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Anniversary Celebration: Five Years with No Surgeries!!!

Those of you who have known me for a long time, or who have otherwise followed my story in the last several years, will know that I have not had an easy time with my health. In December 2013, I had my gall bladder out due to it no longer working as it should. Continued health issues led me to multiple healthcare professionals, until finally on August 22, 2016, a brain surgeon performed a procedure to relieve pressure my skull was putting on my brain. It was also to relieve pressure that my brain was putting on my spine, a situation which would have caused paralysis had it continued much longer.

Based on the research I have done on decompression surgery, on surgery in general, and on the likelihood of requiring future surgery, I am aware that the experience of the trauma of surgery is a risk factor for later procedures. It was with that knowledge that I chose to celebrate if I should make it to five years without having needed one surgical procedure. And so, I celebrate!

Today is the five-year anniversary of a really tough time in my life. It's the five-year anniversary of one of my scariest moments, and of one of my bravest. It is the five-year anniversary of me acknowledging that my life would never be what it was, but realizing that it didn't mean I had to change who I am at my core. I might walk slower, think slower, and make up words in English, Spanish, and my own personal language. I might become confused or otherwise have increased reaction time relative to a younger, healthier version of myself. But I am caring for myself in all the ways I know how and am able.

There is also a beauty in the relearning. For a time, I felt very much like I was not myself. I felt angry with my body for betraying me. I felt angry with my mind for not being as quick and clear as it had been. I mourned the loss of everything I didn't think I would ever get back. And some of it I did not retrieve. I can walk fast, in shorter bursts. I use a cane or a walking stick when and where appropriate, which is not all too often. I see my body respond well to gentle yoga; more aggressive yoga is too much today. Over time, I have come to realize that what I have regained is much more than what I have ever lost: my love of nature; my connection with loved ones; my desire to teach and to learn; my singing voice; my self-care warrior status; my knowledge of who I am.

Life will throw us curveballs. Sometimes we will receive several in a row. In those moments, it might be difficult to see that we are just in the midst of an inning of that baseball game of life. If we are fortunate, we get to go into overtime, or maybe double or triple overtime. But we do not know this to be true. For this, for the hardship I have endured and survived, and for the successes I have achieved despite the difficulties, I celebrate my fifth anniversary surgery-free.

Happy Anniversary to me! May I celebrate again in another five years, and may there be many more opportunities to celebrate in the future!!!


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