulnerable. Goliath fought to keep truth in; David fought for its freedom.

I’ve been battling chronic health problems now for over four years. Some days are better than others; yesterday was not one of them.

Most days, I’m able to offset the discouragement of my physical symptoms with the joy and purpose of writing, and simple pleasures like reading on my porch swing. Yesterday was not one of them. I was a hot mess.

I hate asking for help. I hate bothering people. I hate that I might be perceived as needy. I hate exposing my raw feelings, and yesterday, they were rawer than beef standing in a field, mooing.

But I know that this journey I’m on, to write the story of my difficult motherhood, made more difficult by my son’s brain tumor, is intended to help me to grow. The universe is challenging me to break free of my old habits. If I don’t, my pain will not have been worth it.

But old habits die slower than a hosta in poor soil. Yesterday, I scrolled through the contacts in my phone, and saw many friends I could call. How blessed I am. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t reach out. So I put my phone down and cried even harder. Then I felt worse, because I knew what I needed, and it was so simple, but I was too afraid.

I knew The Sunlight Press essay would post today, and I thought, Have I learned nothing from this process? I understand better why I hide my truth, and writing is a wonderful outlet, but sometimes, Goliath must fall at that very moment, not weeks or months later. Sometimes, David has just one shot, and it’s now or never.

I believe our greatest fears are our greatest opportunities for growth.

So, with a deep breath and a prayer, I did it. I texted some friends, who called me right back. I cried, they listened, and I felt better. I even laughed. The physical pain remained, but the emotional pain went poof, like a cloud of dust in Golliath’s fallen wake.

New habits take practice, and sadly, I’ll have many more opportunities to learn. I expect each time I reach out, it will be a little easier. And each time, I’ll have good fodder for my writing.

 

 

Brain Tumor Awareness Month, Day 11.

Another vocabulary word from the day my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor: Hydrocephalus. Water on the brain. 

I had heard of it before that October morning in the radiology lab. I had the notion that babies were sometimes born with hydrocephalus, and it caused their heads to swell, since the plates of the skull are not yet fused. 

For an 11 year old, the skull is solid. Excess fluid in the brain will push against and compress the soft tissue, the grey and white matter that controls every aspect of our ability to function.

Normally, cerebrospinal fluid flows from the spinal column up into the brain, and then exits back down again. Matt’s tumor, attached to his brain stem, blocked one of the exits, so the fluid had no place to go.

That’s why Matt’s symptoms were so pervasive—cognitive, physical, emotional. His poor brain was literally being squished.

Had it gone undetected much longer … I shudder to think of the outcome.

So I don’t.

I think about how lucky we are that Matt’s brain, and our family, has recovered.