Emotions ran wild, tears were shed, surprise after surprise, family, friends, hugs, laughs, games, Gumby gifts, drinks, celebrations, photos, pretty much sums up the last couple weeks.... I cannot even begin to describe how thankful I am to be able to celebrate my one year ANniversary with so many people that have been by my side through this entire journey. So much love and support! For those that weren't able to be there this past weekend I know you would have been if you could. Thank you everyone who helped make this ANniversary special!!
I don't even know where to begin... This year has already been an emotional roller coaster as I watched my family - Erin, Kevin, Wyatt and Weston, pack up and move back to Michigan to begin their new chapter. I support their decision, love and miss them so much! I am so thankful that they were so close to me during this past year. I see many summer vacations to visit them in my near future! I continue each day focusing on the positives and moving in the right direction.
As far as my progress, I was told that at the one year mark I should be feeling pretty good. Well, I do feel good. I still struggle with my 'new normal' daily challenges. Dry eye, dry mouth, balance, tinnitus, and wonky head, are symptoms that I face on a daily basis. Will they get better? Not sure. Are they getting easier to manage? Yes. I find that dog walking, and yoga has helped tremendously with balance. I still struggle in dark rooms, loud environments or if someone has locked arms with me. It takes a lot of focus to maintain a straight line while walking and distractions can really throw me off. To combat dry mouth I found a mouth wetting lozenge that seems to help called TheraBreath. Sometimes the hardest part is when someone says that I look normal.... I wish they could experience a day in my shoes. I recently connected with Hannah, a brain injury survivor who also has a very inspirational story. Through this connection I learned about the Invisible Disability Association. An association that creates awareness and educates people about Invisible Disabilities http://invisibledisabilities.org Look up Hannah and show her some support at www.hannahtalk.com
I mentioned connecting with Adrienne in a prior blog at the LA support group. I had the pleasure of meeting with Adrienne and her husband, Bill last night for dinner. Adrienne had her AN removed by Dr. Gianotta in November of last year. I have to say for three months post op she looks amazing and is doing great. Like all of us she is dealing with some daily challenges as well which I can relate to. Keep up the great work and positive attitude Adrienne! Thank you.
After visiting with Adrienne last night and comparing our recoveries, it makes me happy that she doesn't have to deal with some of the symptoms that I do. However, I know she has her own challenges. Same tumor, same side, same surgeon but different recoveries. Frustrating at times! The more people I connect with the more I learn about the different outcomes. Some easier than others, mine has been rough and I'm determined it will not get the best of me! As much as I wish my outcome wasn't so difficult I feel its made me a stronger person. Over the past year I've gained a lot more appreciation for what I use to take for granted. Never again will I sweat the small shit. I have a whole new outlook on life.
I am asked constantly whats next? Well aside from my health that I continue to focus on daily I need to earn an income. I've tackled all my recreational recovery goals its now time to make a living! I really enjoy inspiring, speaking, coaching and helping others. Now if I could turn it into a living I'd be all set! This past week I was invited back to speak in front of about 50 students in a Kinesiology program at UNLV. One door can open another... The instructor asked that I share the past years journey focusing on the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle to aid in recovery. If it wasn't for my physical condition pre surgery I'd be nowhere close to where I'm at today physically.
My plan is to continue my blog every couple weeks with updates as to whats going on. Please share my site with everyone. Thank you for all the continued love and support, I love you all. Stay healthy my friends. Cheers to a successful 2014!