Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Needles - the next frontier!

Next week, I will be heading into NYC to get botox injections at NYU. Jackie Diels will be there to work with the plastic surgeon who will be doing the injections. And, no, this is not for wrinkles! Although that would be a nice benefit, come to think of it... I will be getting botox to try to get some of the last few "paralyzed" spots on my face and neck to release. If successful, it will even out some of the asymmetry in my face and will get the nerves to communicate properly with muscles. Stay tuned...

Monday, April 30, 2012

Four Years...

Wow, I cannot believe it has been FOUR years since I had surgery ... Tonight I enjoyed a great dinner of grilled salmon, Greek salad and black rice - a far cry from the the tepid apple juice that I could barely keep down 4 years ago! I was somewhat naive four years ago, thinking that I was going to have brain surgery, followed by a speedy and bump-free recovery, then go on living my life exactly as before. Wrong! Life has definitely been different than I envisioned, but that is not to say it has been worse. In some respects, I am still finding my way with the "new" me. But, there have been so many positive things that have happened along the way! There is a part of me that really believes that things happen for a reason, even though the reason may not always be clear right away. I still struggle at times with being deaf on one side. The BAHA has been a huge help, but I do miss having two hearing ears sometimes. And I still don't like to see pictures of myself with my "new" smile. I know that other people don't really notice the smile or the asymmetry in my face, but I know it's there. And the dry eye - man, that drives me nuts sometimes! I would LOVE to be able to see things with my right eye without them being one big frigging blur. And I'd like my face to just feel "normal. But, in spite of those things, I have so many things to be happy about ... first are the friends I've made in the acoustic neuroma world. I've made friendships that will last the rest of my life with people I'd have never met otherwise. And, somehow, through this whole experience, I've rediscovered my passion for photography. And I can't begin to describe what a huge gift that has been. There is something about having a camera held up to my eye (left, of course) that just brings me such joy. There are many other things that I count in the plus column - too many to recount here. So, today is a good day - a celebration of sorts. It marks the first day of my "new" life! Debbi

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I've been absent around these parts lately ... not because anything is wrong but because I've been busy. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been pursuing my passion for photography during the last year. Lots of fun, lots of new learning. I joined a photo community called Blipfoto where I post my favorite picture each day. My personal goal is to post a picture for 365 consecutive days - I'm halfways there now. The photo's to the right of this blog are the 3 most recent pictures. If you click on the filmstrip, you'll be taken to my blipfoto journal where you can read a bit, see some pictures, whatever. Lots of very talented photographers over there, so enjoy yourself! I am coming up on my 4 year brain-tumor anniversary - holy cow! Hard to believe it has been nearly 4 years. I sure never expected some of the long term effects of this whole adventure. However, it's not all bad, and I've made some great friends along the way ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Birds and Brain Tumors

I used to love watching birds. In fact, I had bird-feeder central when I lived in St. Louis years ago. Then, I moved a few times, got busy, moved to a part of the country with seed-eating bears and ... well, then there was that pesky brain tumor thing.

Anyway, about a year after I had surgery, I decided that I wanted to take up another hobby - photography. I bought a kick-ass digital slr and started relearning everything I ever thought I knew about photography. Then, this year, in my quest for more things to photograph, I suddenly thought ... BIRDS! And, we live right on the edge of the forest, so it is bird-bonanza. Willie accuses me of never doing anything at less than 1,000 miles an hour. And, because I never want to disappoint that man, I went out and accumulated about 3,000 bird feeders and a couple of tons of seeds. Yep, bring those birds on! (slight exaggeration, but I believe in literary license.)

You'll remember part of my brain tumor legacy is that I am deaf on the right side. Good news is that my left ear hears things really well. Bad news is that mono-hearing means no directionality. Good news - I can hear those birds singing and chirping the minute I walk out the door. Bad news - I have no freaking idea where they are. Life's funny isn't it?


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jackie Diels and My Smile

Instead of a New Year's resolution, I am making a fall resolution - to blog more often! I've been horribly remiss this summer, not because there wasn't a lot going on, but maybe because there was TOO much going on.

Anyway, I started my day off today with a video chat with Jackie Diels, who is (in my opinion) the BEST facial re-trainer on the planet! You may recall that I went to visit Jackie 18 months ago pictures here. I was so blown away with what she was able to teach me that I went to her six months later for a follow up visit. By the way, she is in Wisconsin and I live in NJ - so that tells you how great I think she is! The improvement I've seen in my face, and especially my smile, is amazing. My smile won't ever look quite like it did pre-brain tumor, but I am pretty darned happy with my "new" smile. And, for that, I have to say "Thank you, Jackie Diels!"

If anyone reading this wants more info, please shoot me an email or message me from here.

I'll be back soon with another update!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Photography and Acoustic Neuromas

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Is it really already the middle of August? I saw a few yellow leaves drifting slowly to the ground yesterday which can only mean one thing ... fall is just around the corner. Yikes.

You may remember that one of my post-brain tumor gifts was rediscovering my love of photography. I bought a good digital SLR and started learning the world of digital photography. What fun it has been! This summer, in particular, I've been really pushing myself to learn new techniques and to find interesting things to photograph. Lots of fun.

The only minor aggravation is that, as those of you with balance impairment know, if I don't look at the ground where I am walking, I tend to tip over. Well, now, think about that for a minute... if I am looking all over for the next great Kodak Moment, I can't very well be watching my feet, can I? And, keep in mind that I don't really see anything other than a big, fuzzy blurr from my right eye in the best of conditions. Now, I've had over 3 years to get used to this whole balance/vision thing so you would really think I'd be better at it. Based on the flailing and careening I've been doing lately, I'm going to have to say that the balance still needs some work. Ah, the sacrifices we make for our art...

By the way, the humidity is wreaking havoc with my hair, too. See how frizzy it is?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why Shampooing Can Be Dangerous...

We have cats. And, being cats, they like to toss out the occasional hairball, usually in a place that has the highest visibility or is the most heavily trafficked by human feet. So, one of our angels barfed up a hairball on the stairs (carpeted in off white, need I say more?) I carefully teetered on the stairs and used a little carpet shampoo-er to clean up the spot. Returned the Little Green Machine to it's home in the upstairs closet and then proceeded back down to go about my day. One minute I'm on the steps heading down and the next minute I'm on my back heading down. You see the problem, right?

So here is a note to my self... NEVER wear rubber soled flip flops on wet stairs. N E V E R. No bones broken, but my dignity took quite a beating, and look like I've gone a couple of rounds in a boxing ring.

How's your day?