Updates for July Last updated 1:00 pm, Sunday, July 28th
|July 28 Sun||
Hi Everybody Val here. Its my turn to finally put my two cents in on this web site, especially now that I can read and type again. It sure feels good! This will be long, so have seat and relax
First of all, a million thanks and then some to all the wonderful friends and family members everywhere who have been sending me love and support on all levels throughout this whole experience. I wouldnt be here to say so if it werent for all of you helping me every step of the way. I cannot possibly express how deeply grateful I truly am to all of you!
My update starts with a special Thank You to my local friends for putting together a Benefit Celebration on our behalf last Sunday. Some very caring and energetic girlfriends organized a day of live bands, good food, kids activities and a Silent Auction to help us defray some of our medical costs. We had perfect weather and good attendance and it was wonderful being able to see so many of my friends again after a long (to me) absence. It made me appreciate even more what "community" means to me and emphasized why I like living here in the Bitterroot Valley.
Since returning to Montana, my life has gone back to being close to "normal" in that I am physically functioning in my daily doings like I was before surgery. I spend about 3-4 hours a day gardening (it used to be 12-14 hours!) and usually run errands and such when it gets too hot to be in the garden. Im also getting out to be with friends more and am taking the time to enjoy some of the many summer activities offered around here. For example, last Friday I went to an art opening in town where there was a hands-on demonstration of how to marble ink onto fabric and I came home with my own swaths of marbled cloth. Yesterday I went with some friends to the All Nations Pow Wow nearby and watched Native Americans dance in full regalia. I am appreciating more the joy of sharing fun experiences with friends and family rather than burying myself in my To-Do lists. Its a much healthier and happier way to live life!
Now for the regular medical update: last Monday I went for a follow-up visit with Dr. Peter von Doersten, my neurotologist (ear specialist). He was happy to see me in such good shape and exclaimed over my tan, my developed muscles (thanks to all that weight lifting) and my overall level of energy and health. He checked both my ears and said I had the best eardrums and auricles (external ear) hes seen and then we discussed the possibility of the auditory nerve growing back. Modern medicine says it cant happen and theres been no success in grafting sensory nerves when theyve been removed or damaged, so he figures Ill never hear from my left ear again. I think its too soon to say never. In the meantime, there are hearing devices one can wear that compensate for the hearing loss, but Im not interested in them in the least.
I then told the good doc about stiffness in the neck muscles and an aberration in the visual field of my left eye. He recommended stretching and massage for the neck muscles, and physical therapy if I felt it would help. As for the eye distortions, I scheduled an appointment with the ophthalmologist to take a look at it. I also asked about ever scuba diving again and he said I could, but to start with shallow dives and work my way into deeper dives according to my comfort level. Both ears can still equalize pressure (they still pop) so the only other consideration would be too avoid a cerebral fluid leak, something not likely to happen after six months post-surgery with no complications.
Yesterday I returned to Dr. Steve, my chiropractor/neurologist who originally diagnosed me with the AN. He too thought I had recovered remarkably fast and was happy to see how well I was doing. We re-tested my visual field and found that my blind spots were finally back to normal for the first time in at least a year! Hooray! He worked on my neck muscles and gave me some exercises to do at home and then checked all the gazillion supplements Ive been taking to determine which ones I actually need now. It turned out to be about half! I came away from that visit feeling great. My next medical commitment is to see Dr. Nick Chandler, the neurosurgeon, at the end of August.
Many people have asked me what I have learned from this whole experience and what I think it all means beyond the medical aspects. For all those who dare or care to follow me with the answers to those questions, read on. I dont expect anyone to believe what I do or change their world view because of my views of reality. Im simply putting forth my own personal perspective on what Im living through and what it means to me.
When something this big and this life threatening comes into ones life, I see it as the proverbial "wake up call." For me, its the Universes way to get my attention that things in my life need to change and that change is always for the better, even if we dont see the blessings in the situation at the time its happening. Because I believe there are no accidents and that everything in our lives is a lesson learned, when I first realized the magnitude of my situation and that Id need immediate surgery, I found myself absolutely at peace within.
How is that possible, given the many potentially crippling effects or even death, that could result? Easy. I reasoned that if this was a wakeup call and an opportunity for growth and learning, then it wouldnt make sense to come out of it impaired or dead, else how would I get the lesson? In my worldview, this made perfect sense, so I lost virtually all fear of surgery and death and became rather detached from the whole process. I was able to maintain a totally positive attitude and a sense of humor about the whole thing because I just knew, beyond a doubt, that Id come out of surgery OK. And I did.
Ill add a side note here on the power of thought as well. I used a lot of recuperation time to listen to many audio cassettes about the power of the mind to heal and how even remote thoughts and prayers can affect healing outcomes. I already knew and believed that, but it was nice to hear it confirmed by a myriad of medical and spiritual authorities who are published and known worldwide. Anyway, I am absolutely convinced that everyones thoughts, prayers and blessings had everything to do with my successful surgery and remarkably fast recovery. It wasnt only my own attitude and thoughts that did it, but the collective thoughts and power of so many loving people that tipped the scales. For that I am eternally grateful.
I also realized that a person does not go through a major life changing event like this and not see the so-called silver lining. From the moment the AN was diagnosed and this process began, I have seen only the blessings it has brought into my life. Never once have I felt like a victim of bad luck or thought this has been anything other than an opportunity for me to grow and change for the better. Put another way, if I dont "get it" this time around and make the changes I need to, I dont want to think about what I might manifest the next time around to accomplish the same goal! (By the way, I named the tumor Grok after a word meaning to "get it" or to fully comprehend something.)
So what, do you say, are the blessings I would see in all this? Let me count the ways
Well, thats enough from me for today. You all must be tired of hearing about this
by now. J
Much love to all,
I believe that when we send thoughts in the form of prayers and blessings or any other form, good or bad we are energizing into being that which we are visualizing as happening. As such, I focus my thoughts on what I want to happen and not on what I dont want to happen, so as not to create a negative reality. In the case of the remaining tumor in my head, I have consciously chosen to envision only positive thoughts about my health, i.e., I continually imagine and picture a healthy artery feeding a healthy brain stem in my skull. I do not even think about any tumor the physical manifestation of Grok no longer exists for me and I give no energy whatsoever to it in thought or word. If you are inclined to send me healing energy for my recovery, I ask that you too energize the vision of perfect health in my head and body and not focus on the tumor at all. If we give the body and spirit the right image as a goal, it will find a way to manifest it.
Thank you for assisting me in doing this.