I strive to continue on that positive path of recovery and not let anything get in my way. This past week I scheduled my 16 month MRI and check up with Dr. Gianotta at USC. It all became real again as I sat there thinking how far I've come. Emotions ran high reminiscing about the first time I was slid into that MRI tube. I was listening to Jason Aldean on Pandora Radio laying on the MRI table knowing something was wrong with me but not yet quiet sure only to find out a month later I had a brain tumor. I have to apologize that I've been MIA for a little bit. I have been asked by many how I am doing and when I'm going to write again. Recently I've been putting a lot of my energy into figuring out a way to earn a living again. Back in March I began the process of obtaining a Clark County Substitute Teaching License and finally had my orientation a week ago. I didn't realize the process took so long and now that the school year is coming to an end I may have to wait till September to pick up an assignment. While obtaining a teaching license I started Property Image Services, LLC. I provide Auto Detail, Landscape Maintenance and Handyman Services to the Las Vegas Valley. All my business is based on referrals and I've been staying pretty busy. With all my physical challenges it makes working very difficult at times but I refuse to let it get the best of me. I have to keep moving forward challenging myself everyday if I'm going to make any progress. Yes I have days where my balance is just off or my dry eye is extremely frustrating and I want to throw in the towel. I remind myself that I'm alive and mobile, tomorrow will be better! For those pre/post op AN readers curious about MY recovery at 15 months... Well lets just say my issues have improved. Yes the issues are still present and they are a daily reminder. Balance is still a struggle but I've learned to compensate for it. I still bump into walls, lose my footing, stub my toes frequently, and grab onto things before I tip over. My dry eye is probably the most annoying issue I've had to deal with. The only relief I have found is wearing a protective contact lens and applying Refresh PM hourly. Is it getting better? I can close my eye without having to strain to close it but the blinking windshield wiper effect has yet to come back. I'm not sleeping with an eye patch anymore. So yes there is some minor progress. My plan is to take care of and protect the eye in hopes it makes a full recovery. The left side of my mouth is still a little numb and I don't have much taste. I bite my lip a lot and have extreme dry mouth. I like to suck on the TheraBreath Mouth Wetting Lozenges. The tinnitus in my deaf ear is loud all the time and extremely annoying especially in louder environments because it turns up. I've found that if I don't think about it or there is a little background noise I don't really notice it. As for right now while I'm typing about it, it is very loud and disturbing. I'm startled easily if in a room by myself and someone approaches me on my left side. I find it difficult to operate in dim lit environments because I have a hard time navigating dim lit or unfamiliar areas. I think this is a combination of my vision, hearing and coordination. My left hand coordination is still a little out of whack. I've yet to be able to type with 2 hands, buttoning a shirt is awkward, using hand tools is difficult, and the hand becomes weak and fatigued easily. As time goes on these issue seem to get a little easier to deal with yet they are all daily challenges. I have discussed some of my goals in previous blogs like running 5k's Post Op and a Tough Mudder Pre Op. Last month the Tough Mudder was held at Lake Las Vegas, NV and even though I wasn't ready to run it I volunteered the event. It was a great day helping all the participants through the obstacle Arctic Enema. Running has yet to be enjoyable and as much as I wanted to participate in the Las Vegas Tough Mudder I wasn't ready to run through the deserts uneven terrain. Hopefully by next year I'll be able to participate. While running right now my head feels like a bobble head doll and if I'm on uneven terrain I stumble an tumble. I hope with practice that running becomes easy for me again. A couple weeks ago I was asked to sub on a co-ed softball league. I haven't caught a ball or swung a bat since I was a kid. I stepped up to the plate and accepted the challenge. It was slow pitch and the captain assigned me catcher. I found it difficult to catch the ball due to my wacky left hand eye coordination but still manged to make a play at first. When up at bat I had 2 outs and 4 base hits. I used a base runner because I had a difficult time sprinting from home base to first. Overall it was a successful evening and I'm happy that i accepted the challenge. Bowling season is coming to an end and I'm happy to report I averaged a 170 my first season back. Next season I hope to be rolling somewhere in the 180-190 range. As of April 2014, I had officially drank about 20oz of green pressed juice daily for an entire year. I felt great and know it helped my recovery tremendously. I have not given up only altered the juicing process. Instead of pressing juice using an Omega Juicer, I blend my fruit and veggies into a smoothie using a Vitamix. For anyone familiar with a Vitamix knows that this machine will blend concrete. Its quick, simple and easy clean up. My typical breakfast smoothie contains an estimated 700 - 800 calories which includes: Banana, Avocado, Spinach, Kale, Protein Powder, Grapes, Apple, Lemon, Ice and Water. Its so good! As for dinner I have been sampling a few different recipes like a vegan mac and cheese and random quinoa dishes. I continue a routine exercise regiment that includes roughly 5 days of cardio and strength training and 1 day of Bikram Yoga. I want to stay in shape and remain lean. I definitely don't want a Gumby return. With my healthy lifestyle and exercise routine comes a new look or my new normal. I have been informed by some that I look too thin and unhealthy. Sorry you feel that way. I have been through so much trauma and have come so far that I refuse to let any negative remarks or comments bring me down! Keep it to yourself please. I'm going to do me. Life is a garden, Dig it! HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!