A Clear Horizon

Another week has passed, and more progress has been made.

As I stated last week, Friday marked the day of my newfound freedom: I can now lay however I want, lift things over five pounds, and I am free to bend at the waist. To most people, this does not seem like much, but after spending a month either sleeping in a hospital bed or on the stiff mattress of the bed in my hotel room, Friday was pure bliss. Returning to my own plush little haven of pillows and cozy blankets was one of the happiest stepping stones of recovery I think I will make, and each night I lay down in it, I think my appreciation for feather pillows and quality mattress grows exponentially.

The excitement didn’t end there, however. Last Friday I also had another consultation with Dr. Shahinian. He relayed the pathology reports to us and, thankfully, it was confirmed that the cyst was benign. Although they do not have the exact size because they had to remove the mass in pieces, he is certain that it is not going to grow back. Even though Dr. Shahinian believes this, he still wants a follow-up MRI in about three months to confirm these beliefs. As he explained to us, the MRI is not really for his own benefit, but for the patients. By completing an MRI and allowing the patient and their family to see the complete absence of the cyst, Dr. Shahinian believes it gives everyone a sort of piece of mind and helps settle those nagging, worrisome thoughts that sometimes circle in the back of our heads.

Along with this exuberant news comes even more. I am now able to lift up to 25 pounds and do light cardio, though I still have to complete my exercise on relatively flat surfaces for three more weeks. Dr. Shahinian said I still have to take things slow, and while attempting to lift things and bend over I have to listen to my what my body tells me, which is obviously understandable. I am still experiencing some difficulty with both of these things, and when I do either too much I can begin to feel the dizziness and pressure in the back of my head. Even though it’s a bit frustrating at times, I know this will all just get better with time.

I have also started some more therapy involving my neck this week to try to relax the muscles and get them loosened up, which involves getting some pretty nice massages on my shoulders and around my neck. These have become my favorite part of therapy, after all, a massage is a massage, no matter what reason you get it for. We’re hoping that once the muscles become looser we’ll be able to incorporate some joint movement, and that this eventually will help me get strong enough to finally drive again!

Although Dr. Shahinian cleared me medically to drive, he said, as he did with the specific date of the surgery, that it is more of a family issue as to when I actually can. Unfortunately, due to the lack of quick movement and minimal range of motion that I have in my neck right now it will probably be a few weeks before I return onto the roads again.

So in other words, you guys have a while before you have to watch out for me accompanying you all on the highways. (I am only slightly joking here.) Since I lost my driving privileges in July when the blurred vision began, I am as excited as a bright-eyed 15-year-old venturing out on their very first time maneuvering a vehicle to get those keys finally handed over to me. I’ll probably go for a two hour joy ride … or maybe a mini-road trip.

Things are on their way. Even though Dr. Shahinian said it’ll be six to nine months before my brain finally settles down and the headaches completely disappear, I’ll hopefully return to (practically) my normal self in about a month or two. With the promise of the return of my old life so close, and the significant improvements I am making each week, my road to recovery stretches out before me with little threatening to get in the way, and let me tell you, I’m ready to drive.