I’m quiet, if not at least soft spoken. It’s not that I don’t want to get to know you, and it’s not that I don’t care. I fear the confusion and alarm that I might bring. Five years ago, I’d smile brightly and tell you my name. I would even ask you to join me for a cup of coffee. We would laugh and become friends.
Now imagine knowing that at any moment I’d be unaware of our surroundings. I’d simply stand there and stare. At times, mumbled words and uncontrolled movements would take place. I would be a frozen application that stopped responding. You might not know what to do, after all, there isn’t a “Force Quit Application” switch in life.
I was diagnosed with epilepsy midway through my college career. For the first time in my life, I would rely on medications to help me live what some consider a “normal” life. In the following years, I would come to understand unpronounceable medications. I’d memorize every inch of the hospital’s layout. I’d find out the hard way that insurance companies and pharmacies don’t always communicate with one another. Most of all, I would learn that waiting until the last moment to order your refills is definitely not a good idea. Taking your meds on time is kind of important.
I will never forget when my first doctor said I would have to take medication for the rest of my life. Surgery was not an option. I was 22 years old, and I felt time stand still. Fear crept in so I ran and hid. I covered myself securely, refusing to let anyone in. I was to become a cocoon who never wanted to get out.
My journey has had its lows and highs. Several times my doctors thought they had found the right dose and medications, but the seizures continued and did not stop. Two years ago, I never imagined that I would hear the words I had been lingering for. “You’re a good candidate for surgery. Is this something you’d consider?” my neurologist asked. There was no need for hesitation. The answer had always been yes.
It has been two months after my brain surgery now. I’ve gone without an attack for that length of time. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t smile. I have a clarity so profound, and fear is no more. I am blessed and grateful for all those who’ve helped me along the way. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.
I’ve outgrown my cocoon, and I’m ready to come out. I don’t have to hide anymore. The veil has been lifted. I’m heading out into the world and only stopping for a cup of coffee and company.
“My name is Veronica. Want something to drink?”
If you want to get to know me, I have to warn you about a few things. I will be geeky and will always use metaphors to say what’s on my mind. Half the time, we’d go to a film event or art show. And most of all, once you get me talking, it’s difficult to get me to stop. Ready to join me?