“The greatest wealth is health.”
Well … hi. Long time, no talk, huh? My apologies for the disappearing act. I certainly didn’t intend to go nearly three weeks without posting. Sometimes life has other plans, though. Remember when I mentioned my tinnitus back in October? Since it hasn’t gone away, I went for two follow-up tests at the beginning of this month, one to check the auditory nerve and the other to check my balance nerve. It seemed like they went well, but when I met with my ENT to discuss the results last Monday, I found out that, although the auditory nerve checked out fine, there was an unusual finding with the balance nerve. Couple that with the fact that my hearing is still good and you have an even more out of the ordinary result. The next step? An MRI. On my brain. With and without contrast. It didn’t matter that it was more of a precautionary measure than a blazing red danger flag, I was terrified – sick-to-my-stomach, nerves-twisted-into-knots, unable-to-focus-on anything-else terrified. I know there’s a really serious medical condition that can cause tinnitus and I was petrified I had it. When you hear “brain MRI” how can you not be afraid, right? Add the fear to my anxiety over the MRI itself – for someone who gets claustrophobic in elevators, the idea of having to stay completely still in such a confined place was, to put it mildly, unpleasant – and you can probably tell why I had such a miserable week leading up to the MRI this past Monday.
Thank goodness for Open MRI technology that provides a little more room. For kind technicians who explain the whole process beforehand. For Kelly Clarkson, whose music helped immensely when they played it for me during the procedure. For my mom, who came back with me, because sometimes even thirty-year-olds need to hold their mom’s hand. For an amazing family and friends who supported me, loved me, and tried so hard to ease my worries when all I felt like doing was crying. And for a wonderful, compassionate doctor who had all my best interests at heart and who celebrated right alongside me when the scans came back “perfectly normal.” I cannot even begin to explain the relief and gratitude I felt as I sat in her office yesterday, hearing what she’d been checking for and knowing I got the all-clear. For the first time in over a week, it felt like I could breathe again.
I can’t even tell you guys how great it was to sit back down at my writing desk this morning with a clear mind. Yes, I’d planned out a day-by-day schedule for drafting the rest of this novel and have to tweak it now. Yes, it took a couple pages to get back into the swing of things, because even when I was writing over the past week, it was incredibly difficult to concentrate. Yes, I know this book is going to need a lot of revisions down the line, much more than previous ones. But that’s okay. All of it is okay. I’ve been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember, a total Type A personality who struggles with flexibility and gets frustrated with myself so easily, but this whole experience has been such a good reminder: don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t even sweat the big stuff. As long as we’re healthy, as long as we have a support system of fabulous people who will link arms to offer a safety net when we feel like we’re falling … the rest will come together.
A long, panicky, stressful, frightening week? Absolutely. But an important lesson learned and an overwhelming sense of gratitude? Also … absolutely.