Saturday, August 24, 2013
Well, let me tell you what I've been up to.
As of yesterday, I'm 7 mths post op. My posterior fossa decompression seems like a distant memory. (Which I hope doesn't mean my memory is impaired..darn brain damage..LOL!)
I've gone back to work. This week marked my first week of working three 12 hour shifts back to back since surgery..and (drum roll, please)...I DID IT!
Every night I got home, bone-tired..if you don't know what "bone-tired" means..then..YOU have never worked hard enough.
Sometime late afternoon on Monday, the interior aspect of my left foot and toes went numb, and have been ever since, then about mid-way through the day on Tuesday, My vision blurred..(so I bought stronger reading glasses that night after work)..and Wednesday, I barely remember. I realized that about 7 out of 10 times I have a delay when answering the phone at work..which kinda bothers me..but on day one it was 10 of 10 times, so I think that's improving.
This is what I am happiest about..My thinking is clear, concise and intact. I am having no trouble with giving medications, dosages or charting details (even with learning a new charting system). I'm very pleased with this, as my livelihood as a nurse depends on it. That being said, I NEVER had any problems with that..even when my brain was foggy pre-operatively, I could still pull off my job without a hitch.
Now, another big hurdle..I started back to grad school. I'm certain I've shared somewhere along the way that I'm working on my Masters of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner track- I had to take a leave of absence in January because of all the neurosensitivity post op. (i.e.-I couldn't look at the bright light of the screen on my laptop). Well, I started a class in July to see if I was ready to go back yet..and let me tell you- I had crazy doubts about myself.
I would read a paragraph, re-read it and..nothing.
I called my mom, had a break down, told her I just couldn't do it, that I was no longer smart.
Of course, she suggested it was too much with work, new marriage, etc.
I literally failed (anything less than an 83 was failing) every test.
I passed my case studies, but could not perform under pressure.
This class cost me $1860...for ONE class. If I make less than 83, I have to repeat the class before I can advance.
So after my next test, which I failed, I have a crying break down. This same day, financial aid offices from both of my children's colleges had called, and I was tired from work (just 8 hr work days, but still exhausting)..I tell Bob..."I can't do this, I'm not smart anymore, my eyes hurt, my head hurts.."
He said, "Honey, you can do whatever you want to-you are the smartest woman I know."
So..I had a talk with myself..
In Mississippi, people would've called it a "Come To Jesus" talk.
It went like this:
"I can't do this, it's too hard"
"You're right, you should just quit"
"Quit?-- I'm not a quitter"
"Yes you are, and it's okay, after all you had BRAIN SURGERY..no one expects you to do anything productive ever again, you will be lucky if you can hold down a job, much less finish school, become a pilot--or really-ever do anything besides just manage to get by..Just quit now..it's too *&^%$#! hard"
I messaged my friend, Kelly--who is in nursing school right now (and I am so very proud of her..Kelly--you go girl!).--and who I must say is my biggest cheerleader (aside from Bob).
Kelly, from many miles away, has cheered me on in every endeavor over the past few years....and is PRICELESS in my life..and of course, once again she reminded me that I CAN DO IT!
I thought back to nursing school.
I went back to the basics of how I studied then, I color coded, I organized...and I took that final exam..and I PASSED! Not only that I went from, "Oh I may not pass" to " I made an A!!"
So let me tell you, my fellow Chiarians-- You may be having a difficult time right now..but you can get through it. You can get better and your life can be better. If I can..ANYONE can! There is nothing special about me. I just refuse to give up.
I attribute my recovery success to taking Juice Plus+ , but the rest..is prayer and stubborn determination. Yes, I break down- Yes, I have moments of despair-and Yes--I cry often and second guess myself. I still have pain, numbness, occasional trouble swallowing and speaking. Some mornings I don't know how I'm going to make it through the next hour, much less the whole day. That's when I remember the words of Elisabeth Eliot in her book A Path Through Suffering, when she talks about how she got through her period of grieving ...she said she just did what was next..even if that was just brushing her teeth..One step at a time, do what is next..But do SOMETHING!! Don't give in to what Chiari does to our bodies and our lives. Make a plan..then make a back up plan.
My back up plan is my Juice Plus+ franchise..just in case my stubbornness doesn't ultimately pay off or I ever need an extended time off work again..I want a back up income source, a back up insurance source. I never want to be afraid of not being able to care for myself again.
Be honest with yourself. Be honest with your family.
Let your fears spill out onto the floor..then one by one-sweep them into manageable piles and do what is next..
Face your fears...remember me getting into that airplane for my first lesson?
What's next for me? Another work week starts Monday, along with another class, my new business goals, and my newest blog waiting for another post
More challenges..more fears...and of course, more symptoms...
So, I'm going to just do what's next..
And right now, that's folding laundry :-(!
Have an awesome day!