Friday, September 15, 2017

Luckiest Girl in the World

So how does a girl (ok - woman - I'm in adult denial today) feel like the luckiest person in the world just after learning that she would be facing brain surgery in just a couple of short months? Because deep down - I knew this could be so much worse.

Through tears in the bathroom at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,  I spoke to myself and said, "I am so so lucky to get to choose between the head of neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota and one of the best neurosurgeons and facilities in the world. There are so many people that wouldn't have this sort of comfort and trust in such serious medical care.

I have amazing health insurance and a husband who knows how to be sure that I would pay the lowest amount possible for all of the diagnostic visits, treatments, surgery, and hospital stay. The bill was more than our home is worth. There are others that have to choose between surgery before it's too late, and (if they are lucky emergency surgery) after much damage has already been done.

A condition (Pseudotumor Cerebri) that had been bothering me for 7 years by not regulating the cerebra-spinal fluid around my brain - causing mild intracranial pressure and symptoms of swollen optic nerves and slight vision disturbances - forced me to have ongoing monitoring by a fantastic neuro-ophthalmologist who was suspicious that my recent weight-loss wasn't resolving the ongoing symptoms.  That hunch and the confidence to act on it, lead to the MRI that captured the images of 5 tumors that may have never been caught before they did serious and lifelong damage such as seizures or loss of movement. This early diagnosis also gave me the luxury of scheduling the surgery at the most convenient time possible.  I was able to take off of work with very little stress. Many people who find these tumors need much more urgent treatment.

The thing that I am most grateful for, though, was that a year earlier, I made a decision to improve my health one meal and one workout at time.  That weight-loss lead to the early diagnosis.  But more importantly, I am in the best health of my life (other than freaking brain tumors) and I knew my body was strong and would heal quickly.  I also had been reading so many self help books, that my mind was is a place of relative calm.  I KNEW I would be ok.

So after 4 months - I feel amazing. Strong, energetic, alive, happy. No, I feel JOYFUL and full of gratitude for this wonderful and lucky lucky life I get to enjoy for many many many more years.

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