It was an early December morning and I was hungover. I had far too much to drink the night before for someone who hardly ever drank. I remember walking outside to cool off and sitting in the snow. It seemed a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Little did I know the next morning was going to save my life.
I had planned to go shopping and have lunch with my mom. It was going to be Christmas soon and it was supposed to be a beautiful day. The sun was out melting all the ice and we barely needed jackets. At lunch my mom said I looked terrible which was fair because I felt AWFUL. She expressed concern, said she loved me, and asked if I needed to reschedule. I remember thinking how amazing my bed would be but I said no… we would enjoy the day together.
By the time we finished shopping the sun had melted most of the ice. My mom was driving so I’d helped her to her door. On my way to my door my foot found the ONLY ice left in the lot.
I slipped and hit my head. Hard. I didn’t have time for pinwheel arms. I didn’t have time to reach out for anything. I was upright…and then I wasn’t.
“Angie? Are you okay?”
I heard my mom looking for me. I mean I was there one moment and the next I was gone. I jumped up and flung myself into the car and said yea I’m fine and started laughing harder than I’ve ever laughed.
It was funny to me. The image of my mom looking around for me like she used to when I hid in clothing racks when I was little. Funny that I fell so completely that it probably looked graceful.
We both laughed so hard. Probably the hardest I’d ever laughed. We talked about how funny it would have been if I slipped and just slid through the parking lot through all the cars with people staring.
It doesn’t sound funny but it was one of those moments where being there made all the difference. The point is… I fell and hit my head really hard and my reaction was one of joy and laughter.
Days went by and I felt like I had a concussion. I was dizzy and nauseous constantly. My boss, and my best friend, at the time was concerned enough after three days she made me call the doc.
I remember calling my Dr and telling his nurse how stupid I felt calling because I had just hit my head. She ordered a CT scan and ruled out a concussion and ruled in a brain tumor.
Apparently this tumor got jostled when I hit my head. It was nice and cozy minding its own business until then. It was just after the New Year, Jan 2001 when I had it removed. Surgery went well.
I spent a few days not able to move the right side of my body. The part of my head they had to put a hole in would blow up a tiny bit like a balloon when I sneezed or coughed. You could see my heart beat in my scalp. But… I was blessed.
The Dr had given me a choice to remove or watch it. He later told me that I had made the right decision. It had begun growing limbs that were headed toward a spot where they wouldn’t have been able to remove it.
It was benign. It was slow growing. It had been a part of my head for at least a decade. It’s been gone for nearly two decades now.
That moment. The slipping and falling. It saved my life. And beyond that it changed the course of my life. I decided to become a mom because of that experience. I finished my Masters degree but I didn’t use it the way I had planned. I’m glad.
I’m so very grateful and glad.
But my best friend. The beautiful woman who made me call the Dr… she died a few years ago with Brain Cancer. She was here… and then she wasn’t. I miss her. I love her.