Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blog 2 In the Borderlands!

10/6/2011 4:53 PM

Been thinking a lot about Borderlands—how apt a descriptor that title is to my current predicament. I guess I should pick up where I left off in the cliffhanger previous blog chapter… What-oh-what, was going on with the MRI? So around 6:30am I went through an MRI that was focused on the lesions attached to my brain, and whether to find out if those were causing issues with my still missing eye sight. Per usual, things came “normal” and apparently the “lesions” weren’t all that bad in the first place? At any rate, they are causing me to go blind so at least we have begun crossing things from the list. In the last eight hours, we’ve actually gotten exceptionally good at crossing things off of lists.

-M.S. seems to be categorically out. The one manifestation of it that remains likely is within the eye sight, and the ophthalmologist says he sees zero signs of M.S.; I’m taking that in the win column.

-The Lesions are not brain tumors or causing my eye sight issues. Alright, 86 the tumor talk and put more science stuff around!

-To stroke or not to stroke. We begin splitting hairs here. Between the Cardiologists and the Neurologists, the actual definitive proof of certain circumstances falls onto a burden of proof no one wants to spend any time with. We are not going to do a test to determine if a blood clot broke free from my leg and flowed through the hole of my heart and into my head. Nobody cares, from what I gather. They are that the symptoms dissipate over time, and I return back to normal. We know something catastrophic occurred that started this whole ordeal, and we are working to prevent it from happening in the future.

-It’s Complicated. My diagnosis is looking almost certainly to be “Complex” or “Complicated Migraines” that can inflict any audacious amount of damage in the style of their choosing. Migraines are one thing, Complex Migraines are something altogether more sinister and different. The closest metaphor I can think of is the Wild Draw 4 in Uno, sure it’s an Uno card, and most of those cards do something specific that can be remedied by other cards. Not that card, though. That card does whatever the hell it wants and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. It wants to appear as a stroke? It does. It wants to look like Multiple Sclerosis? It does. It even brings the actual debilitating side effects with its clever charade. Long term speech patterns issues don’t seem to be likely on this go around, but in 2006 I developed a stutter I was never fully able to get rid of—and ask anyone this week, I am surely forgetting obvious words and phrases.

The reality is I’m coming to grips towards the end of this week long stay in a lonely white room that I will be living with a serious illness for the rest of my life. I’ve also come to realize how little I was able to do without the help of tons and tons of friends and family to get through even seven days of this. This blog will continue as I continue on my journey out of this hospital (as early as tomorrow by the sounds of it) and back into the real world where I deal with this on a regular basis. At some point, I’m going to go back to my desk at Gearbox Software and start writing dialog and making funny Claptrap videos without the full use of my eye sight. I guess we cross this bridge when we come to it. I guess we cross what we can see with our eyes, and if we can’t see it, we find a friend who can see it for us.

I’m quickly going to share the most important lesson I’ve ever learned in Game Design and how it applied to my predicament this week.

Borderlands was a game made with trust in a family. It was far more a collection of passions and beliefs than it was a rigid and structured idea. I started out this week not knowing if I would even be alive at the end of it (seriously, I considered that on a few nights I might die from what was stacking up against me.) A group of doctors, families, and friends began dividing up what I needed to be whole again, to be Mikey again. That’s where I found the comparison uplifting. I know who Mikey is, but so do they—and at the end of the day, their decisions about what “Mikey” needed were smarter than my own. They provided the right support, entertainment, love, and compassion in all the ways I would have instead curled up and forgotten.

Sometimes it’s really okay to let go and trust the family around you to make the best Mikey/Borderlands you/it can be.

I thought that was worth sharing. It is certainly insight into where my headspace is right now as I go back into work at the best damn game company on the planet sometime next week. It’ll be nice to get back to trusting in the Gearbox family on Borderlands 2, a game I have seriously dreamt about playing again since my incarceration in this jello-laden prison.

Today was exceptionally useful for coming to peace with myself and the person I will be in the future. The gimpy, blind, crotchety old creative development guy.

Yup, I guess that’s the new me J


  1. You will never cease to amaze me. You have such a creative mind as gimpy as it might be by now. God has given you such an amazing and creative talent wether it be with video games or writing a blog about the uncertainty in your life right now. We will never lose the old you, maybe you are new and improved and the best is yet to be! I can't wait to read about your next adventure!

  2. I follow you on twitter and have been hoping for the best. I'm sure your hospital is great and doing everything it can, but ailments without a foci are difficult to deal with. I work at the Mayo Clinic as a neuroscience researcher, and although I am not a clinician I work with many of them. I wouldn't promise that they are miracle workers, but having a second opinion can be useful. I know there can be difficulties with insurance, but I just thought I would float this out there

  3. I'm really glad to see you've found an outlet for your thoughts and feelings over all this. It's strange when it's something so 'complicated' that ends up forcing you to slow down enough that you suddenly have all this time to reflect. You've done great work in the past, and I know you'll continue to do great stuff in the future. Glad to see you getting some time to put everything into perspective.

    Keep it up Mikey!