This week has been very surreal. I cannot believe it has been one year since my “diagnosis day.” At this time last year, I was lying in a bed in the emergency room at Glenbrook Hospital, doctors contemplating sending me via ambulance for emergency neurosurgery at Evanston Hospital. After hours of waiting, crying, and me telling jokes of all things, the neurosurgeon from Evanston Hospital reviewed my MRI and confirmed my tumor was benign. He called it a vestibular schwannoma, or as more commonly known, an acoustic neuroma. After hours of deliberation, I was sent home. I of course stopped to get Taco Bell on the way back to my house because I was absolutely starving and relieved.
I have come a long way since that day. I have regained balance (for the most part), my eye prescription is what it’s supposed to be (all thanks to my hero Dr. Sacks), the “fullness” or airplane-noises in my ear have gone, and I no longer have migraines. However, I now deal with other aftereffects. I have lost all hearing in my left ear, and with that comes constant tinnitus, or ringing in that ear. I am now known as SSD, which is single-sided deafness. Out of everything, that is my biggest complaint, but something I am getting more and more used to every day. Shit happens…and then you move on.
I am a member of 4 different Facebook groups dedicated to acoustic neuromas and its survivors. After reading what many of my “tumor friends” have gone through and continue to experience on a daily basis, I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am, both mentally and physically. I do not feel as though my life has changed as drastically as theirs. Several of them have facial paralysis, terrible headaches, intense balance issues, fear of social outings, anxiety, depression, and the list goes on…
Thank you all for your support this past year. I honestly believe I have the best family and friends in the world. Through this experience, I have reached out to others in various ways, and I feel my role now is to pay it forward.
Happy 4th of July to all!
For those of you who missed my Facebook post, please check out this link! I’m a proud Illini alum! http://www.veooz.com/videos/7HHTRO0.html