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2 years post op and brain bleed. Here I am speaking in front of the Maryland General Assembly 2 years later.
My 2cm AN was an 'incidental finding' from a persistent sore throat. I went into full throttle research mode and got over 12 opinions! My husband and I made spreadsheets, read the latest medical journal papers and at night, held each other tightly. Landed on a superbly experienced, responsive and warm demeanor-ed team at UC San Diego. Perfect outcome- saved hearing(!), face & did a total resection. Healing rapidly, kissing my 3yo daughter's potbelly and exploring the new movement pathways available to me. The body is a resilient ecosystem and fiercely regenerative in it's capacity for healing.
This summer will mark my 31st year post surgery! Then, I was 26 and in the middle of grad school. Some new challenges were added certainly (one-sided deafness, facial paralysis, balance issues - you know the drill), some self-realization alterations had to be made, but it's been a very fulfilling three decades. Now retired, the fulfilling part continues with much love and thanks to husband, family, and friends!
I am just happy that I can now control the muscle and nerve that was transplanted into my left cheek by clenching my jaw. Although I do still technically have paralysis, I no longer have the droop. I am going to take another step of the reanimation come June to go back in and shave down the muscle some.
I decided to honor those who gifted me my 2 post-retrosigmoid years by using my 2-year MRI appt as a long weekend celebration of life. Regardless of what the 2-year follow-up would reveal, I combined airplane, bus, and train rides to connect Ohio, Minnesota, Virginia, and Washington, DC so that I could visit friends, tour cities & historical sites, and run both the Charlottesville Half-Marathon and DC's Cherry Blossom 10-Miler before coming home - all within 4 days! Since then I have completed 2 more half-marathons and have more planned including my 2nd full marathon is coming up in October.
On July 14, 2015 I had the MRI that showed the acoustic neuroma. Now, 3 years later, I’m having a tattoo of the Acoustic Neuroma Awareness logo. It brought back so many memories - thinking back about all I went through. I'm more than what happened to me but it's still part of my story.
In 1989 I had AN surgery that left me with horrible headaches, severe hearing loss, demanding fatigue and a terrible lack of balance. In early 2017, I decided to become a cyclist. I started training and also took Pilates classes. At 73 years old, I recently accomplished the greatest physical challenge of my life - I biked up Greenville’s Paris Mountain, with an ascent of 2.2 miles of incline. It was an incredible day for me! My friends and I went up 2100 feet, riding a total of 26 miles. When I think back to how far I’ve come since my surgery 28 years ago, I feel so proud. Find your passion and never stop moving!
It has been 20 years since my Translab surgery for my AN and 10 years since Gamma Knife for a recurrence. What milestones! During that time, I have hiked up mountains, repelled down a cliff, ran half marathons, and raised two girls. Call me adventurous? No, I am just living life to its fullest and my AN is on the journey with me.