Today is a big day. It has been 5 weeks since my surgery. Today Tessa and I met with my neurosurgeon, Dr. Mel Field, and he released me to return to work. In fact, he released me to do anything I want! He even said bungee jump if I wanted. In his words, "go and enjoy life". It was a little surreal. I knew that he was going to release me to return to work. But I wasn't expecting a full release with no restrictions. It was like someone opening a window. There was a fresh breeze that blew though my soul. So to celebrate I decided to run 2 miles. It was slow. It was tiring. But it was 2 miles on a beautiful sunny day in Florida. What could be better.
I still have some twitching on the right side of my face when I get excited. And my tongue is partially numb. Although now completely deaf in my right ear, I still have tinnitus (with an additional lower hum that sounds like a truck idling on the street). At times, my head still feels a little wonky. But Dr Field says that it could take a couple years to have the nerves even out. I know from experience and from AN internet groups that I belong to, that I'm not entirely out of the woods on any of this. While I have had a great recovery, I will continue to have ups and downs in residual pain, nerve response and effect on balance. But it is all par for the course. This is my new normal, just like we all have good days and bad days. I'm prepared for that. It's okay.
A funny thing that I had to share with Dr. Field: The one thing that I feel has changed the most in my life post-operation is... my bellybutton. Yep. Because they took a fat graft from by stomach to fill part of the void left from removing the tumor and inner ear components (and yep, there is a joke in there somewhere), they made an incision in my bellybutton and then closed it with superglue. (That's not a joke. Superglue.) I still have a bellybutton, but it looks and feels like someone else's bellybutton. Dr Field got a kick out of that information, and it pleased him that I can actually tell people that that is the most that has changed for me post-operation. I couldn't thank him enough for the work that he and Dr. Patni did, how they saved by facial nerve, and the easy recovery that I have had. And I will be recommending them to everyone in my groups if they every have a problem like we have had.
So after our appointment today, Tessa and I went out to eat for lunch to celebrate. We went to Cheesecake Factory and got a couple Skinnylicious meals. But... I had to celebrate a little by getting a Coffee & Cream Chocolate Cheesecake for dessert. My last hurrah before battling the post-op 7 lbs that I gained. Seven pounds isn't a lot for me. Maybe considering that I lost 10 lbs immediately after surgery, then gained 17 lbs may lose me some sympathy. But I'm happy with where I'm at on that, and I know it will be gone by Thanksgiving.
Tessa has been my rock through this time. In a way, I have invaded her business space and daily altered her normal routine. But the best thing is, we truly enjoy being with each other. Of course, we have to have our own space, and she doesn't watch the many hours of "Treehouse Masters" or "Mountain Men". But we have been able to work through the pre-op, post-op, and recovery always on the same page. Unfortunately, we have probably had too much experience dealing with these types of issues in our lives, but it has prepared us to deal with this and whatever may come. We may always be surprised by something new, but I don't think anything will overwhelm us in such a way that we can't take it one step at a time and deal with it together. She's my buddy. I couldn't ask for better.
So I'm hoping to return to work on Thursday, after my paperwork goes through the insurance company and corporate HR. I won't go crazy with exercise or running, I promise. Thanks again to everyone for your support. I appreciate all the encouraging words and offers to come down to help out. I have a great family.
I will continue to write updates when new things come up or come to mind. Thanks for stopping by.
Love you all,