I had a follow-up appointment with my neurosurgeon yesterday, so I spent a good hour or so in the morning putting on my nicest clothes, dousing myself with perfume and applying several inches of makeup. I even put on eyeliner as well as mascara, and a few licks of highlighter under my eyes. Because obviously, the brilliant man who sliced my head open and moved my jaw bone out of the way so he could spend nine and a half hours extracting a beastly tumour will care if I'm properly dolled up or not. As will the nurses who removed the twenty-two staples from my head and attached a tube for me to pee into. I mean, c'mon.
In all seriousness, I do like the idea of one day going back to the ward where I was kept for a week with a swollen face, rashy skin and the inability to walk independently, just for a casual check-up and the staff all marvelling at how well I'm doing - if only because my hair is actually washed now. It's partly a very selfish 'See? This is what I normally look like! Remember me like this!' feeling within me, but also a 'Hey, so I feel like I'm back to normal and it's all because of you!' It's hard to explain.
Another feeling that I couldn't possibly put into words is that one that comes over me as I sit in a fancy office at the local 'private hospital' I've suddenly been sent to, listening to my neurosurgeon (also known as Miracle Man) talk to me about the recovery process while looking me straight in both eyes, and thinking how just six weeks ago he was inside my head working hard to make me better. He actually saw my brain, something nobody has ever done and hopefully will never do again - unless I'm in an episode of CSI being examined by Dr Robbins, which is totally possible. He saved me. He made it so that I am now able to walk without smashing into everything I encounter or simply falling on my face; so that my arms are now stronger than ever and utterly void of the twitching that knocked over so many cups of coffee; so that I can now sleep well at night; so that I can talk out of both sides of my mouth and my eyes don't see double half the time; so that I can write notes in my diary and type this post right now.
I ask him stupid questions: Can I swim? (Yes, but wear earplugs and no diving), Can I go back on my contraceptive pill? (It's your choice!), Is my scar going to bleed at all or just split open? (No, of course not). He reminds me to be patient as I haven't fully recovered yet, and a few days' hard work and precarious living could set me back a few weeks; 'because remember, it was a... Big op!'
Him saying this almost makes me regret the half bottle of wine, the five double JDs and the two luscious mojitos I had that night I returned to Winchester - almost, but not quite.
Dad asks if he has 'anything else for Grace'. He looks back at me, reaches out to shake my hand, smiles oh-so wide, and says 'I am delighted' one or two times. I feel the tears threatening to spill and squeak back, 'Me too!'
[image: How I Saved My Life With Mindfulness Meditation] I had struggled with episodes of clinical depression for much of my teens and into my early twen...