Every now and then I decide to post about my personal life instead of just posting scrapbook inspiration. Today I am about to do that - so be warned... I'll try to make it funny as to not bore you, but on this topic, that may be a reach.
It's been one year since my brain surgery to remove my unwanted visitor that I named Hugh (huge unwanted growth in my head). I had a benign brain tumor on my hearing/balance nerve called an Acoustic Neuroma. I discovered this through an MRI about five years ago due to some reoccuring balance/vertigo issues. If the tumor is growing, they need to surgically remove it so it doesn't do further damage. It affects your hearing in that ear, your balance, and can affect your facial nerve since it is usually intertwined on to those three nerves. And in about six months I will have the first MRI since surgery to find out if they got it all or if it has grown back. Let's hope Hugh is gone forever.
I don't want to make this a downer, negative post, but I do want to say that I had NO idea that this surgery would not improve me, but actually alter my life in many negative ways. I always thought of surgery as a way to fix something - to make you better. This surgery actually turned me into what I refer to as a "handicapped" person. It does damage to the existing nerves and structures when it is removed which means you are left worse off then you were when you had the tumor in your head! Come back to me Hugh!!!
I was always a fairly healthy person who worked out and was thin and took good care of myself. There was nothing I couldn't do physically and I didn't deal with any limitations. I never thought all that would be taken away from me. It just didn't occur to me that I might have health issues that would alter my life greatly and affect me not only physically, but emotionally as well.
Over the past few years, I have developed very bad anxiety - especially in social situations. It is all due to balance as I can't balance well in crowds and it makes me nervous which brings on anxiety attacks (I don't do well in crowded places such as the grocery store, movie theater, etc...). The anxiety causes me to avoid a lot of social situations that I used to love being in. My balance issues got worse after the surgery, so over the past year, my anxiety is much worse than it had been. I can't move quickly having only one balance nerve (they removed the other one in surgery), so I fall a lot and embarrass myself and my family a lot! This has affected my social life quite a bit and I have become somewhat of a recluse (who luckily loves to create, so I am a happy recluse).
I am also dealing with daily pain. I choose the more invasive method of surgery which cut through my neck muscles and many nerves on the back of my head. I picked this surgery method to save my hearing in that ear. Unfortunately I didn't realize I may still have my hearing, but with that comes all kinds of other problems - noises in my head, loud ringing, and muffled sound that is hard to make out. If someone talks in my right ear, I can't make out what they are saying and my ears are VERY sensitive to sound (another reason I'm a bit of a recluse). By cutting through the nerves and neck muscles, the possibility of long term headaches existed. But I am a very positive person and I felt I would somehow not be one of those unlucky ones. I have had head pain every day since surgery and it does not seem to be getting any better after a year. Again, it limits me socially. I also have nerves on the back of my head that are inflamed and cause pain when touched. There are things they can do to numb the nerves (cortizone shots or botox which would really turn me into an OC housewife, right?!?!?!). I haven't tried either yet, but plan to once I get my butt to a pain specialist.
Speaking of my butt, thoughout this five year process of finding out about Hugh and then dealing with the anxiety of removing Hugh and then actually removing Hugh and then recovering from removing Hugh, I have grown quite a bit in the buttox region. I've put on at least 40 pounds (not willing to find out if that number has grown any more so I stay off the scale). This might be the worst part of this whole thing. I HATE HATE HATE seeing people I haven't seen in a long time and see that look in their face of noticing my weight. It embarrasses me so much. I just want to start with a joke to lighten the mood - yes, it's still me, just more of me. I get why they look at me that way - I was thin my whole life and now I look very different. But I still find it incredibly embarrassing. I've tried to diet, but I never feel very well so eating makes me feel better and I can't seem to stop! I cut out sugar for 2013 and that didn't help. I stopped eating my beloved bagels - nope, didn't help either. I exercise less because of my head pain - if I strain at all the pain increases. So I've basically become a couch potato recluse. A chubby one at that. My boobs are so big, I'm surprised OC Housewives hasn't contacted me yet.
If anyone gets diagnosed with this type of tumor and then reads this blog post, they may freak out! I feel bad putting it all out there as I try to stay a very positive person. Heck, I'm alive, right? I can still function somewhat normally. I live in the most beautiful place ever. I have amazing kids and a family I adore. So if you see my Instragram feed or my Project Life pages, you would think I have the perfect life! And I do in many ways, I just never feel good which is my battle to fight. We all have something difficult to deal with and this is what God gave me, so I try to keep a positive attitude and not complain much. I would prefer this over losing a child or having something happen to one of them. I count my blessings daily!
So what do you think? Funny???? Ok, I failed miserably at funny. But I'll end this post with a funny story. We took a four day trip up to Monterey a couple of weeks ago. For the first time in a year, I attempted to ride a bike. I often forget how handicapped I am now and I just try to do things I used to do and then fall or fail. As I was riding about 100 feet behind my family trying super hard not to fall, a bird (or group of birds) shizzled all over me. It landed on both legs and was running down one dripping on the ground. There were multiple colors in this little treat. IT WAS SOOOOO GROSS!!! So imagine me trying so hard to balance as I'm dripping bird shizzle all over the ground. I delt with that, but then on the ride back, I fell into some bushes. At least I didn't get too hurt - more my pride, but also a banged up heel. And then these two guys ride by and shout "blanking tourist"! During moments like that, as my big butt is caught in a thorny bush and I'm covered in bird shizzle, I think to myself... maybe, just maybe God was trying to teach me a lesson. How to be humble. How to handle being completely humiliated. How to realize that I can't be perfect (nor was I ever perfect) and I need to be more compassionate to others. To realize NOT to judge. To understand others' pain. The list goes on, but the (large) bottom line is I am a changed person. In worse ways physically and sometimes emotionally when I get down. But in better ways because my heart is bigger and I care so much more about others. And I feel more of their pain and suffering. And I think over all, this new (bigger) me is a better me. So I'm happy. Generally speaking.
I hope you are all happy too. xoxox - have a great week!!! I'm off to clean the garage while trying not to fall! suzy