Here it is, the end of 2011 (2012 by the time I finally dared post this first ever blog entry), easily the most bruising year of my life, medically speaking. Did I learn anything? If I did it was mostly just in the last few minutes. Or maybe that’s because it seems like I remember clearly only what just happened. After typing that question I sat here waiting to see what the answer might be. Still waiting. I don’t “think” I have a “thinking” brain, more a feeling brain, but one thought that just popped in that I learned this year: medical “bruises” don’t hurt near as much as emotional bruises, but when they screw up your life the damage can be more lasting.

Just now listened to two TED lectures I want to come back to. One was by Jill Bolte, a super smart brain scientist type who described in vivid detail what it was like when she had a stroke at 37. She obviously has a dominant left hemisphere, the thinking, analytical side of the brain. The other was by Steve Jobs, speaking at Stanford’s 2005 graduation ceremony. From his brief self introduction it’s clear Jobs has an incredible life story, just like the words he repeated at the very end of his life: OH WOW OH WOW OH WOW. If I boil his talk down to three words it’s “Follow Your Heart.” Here’s hoping 49 isn’t too late to figure out how.

Now I want to touch on The Question raised by anyone who happens to stumble upon this post, i.e., what the heck is the point of this blog, and what if anything do I have to say that anyone else might find worth reading?

If it’s true that a picture is worth 1,000 words, let me save some typing right now and share this photo. It’s a shot of the back of my head in May 2011, decorated with the heavy-duty metal stitches my brain surgeon used to patch up the hole he cut in my head. Why did he cut a hole in my head, you ask? To install a pump to circulate my cerebrospinal fluid – the equivalent of motor oil that lubes our brain and spinal cord. Instead of circulating as it should, my cerebrospinal fluid was backed up and squashing my brain flat against the inside of my skull. The circulation system had been damaged years before, and now the effects were showing. Don’t put this off, said my neurologist. He guessed I could have a stroke within the next few years if I opted to pass up the surgery. Yikes.

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