Wendy Woolfson

The Unbearable Certainty of the Uncertain

I’ve never been in this place before where the uncertainty is so certain. Where I know I will not know anything for weeks and yet I can be certain I’ll be in some level of pain for that whole time.

I am in a holding place of pain where my head feels like it’s in a vice half the time and the other half like my face is on fire, and then the intolerable moments when it’s all happening at once. The nerves are quite literally on edge and there is nowhere else for me to go except the medicine cabinet for the kind of hardcore drugs that usually I would have to score off someone on the street. Thankfully, the drugs work.

My mood is dipping low this week as I have a post op nosebleed and oedema in the lower half of my body, both of which only decide to show up at the weekend when I can’t phone anyone to find out what’s going on. Dr. google has to suffice and I need to do my best to stay away from the obvious scary articles and stick to the descriptions of pain med side effects and trust to common sense that it’s all quite normal, even though it feels awful. My mood dips ever lower as the end is not even in sight. The end is in fact a complete unknown factor that may come later rather than sooner as so far, the NHS has not been rushing to push through preliminary investigations, with my urgent ENT appointment having taken six months to fulfil.

In the meantime, I’ve stuck my head in the sand and completely ignored the reality of what has so obviously been growing inside my head for the last eighteen months. A tumour, which I believe is filled with all of my childhood and adult trauma, of which there has been much. I saw the image of it on the MRI scan. It hung there like a strange fruit, the harbinger of doom hanging from the nerve that separates the cavity of my skull from my brain, a white line neatly surrounding it, like someone just drew it there for fun, as though a child had outlined it in a wobbly line of white crayon. It looked so neat and tidy in its white balloon bubble but I know, I know it holds all my secrets, and all my pain. I thought I’d got away with it, no serious diagnosis for me, just three and a half years of trauma therapy and then boom, I drop the mic and walk away. I’m all done and life is sweet.

Life really has been sweet the last few years. I finally reached a point in my life where I’m happy and we have a rhythm and routine and for the most part, it’s all good, and then this happens. It’s messed up man. Yet, at the same time, I know exactly why this has happened, because actually, everything wasn’t all good. I had been ignoring my dreams, again. I did that once before twenty years ago, and the same thing happened, the universe launched an offensive and turned my whole world upside down to get my attention, so I’d have to look at it.

So that’s what I’m doing, I’m looking at it, I’m re-evaluating my life.

For now, I will take each day as it comes and embrace the uncertainty that this challenge brings. I’ve been in dark places before and I’ve learnt how to cope. In recent years I’ve met good people and I’ve learnt how to ask for help, and that will get me through, that and everything my life has taught me up until this very moment.

I am certain I will recover.