Tonight, my son and I are attending the opening reception for Cranial Vault, an art installation in our local community center about my friend Tom's challenging experiences over the last decade. As the exhibit advertising states, "Using commissioned artwork, medical images, found sound, and collectibles, the exhibit reflects one man’s journey from a middle-of-the-night grand mal seizure through cancer treatment and brain surgery to a survivor’s new normal. Part curiosity shop, part medical illustration, and part memoir, the exhibit serves as an experiential travelogue of a trip, nine years and continuing."
As part of the celebration of this amazing exhibit, the curators are inviting viewers to participate by filling in their own phrenology map.
Here is mine:
You can check out my son's head over at his blog.
I met Tom and his wife and daughter at a party held by mutual friends. Our two families hit it off--and by the end of a long but casual conversation, they invited us to what they said might seem kind of weird: a brain surgery anniversary.
I almost fell off my chair. "You're kidding! I celebrate the anniversaries of my brain surgery, too!"
I think they might have thought I was teasing or making fun of Tom--but I was completely serious. (You can read my whole story at that link.)
Although my experience was intense, I was very lucky to have a non-cancerous tumor which did not threaten my life. Although I have some side effects from the tumor and surgery, my status is completely stable and I am now healthy.
Tom continues to face new symptoms, new doctors, and new treatments all the time. There are new dangers and fears as well. But as he says, "It doesn't make sense to me to approach any of this with pity or a lack of joy. There are a lot of ways all of us can approach fear and uncertainty. Humor is one of them. I wouldn't choose it any other way."