Acoustic Neuroma Life – It’s a New Year




Welcome to 2015!

Years ago when I was too lazy to cook, my family established a holiday tradition of Chinese Food for our gatherings around the New Year. This year we added ice cream sundaes, which I have to say was a great pairing. We got together at 11:00 am to accommodate naptime for my grandsons, and celebrated that we were all able to get together at the same time with the exception of a nephew who had something more fun to do. Well, to clarify – everyone who lives in the USA (miss you Kendra & Adam).

I think fortune cookies are silly. But I am the first one to break them out after dinner. I always anticipate my “fortune”, which will be a prediction, stupid quote, or sappy “feel good” line. Yes, despite many disappointing fortunes, I love opening the little cookie and squinting, then searching for reading glasses, to read the tiny message. This year mine said:

“You will have good luck and overcome many hardships.”

Okay. . . that was contradictory – and true. In just reviewing the last year, I can see both.  Of course, we have to look back to brain surgery six years ago to see the biggest hardship that I’ve faced. Six years of chronic pain has not been fun. However, I recall loving life in 2014 and being present. I wake up in the morning, even with a now familiar groan of head pain, grateful for the opportunity to live another day. Every day that I live I appreciate in ways that I never took the time to do before.

I look back fondly at 2014. I gained a new grandson and my toddler grandson continued to become cuter all the time. (yea, hard to believe) I had some great interactions with other writers. I’ve had amazing encouragement and feedback from readers of my blog and book. I took up encaustic painting and also snapped a few pictures of our amazing world. I feel that I’ve had good luck. (oh, let’s not forget the amazing stick art that I’ve mastered for this blog)

Oh, yes, the hardships came too. I had a 12 day hospitalization for head pain and a brief return to Mayo for skull surgery with no answers for my headaches. And if that wasn’t enough, I broke my kneecap in Germany — BEFORE we make it to the Chocolate Museum (yes, really). In 2014 I lost my two “last” pets that saw me through some rough times – Gina the Italian Greyhound and Gabby the noisy cat.

I had the good luck to experience feelings.  Even though I don’t appreciate spending days in bed with a pillow over my head, it helps me feel lucky on days that allow me to enjoy life. I’ve learned to inhale and exhale.

2015 is starting out fresh. My knee is healed and I am delighted to be walking again. Every time I bend my leg, I smile.  Last year at this time I took my knee for granted. I have an empty house and fondly remember many pets throughout in my life. I find myself eager to get the next one despite an uncountable number of groans at cleaning up messes and being woken up to go outside in the midst of winter. Those pet headaches and groans have been far outnumbered by the number of looks, nudges, walks, and naps that I’ve had with wonderful four legged companions. While I grieve the loss of two more, I rub my hands together in anticipation of who will be next.

Yes, 2015 will bring good luck. . . and because it is LIFE I know there will be hardships that I will overcome.

Happy New Year!!


6 thoughts on “Acoustic Neuroma Life – It’s a New Year

  1. Suely Capiraco Arruda

    Sally, adorei seu texto. Como a vida da gente muda com este tumor na cabeça. Tem dias que estou muito triste, choro….. Hoje por exemplo sentia uma moleza no corpo (fadiga) quase nao tive vontade de fazer nada mas fiz, almoço, dei banho na minha mae de 100anos, cafe, agora descanso um pouco pois a vida da gente eh assim sempre correndo nao sei para que e por que. Acho que os sintomas deste neurinoma sao para todos iguais. Nao tenho dor de cabeça, mas mesmo sem ser operada corro o risco de uma paralisia facial, moleza no corpo, ainda mais com o verao aqui no Brasil que eh sufocante quase 40 graus de quentura. Tem algum grupo nos USA sobre neurinoma do acustico se tiver pode me falar gostaria de participar em mais um. Um grande beijo no seu coraçao.

    1. sallystap Post author Acoustic Neuroma ANA Public group allows free discussion and everyone can see your comments. Acoustic Neuroma Tumor Survivors is a closed group that you can join where the discussion is private within the group. This is a very popular group for discussing difficult topics between AN patients. Your facebook friends will not see your posts.


  2. Rebecca Davenport

    2014 what a year it has been.
    Reflecting on the last year, I don know where quite to begin. Off course it started with the AN right after New Years (Jan 6th). Thinking back this has Ben right the day of epiphany. This is the day the three wise men brought gifts to Mary and her new born son. For that reason I would like to look into the surgery as a gift and a new gift of life. Although,at times it feels more like some one through me a curveball, and hit me right on the head. Knocking me out cold, whiping out my hearing, balance and other things taken for granted. But I do not want to complain, but rather reflect on the gift given. So then what was the gift in all this?
    You have to know, that at the time of this I was a graduate student writing on my dissertation theses for my Ph. D. in Organizational Development. Letting this go, hasn’t be an easy decission, but with the complications and continued seizures as well as impaired working memory I dont know as on how I would have continued. In addition I and my children have lost our home for many years, where my daughters grew up in due to the financial strain of the medical expenses involved. You might ask, but we’re is the gift in that?
    Well, let me tell you, having another Christmas with my girls to celebrate and another year to look forward to is a huge gift. Because you are hit by a curveball dosen’t mean your life is over. This was a lesson I had to learn. My plans for life were suttenly null and void, and my direction would turn 180 degrees. What I learned this year is about being patient with others and myself. Being mindful and greatfull about the little gifts that I was given. Two wonderful daughters, family and friends as well as a new and very different outlook on life by appreciating the little things such as smelling the fresh air on the first day out of the hospital or smelling the pine sent of our Christmas tree this year.
    What awesome gifts I received!


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