Brain Surgery and Beauty Standards

Nurses arrived to deliver me to the working room the morning of my mind surgical procedure. I took a deep breath and hugged my dad additional tight and somewhat bit longer than common. As they wheeled me away, I glanced again at him standing alone in the midst of the barren hallway, holding a plastic hospital bag filled with my private belongings. His nerves made him seem white as a ghost. In these break up seconds, I spotted that may be the final time I noticed my father. Rewind to 10 months earlier than my mind surgical procedure, after I’d first discovered I had a hemorrhaging mass in my mind. I’d gone in for an MRI after waking up for work one morning, solely to search out the precise aspect of my physique fully numb. Before I knew it, I used to be dropping issues and slurring my speech, as effectively. As a trainer working round younger children all day, I used to be scared. When my physician referred to as to inform me the outcomes, it was like one thing out of my worst nightmare. Even the hypochondriac in me couldn’t imagine this was occurring. I had a benign tumor the scale of a strawberry and they must function to take away it.The night time earlier than my surgical procedure, we had a yard get along with some shut associates and household. I wished to be distracted and encompass myself with nothing however happiness. I practiced parting my hair in numerous methods to swimsuit my soon-to-be new look which I knew would come with a shaved patch and some staples. I took a second of silence for my head because it was, untouched, that may quickly be cracked open and put again collectively like a puzzle. I knew I might by no means be the identical 24-year-old lady I used to be, however I didn’t notice how completely different I might turn out to be.I used to be decided to remain as optimistic as attainable. The day of my surgical procedure, after saying goodbye to my dad, I turned up the Spotify playlist I’d created entitled, “You’ve Got This,” and lifted myself up on the chilly working room desk. Danielle Soviero prepares for a six-hour operation to take away a tumor in her mind. (Image credit score: Danielle Soviero)That’s when my surgeon stoically walked over to inform me the mass had tripled in dimension since my final scan, just one month in the past. It was rising quickly. Thoughts began flooding my head. Even minor surgical procedures include dangers, and this was a serious one. Under these vibrant lights in my skinny, itchy hospital robe, I made peace with the truth that these very effectively could possibly be my final moments alive. But six hours later, I awakened within the Neurological Intensive Care Unit at New York’s Weill Cornell Medical Center. The surgical procedure was a hit.My head was fully wrapped up in layers of thick, white gauze. I laid in mattress, unable to talk. My surgeon had warned me of this risk because of the depth and location of my tumor. The subsequent few days have been a blur. I used to be in and out of consciousness and struggling to speak with anybody.On day three, I used to be instructed I might be getting my head wrap eliminated. I didn’t suppose a lot of it, aside from I used to be excited as a result of it was changing into very uncomfortable.After unraveling for what felt like perpetually, the nurse was lastly completed. I immediately felt a sensation of chilly air hit my head—a sense I had by no means felt earlier than. I instantly introduced my arms as much as contact the highest of my head, and I felt naked pores and skin. I spotted I used to be partially bald—eight inches lengthy by two inches huge of pure scalp, to not point out the 40 silver staples in an ideal line throughout my head, from ear to ear. Originally, I believed solely the left aspect of my head can be shaved in a small part, however as a result of the tumor had grown, the surgeon was pressured to make a a lot bigger incision than anticipated.When she awakened from mind surgical procedure, Danielle had a line of staples from ear to ear. (Image credit score: Danielle Soviero)Nothing may have ready me for that second.I started sobbing, uncontrollably. I bear in mind considering to myself, Am I going to be ugly? That was my first thought. I had simply undergone mind surgical procedure to save lots of my life, but all I may take into consideration was the best way different folks would now understand me.We dwell in a society the place we now have all been educated to place a lot emphasis on outward look and superficial magnificence that even in essentially the most fragile of occasions, I couldn’t see previous the best way I seemed.This newfound insecurity was the hardest tablet to swallow, and let me inform you—I used to be swallowing all types of tablets on the time.As a girl, my lengthy hair symbolized magnificence, femininity, and confidence. I couldn’t assist however query, what was I with out all of my hair? I stored reminding myself that hair grows again and this may simply be momentary. But I nonetheless didn’t wish to have a look at myself within the mirror.A number of days later, my sister was pampering me in my hospital mattress. She introduced my total skincare routine all the way down to the serums and tinctures, and even some lipgloss to make me be ok with myself. When I lastly mustered up the boldness to face my reflection that day for the primary time, she walked me over to the mirror and I opened my eyes.I didn’t acknowledge myself, and that was essentially the most upsetting half.Danielle’s sister came around her within the hospital, bringing her skincare routine from house. (Image credit score: Danielle Soviero)There was nothing stunning about me. I had a three-inch scar above my left eyebrow, from the cranium clamp that was used to maintain me nonetheless throughout surgical procedure. I used to be sickly pale, not typical for my olive-toned pores and skin in mid-July. My arms have been coated in bruises due to the twice-daily pictures of anti-blood clot remedy. The veins in my arms have been fully blue and caught with IVs. My cheeks have been flushed and my face swollen from the robust steroid I used to be on. I had a catheter as a result of I couldn’t get away from bed with out help. My abdomen was bloated from the plethora of remedy and all the fluid retention that occurs submit surgical procedure, and I had developed an itchy, pink rash throughout my physique from a response to certainly one of my tablets.I used to be horrified. I’m unsure what I anticipated to seem like after mind surgical procedure, nevertheless it actually wasn’t this.I laid in mattress unable to talk out loud what I used to be feeling. I used to be extremely insecure. This was a problem for me as a result of, total, I’m a reasonably assured individual. I embrace my “flaws.” I’m conscious that we aren’t all constructed the identical and we aren’t alleged to look alike. This newfound insecurity was the hardest tablet to swallow, and let me inform you—I used to be swallowing all types of tablets on the time.After I used to be discharged from the hospital, I used to be too insecure to depart the home. I didn’t need anybody to see me. If I did need to exit, I wore a hat or headband to cowl my head.I wanted to make a shift in my mindset, or else my restoration can be burdened with the stress of the best way I seemed. I had been dedicated to positivity because the second I discovered concerning the lesion, so why ought to that cease now? I used to be about to face essentially the most troublesome problem I had ever gone by way of: Not solely was I unable to talk, however I additionally couldn’t feed myself, stroll independently, sleep, or bathe alone. I used to be seeing a bodily therapist, occupational therapist, and speech therapist twice every week, and I used to be exhausted. I had loads on my plate. So, I instructed myself each day affirmations, and I believed concerning the moments earlier than my surgical procedure. As I laid on that working desk, mentally making ready for absolutely the worst, I wasn’t in any respect involved with the best way I seemed. I’d thought of my household, my associates, my canines, recollections of nights spent laughing and dancing with the folks I really like. I’d thought of what sort of individual I might be remembered as: somebody who’s sort, clever, real, optimistic, loyal, and sincere.I reminded myself that this similar physique that I used to be so self acutely aware of, has gotten me by way of a lot. My physique had simply endured the hardest feat of all: mind surgical procedure. Tan pores and skin, thick hair, or a flat abdomen weren’t the issues that made me stunning. I used to be stunning as a result of I used to be optimistic. I used to be stunning as a result of I used to be robust. I used to be stunning as a result of I used to be brave. I used to be stunning as a result of I used to be courageous.After her surgical procedure, Danielle confronted months of restoration. (Image credit score: Danielle Sovierio)Now, eight months into my restoration, my hair is rising again slowly however certainly. I now not cowl my head. My new hair progress pokes straight up vertically from my scalp—I name these little three-inch hairs my “tweety birds.” I’ve a small bump that may be felt beneath the pores and skin of my head—that’s the titanium screw that was used to place my cranium again collectively. It will perpetually be a reminder of my power. My scar can solely be seen if I transfer my hair out of the best way. That lengthy, completely straight, pink line is a reminder of my braveness. And each time I fumble my phrases, or stutter my speech, or overlook my ideas—although irritating—it’s a reminder of my bravery. I put on all of it with satisfaction.My surgical procedure made me notice life is valuable and quick, so why spend it worrying about such peripheral issues, like the best way we glance? Now, trying again, I can see I’m not the identical younger lady I used to be earlier than surgical procedure. I’m an much more assured, extra highly effective, stronger girl than I ever thought was attainable. And on the finish of the day, that actually is magnificence in its biggest type.

Recommended For You