There are simple truths to human kind. We all know them instinctively. One of these basic truths is our life is our responsibility. This is a blessing. Sometimes this memory is lost or we still would like the creation of our lives to be different. However, each of us is born empowered to write, produce, cast, and direct our own story. Another simple truth is that we must know we have this power, to use it. There is a difference. From my viewpoint, the awareness of this distinction sets the stage for us to become our best champion, our best ally, and our own best friend.
My ability to be my own champion was challenged in 1998 when I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma tumor, which was defined as a ‘benign’ growth on the auditory nerve on the right side of my brain. The word benign should never be associated with brain surgery. At least, for me it was far from the definition of the word, which I share with you from Merriam-Webster:
A: of a mild type or character Shoulder Pain Doctor Henderson Nv that does not threaten health or life; especially: not becoming cancerous
B: having no significant effect
My tumor was not cancer but anytime someone has his or her skull cracked open, it absolutely threatens health or life and has a significant effect! I know because it happened to me.
When I hear people casually in conversation say, “But it’s not brain surgery!” my thought immediately is, “But it WAS brain surgery!” Of course, the reason people use this colloquialism is to express that what ever they are talking about is not difficult, does not require high skill, nor is it life threatening. My challenge was to learn to live with brain surgery as a defining moment of me, becoming even more me. This meant my champion spirit must carry me through, even if it was difficult, it required high skill, and indeed threatened my very existence.
As my life irreversibly changed, I started defining it in epochs, BBS – Before Brain Surgery, and ABS – After Brain Surgery. There are turning points, or stepping-stones, for each of us as we move forward in time that significantly defines who we become. This turning point for me was more profound than I would have ever comprehended. If I would have known how difficult life would become, I do not think I would have survived the 14-hour surgery to begin with. My faith in God, my eternal optimism, my innocence, my family, my friends, and my commitment to healing myself, no matter what, is why I am alive. I continue to do the best I can every day to champion what ever challenge before me.
The doctor told me that it was highly probably that I would lose my hearing and possibly as well, the function of the right side of my face. My response would always be to him, “And, we do not know for sure!” I was a student of metaphysics. I had a worldwide healing practice. I had witnessed magical, miraculous, and mystical phenomenon for myself and for others. I knew my attitude would be everything to walk through this experience with as much hope as possible. I knew this would be my personal proof theorem about the power to heal our self. There was a lot at stake in how I handled my recovery, the life lesson, and myself.
The power to heal I learned was truly not in the doctor’s hands, my parent’s hands, my sibling’s hands, my friend’s hands, stranger’s hands, but in my own. I have become a living example of the principles I promote and teach. I loved myself enough to take responsibility for this challenge before me. The truth of which, is on my face.
During the night after the procedure, which is what I wrote for September 8, 1998 in my Day-Timer, the right side of my face was paralyzed. The trigeminal nerve that stimulates the muscles of the face to move had died. Both of the doctor’s warnings about my hearing and my face had come true. And, additionally there were other physical issues: my vestibular system was damaged, my memory compromised, and classic brain trauma issues with stimulation either visually or with sound. My life would never be the same. I had arrived in the life epoch ABS.