Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ten years on and so so grateful for my beautiful life

Today is exactly 10 years to the date that I underwent a mammoth 17 hour operation to remove a mass on my brainstem that I could have died from.

In fact, exactly 10 years ago, I would have been still in the operating theatre with so many surgeons they must have been getting in each other's way :)

I have no idea how my family and T coped while I was under. What on earth must they have been thinking and doing for 17 hours, awhile waiting on razor's edge to hear if I'd made it, or if I'd be paralysed.

I'd been lying in the hospital bed for so long already, just waiting for the surgical team to figure out how to do what needed to be done. I had a complex cervical spine, and they had to have it modelled into perfectly scaled 3D to work out just how exactly to go about the surgery. I was scared, and the night before the operation, I tried to change the surgeon's mind. I did my best persuasive job, explaining that I was absolutely convinced I could go back to my normal life, just being hyper-careful to not move my head too much. "Do I really have to have this operation? What will happen if I don't?", I asked him. "You might die." I don't think I'll ever forget that.

I also tried to tell my darling T that this was just all too much for any young relationship to bear, and I couldn't be a burden on him. I told him that I loved him, but I couldn't stay with him if I ended up paralysed because I couldn't steal his life and his love and his potential like that. I knew that our life wouldn't ever fulfil any of the dreams we'd had and we wouldn't be able to have the adventures we'd planned. I wouldn't be able to have any children. I was in tears telling him that I needed to go into theatre knowing that it was all settled and agreed. He wouldn't have a bar of it. I'll always remember he told me that he had no expectations about his future other than having me in it, and we would make our own way and our own life with what life threw at us.

I survived that surgery, had a very long hospital stay, and a lot of 'attachments' for a long time. I developed infections that needed IV antibiotics through a PICC line for just under 6 months. This is me about a month after the surgery, still in hospital and doing a happy dance because I was able to stand up on my own:

This is me 6 months to the day later - my wedding day. I was determined to walk down the aisle that day. And I did.

10 years. A decade. A lifetime. I'm a lucky lucky girl, and I have so much to be grateful for. Here are just three of them:


  1. Wow, what an ordeal you went through. I can't even imagine how scary it must have been with all that uncertainty. How lucky to have such a strong family to stand by you and a partner who helped you through it all. What a stunning bride you made, would love to see more pics :) xx

  2. That must have been terribly frightening. I bet sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago, and sometimes so close. Time is a funny thing.

    That wedding photo is stunning. From what I can see of your dress, I LOVE! x

  3. You are a miracle Baby Girl.
    T xxx

  4. oh jen... you were destined to remain here on this amazing planet with us all... what a gorgeous story and what a blessing... love you x

  5. Wow Jen ! I have tears and goosebumps.......
    What a man you have in Mr T - you are obviously both made of strong stuff.
    I love that wedding photo too.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Dee x

  6. What an incredible journey Jen, your story touches the deepest part of my heart. You looked so beautiful on your wedding day and what an amazing family you have! Thank you for sharing, Mel xox

  7. Oh Jen. You are a special person and you have shown me that no matter what life throws at us - its all about attitude and how we ourselves deal with situations. You're amazing and I'm so blessed to have met you.

  8. oh wow!!! you are an inspiration girl! xxx


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