Here is my SparkGuy email going out tonight:
I hope you had a great week! Today I'll share a story about an experience I had over the summer when I attended a minor league baseball game with some friends.
This was the first baseball game I had attended since my surgery. The combination of fun with a great group of friends, the sights and sounds of a minor league baseball game, the surprisingly good burgers, and even one beer, all combined to put me in a great mood.
At the end of the game, there was a good fireworks display. The combination of the good night already plus the fireworks really hit me. I stood and watched the fireworks, truly enjoying the show.
Afterwards, one of my friends (a really good MD) said, "you watched those fireworks like you were a 5-year-old kid."
I responded that after going through a potential life-or-death experience, I really do feel like a 5-year-old kid appreciating experiences like this.
We talked about how surviving my surgery (especially with no lasting effects) really was a gift that most people don't get to experience. Now I'll be able to keenly appreciate many so-called normal situations in life.
I have a friend from high school named Missy who survived a car accident with a brain injury a few months before my issue. We motivate each other on our recovery. I told her this story and here was her response:
"Oh my gosh I completely get it. My son is a sophomore in high school and plays for the football team. After the game they did a fireworks show at the high school over the field. I think it was the best fireworks display I've ever witnessed and it's because I saw them through different eyes this time. I caught a glimpse of my husband watching me watching the fireworks because I was so into them and appreciating each one. You definitely see life through a different lense after something so traumatic."
I'm not sure if there's a real way to mimic this -- since I did have about a 3-hour period where I had no idea whether I'd live or die from my brain issue. This was the time in between a CT scan in the Emergency Room that just showed a large mass in my head to travelling to another hospital via ambulance for an MRI that showed the details and a neurosurgeon told me he could take this out with surgery that ended up being fairly complex.
Maybe you could try to visualize being in my situation if you'd like. Or some other situation. Or visualize the real situation that we'll all "go" at some point whether that is decades from now or being hit by a bus tomorrow. My entire situation starting with a seizure happened with no warning while I was walking down the street towards my car to drive for 2 hours. It could have happened 10 minutes later and I might have died without getting a chance to say goodbye to my wife and kids or anyone else.
If you'd like to make this an activity (I understand if you don't), just think about what it would mean to suddenly die. How would you live your life differently if you knew the end really could happen soon?
To get back to being positive, I hope your answer is that you'd be grateful for the gift of each day (even ones that have extreme challenges). I'll give you a hint: if the next time you have to do something that now seems boring or routine and you excitedly embrace that task, then there's a good chance you are on the right track :).
This is a fun message for me to share today because this coming Wednesday, October 2 is the 1-year anniversary of my seizure and Friday, October 4 is the anniversary of my successful surgery. All of the doctors said it would take a full year to really recover from the surgery and I now understand why they said that. I moved faster than they expected, but definitely realized limitations in things like my stamina throughout the year.
Now I'm looking forward to the gift of each day of the next year!
I hope you are too? Let me know below.