I wore my hair in a ponytail the other day. A ponytail! While this may be an everyday occurrence for some people, it was a major milestone for me.
It’s now been 6 months since my last craniotomy.
After surgery, my recovery was so gradual that sometimes it felt as though I would never get better. At times, it even felt like I was getting worse because progress was so minimal from one day to the next. I had never been so physically broken.
Then, months after surgery, I started to realize how much progress I had actually made. There were several milestones, and they started small; the first time I held my own head up for an hour; the first time I stood up after surgery;
Even coming home from the hospital was a celebrated milestone. Then, the first time I walked to the bathroom without the cane; the first time I slept through the night; the first time I went an entire day without a nap or pain medicine; the first time I was able to hold my kids;
Then the milestones became more spaced out; the first time I was able to drive again; the first time I did 10 minutes of physical activity (running in place); the first time I was allowed to get on an airplane; the first time I could tolerate wearing a hat, and the first time I was able to submerge my head under water;
But, until just recently, I still hadn’t been able to tolerate wearing my hair in a ponytail.
When it happened, it was completely unintentional. I’d had a long day at work, and was washing the make-up off of my face. My hair clip had gone missing (a common occurrence in a household with 2 toddlers who “borrow” anything that looks remotely interesting). So, instead, I grabbed a black hair tie from the bathroom drawer, and awkwardly pulled my now short hair into a tiny ponytail.
Then, my boys came running in like whirlwinds. As always, they needed milk, water, a stuffed animal, books, and help brushing their teeth before bed.
Nearly an hour passed before I realized my hair was still in that tiny ponytail. I went to the mirror and looked at my reflection. I smiled. Another milestone. Another small reminder of the progress I continue to make.
I am not fully healed yet. But, that pony tail promises that one day soon, I just might be.
This is my story, and it is not over yet.