My Life Post Brain Surgery - Think Positive

by Yolanda

I had brain surgery on April 15, 2013. I was only 35 years old. I was experiencing seizures due to a tumor on the right side of my temple.

memory problems story
It bled and there was blood in my brain causing the seizures. The type of seizures I was getting was one which would put me in a blank stare, non responsive, and I would just walk away. I would walk into traffic.

The blood was hitting my brain causing somewhat of an electrical shock and that's where the seizures starting to happen. The tumor was removed and now I'm on medication for life.

One of the things I struggle with is my balance. It's off sometimes (not all the time). My walking judgement is off. I cause weirdness if walking around people.

I suddenly stop, or want to let someone go, when I waited too long...etc. I try to move out of people's way, or move to the side so that they can walk past and I'm not blocking them to get past me.

I'm scared to drive. My judgement might not be good behind the wheel. I tell people I'd be damned if I survived brain surgery and I end up killing myself in a car accident. I don't care to take cabs, walk or Uber. I'm very fortunate not to be blind or so many of the many things which would impare me from going about my normal life without any help.

I have trouble spelling. I Google a lot of words before I complete a statement. Not all the time, but I do. I also have a hard time with people's names. I come up with names which rhyme with those names. I still call a guy named Andy, Randy. He's fine with it haha.

I don't remember movies, so I tell people it's cool because I have a lot of new movies to watch and I'll enjoy it the second time as I did the first. I'm into watching The Walking Dead and after my surgery, I binge watched starting at season one, because I wanted to see why I liked it so much since I couldn't remember what it was about.

After I caught up, it helped that I watched it with someone every weekend so that they can give me a recap of what happened the previous week. People get use to doing those type of things.

I'm very positive about everything. I always use my experience to motivate others. A guy in my office was in law school and he told me he had failed the bar exam and the second time around he passed because I motivated him after my brain surgery when I would tell him that his brain was healthy and all he had to do was study, unlike myself. I have a hard time retaining information.

My personality also changed. I was very gullible and I always wanted to keep things nice with people so I used to take lots of crap, just to avoid tension. I now tell people what they need to hear. I'm not mean or confrontational, but I let people know what they need to hear. People are thrown off, but oh well.

The way my memory works
is, if I don't remember something that happened in my life, people have to continue with the story, because at some point it all slowly comes to me and I remember. It doesn't happen all the time. So that's short-term memory loss.

I also have selective memory loss. I think this is interesting. The doctors say they can't figure out how we do this, but somehow our brains CHOOSE what to remember and what I experience is that my brain blocks a lot of negative or hurtful memories. I got divorced 6 months after my surgery, so that was nice because I couldn't remember much of what my life was the past 10 years with my ex-husband.

It could be good, but it's weird when you and a friend argue over something and things are weird, then out of nowhere I go about things like nothing and I want to do things with them and it hits me much later what had happened and explains why they seemed uncomfortable. At least it works.

At my job, I write LOTS of notes. I have a HOW TO folder, but I never ask for help. I find myself having to point out to people that I have a hard time remembering things after my surgery but I write good notes. I work for lawyers, so you can imagine.

I haven't gotten a blanking out episode. I choose to be positive and don't let anything get to me because I could be in a much worse position and I'm still the same independent woman I've always been. I have only 3 family members and they're older and really didn't have anyone there for me throughout the worst time in my life.

They were supposed to cut out a damaged strip of my brain, but my memory was so bad that they decided not to and just hope that the brain doesn't cause any more issues otherwise my memory would be horrrrrible right now.

If I get more seizures, that would be a sign of more brain issues and I might need a second brain surgery and that would NOT be good.

I'll continue to live my life and if some day I end up in a different position, at least I can say I enjoyed my life the past 4 years, bought a new house and traveled.

The brain works in so many ways and I think that if you think positive, your brain will be happy and you'll feel well. Live your life.

Doug's Reply. Yolanda, I love the positive attitude you have taken toward the challenges you've faced from your brain surgery.

We have the power to choose our own attitude, even in the face of adversity. As you say, why not adopt a positive outlook and live life the best you are able?

Thanks so much for sharing your memory problems story, and the very best of luck to you. I encourage anyone reading this page to provide helpful, supportive feedback to Yolanda by posting a comment below.

This is information only. It is not medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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