Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Oh, O'Neill.

I have the world’s biggest girl crush on Louise O’Neill. There. I said it. We’ve got that out of the way, it’s out there in the blogosphere for all to see (and she can now act on it in whatever way she chooses)…
So this piece is less of a book review, more like a ‘why you must love this woman as much as I do’ piece. I can’t even call it an ‘author appreciation’ piece, because yes I do adore her writing style and her two outstanding YA Fiction books, but damn it I also adore her for her, the person she is and all the awesome things she does.
  
But yeah, let’s start with books.
Louise O’Neill (in my mind I have started to call her Oneilllo, as that’s her Twitter handle and Twitter is my chosen means of stalking/communicating with her) has written two novels: Only Ever Yours and Asking For It.
Only Ever Yours tells the tale of women in a futuristic and oppressive misogynistic world. As in, misogyny is the norm. This is a world where females are not born, they are designed. They are not raised in a family environment, they are trained and brought up by professional Chastity women in a special school. They will leave this school aged sixteen as Companions, Concubines, or Chastities.
Companions are chosen and wed by the sons of the richest and most powerful men in the outside world (the world they have never seen, beyond the confines of their school), and they do their household duties and give birth to as many sons as their partner requires. They are then ‘terminated’ when they reach forty years of age and so are deemed ugly and useless.
Concubines are the ‘bits on the side’; women who answer the filthy calls of men twenty-four hours a day. Every call, every desire and every fetish. Often these men have Companions at home, but that’s obviously not enough for them.
Chastities, finally, are the women who raise the designed females in the schools. They have shaved heads and dark robes, and are repulsive to look at and relentlessly stern.
Only Ever Yours follows Freida, one of the soon-to-be graduates of the school, on her journey through her final few months being taught and trained before the Ceremony in which she and her classmates will be put on their future paths of Companion, Concubine or Chastity. She is wrapped up in drama; the treacherous Megan meddling in her affairs and governing the group of girls, her ex-bestie Isabel pulling away from her and seeming strange, and… A guy showing interest in her.
I picked up on so many clever little details that O’Neill had put into this book. Subtle little suggestions. For instance, I immediately noticed that women’s names did not begin with a capital letter. Men’s did. They worshipped one man, The Father, like they would a god. Also, feminist was used once as an insult, a dirty word, because one girl piped up and claimed that personality mattered just as much as looks… She was incorrect. In this world, looks are everything.
Something else that I was fascinated by was the description of what happened when the schoolgirls in the novel had their ePads and ePhones revoked for a week – and thus their social media privileges (their main social site being the perfectly-named MyFace) were gone. For seven whole days. The girls went crazy; they were suddenly constantly talking to one another, over one another, needing to share every detail of what they were doing or what they were thinking, or what outfit they wanted to wear that day. This plot point felt like a comment on the role social media plays in our lives today…
I was fortunate enough to meet Louise O’Neill when she, Lisa Williamson (author of The Art Of Being Normal, another breakthrough Young Adult Fiction novel) and David Levithan (author of about a dozen Young Adult Fiction novels, e.g. Two Boys Kissing and Every Day, all of them outstanding and groundbreaking) came to Waterstones Piccadilly for a talk and a signing. I somehow worked up the nerve to raise my hand and ask a question – my voice wobbled and I was drenched in anxious sweat, but still… I asked Louise, and of course invited the other authors to add in their own opinions, about the social media plot point she made. I think my nervous wobbly voice said into that huge obnoxious handheld microphone: ‘Is this what you think of social media? It’s damaging and all-consuming…?’
Louise immediately chuckled and admitted she didn’t necessarily feel that way, calling herself a ‘Twitter fiend’ – which to be honest, we @Oneilllo fans really appreciate. After all, she tweets some real gems – queries about Tinder dates, some drunk musings and screenshots of chats with her parents. She also responds to every mention she receives, which is so darn lovely and a major win for we readers/fangirls. Even if I only knew her from Twitter and hadn’t met her and been bowled over by her slick wicked ways in person, I would still be desperate to be her best friend (or at least weekday drinking buddy). 

Asking For It is another outstanding book. Outstanding, and also horrifically brutal. It’s a book you read with gritted teeth, an unsettled stomach and (in my case) tears streaming endlessly down your face. As you may be able to tell from the title, this is a story about rape. Rape, and the aftermath for a woman.
It’s summer time in a tiny town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is a popular, beautiful and confident eighteen year-old having fun with her friends and always receiving attention from the boys. Then one night she attends a party with her friends and the boys. The next morning, she wakes up on her front porch sunburnt and bleeding and has no idea what happened or how she got there. Everyone else knows. Soon the angry texts and abusive anonymous messages are flooding in, and she finds herself tagged in a series of explicit and horrific photos on social media. She was raped at the party. Gang-raped. She was completely off her face on drink and drugs, and dressed to kill, so that makes the majority of people claim she was, well, asking for it.
It doesn’t help that the boys who put her through this were some of the town’s sporting heroes, who had just won a game before the party and all had glorious futures ahead of them. Emma is extremely apprehensive to call them out for what they did, because she thinks doing so would mean she would be ‘ruining their lives’. Also, she’d be upsetting a lot of families close to hers. But she’s made the decision to press charges.
Louise O’Neill’s style of writing in this book was just next level perfect. She captured the pain and struggles present in the story, she made her readers really feel for this poor girl. The worst/best part was that it was so…real.
Honestly, some parts were so hard to get through without dry-heaving or screaming into a pillow.
Sometimes all it took was the same few words being repeated again and again as the story progressed (I cannot ever get the words ‘splayed legs, pink flesh’ out of my mind now). I was right inside this poor girl’s head. I was suffering with her.
When I finished the book I mopped up my tears, resisted the urge to throw the book across the room, gave it a five star review on Goodreads, and recommended it to every single one of my friends. As we speak, my neighbour Amy is reading it and I’m waiting for her to text me in the unique state of distress and awe that I was overcome with when reading.
Asking For It is one of those books that is of the utmost importance to this generation; hell, every generation. There is not a single person who could not benefit from reading it. Someday this book will be studied in schools (when the world has finally dealt with ‘rape culture’, and by ‘dealt with’ I mean well and truly obliterated it once and for all). The hashtag #NotAskingForIt will be written on placards and shouted in protests, and finally everyone will realise that rape does not happen because of what a person is wearing, or how much he/she’s had to drink, no. Rape happens because of rapists. End of.
O’Neill wrote in the Afterword to this novel that she and friends had discussed their own experiences of not consenting over drinks, as though it was something every woman goes through as a rite of passage. I’ll be honest here, I’ve had my own experiences, and I hate that so many other women have suffered as I have, and some much much worse. This must not, cannot, continue. I personally feel that Louise will help us fight against what is currently ‘the norm’ and should really not be even a distant idea.
Louise O’Neill is fast becoming the perfect, articulate and brilliantly loud voice for women’s rights. She is supporting the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and their Ask Consent campaign, she and Lisa Williamson posted pics supporting the LGBT charity Stonewall and their #NoBystanders campaign, and of course she started the hashtag #NotAskingForIt. She’s doing all of the speaking, having all the meetings – the other day was The Bookseller’s YA Conference and recently she jetted of to NY and the film rights of Only Ever Yours were bought. Wow.
The papers and mags cannot get enough of her; the Guardian called her “the best YA fiction writer alive today”, Bustle said she is “about to be the name on everyone’s lips”, the Sunday Independent called her a “tour de force”…plus, every magazine ever (Inis, Red, Image, Sunday Business Post, The Journal, OH C’MON I COULD GO ON) is chattering about the excellent Asking For It; recommending it to their readers and naming it Book of the Month, etc.
Yeah, she’s a big deal.
  
I was fortunate enough to get in touch with this fantastical woman, via my usual means of constant tweets packed with admiration and affection, plus a healthy (and not subtle) helping of fan girl squeals. For some reason, she saw fit to send me her author email address, and I was able to ask just a couple of burning questions:
When was that moment when you realised you simply had to write Asking For It?
There were a number of different incidents that inspired ASKING FOR IT. The Todd Aiken remarks about “legitimate rape” was one, and the Steubenville and Maryville cases in the US were obviously hugely influential. But it was after the ‘Slane Girl’ case here in Ireland (in which a teenage girl was caught on camera performing oral sex on a number of boys at a concert and vilified in the media afterwards) that made me determined to explore the attitudes towards female sexuality and how that ties in to rape culture.
What is the best compliment you have ever received, writing or personal?
There was a girl with learning difficulties in my class in primary school and I always had a soft spot for her. Her mother told me recently how much that meant to their family, and that they all felt more at ease knowing there was someone who was looking out for her when they couldn’t. I didn’t think anything of it at the time but it’s funny how something that seems like so little to me had greater ramifications for other people. Being told that you’re inherently kind is probably the greatest compliment a person can receive.
What did you take from the ‘New Day New Normal’ tour, which took place in three venues across the UK with fellow authors David Levithan and Lisa Williamson?
I loved the New Day New Normal tour! I’m such a fan of David Levithan and Lisa Williamson, I think they are doing something really special with their work and are changing how young adults see their LGBTQ peers. To be associated with them in any way was a huge honour.
Well, there you go. This woman is a goddess, and all of you will soon fall head-over-heels as I did. I’m very happy to have had the chance to get some questions answered – but I may still require a drinks date with you someday, Louise.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Upcoming radiotherapy & Little Princesses.

I really should be blogging more these days. I mean, I'm signed off work and I've completed my main 'off work time-killer tasks', e.g. revamp my bedroom and make my way through my To Be Read pile (I did make some progress on that, then decided to celebrate by buying more books. Obviously.)...
  I've been meeting up with as many friends as possible; when I bump into someone and we do that whole awkward dance when they say 'yeah, how are you? We should catch up sometime...' all the while making no concrete plans and waiting until the next bumping-into that will happen some months later – no, I've been snatching up every opportunity so when someone says 'let's catch up soon!' I immediately say 'Okay! Let's do that. When are you free?' I break out the diary and write them in.

  I've also been writing... Not blogging, writing. Oh actually, a teeny bit of blogging for Oh No Not Another Blogger, which is always mega fun as I love the team we've assembled over there, but yes, besides that just some serious writing. I've somehow gone from nothing but creative dead ends and frustration at lack of inspiration – or inspiration that can't be made into anything, which is ten times worse – to suddenly having THREE big ideas for creative projects, all of them on the go (and by that I mean the OpenOffice Writer docs are all open at once) and actually looking...promising.
**Quick shout-out here to the beautiful Bethany Scott! She is the reason one of my funny little projects, a piece of fiction that may someday be worthy of the term 'novel', is under way and beginning to take shape. She has this genius venture she's just brought about which is really a golden ticket of an offer on the table for struggling writers such as myself who have a few ideas here and there for a story but cannot assemble them all together in a proper plot. I've always struggled with plots – I can create characters and get a few scenes and 'moments' written down, a few sub-plots here and there, but no actual overarching plot. Nothing I can make big enough to fill a book. She's helped me so much with that! I adore you, Mrs Scott. I owe you a cuppa and a cuddle, plus a share of the profits if and when I'm published!**

Harvey making sure I write blogs...

So, I've been keeping busy. Keeping busy, and hating the fact that since recovering from my second operation I've been put on the back burner, some kind of silly medical waiting list, just sitting around twiddling my thumbs until the hospital (one of the two I'm usually seen at) call me up and say 'Hey! Congrats! You may have those six gruelling weeks of radiotherapy now! COME ON DOWWWNNN!'
Well, finally my number has been spun on the wheel... Or whatever expression fits with my slight 'game show' metaphor... Basically, I've been told 'yes, we'll kick it off now'.
  Inexplicably the CSF (see previous ranting jargon-filled post) started to dissipate a few days after my unsuccessful sucking operation – it's like it realised after those 2/3 days of confusion post-sucking when it swelled beyond belief that it actually wasn't wanted by the human it had selected to annoy. So the fluid gathered itself, packed its bags and bolted pretty darn quick. I held my breath for two weeks, running my fingers over the suddenly completely flat skin on my forehead and waiting for it to shout 'JUST KIDDING!' and re-inflate again. That didn't happen! It still hasn't happened! It's been three weeks now, and I'm genuinely believing that it's over. The Fluid Phase of my life has ended. So that's pretty fantastical, partly because it means I can stop hiding myself from public view as much and also because now the swelling has vamoosed, and they can fit me with a lovely plastic mask, I can start that delightful six-week course of radiotherapy.
  I genuinely don't think the radiographers, nurses, specialists and everyone in between and above in the pre-radio department at my hospital were prepared for my excitement in my appointments this past week. I was all smiles and totally up for making friends with them; I got called 'adorable' and received nothing but smiles back. I think I've laid the groundwork there to have a mostly agreeable treatment experience... That wasn't what I was aiming for though, of course. It's just an added bonus. No, I was just delighted to finally be getting on with everything. By mid-November, it'll all be over and I'll be able to start getting my life back on track. 

Now, I'm going to lose hair due to radiotherapy. That's what they all say. That's a real shame as there aren't many people who can say they've had two brain operations and managed to keep their hair – I'm in a very happy minority here, surely! My long hair has been a major comfort to me, too. When I had my first lot of surgery, I had my fringe cut the other way around so my parting would cover my hideous scar, and I started wearing my hair down. Constantly. This was new for me, as I'd always tied my hair back before. Nothing extravagant (or interesting or attractive), just a quick ponytail or bun done in under two seconds before rushing out the door to school/college/uni. It was a functional hairstyle, really. That was it.
Wearing my hair down all the time has been so lovely this past year, even when my highlights started growing out (I now get complimented on my 'funky dip-dye style', so I go along with that when really it's just laziness and lack of funds for another colouring with my genius hairdresser). It's felt like I'm properly being myself, as well as not being self-conscious about my scars and heroically sheltering the world from my ugly scalp.
Anyway, the time has come to lose hair. It'll come out in chunks and tufts where the beams zap my head, and my skin beneath the hair may burn a little, too. It sounds pretty unpleasant. I hate that my hair, this comfort I've made for myself, will be taken away from me soon. So I'm beating those evil (yet awesome and hopefully healing) radio vibes to the punch and having a little haircut before I start treatment. What's more, I'm donating the hair I get chopped off by my family hairdresser to a charity – Little Princess Trust, an amazing charitable organisation who make real-hair wigs for little kiddies who suffer from cancer.
  I see a whole lot of young'uns running around the hospital whenever I go in for an appointment – they seem so carefree, and so brave, even though they have probably already been through hell and back with only more to come, and they look like exactly what you'd imagine a very ill child would look like. They totally deserve a full head of hair more than I do.

I set up my JustGiving page one evening, the evening of the day I had my radiotherapy mask fitted and was once again repeatedly surprised by the sight of bald or balding (or bitchin' headscarf-clad) patients calmly wandering around the canteen or sitting sleepily in the waiting rooms or standing patiently in the pharmacy... All these incredible individuals. Wow.
Anyway, the page was set up and went live, I posted a long rambling status and link to it on Facey B, and then suddenly somehow I had raised over a hundred pounds in half an hour. By the time I was getting ready for bed, it was four hundred. And now after six days, I've collected over nine hundred and I'm genuinely amazed that at the rate I'm going, I may hit a thousand in just one week. It seems so crazy. I'm filled with this enormous shiny bubble of happiness that bursts and overflows whenever someone donates. It's a wonderful feeling, doing something that you know will help others – especially people you see every day, like those kiddies in the Royal Marsden hospital.

So my darling readers, here is my JustGiving page and feel free to throw a little dolla my way – but no worries if you can't or even if you just don't want to. I'd never force it on you! 
I think the reason so many gorgeous humans have donated already is because a) I have some bloody perfect friends and family members - even friends of friends and complete strangers have donated too, actually! and b) I've been promising everyone who donates a lifetime supply of hugs and coffee dates. My coffee dates are second to none - not only do I pay (and sometimes make the coffee using my exceptional barista skills), I also take selfies with everyone and post them to social media - which everyone seems to love! I'm sure I'll be writing a post pretty soon about my Coffee Date phenomenon - it deserves a whole post to itself, not a casual mention in a Brain Update post. Oh, no. 

Now, I feel I've updated/rambled enough here. Everyone enjoy your evenings, and days, and weeks, and heck, entire lifetimes. You never know what's right around the corner, or whom... I will post more regularly again now, and make these upcoming posts more coherent and more loyal to just the one subject at a time - less like a drunken/coffee-fuelled spurt of word vomit and one-sided small-talk babbling. That is a promise. 


- Bethany Scott's Fivesquid genius: https://www.fivesquid.com/freelancer/bethanyrscott
- Oh No, Not Another Blogger: http://ohnonotanotherblogger.co.uk/ 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

CSF: Cerebrospinal Fluid / Cocking Shitty Fiend.

Hello! Who fancies a good old-fashioned brain update? Spoiler alert: it's not the happy ending we're all hoping will come around ASAP, but nor is it another depressing dramatic addition to the never-ending tale... This update is just a little story about an epic annoyance.
I have an ugly lumpy collection of Cerebrospinal Fluid taking up a small but noticeable portion of my face; the top left (my left, your right) side of my forehead is full of goop and can either be hard, tightly swollen, or soft and...wet. That's the only way I can describe it.
It's apparently quite a common result of having a second operation which involved cutting through scar tissue; using the same 'opening', as it were, that was used in the first op. This fluid usually circulates around the brain and the spine, and it's seeped out from its usual residence and gotten itself trapped between my skull and my skin. Stupid fluid, it fancied an adventure and wandered a bit too far afield. Now it's stuck where it shouldn't be and I'm sure it is just as miserable and pissed off as I am.

Every day it's different. Every day it moves itself around differently, or doesn't move at all. It feels different, too. I'll wake up in the morning and because I'll have been lying flat for 7+ hours the fluid will have settled into a rock-hard fat mound high up on my forehead. Then as the day goes on, it's anyone's guess. Sometimes by the time I've sat down with some breakfast the swelling will have softened and the fluid slipped down to around my left eyebrow level, and the left side of my forehead will be flatter than the right side (the normal side). Seriously, it's so creepy when my forehead gets that flat – I can feel all the bones (or rather the artificial stuff they put in there, plus the bones that aren't too happy or settled as they've been shifted about a fair bit) beneath the thin skin, and more importantly the gaps between them. I can push my finger against the skin and it'll pucker and fold, and basically yields then disappears into the holes beneath the skin... I'm not describing it well, I'm aware. It's like when you press a finger onto a water balloon and the rubber gives in a little and you can feel the liquid underneath – well on the plus side, it's a perfect party trick. That and something I realised recently, which is when I chew a deep dimple appears in my temple. I press my teeth down into my jaw, and the dimple appears. I release the pressure, and it vanishes. I also like to jiggle the skin when it's resembling a bag of goo – I make waves!

Yes, it's very entertaining. Yes, it's very annoying. Even a neurosurgeon I saw for a consultation about it said it was a 'very annoying problem', and well he is the expert on these things. It's annoying because it makes my face look fat, but fat in an uneven way. At least the steroids last year which gave me a nasty case of 'moon face' made me look chubby all over. With this fluid I can turn to the side and look like a weird creature. I've had my hair cut so a fringe falls over the offending side of my face, but still in some photos you can tell – I can definitely always tell – that something's not quite right.
Having this stupid sack of moisture in my face only adds to my ever-growing sense that my best years are behind me. Appearance-wise I mean, c'mon some of the best times of my life are nowhere near yet... I hope. I do believe that my prettiest (or generally pretty) years are way in the past now. It was a very tiny window a while after getting the shit kicked out of me (verbally and sometimes physically) for having a thick discoloured 'lesbo crop' in Year 9 (which then grew into a fuzzy bushy 'thunder-cloud' hairstyle in Year 10); no, it was for a while when I resembled Zooey Deschanel with my sturdy block fringe and heavily-lined eyes, then another peak time was when I went ombre and lost a fair bit of weight due to stress and self-loathing in my third year of uni. It was going downhill anyway after I got into my happy relationship and thus stopped caring about my make up and then brought on the 'relationship gut', so when I was carted off for my first operation it just quickened my fall from grace.

Oh, the gathering fluid is also annoying because it's preventing me from starting radiotherapy, and so basically it's stopping me getting on with my life. For two months now the specialists have been saying 'let's give it a few more weeks, wait for it to disperse on its own', and while some people who don't see me that often will say they swear there's been an improvement and it has most definitely shrunk considerably, I am firm in my belief that it's not going anywhere. I've given it all the time the doctors and my surgeon said was required, which was 2-4 months, and nothing. If it were to disperse, where on earth would it go anyway? I like to imagine it would slowly but surely find its way through the skin that so wickedly holds it in, and dissolve into the air around my head as I slept, becoming one with the universe and being truly free... If only.

So a while ago I'd had a consultation booked in with my neurosurgeon in his outpatients clinic but he cancelled it as he basically said I was all well and good in the hands of this new hospital for the time being; the hospital that will be putting me through radiotherapy. That was good news, because it meant no ferrying ourselves to and fro between two hospitals. Then the specialist I'm seeing in this shiny new hospital, the radiotherapy venue, asked me to book in a consultation with my neurosurgeon to discuss this swelling after he saw it a second time and wanted a surgeon's opinion. Typical!
My surgeon was having his well-deserved holiday, so we saw another surgeon whose name I cannot pronounce but who was superbly professional and pro-active and generally a nice person. I'd been told a long time ago that having the CSF sucked out of my head with a needle was ill-advised, and my surgeon would be reluctant to do it because there would be a risk of infection.
This guy, however, heard me say 'I want it sucked out', then listed that as one of a few options (the others being 'leave it' or 'another heavy-duty op to shift some bones')... Then said sucking it out was the best idea. I skipped out of the hospital that day, shouting excitedly about how fantastic it was that something good was finally happening, that everything was slowly but surely being fixed and yeah I won't lie, that soon I might be somewhat pretty again and wouldn't look like a lopsided ogre or the poor misunderstood beast in The Goonies.

Two days later I went to a third hospital, the one that all the surgical folk and nurses have begrudgingly moved to from my perfect first hospital, at 7am, and was put in an operating theatre fully conscious for once to have a syringe stuck into my face. The nurses in the theatre were actually excited to have a conscious and chatty patient lying in a surgical bed; they all smiled at me warmly and made an effort to talk, I even swapped life stories with one lovely Irish gal who actually instinctively grabbed my hand as the needle went in. It was overall a very positive surgical experience. I didn't feel a thing! I even got to see some of the fluid after it was withdrawn. That may sound weird, but bear in mind that I have had a lot of tumour removed in my last two operations and let me tell you, not being able to actually see this evil growth thing that's buggered up my life was torture. My sick curiosity has been so unsatisfied. Anyway, this fluid was hardly worth the trouble it's caused. I had the theory that it would resemble the kind of pee that you take when you've drunk a lot of water – quite clear but with a touch of yellow. My sister insisted it would look like cloudy lemonade. Mum, forever the one with the darkest imagination it seems, pictured water with running lines and smudges of blood through it. My dear friend and neighbour Amo said 'crystal clear' most confidently – and she was right! The surgeon chuckled at me a little when I admitted that I wanted to see the CSF, and obligingly showed me the syringe after he withdrew it from my head. What an anti-climax. It could have easily been tap water. He could have staged the entire procedure, maybe just to make me quit bitching about my swollen head, and filled a syringe up in the sink.
I was next-level happy all day that Thursday. I had a bit of down time after the procedure, a coffee and a nice greasy brekkie in the cafe attached to the Sussex County Hospital (thank you, Mama) then we went home and chilled out for an hour or two. I was texting everyone filling them all in and giving them all the deets. Giving good news is a very rare blessing for me. I'd even posted a photo of myself on Facey B two days before and told all my online friends about my CSF struggles and how they would soon be over – so then when I'd fixed up my face and glammed up my crepe bandage with a silky scarf, I took another couple of photos and told the online world that 'my face is almost perfect once more'. I got over a hundred likes and so many sweet comments, people congratulating me and saying how happy it made them seeing me doing well finally. My heart was almost exploding with joy. Then mum and I trekked up to London to attend an event at Waterstones Piccadilly – the New Day New Normal tour starring three awesome authors: Louise O'Neill, Lisa Williamson and David Levithan. We'd been frantically feasting on each of their recent releases in prep for the talk and the readings they'd be doing.
*****I'll be writing a blog post SOON about my decision to give 'bookstagramming' a try; sharing my love of lit and reading on social media and shoving excellent books and inspirational authors in everyone's faces...so in this blog post I will gush momentously about the books by these three authors, don't you worry!*****
This event was the second amazing thing to happen that day. Some days go by without even one thing! Also the gigantic bandage (styled expertly with hair pins and a scarf, don't forget) was quite a conversation piece. I befriended all three authors (yes, befriended. We're basically besties now) as they signed my books and I bombarded them with brain tales.
It was a magical day.
So imagine my disappointment/rage/heartbreak when I woke up the following morning to see my bandage had slipped off in my sleep, and beneath it, unbeknownst to me...the fluid had returned.
I feel like there's less fluid collected than before, but still. I hate this CSF, and it won't go away.

Now, a week after my failed procedure, my head looks chubby but also deflated. There's no other way to phrase it. The way my bones have settled, or the way the fluid likes to sit, whatever it is I am left looking a teeny bit strange. For the past few days it's stayed on the 'deflated' side, which is good. I haven't woken up with a hard shiny tennis ball on my forehead plus its accompanying headache – which is a major win. I remember when I had to load up on painkillers, anti-nausea drugs and drink some sweet morphine the second I woke up... A half-deflated freaky-looking face is definitely a fantastic alternative.
I'm seeing my original (beloved, ingenious, God-like) neurosurgeon this Thursday 3rd. He'll be discussing my options with me. I hate discussing options. There's no 'I quit, get me a new brain please' option...


*****The one upside? Thursday 3rd is when Louise O'Neill's new book Asking For It is officially released. So before my 1:30pm appointment, I'll whizz into town and grab my copy. I can always read it in the CT scanner waiting room... *****
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