Vive La Foreign Lesion!

by DavalosMcCormack on July 8, 2010

Our brains are funny things. They often take us down dark passages even when we are trying to stay bright and positive. It’s almost as if we don’t have any control over them; as if they have control over us. Maybe they do.

A good friend of mine had a pretty nasty scare recently. First he had a blinding headache that made him nauseous, that was followed by days of painful pressure in his head. I only found out about this later and my first thought was “aneurysm” – a blood vessel bleeding into the brain, not a good thing – and my second thought was “stroke” – not a particularly good thing either.

So, he went to see a doctor. The doc did a scan and they found what they called “some suspicious looking spots” inside his skull, close to his brain.

Your brain on my blog

This is your brain on my blog

Playing mind games

Now, I try to be positive and think the best but try as I might my brain kept leaping to the worst conclusion. It could be cancer, it could be something invasive. Instead of waiting for the follow-up tests to show what it really was my brain kept running ahead to anticipate what it might be. Not in a good way, but in the worst way.

Why do we do that? Is it a form of protection, preparing ourselves so that if the worst does come we are somehow ready for it – and yet if you think about it telling yourself it could be cancer never really prepares you for the news that “it is cancer”.  Are we hoping that by thinking the worst then we’re more likely to get a better outcome – which seems a rather perverse way of going through life, imagining that “oh well my children will all turn out to be criminals or idiots or both” while secretly hoping by saying that they’ll all be Rhodes Scholars.

Whatever the reason, while I kept telling everyone around me to be patient and positive, my own brain was saying “oh, this can’t be good.”

Why do we fear the worst?

But guess what? My brain was wrong. The follow-up tests showed some lesions, foreign lesions in the brain, but they weren’t cancerous. Unusual, yes, but not life threatening.

Wonderful news. Terrific. Incredible relief.

It answers one question but it leaves a lot of others unanswered, such as why do we put ourselves through such torture when we don’t know what’s coming. Why don’t we just wait – worry obviously, that’s natural – but wait until we find out what is going on before going to DEFCOM 4.

I don’t know the answers to that. For now, I’m just terribly happy that all those dark thoughts and dark spots  were nothing. That what I feared didn’t happen.

Now what?

But what happens next time, and the next time, because there’s always a next time.

How often do we need to put ourselves through this before we find a better, healthier – but no less realistic – way of coping with moments like this. I wish I knew the answer.

Perhaps it’s the lessons we learn from such an experience.  The sweetness of life!  How very lucky we are to even have friends, family, to be alive.  Perhaps it’s about realizing the gratitude we feel that our friends are safe, for now, and our lives and the people we love  have become more precious – just because, my friend has a problem, but it’s not life threatening.

I guess if it was, we would deal with it, support him and feel the sweetness of life, too!  This outcome is more joyful!

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