What a journey this has been. As I approach my two year ANniversary I want to thank all my family, friends and followers for all your love and support. My two year ANniversay falls on February 8th. I fight everyday to keep a positive attitude and live a healthy lifestyle. I have accepted that this was the card dealt to me and I will make the best of it. I could dwell on all the negative challenges and obstacles that I deal with on a daily basis but at the end of the day its not going to get me anywhere. I focus on the positive that I am alive and able to get through each and everyday on my own. I'd be lying if I said everything is back to normal, as stated before this is my new normal. I am single sided deaf with extreme tinnitus, I battle dry eye, balance, coordination issues, dry mouth, and a weak smile. These are all constant reminders of what I've been through and how far I've come. I have great family, and friends who have been through this journey with me to help and support me. I wouldn't have been able to do it without them. I haven't wrote in my blog recently as I felt like I didn't have much substance and didn't want to sound like a broken record. Most ANTS (Acoustic Neuroma Tumor Survivors) know that the recovery process is long and exhausting. In the beginning you notice changes quite rapidly and then the improvements start to slow. Never give up and push yourself! It gets easier.
I stated in a previous blog about the tear duct plug and I decided to give it a try as it was highly recommended in a couple Facebook AN groups. I was using a tube of Refresh PM ointment about every four days to combat the dry eye discomfort. After the tear duct plug was inserted which was a 2 minute eye doctor procedure, I find myself only using a tube every week. The goal of the plug was to help keep the ointment on the eye longer and if there is any tear production it won't drain out. Overall the dry eye has to be my biggest complaint. I just pray that someday I will have comfort again.
As for all my recreational activities, I have been league bowling consistently and rolling just above a 170 average. I have adjusted my approach and I'm currently working on my release. I played golf again over thanksgiving and found it to be a lot less challenging as compared to the game I played in June 2013. I am sad to announce that I had to part ways with my street bike because I just didn't feel comfortable riding the style that I owned. I had a KTM Supermoto and felt I'd be more comfortable on a cruiser. I still own my dirt bike and feel most at ease riding that in the sand dunes where there is a lot of wide open space. Trails are very difficult to navigate. I have yet to get back on my snowboard this season and really look forward to making it out a couple times.
I'm still crazy about my healthy lifestyle. After a year of blending smoothies daily in my Vitamix blender I have just switched back to using my Omega Juicer and drinking my daily green drink which typically consists of spinach, kale, cucumber, apple and lemon. The nutritional benefits from either form of blending or juicing are amazing. I'm a true believer they have helped speed up my recovery. I haven't been able to attend the Bikram Yoga as much as I'd like but I do workout at my local gym six days a week. My gym routine usually consists of about 30-45 minutes of weights and 30 minutes of cardio. I've been working really hard to regain the strength and stability in my left arm with the use of free weights. When I get home from the gym I enjoy a quick run around the block as it helps train and eliminate the brain bounce as well as improve the smoothness of my stride.
Back in early fall of 2014 I was interviewed by the Marketing Department of Sunrise Hospital where I completed 5 days of rehabilitation following my surgery. I was informed my success story would be published in a local magazine called HealthCare Quarterly and distributed to local healthcare facilities around the area. After the interview I learned the interviewer was passing the responsibility onto another department and they would follow up with me. Months later I hadn't heard anything and assumed the article was never published. It was brought to my attention by a coworker that while he was at the doctors office he happened to see an incredible write up about me in the Healthcare Quarterly. The very next day I called the publisher and picked up a handful of copies. As I sat in my truck reading the article I began to shed happy tears from my right eye. I still can't believe how far I've come! I've included the article below.
I shared in an earlier blog that I had started a business called Property Image Services, llc. I have been providing Landscape Maintenance, Auto Detail and Handyman Services for close to a year now. The business has been doing okay and has really challenged me physically. During the past year I have been applying and looking for something with a more stable future. Just this last week I was offered a full time position with IBM and I couldn't be happier to join such a successful organization. This opportunity couldn't have come at a better time as I reach another milestone in my recovery.
While visiting my family for Christmas in Michigan, I was given the book Smiling Again by Sally Stap. http://smilingagainbook.com/ A great read, I finished it on the plane ride home and passed it along to my parents to read. If you have a chance pick up a copy on Amazon.com. Sally describes her diagnosis, surgery and recovery experience well. I've found that sharing books and others stories with my family members helps them understand better what we are all experiencing. I am part of a few different Facebook AN groups online and have also involved my parents so they can get a better understanding. They really enjoy reading others stories. It helps them understand when I talk about the brain bounce, dry eye, tinnitus, balance, ect....
For the past two years now I have been blogging and sharing my story with others. I plan to share my story and continue reaching out to others. However, I don't plan on writing much more I will continue to share updates on my Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MyAnJourney. My next MRI is in June and I will keep everyone updated on the result. For now I am going to focus on being awesome and my new exciting career. Love you all!!