Hello everyone! It’s been a little while. I have some life goal updates for you, but first some personal updates:
I’ve been recovering for the past couple of weeks from a surgery on my ear and head. This past summer, I went to see a doctor, thinking I had an ear infection. I have a history of ear problems and have been mostly deaf in my left ear for as long as I can remember. I usually ignored ear infections, honestly, because they seemed so normal to me. But – in this case – I was going to be traveling for about a month and thought I would try to get something to heal it quickly before I left.
Unfortunately, it was not a quick fix. The doctor told me there was a growth in my ear and I needed a CT scan right away. Of course, I was panicked, but I didn’t think he could be serious. He wasn’t my childhood doctor. He probably just wasn’t familiar with the landscape of my ear after so much previous surgery.
I went on my trip anyway. I was gone for a month and got a CT scan when I got back. I also saw two other doctors. The diagnosis was clear: a cholesteatoma – an abnormal, erosive growth behind the eardrum. If left for too long, the growth erodes away the bones of the inner ear, part of the skull, and – in extreme cases – can spread into the brain. Fortunately, we caught mine before it got to that point. I am so grateful. I never go to the doctor. I still can’t believe I went when I did.
So. With that said, this situation is nothing compared to what others go through. However, I have still been terrified. We had no idea how massive the growth had gotten – how close to my brain it was. How it could affect my life, how much it has already affected my body. The doctor had to go in surgically to remove it and see how much damage was done. Although rare, a potential risk to the procedure is partial facial paralysis. As you can imagine, I lost a lot of sleep before my first procedure in December.
To make a very long story shorter, my doctor was able to remove the growth in December, but it was larger than expected. It had eroded away all the bones in my inner ear (my partial eardrum had retracted so far in the process it barely existed at all) and had spread to my mastoid bone in my skull. Not wanting to risk anything, the doctor felt it would be better to go in again in a second surgery to confirm the growth was gone before rebuilding any bones.
It was leading up to my first surgery that I purchased my domain name and started this blog! During my recovery, I was able to write a bit and work on it. I had wanted to start it for so long. I honestly think fear of my surgery was the final push I needed to go for it.
So here I am now, writing another blog post – recovering from Surgery #2, equipped now with some new titanium bones in my ear, a new eardrum, a bad-ass scar, and a reconstructed Eustachian tube. I can hear sounds in my left ear for the first time in my memory. It’s pretty incredible – also very overwhelming, if you can imagine! (My roommate said it best. She said the only way she could relate was if she imagined she could suddenly hear out of her nose! How strange that would feel…)
As part of my recovery, I am not allowed to run, dance, jump, flip or bend over, lift heavy things, sleep laying flat…
You may not know me that well, but I hope you recognize how much I am struggling with this! So many of my goals require me to be active. I’m naturally a very active and busy person. I obviously can’t practice trapeze or aerial silks. I can’t train for another half marathon. Even some goals that don’t seem it, end up being very difficult when your head is sore and you tire after going for a walk! I’m going crazy!
This has set me back a bit on my plan to accomplish a life goal a month this year, but I’m determined to get back on track. Here is the summary:
And! I would like to announce my upcoming goals for the summer. Drum roll…
As a bonus, if the surgery has been successful, I will be able to go underwater for the first time in my life! I’ll actually be able to start working towards some of my crazy goals like scuba diving, surfing, and going into a shark cage!
In the meantime, here is what I have learned since this whole surgery-process started:
With that, you’ll be hearing (no pun intended!) from me again soon. I’ll be back with more progress reports and more goals to check off the list!
Be well and live passionately. -AS
There is no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this.
Climbing, Outdoors, Life!
Minimalism of the wardrobe, home and mind.
P J Minns