It’s been about three and a half weeks since I had my decompression surgery to free up some space for my crowded cerebellum, and my healing is going well.
If you follow me on Instagram (@kristincashore), then you’ve been seeing a lot of little updates, pictures, and videos about my journey, but today is the first time I’ve felt well enough to come onto the blog. It’s harder here. This is partly because of the extra neck and head strain caused by a computer versus a phone, but it’s mostly because the canvas here is so large. On Instagram, I can provide updates in little blips. Here, I’m faced with the enormity of the experience I’ve had. Maybe that word is too grand — enormity — but the last few months have certainly been enormously strange. It’s hard to know where to begin, and where to go once I’ve begun. I expect it’s going to take me a while to process all that I’ve seen and experienced — and especially the kindness and generosity I’ve received — since this whole thing began.
My cerebellum has a brand new, bigger home, delicately built for me by Dr. Philipp Taussky and his team at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Thank you, Dr. Taussky! It’ll be a few weeks before we know how my cerebellum has adjusted to her new home, but Dr. Taussky is hopeful, and so am I. I can barely speak about the care I received at the BIDMC without tearing up. I was there for four days and wish that everyone with medical needs could be as well taken care of as I was. The nurses who brought me through that hard time were Leah, Zoia, Sydney, Sam, Kendra, Merissa, Kerrill, Kayla, and Alisa. I hope I didn’t forget anyone; I was on a lot of drugs at the time, but I was writing your names down on my phone whenever I could remember. This is because I could tell, even through the drug haze, that you were extraordinary in the work you do.
During those four days, my husband navigated the drive between Watertown and the BIDMC ten times. This will mean nothing to those of you who’ve never driven in Boston, so you’ll have to trust me when I say that this alone was a feat of heroism. He brought me thermoses of chicken rice soup made with his own delicious homemade broth. He brought me my teddy bear. Eventually he brought me home, then moved himself into his office where he slept on an air mattress so that I could have the bed to myself for a while. All of this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how Kevin has been supporting me since this ordeal began.
This is why I haven’t been blogging — because where do I stop? Do I mention that my sisters set their alarms for 4:40 on the morning of my surgery so that they could wake up when I did and keep me company over text? Do I mention that I couldn’t wash my hair for two weeks and had to keep it in greasy pigtails, so that my incision, which looked like something from Frankenstein’s monster, could be kept clear and dry? (These days, it’s looking pretty great. I’m going to have a nice neat scar.) Should I mention that one of my sisters flew in to take care of me for a few days and made an apple pie for my husband’s birthday, because I couldn’t make it myself? Should I mention that when I went in for my followup appointment to get my sutures out, I learned that the flexible shield that Dr. Taussky built inside my head to protect the work he’d done was made of the pericardium of an organ donor?
Each of these things is still too much to process. So that’s why I haven’t been blogging. But I’m dropping in today to let you know that I’m OK, and that all will be well.
Before my surgery, I made myself a bunch of signs, anticipating what some of my challenges would be during my healing. I’ll close by sharing the sign that’s been most helpful to me (thank you, Vicki, for suggesting it!): “My healing is nonlinear.” I’m sharing this one because I bet that if you’re healing from something, your healing is nonlinear too. Healing is complicated and slow. Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Things change.
With love and gratitude,