The month of May is special for many different reasons. As a mother, it’s wonderful because of Mother’s Day. A quick search through the internet pointed me toward many other examples.
Some of them I’ve listed; my favorite being Get Caught Reading Month. Who doesn’t like to get caught reading? Then again, it’s not like I particularly hide that hobby. Might as well even pair a good book with a strawberry or hamburger and the deal is sealed. Heck, even salsa would do in a pinch, provided there are chips.
There are, of course, other causes that the month of May symbolizes or celebrates which are near and dear to people’s hearts. But for me, there are two in particular that make this the best month, and the hardest of them all.
National Brain Cancer and Brain Tumor Awareness Month
National Mental Health Month
Coincidentally, May also happens to be the anniversary month of my son’s brain surgery, making that first cause, all that much more important to me and my family. Four years ago, on the 19th of the month of May, my son had surgery to remove a brain tumor (watch video on the left). Though I am always happy to report that we got through the ordeal mostly unscathed, it is something that comes back to me every May.
It had taken some time to stop thinking about that short week in our life on a daily basis, since our son was still with us, growing as any boy should. And though there are some minor side effects we’ve begun to notice, he’s been doing great. He will be five soon, and I cannot believe that time flew by so quick.
But as the 19th approaches, I am once again reminded of that time in the hospital. This year, however, I am so much more thankful for the positive outcome that we had experienced throughout these years.
Recently, our youngest had to make a quick trip to the doctor’s office to catch up on our one year vaccinations. This trip, that I made alone with my son, brought me face to face with what it takes to go see a medical professional at a time like this. I cannot imagine what it is like to maintain a chronic condition at a time like this and my heart goes out to those that do.
The second National Month is something that is not always easy to share with others: National Mental Health Month. It is a journey that I like to keep close to the vest, but feel that it might be time to start sharing bits of it with the world.
After the birth of our first son, I can honestly say that my mental health began to decline. Sure that it was postpartum depression, finding myself crying in the bathtub for no reason, I made an appointment with the appropriate professional for evaluation.
She was one of the most wonderful ladies I’d met on my journey, who as gently as possible, informed me that it sounded more like I had Bipolar II. I won’t bore you with the details of Bipolar II here, since there is more than enough reading out there on the internet, but suffice it to say, for a moment in time I felt like my world truly took a turn for the worst.
It is right around that time, after finding out I was pregnant with our second child, that my son’s brain tumor diagnoses came. It is also right after that I ended up in an outpatient program to help cope with an onslaught of emotions I couldn’t understand or control.
I am proud to say how far I have come in the past four years. There were times that more rocky than others, with steep learning curves, but with the support of loved ones I’d made it.
Bipolar is not something that can be cured, as I’m sure others are aware, and people will struggle with it in their own way every day. Which is why I think National Mental Health Month is so important. The stigma behind mental health needs to end. People need to feel that they can reach out. Reaching out and saying I was not ok, was one of the best steps I could have made to start the road to getting better.
The month of May is chock full of unbelievable and unexplainable emotion. It’s a wonder how this whole month is tied together for me and that it allows me to share with others just how important it is.