My Dear Friends and Readers,
Tomorrow I will undergo a brain MRI- simply to exclude the possibility of a tumor growing on my brain. As usual in my dismissive way of minimizing things I did not bother to find out what an MRI consisted of and what precautions were necessary when undergoing one. Also, the doctor who ordered the MRI did not provide any of this information either. So, imagine my surprise when I went for my MRI and they prepared to shoot dye into my body. I panicked. I immediately called my sister, who is thankfully a doctor and asked her if the dye could be toxic and what should I do to prevent damage from it. Of course she was shocked to be called in this emergency-like fashion, but she provided me the information needed and I was fine until I saw the MRI machine which looked huge and tomb-like. My panic rose another 30 % and I hit my panic level when I found out that I would have to lay still in this giant machine for 40 minutes. I said no-way. I can’t do it and immediately left the office.
As I walked back to my car, which thankfully my dear friend was sitting in and waiting for me, I was hyperventilating. It dawned on me the significance of this test: a tumor on my brain. I spent the rest of Friday and all of the next day pondering what if there was a tumor on my brain and feeling sorry for myself. I ignored calls from friends and colleagues and I ate ice-cream- I am lactose intolerant -and cookies and reviewed my life. This was a terrible time for a brain tumor- as if anytime is good. Then I made a list of unfinished life items- many of which were about to be realized and which included the publication of my novel Cracked. I had also not reconciled with my adult children who had decided that did not want anything to do with their mother, me, who was a former crack addict.
Somewhere by mid Saturday afternoon, I had reconciled myself to the fact that I would take the MRI, under sedation on Tuesday and in the meantime I should have as good a day as possible. So, I worked out on my elliptical and then spent the rest of the day watching comedies which are truly good for the soul. By Sunday, I told myself, given my symptoms which were hearing loss and dizziness which kept re-occurring that if I did have a tumor- which I don’t believe I do- my symptoms would have gotten worse. Whether true or not, my self diagnosis provided comfort and positivity which I sorely needed.
This brief taste of the possibility of life that could end long before I had planned and the realization that I would die someday was impetus for me to take action on dreams and goals and hopes that I have yet to fulfill. Today as I write this blog, I am grateful to be able to do so and grateful for the ability to do so. A month ago, while speaking at an inner city drug rehab, I told the group of recovering women that even if I died suddenly, I would still be happy because I was in pursuit of my life goal which is bringing compassion and education to the areas of addiction, mental illness and sexual abuse. I did not know at that time, that life would intervene to force me to look at the truth of that statement and lie that we all participate in which is that we have time. We only have the moment, the day and we should live as if it were our last day on earth. It’s a sobering thought for someone who has always put off until tomorrow what should have been done yesterday… Time. Time.
Let’s make each moment count in making a positive difference in our lives and the lives of those we love and our greater communities because you never know when your time is up. I’ll be back to write this blog on Thursday and I am grateful to be able to do so. A happy life is joyful moments strung together. Have as much joy as possible today.
Brianna S. Clark
The Addict Writes