Before my diagnosis of my AN tumor one big thing that was happening to me (amidst other bizarre symptoms) was that my handwriting was becoming more and more illegible.)
I did my first undergraduate degree in Fine Arts. Years of practice mainly in the visual arts
Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Then taught high school art, drama and dance (plus western Civ.)Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ and a couple of evening college courses too. I sure appreciate the time skill and effort that went into the work that is posted on this thread. Thanks so much for sharing your gift & talent with us!
You know my drawing and painting skills are not what they used to be Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ but I am not exactly practicing hard, at the moment, - as I seem to not have the time to fit this in. Truth is I have not tried to draw or paint artwork Ã¢â‚¬â€œ since the ole craniotomy
. Lately I am interested in different things and not feeling the drive to do art -that I did on my youth. Oddly enough currently I am much more interested in learning about neuro-science than Ã¢â‚¬Å“the artsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ (In my past Ã¢â‚¬Å“the artsÃ¢â‚¬? were the most
dominant part of my life)
This whole AN journey has been tough as it really has not only been a physical rehabilitation (vestibular, neuro musical facial, hyperacusis- physical therapies etc) but ALSO Ã¢â‚¬Å“vocationalÃ¢â‚¬? rehabilitation - for me. The whole thing has really been one educational experienceÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ that never seems to end.
I used to play the flute- however with BellÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Palsy I have lost my embrasureÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and became tearful when I could not get a sound outÃ¢â‚¬Â¦So I gave my flute to my 4th grader and she is starting to make wonderful music with it. I cannot help her with the sound- but I can help her with the fingering. At first I was sad I could not play but now she is playing I am just tickled pink.
I was once a dance directorÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Some days my balance teetersÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and some days I have been caught riding a bike with no hands (and chewing gum at the same time). It seems if I do not work at my balance regularly- I loose it. I can now pirouette again but by no means will I ever be center stage againÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ but hey I can still be a backstage supporter to the more capable (and fit) dancers.
Drama- well with synkinesis it is most challenging with facial expressions. But I still love to go to theatrical productionsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and support others.
I was a big connoisseur of music but now I cannot listen to bass tones as my hyperacusis causes ringing in the dead earÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I never thought I could live without my music (or CD player) Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ but you know- I can. I now really enjoy the sound of the birds that I seemed to have drowned out with the stereo blaring throughout the years -of my youth. I am also reading and writing much more than I ever have.
I just keep moving forwardÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I have to!
First of all I must share with you that one of my biggest ANA heroes is Ã¢â‚¬Å“JeffÃ¢â‚¬?.
Here is a glimpse at Jeffhttp://anausa.org/forum/index.php?topic=6645.msg68119#msg68119
Jeff was a former band teacher who lost hearing in both ears due to NF2. In anticipation of loosing the hearing in the 2nd ear he learned sign language, lip reading and trained to take his teaching career further into something else (that did not requite functioning hearing). He did a certification in library science and technologyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and teaches this subject now- instead of band.
Jeff has been a huge inspiration to me. This last fall I have not been helping out in the fine arts rooms of my kidsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ school- but actually in the library. The hyperacusis I experience was a big motivator for to push me to a Ã¢â‚¬Å“quieterÃ¢â‚¬? learning /teaching environment. After years of being a creative person, who was often Ã¢â‚¬Å“free spiritedÃ¢â‚¬?, I cannot believe how much I LOVE the order, structure and predictability of the library. I am beginning to realize I am much more left brain than I ever thought I was. (Gee maybe the tumor was not allowing that side to develop all these years! LOL)
I went on JeffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s suggestion to try this field out and then contacted my eldest childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s high school to see if I could volunteer in the library there. I figured that that this would be better than just going back to school to discover that this is not the field for me- after paying graduate school tuition etc. I have found that I just LOVE the library. I am seriously thinking of actually doing a degree in library science now.
Rather than focus too much on what I have lost I am trying to focus on what I do have and how can I find a new way to use this, express myself Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ and be of service to others
I think it is important to reflect on our experiences but at some point we have to just Ã¢â‚¬Å“keep moving forwardÃ¢â‚¬? and find out what our other
potentials are. Yes it is important to grieve the losses we have (hearing, face, balance, energy levels)- but at some point we got to keep walking down the path- even if it is a new directionÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ or wearing different shoes and a new hat.
What I am finding odd is that friends and family have been complaining about my handwriting for yearsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ are all commenting how much my writing has now improved
And now post surgery, with the pressure off my brainÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I have to admit my handwriting has improved- tenfold. But you know I actually took time to work on my handwriting and practiced at it over this past year. Having a 3rd/4th grader, in the house, during my recovery, gave me an excuse to practice alongside her -as she did her handwriting homework @ the kitchen table. This weekend I proudly wrote in cursive, with icing, on my daughterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cake- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Happy BirthdayÃ¢â‚¬? Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ and it looked like a professional baker did it. I actually took a photo to document for myself that my handwriting HAS improved. Basically I had to go back to working with my 4th grader, with the basic steps of learning writing, and alongside her I seemed to benefitÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Before and after surgery I was having some short term memory issues-
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Where are my keys?Ã¢â‚¬?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Where are my glasses?Ã¢â‚¬?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Where did I put that important piece of paper?Ã¢â‚¬?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What on earth did I come downstairs for?Ã¢â‚¬?
I knew I had some Ã¢â‚¬Å“issuesÃ¢â‚¬? that needed workÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ so when everyone was away at school I have to confess I dug out the old preschool memory games and practiced with them. You know the ones where you place the cards face down and you have to remember where they are to make a pairÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ There I was matching up Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy and Minnie Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in pair CardsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
It is working for me...
I have to agree with SteveÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s recommendation- to read THAT book. (The Brain that Changes Itself.) I truly believe that the brain IS plastic.
This link is for kids- it explains what Brain Plasticity is.http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/plast.html
Hear is a 6 minute video from the Discovery Channel on You tube
(This is an epileptic child, not
and Acoustic Nueroma adult patient- but there IS a point made here that one part of the brain in compromised other parts CAN compensate)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSu9HGnlMV0
Has anyone heard of this?http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2007/12/02/brain-fitness-program-and-neuroplasticity-pbs/
(I am curious to order it)
I challenge those of you who are having handwriting issues to head your local department store and go to the kidsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Ã¢â‚¬Å“toys and booksÃ¢â‚¬? aisles. Get a couple of workbooks on handwriting
Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ and just practice againÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ you just might be able to Ã¢â‚¬Å“retrain the brainÃ¢â‚¬?Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ but not if you are not willing to try and practice at it.
I think it is important to find out what sorts of exercises we can do to improve on our situation; whether it is through physiotherapy, brain teasing exercise games, or simple activities that we do alongside kidsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ so we can relearn and perhaps re-map our brains.