Signs of Life

Last week’s surgery was a success, but man I sure don’t feel like it. Once the doctor got inside my head (something my wife has been trying to do for years), he discovered that the tumor had more than doubled in size since I had an MRI a couple months back. At that rate of growth, it would’ve become life-threatening much earlier than anticipated, so it’s a good thing I had the procedure sooner rather than later.

In order to remove the tumor, the surgeon had to remove my left hearing nerve, which means I’m now totally deaf in that ear. He also had to remove the left balance nerve, which as you can imagine has left me really off-kilter. The first two days after the surgery I was too dizzy to even open my eyes – all I’d see was a spinning room – and my wife says that when I did open my eyes, they darted rapidly back and forth, as though they were trying to figure out what to focus upon. I’ll skip the rest of the details, but suffice to say, those first few days were among the worst I’ve ever experienced.

I’m an annoyingly positive person, though, so I haven’t really let this whole thing get me down. In fact, the only time I’d say I was really depressed was when I listened to music on the car ride home. Even though I listen to music all the time, for some reason I hadn’t considered how music would change once my hearing nerve was removed. I was pretty choked up when I discovered how flat my favorite songs sounded with only one ear to hear them through.

The other thing I wasn’t completely prepared to handle was how I’d look after the operation. Let’s just say that whoever cut my hair must’ve tackled my head like it was sheep ready for shearing. When combined with the huge line of staples going up the side of my head, my fancy new hair-do makes me look flat-out freakish. A neighbor of mine was very kind, though, and suggested that I looked like Johnny Depp (to which I replied, “Do you mean in Edward Scissorhands?”).

The good news is that I’m getting better each day, and I’m already taking short walks to help regain my sense of balance. Right now walking on solid ground feels like walking on a cruise ship riding the waves, but I’m confident that walking will feel more natural within a month or so. And once walking is normal, I plan to get back to running again (running is definitely an addiction!).

The fact that I’m able to type this blog entry less than a week after the operation has me hopeful that recovery will be quicker than I was led to believe, but it will still be a few weeks before I’m able to really tackle any serious work. In the meantime, I’m sure I’ll keep up with the blog world, and I’ll post here every now and then with random thoughts about the progress of my new hairstyle :)

108 thoughts on “Signs of Life

  1. Nick – This was a very moving post. I’ve been thinking about it for a week.
    I went through something similar last year, and it wasn’t pleasant at all. But with a sense of humor (as I can see in your lates post), you’ll get through it.
    Best wishes for speedy and full recovery.

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  2. Glad you’re doing well, Nick. As for the hearing loss…I used to have a guy who worked for me who was deaf in his left ear. He deliberately always kept his head turned to the left when in meetings so, if he heard something he didn’t like, he could claim he hadn’t heard it because of his deaf ear. Just a thought — it could come in handy!

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  3. Nick,
    I had a similar operation 40 YEARS AGO, and although the recovery is frustrating, you will surprise yourself with the progress you will make. (They told me I would never walk again, would probably loose most of my sight & hearing. Have just closed down my business, which I ran for 25 years. Uncle Sam has finally decided I am now 100% disabled………)
    KEEP ON KEEPING ON……….

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