Tuesday, August 2, 2011

right angles.

it may sound cliche, but there are SO many things we take for granted. i never knew just how many things that could include.

Last week I actually thanked God that I was able to turn to "toss and turn" in bed without getting dizzy. When the dizziness issues started at the end of June I had to basically be lifted into bed and positioned on my pillows. If I turned my head or body either way, the world would spin. Now when I wake up in the middle of the night and try to turn the other way to get more comfortable and STILL don't get dizzy, I thank God again.

When I sit up from bed and get out of chairs by myself without getting woozy, I am surprised and very, very grateful. this was not the case for most of the past month (but you already know that from the last post). I am overjoyed every time.

I keep track of things in a health journal and every day that doesn't include vertigo gets a "no vertigo-yay!" on its date. After a few physical therapy sessions to readjust the crystals from my inner ear back to where they should be (they explain it better), I have not had an attack since July 21 and many of the other symptoms have improved significantly.

When we stand up to walk, we assume we can do just that: walk. We assume that our vestibular system is working and that information is being sent from our brains to our eyes and that our bodies know where they are in space so that we can balance and that the muscles in our legs will support us. Many of these functions have been temporarily compromised, but let's talk about the muscles in my legs, which began atrophying due to the steroid. This is reversible with physical therapy (which I do twice a week) and with weaning off the steroid, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating. I walked from my room to the bathroom all by myself today without holding onto anything. I took 3 walks around the living room today. I consider it a successful walk when my legs feel strong, when I can walk with my head up rather than looking down and when my arms swing naturally at my sides rather than tensed in the air to keep balance. "Look at meee!" is a victorious announcement when this happens. I will not take my muscles for granted. I will thank God for every fiber and every bone and every system that works together.

One of the days after last month's chemo cycle, everything tasted DISGUSTING (it can do strange things to your taste buds sometimes). I even tried to eat a piece of raspberry-filled Ghirardelli chocolate and it tasted like gravel. we tried out various foods and none of them worked. my mom brought up some watermelon and I gave it a try. it worked! watermelon tasted like watermelon and it tasted good! I cried happy tears.

There are some frightening statistics about my specific type of tumor. (tip: never research your diagnosis. Never look where it says "prognosis.") We just went to an appointment where the doctor told us that since the surgery was done well and since I underwent radiation and chemotherapy and with my continued chemo treatments I can expect to have a normal lifespan. he was smiling when he said this. I was smiling when he said this. even though i honestly hadn't thought about the percentages in a long time and certainly haven't dwelt on them, the joy of having a doctor confirm this hope is something that cannot possibly put into words.

People around my age are "pushing 30"; when I turn 30, I have just beaten a statistic (which my doctor said that I would). I do not fear turning 30 or 40 or 50 or any "old" age; I look forward to it because that means that I. have. survived.

I am alive. I underwent the most serious and dangerous type of surgery that exists. twice. And I AM ALIVE.

One day I will not be surprised when everything feels normal and when everything works the way it should-but I will remain very, very grateful.
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