brain injury, cavernoma blog, Reflections

Excavation of the Psyche or a Haircut?

Hello, internet!

As an aspiring writer, I find myself looking for connections and metaphors in the profane dribble of everyday life. Is their actually something there? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. As WI Thomas once said and I’ve since parroted roughly 16,852 times, “What we perceive to be real is real in its consequences” – that’s more of an approximation of what he said, but the profundity of the message is retained. I come to you today, the internet, with such a scenario.

Recently, thanks to the influence of time and human physiology, my hair reached critical volume, taking on dense, yet small objects as satellites (batteries, nails, die cast cars and planes, etc.). Therefore, I sought a haircut.


The details of the cut itself are unimportant. Suffice it to say that it was my stylist was a very pleasant woman named…uhh, I forgot. She and I discussed the bleak conditions of public education opportunity in our proximity.


The important thing here is this –

Picture 46

That is the scar from when a dark wizard tried to ki…wait that wasn’t me… this scar is from September of 2009 when a guy sawed into my skull and removed a lesion from my brainstem.


Here I am, nearly nine years later still going on about it.


That’s what that scar is. A timeline. Along its path are regrets – missed opportunities, divorce, unfulfilled professional and personal goals. But, here and there is found a ray of hope – a daughter with boundless virtue, an unwritten future taking shape before my eyes, greater understanding of myself and what it is to be human than I ever thought possible.


I think I’ve arrived at the significance – Nothing is what it seems. My stylist thought she was just giving me a haircut when she was actually exposing an artifact of a life never dreamed of, but very real. You might say she’s an archaeologist of the soul.




Dialectical Menialism

Dialectical Menialisms #II: Before and After

We often reckon time in terms of before and/or after some remarkable event. Notable examples include B.C. and A.D., the civil rights act of 1964, the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989; and 9/11 of course.

For me, my Being Until Transformative Trauma, or “BUTT”, includes everything from Thanksgiving Day 1980 (birth day) to around May 23rd, 2009.

Twas on or about that day that a lesion in my brainstem began to leak blood like so much pee-pee from a baby’s untrained bladder.

Life with the Awareness Subsequent a Stroke, or “ASS”, began, as I reckon it, on September 3rd, 2009. I’ve started calling September 3rd my “rebirthday”. This is not to say I strode from the hospital after surgery like so much John Travolta a la Saturday Night Fever. Surgery on the brain bestows no alleviation of symptoms, rather it visits more trauma upon the already sensitive cogitation apparatus. The significance of this event was not the surgery itself, but rather the decision to have surgery.

Now that I think on it, ASS could also be Awareness Subsequent Surgery. Either way, my BUTT had no idea of the impending ASSery.

Reciprocally, any account I…uh…recount, about my BUTT is anecdotal. That is, my ASS tends to glorify my BUTT because I’ve had my ASS for a long time. Therefore, the time of my BUTT has been elevated to the level of golden age, when it may not have been so great. That’s the thing, I try to get my ASS in gear, but my BUTT always gets in the way. In a manner of speaking, my BUTT is a pain in my ASS.

I tell you what though, I recently read Laura Bruno’s BLOG, whose compelling argument for the improvement of life after a catastrophic illness has…uh… compelled me to believe that myself. That is, my BUTT believed that I’d continue on much like I had been. Think about that, Internet; my ASS, your ASS, his ASS, her ASS doesn’t have to be the same or worse that the BUTT. This may seem obvious to you, but this has been a revelation to my ASS.

By comparison, I was a lazy BUTT, but my crazy ASS never rests. I think my BUTT would’ve been fine cruising through life as a spectator, but I’ve a joy joy feeling of significance taking shape in my ASS (relax, I’m not about to take a dump).

I speak, again, of a singularity (mentioned, briefly in the last paragraph HERE. Methinks I’ll be using this term often, so allow me to offer a more complete explanation. Quite simply, a singularity, as I employ the term, is when seemingly unrelated objects and/or events come together in such a way that providence seems not only possible, but probable.

The beauty of a singularity is that it both transcends and affirms one’s faith. Christians may give all credit to God, Muslims to Allah, Jedi to the Force, Donald Trump to money and nonsense (or I guess that would be Money and Nonsense (Monsense?) when they’re deified); but the way I see it, a singularity is simply a sign that there are powerful forces all around us.

For example, the (initial) topic of this post is before and after or b & a. These two letters, over the course of the yarn I’ve here spun, have taken on new meaning. In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m talking about BUTT and ASS. Does this mean the powerful forces have conspired for me to tell you all about my BUTT and ASS? That question is irrelevant. I believe it to be true and as WI Thomas said, “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”. At this moment that means that I believe powerful forces are aligning behind me, so from my point of view, it’s true. If it’s true, it must also be true that you, dear reader, was meant to read and comment and get off your BUTT, get your ASS in gear (I realize that some of you don’t have an ASS or a BUTT as I use them here, but you know what I mean), and experience the turning of the gears of life.

OK, I’ve put my ASS into this entry. Better quit while I’m ahead.

brain surgery, cavernoma blog, Life, Uncategorized

It’s Good to be Alive

Wonderful MeHappEaster, interwebs! Or happy Easter if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. I come to you today because my heart has been stirred. I frequently listen to NPR via the NPR One app. A featured story today was that of widowed parents of young children. Rather, the widows did the talking, but the subject was more centered on how the children will turn out and how to best remember the child’s father (listen to it HERE).

This topic really resonates with me. You see, I nearly died (more details HERE). I’m not fond of saying that. It’s too dramatic and it smacks of hyperbole.

Still, I suppose I’ve come closer to meeting the reaper than most. At the time, I had a two year old daughter at home. By the expert skill of Dr. Jonathan White and the loving support of my now ex wife Jessica and my parents, I persist in respirating, masticating, cogitating, pontificating, etceterating, and most importantly, continue participating in the upbringating of my daughter(ating…).

It is altogether fitting and proper (thank you, Mr. Lincoln) that I would choose this day to blog on this topic. On more than one occasion (such as HERE and HERE) I’ve asserted the notion that, in a figurative way, Jarrett Wilson died from a brain hemorrhage in May of 2009. He was given new life in September of that same confounded year. The resurrection thing is the only similarity between me and Jesus; I have trouble enough walking on land, I can only change water into Crystal Light or coffee and my dad, as cool as he is, is not God.

I think I’m digressing here. What I’d like to relate to you, dear reader, is that I’m glad to be alive. I think I’ve said that before and I try to give the impression that I’m grateful, but sometimes, it just needs to be declared.

To be sure, being alive is hard sometimes. On the other hand, life is beautiful – there are beautiful people everywhere, the way they comb their hair, it makes me want to say… it’s a beautiful world… it’s a beautiful world…

That said, there are a lot of things that suck, another way to say it would be there are a lot of things that suck because of stuff I did. I let these things occupy too much CRAM (read more HERE). For today at least, I’m going to revel in the singularity off each moment. A singularity in that each moment is a culmination of a heartbeat, a breath of sweet, sweet air, some thought to move us about the day and being with good people. 🍻



brain injury, living with tbi

The More You Know…


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ve started substitute teaching. You probably remember crusty, old geezers teaching your class when one of your teachers was gone. These fossils were fond of telling students that they don’t know what hard work is, that they had to recite the pledge of allegiance in Greek and had to learn math with an abacus.


Whatever the case, there was always the assumption that, like teaching vampires who only came out during the school day, subs didn’t have an everyday normal life; when the school day was over they’d retreat to the school basement to read the textbooks for enjoyment before using them as a bed to sleep on until they were called to action again.


My point is that, with a single day substitute, there isn’t really a chance to get to know the sub.


I typically sub at the school where I once taught and assisted librarily, so I know most of the teachers and they know of my condition. Given enough notice, I’ll offer to give a presentation to the kiddos about me. This way the teacher doesn’t have to prepare as much and the students get first-hand knowledge of why I am the way I am. I’ve posted a version of this presentation before (LINK), but it was a raggedy old PowerPoint.


AND THEN…last summer – I went to a writer’s conference to pitch my memoir. I wanted to stand out, so I put together a presentation. I had just given the students a crash course in PowerPoint presentations and Prezi, so I thought I’d give that a try. I didn’t get a book deal >:(, but my presentation was pretty sweet. Find it HERE


AND THEN…a new school year started and the sub jobs came pouring in. So far, I’ve presented to about 250 seventh graders, most of the eighth graders saw it last year.


AND THEN…my younger sister, a Latin teacher (She teaches Latin, she’s not a teacher who is Latin, no one is or really has been since the Roman empire), asked me to come talk to one of her classes. I thought that this nexus of presentation opportunities called for a revamped presentation.


AND THEN…I combined the raggedy PowerPoint with the fresh, shiny Prezi to create a PreziPoint (PowerPrezi?). The svelte can be viewed in all its smoothly transitioning glory HERE. Or, for your convenience, I’ve reproduced the presentation here in slideshow form.


AND THEN…actually, ‘AND THEN…’ doesn’t work here, but I’m nothing if not consistent, the frames with a 🌟 in the lower right corner were adapted from the original PowerPoint. This means that the ones without a star make up the original Prezi.


AND THEN… If you don’t notice, apart from the book excerpts, it rhymes! Isn’t that delicious?




AND THEN…@JarrettLWilson



A Picture is Worth a Thousand…Pictures…

All Done…or 93 pictures if you’re the GIF above. By that reckoning, if a picture is truly worth 1,000 words, that GIF is a tidy package of 93,000 words. Add to that the words you’re reading, and you have the world’s longest blog post. Honestly, I almost could’ve written 93,000 words in the time it took to make this GIF.

While I explain what it is, I’ll explain how it was made. I have the MRI images for most of my scans, in total I found/used eight sets of scans. Then, I made some pictures with my webcam of my profile and the top of my freakishly large head. If my math is correct, that makes 8+1 = 9 sets of images. Each set has roughly 10 pictures – including multiples of the original and duplicates of the fading shots. The sequence of the scans is chronological (For instance, a scan from 2010 would come after a scan from 2009, a scan done in May of some year will come before a scan…scanned in September of that same year…And so on).

The images are labeled with the reason for and date of the scan. I’d only point out the first scan from May, 2009 showing a big blob of white stuff just below the very center of my brain profile and slightly off center looking at the top. It’s almost as if someone tried to white it out. Really, it’s blood, the doctor injects you with the air from inside a blacklight, then your blood glows white.

The magnetic manipulation of the various cells and particles that form a mass called “Jarrett” (Magnetic), and the clicking and knocking noises (Resonance) labored to produce this Image a few days after the hemorrhage.

The magnets and sounds continued their unlikely coupling through my skull on August 15, 2016, one day before my appointment with my neurosurgeon (I verbally sparred with both the doctor’s office and the insurance company for a month and had to reschedule twice, but that’s a different story altogether).

On the last MRI image, notice all the white out has been removed. When looking down from the top of my head, the “cavern” that the cavernous malformation called home is still a dark hole. I can only speculate that this is why I forget stuff almost as quickly as it pops into my head, it gets sucked into this vortex of blackest black, of darkest dark, of ebon opacity, of obsidian obscurity, etc.

Anyway, this GIF sums up seven years of the physiological side of brain injury recovery. I’ll stop writing now as this post has now reached a staggering 93,443 words.

This is all to say that my latest scans show no activity, and my recovery continues.

FIN (93,460 words if counting the number)

@JarrettLWilson (93,468)

Rhyme Time, writing

So Close, Yet So Far

WP Cover PicThe prezi found here: is a synopsis, in a way, of a book I’ve been writing about my experience with a brain injury. It contains excerpts from the book, but guides the viewer with a whimsical poem. I’m gonna go ahead and blame my Ahab like compulsion to write this book for my absence from blogging of late. I made this to show agents and such at a writer’s conference. I was hoping I had enough to get the ball rolling. Turns out, I’m less than halfway done. But, as Ahab got the whale so shall I finish this book – hopefully, it doesn’t do me in, though.

Botox, brain injury, cavernoma blog, cavernous angioma, writing

Aztec Gods, Needles in a Foot and Hand Torture, Oh My!


I’ve been pretty lazy about the look of my blog. Previous banners have been hastily cropped images of my MRI scans or some such thing. So, I set about to remedy the situation by creating a banner representing my “injourney”. Though it may look precariously thrown together, I assure you that each object represents something very meaningful. I’ll start with perhaps the most powerful being on the banner. The colorful fella in the right corner is Huitzilopochtli,the Aztec god of war and the sun. I’ve a tattoo of Huitzilopochtli on my right shoulder blade –


What struck me was, if you say “war” and “sun” back to back very quickly, it almost sounds like “Wilson” – and as you know, Wilson makes top quality sporting good products, and is my last name.
I jest, although not one of his defining divine powers, he’s also associated as being the guide for journeys, having led the Mexica  (Aztecs, though don’t let Huitzi hear you say that, he was against that nomenclature – thought it sounded too much like “ass-tech” and didn’t want people thinking they made fancy toilets or other such things) from Aztlan to the site that would become Tenochtitlan, the Azte…err, Mexica capital city. It is this quality that convinced me that his likeness should appear on my right should blade for the rest of my days. He would always be near to guide me.
The colorful dude on the other side is Xipe Totec, which means “He of the colorful commode”. As you can see, he’s sitting, almost squatting, on a very colorful chair. This is actually a toilet. He was fine with name “Aztec”, thought it’d be a good opportunity to spread the word his sacrificial, butt guillotine commode. While pooping, a blade slices off the bottom and flushes it straight to Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan to be offered up to the gods.

Again, I jest.

Xipe Totec or “Our Lord the Flayed One”, is the god of, among many other things, the cycle of life-death-rebirth. You see, I’ve come to consider May 22nd, 2009 (the approximate date of my hemorrhage), as the date my old self died. I was reborn when I had surgery to remove the cause of the hemorrhage.

Getting back to the mortal realm, the little girl in the yellow shirt and headlamp is my darling daughter, Quinn. I go to the gym, and therapize myself that I might get to be more active with that little fireball. The headlamp is for what I call “technology spelunking”. I wear it when I need to fiddle around inside my computer case or complete some other task without adequate lighting.

The hand in the vice is a not so subtle reference to occupational therapy and its toils. Not much more to be said about this – if you’ve ever wanted break off your aching hand and use it to give someone (esp. an occupational therapist) a bloody slap across the face, then flip the bird with it, then you understand that image.

Rounding (more like ovaling) out the left side is a MRI scan of the top of my head. The white dot in the middle is a marshmallow I shoved up my nose when I was seven. Since that time, every time someone asks, “What’s that smell?” I invariably answer “marshmallows”.

Come to find out, the marshmallow passed through my digestive tract the same as if I’d eaten it – as such, it has long since done the thing that biological things do, whose name esca…DECOMPOSED (!) in the bowels of some sewage treatment facility.

The white dot in this scan, and the scan of the stick man in the middle, is actually blood – these scans were taken very soon after the big bleed.

The relatively huge foot (MY foot with a NEEDLE in it) is a direct result of that white dot – the blood scrambled some wiring up there, causing a perpetual spasm running through my left arm and left leg/foot. To combat this unpleasant symptom, I get injections of botox every three months, two of which go in my foot (let me reiterate: TWO INJECTIONS! FOOT!)

All these things make up my injourney, and so, are strewn about my path like so many playthings carelessly scattered across the front yard by a whimsical child.

The stick man furthest down the path has a question mark for a head. This is for two raisins –
1. In the future, my head will probably look about the same on the outside. I can’t make any assumptions about what it’ll look like on the inside. Of course, there will still be neurons and dendrites and hormones of varying flavor, but I have to accept the possibility that there might be more white stuff (there also might be a “Johnny Mnemonic” style hard drive or an antenna ala Vonnegut’s Sirens of Titan.
2. I couldn’t think of anything to put there.

And what banner would be complete without the auspices of LepreSean? He popped in and asked, “Whersh me potta gold?” Xipe replied, “I’m sitting on it!”