As I went to bed that night, at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Vegas, on my 43rd birthday, I had no idea how my life was about to change. It was my last night in Vegas and I spent it having a nice dinner, playing some Wheel of Fortune slots and having a couple of drinks.
I made the trip with a newer friend, Melissa, who I bonded with quickly after meeting and decided on this last-minute getaway after learning that my fiance was going to be away for business during that time. I shared my birthday with my grandmother who had just recently passed away and she loved to travel. I felt her pushing me to go and enjoy myself- so that’s exactly what I did.
I noticed that I wasn’t 100% feeling like myself before and during the trip. I was drinking a little less and a little slower than usual, but still having a good time non-the less. I went to bed just after midnight on my birthday after responding to many sweet messages from friends and family. The next thing I remember was laying on my side, gasping for air and not being able to catch my breath. Just after that I remember seeing my friend Melissa pacing the room, yelling my name, and talking on the phone. She looked panicked. I tried to respond to her, but nothing would come out. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t feel my body. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t panic. I felt like it was a dream and I was on the outside looking in. After some time passed, about 8 EMT and fire-fighters starting coming into the room. They were talking to me, checking my vitals and asking me questions. I struggled to answer their questions at first but as time went on, I was able to speak and make some sense of everything. I denied going to the hospital because I knew I had to catch a flight in just a few hours and I just wanted to go home….. It was the scariest night of my life.
What I experienced was a grand-mal seizure. I stopped breathing for three minutes. I was chocking – which woke Melissa up out of a dead sleep and she turned me on my side and saved my life.
Looking back- I know my grandmother was sending me a message. She had to send it in a big way because all of her subtle messages were going right over my head. It was time for some life changes IMMEDIATELY.
Upon my return, I had some testing and an MRI revealed a 5cm meningioma brain tumor on my left frontal lobe. The pressure on my brain caused this seizure. I had experienced a couple of other episodes of passing out and seizure like instances that went ignored throughout the years but nothing like this one. The tumor had been growing for many years and had finally caused enough damage to get the attention that I needed to get some answers.
What this also caused was me to re-evaluate my life. To see who I could really count on. Who was really there for me when I needed them the most. I wasn’t allowed to drive for nearly 3 months because of the seizure and then the surgery to remove it. I experienced exhaustion, anxiety- I was in constant fear that I would have another seizure again, headaches, and I felt completely helpless and like I lost my independence.
This diagnosis, immediately tore my relationship to shreds- a relationship that was already on the rocks for quite some time. I wasn’t fun anymore. I couldn’t drink all night or stay out late. I was too needy because I needed rides, even though I made sure my friends took me to my doctor’s appointments- not that he ever offered. And then, when it came time for the surgery, it was all too much. The hospital was too much, my needs were too much and frankly, it was over before it even started.
I later learned that when I got wheeled into the operating room- he went back to the hotel as they literally cut into my brain, he showered and napped. In the days after my surgery- he would stay in the hotel room for hours in the morning because HE had a headache, even though I was the one who had brain surgery. He never slept or offered to sleep at the hospital with me. He never just sat with me and comforted me. Instead, he always made me feel like a nuisance.
They offered counseling/therapy through the hospital that would follow us home (via video or phone conference) because of the challenges involved with this type of surgery. When they approached us about it- he actually was the one who thought it was a good idea, which delighted me. When I filled out the required forms, a light bulb went off for me because everything I filled out about my support system was positive, except for the questions relating to him… so I realized how invaluable this would be. The only problem was, the very first appointment that HE chose the day and time for, he blew off because he decided to leave earlier for a concert with his buddy. This was a week and a half after my surgery. That was the final straw. While he was never a good care giver throughout our relationship, any time I was sick or had any procedure, I thought a brain tumor might have been different. but he proved me very wrong.
So between him being unable to show me any love or affection, not taking care of me like he should have, complaining that he was missing out on time for himself, staying at the hotel when he should have been at the hospital, then when we got back home-going out to the bar, texting a female that was supposed to be out of our lives permanently because of inappropriate behavior on his part and then blowing off the therapy appointment- I asked him to never come back. I decided it was time to get rid of two tumors in my life.
The relief is indescribable. It was better to have to take care of myself and rely on my children and friends, who were there for me more than he was anyway. My stress started to go away, day by day. My blood pressure went down. My anxiety started to go away. And the best part- I started to get myself back. It was the best decision that I could have made for my physical and mental health.
And when an angel from my past checked in on me and found out what happened, he offered to come pick me up and get me take-out and sit on the beach with me. I had 28 staples in my head and he wasn’t fazed. He hasn’t left my side since. Any plans that we have always revolve around how I may feel or what my needs are. I can be myself and not worry. I am not anxious or stressed and if anything does stress me out, he calms me down immediately. I get to live in peace these days.
I know my gram sent me messages and the right people so that I can live a happy and healthy life. Thank you Gram. I am forever grateful for everything you have done for me when you were on this earth and what you are doing from afar. You are my guardian angel.
Good riddance to the narcissist who I allowed to treat me like garbage for much longer than I deserved. No more abuse. No more lies. No more tumor.