Beyond Adversity

Enjoying Life After Adversity

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Letter to My Brain

I wrote the following in direct response to “A Letter from Your Brain.”

“Dear Brain,

I received the letter that you recently sent. I apologize for not get back to you sooner. It seems that I am not so good at juggling life’s multiple priorities – participating in cognitive therapy, completing homework, creating a future plan, studying for a certification exam, enhancing my online dating profile, building memory and processing skills, returning phone calls and email, paying bills, lifting weights, walking, and re-learning how to play chess. If I had not specifically set aside this time to respond to your letter, I don’t know when I would have found the time to write.

I want to thank you for your openness, honesty, and sincerity. It is nice to hear you still care about me, and you will continue to support me in every way you can, in spite of the fact I was the one who authorized the surgeons to forcibly enter your home. According to my doctors, I had to subject you to the surgery if I wanted to reduce the likelihood that the tumor would kill you. I feel terrible my authorization resulted in surgeons bullying you; hurting you; destroying your confidence; changing the way you work; and leaving you under the constant surveillance of a shunt. I am glad to hear that you don’t hate me for making the decisions I made. I hope you understand that I agreed to the surgeries because I could not imagine life without you.

Even though I am confident we will overcome the obstacles we now face, I sometimes experience negative thoughts about our present and future as a result of my memories about our past. I hope you have the desire, strength, ability, and patience to help me work through the following thoughts:

1. I resent the fact your deficits are hindering my recovery.

2. I don’t like the fact you are not remembering information very well and you have not automatically upgraded to a more powerful memory module.

3. I hate the fact you are causing me to calculate possibilities and options from scratch since you refuse to retain memories.

4. I’m tired of spending so much time doing what previously required only seconds.

5. I would like you to remember the facts, names, and faces you lost, as well as store information about the facts, names, and faces you encounter in the future.

6. I feel sad that I can’t wave a magic wand to instantly cure all of the harm that has been done to you.

7. I feel like many of your difficulties are due to decisions I made.

8. I am disappointed you have to work so hard now to enjoy playing a game of chess, solving a puzzle, and answering a question.

9. It hurts me to think about your difficulty in coping with this strange, new world.

10. I want to find a cure for the memory, processing, and fatigue issues that prevent you from being all that you can be.

11. I feel afraid you might hate me for what has happened to you.

12. I’m afraid that I am not doing enough to make you feel better, get better, and perform better. I feel I need to do more, but I don’t know what to do.

13. I don’t know how to make things better, but I am trying to find a solution.

14. I want to help you excel in your new environment since the “professionals” tell me that there is an impenetrable wall preventing us from returning to the place where we were previously comfortable.

15. I need your help as we explore this new environment together.

16. I feel badly that I did not question the doctors more before exposing you to the surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments.

17. I’m sorry my decisions resulted in your pain.

18. I regret that I did not consider alternative approaches to helping you obliterate the tumor.

19. I wish I could make all of your pain go away.

20. I want to be your friend and work with you to better understand and accept the world that we now see.

21. You are always on my mind – actually, you are my mind. I think of you often, and I am doing everything that I can to improve our health, strength, memory, and processing. If you know of a strategy that will speed up the recovery process, please share the strategy with me. I appreciate your help, understanding, and encouragement.

Love,

 Me”

~ Scott Friedman, Resolution Letter to My Brain, 4/18/2006

Questions

If you respond to “A Letter from Your Brain” what would you say? How would your answer differ if you are a family member, significant other, co-worker, neighbor, or friend who is writing a letter to the survivor’s brain?

 

Scott
Even after brain surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments to eradicate his brain cancer, Scott continued to work; continued to study; and earned professional certifications from the Project Management Institute, American Society of Quality, and Stanford University School of Professional Development. How were all of these achievements possible at a time when Scott was struggling with the hurdles of brain injury? The answers are in this blog.

8 Responses to “Letter to My Brain”

  • Beth says:

    Scott, thanks so much for writing this. I am trying to cope with the fallout from 16 years of a misdiagnosed braincyst that was left unchecked for 16 years and the brain surgery last year that finally reduced it. Someone sent the original “letter from your brain” to me thinking it would make me feel better, but it was actually very confusing and upsetting. Your letter in response was really helpful to me, because it hadn’t yet occurred to me that I could have my own response. I don’t know what exactly what it will look like yet, but I am very thankful to you for reminding me that other people’s thoughts and feelings are not my own, and that although I didn’t choose this path, I get to decide how to move forward with my treatment and my life no matter how other people may see my options.

    • Scott says:

      Beth,

      Even though there are many things in life we cannot control, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and brain cancer, we can control the way we react to adversity. Some people give up as soon as they are diagnosed. Others see adversity as a gift. The way we think determines whether we are winners or simply survivors. We can determine our own response to a lot of things, once we allow ourselves to react. Many survivors believe they are not winners because many people tell survivors they cannot win. Nonsense!

      I am not suggesting you ignore the experts. I am suggesting you become the expert. Nobody knows you as well as you know yourself. Challenge yourself and continue being awesome. Your creative and artistic talent is something many people wish they had. ~ Scott

  • pawan singh says:

    A LETTER TO MY BRAIN.

    Hi ! Brain
    you are imaging ,you hold Central nervous system that makes life to move ,Like a driver who guides the the paths of life .you are woderfully and beautifully made by imaiging God the creator of the universe .You are an unique position .you are almost uncountable ,you are above billions in structural form .you were there before I see the world.you are very precious and valuable ,you are not just by an accident ,you are not just loved by me.you are so loved by the most lovely person of the world ,which is my mom too.hey brain are so intelligence and more smarter the the today’s advanced computers ,so should take care of you ,I am sorry for not using you as enough as you can be used ,you are so capable ,I should thank God for .sorry for sometimes not using you properly and not helping you in proper foods and other cares you need.without your proper work life has to be dumb. I know within 4-6 minutes if the other parts of the body doesn’t supply you the blood ,you star to die, so you are very sensitive and important part of the body .Hey brain you keep helping me ok .I have many things still have complete in life which are already started and some might come as a new thing in life ,without your help they will remain uncomplete and good things would be by pass.so please be active and stay healthy .just few wks back I had bad bicycle accident and I was unconscious for hours but you made woke me up again ,thanks to God and you too for that.Dear brain once again you are wonderful and very sensitive ,once the other parts of body is hurt by something ,you notice it first . hey you and me together has to do a lot more so, I am hoping more good things would come to life and you would help me and together we would complete many more in life.
    yours
    sincerely
    Pawan Singh

  • stardusteved says:

    I’m speechless..

    • Scott says:

      Your comment can be interpreted many ways. 1) You enjoyed reading the post. 2) You cannot talk so you chose to write. 3) You learned at an early age if you had nothing good to say, you should say nothing at all. Please elaborate.

  • Valerie says:

    Scott, Don’t know that I have an answer to your question, but I want to encourage you. Based on your first paragraph it sounds like you’re doing a splendid job of recovery and keeping up with the rest of us. Thanks for sharing your struggles, I’m sure it will encourage others.

    • Scott says:

      Valerie,

      Life can be a struggle for anyone. We all have limited resources (time, money, help, strength, energy, etc.) which we can apply to all that we do. The trick, as I see it, is to enjoy the proccess of splitting those limited resources to achieve everything we each want to achieve. Although I would like to do many things I cannot currently do, I know that my primary obstacle is time. Thank you for taking time away from social media consulting to share your words of encouragement.

      Scott


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**** About The Author ****

During the past 13 years, I have been diagnosed with cancer, brain injury, balance issues, stroke, ataxia, visual impairment, and auditory challenges. I have overcome significant adversity! I can explain how to overcome your challenges. I am a very active Toastmaster and a motivational speaker.