Tuesday, July 22, 2014

7 Weeks and Ready for Nine Inch Nails

The title of this post says it all. While I'm not in perfect condition, I'm ready for the NIN concert next week. Fourth row!

How did I get in shape? I have walked the neighborhood often enough to work up a tiny sweat. I have practiced gentle yoga to loosen and strengthen my muscles. I have danced around the house with the NIN playlist blasting. Most importantly, I have not needed a real nap in about a week. My stamina has improved, and I will rely on the adrenaline rush to pull me through. I do plan on bringing earplugs just in case the music is too loud. You never know.

My appointments from last week went well. The neurologist decided to back me off one of my meds, which has made my head and vision much clearer. It's nice to be out of the fog. The neurosurgeon said the MRI looks great and I can ease back into normal activities. 

A few normal things I've experienced that other people who have had brain surgery may worry about:

  • It took 6 weeks for me to feel comfortable sleeping on my shunt side. I'm using a softer, faux down pillow that helps.
  • Sometimes, the area on my scalp around the shunt still itches because the skin is stretching and healing. No redness though.
  • There are muscles in my neck, shoulder, and scalp on the shunt side that are sore almost every day. Yoga helps. So does acetaminophen, or a hot pack.
  • Because the shunt feeds into my abdomen, I've had random stabbing pains that feel like a runner's stitch, but lower and not always in the same place. For a little while, I thought it was the start of a UTI, but it went away from the pelvic area and moved elsewhere. I rarely get them now, but for the first 5 weeks, it was miserable.
  • I still question my memory and cognitive ability. I have lost confidence in my brain to be correct. Whenever I misplace something, or lose my sense of direction, or forget a name, I worry. This is all normal.
I've always seen myself as a straight forward, practical, rational person. This experience has certainly allowed me a peek into the world of those with mental illness, especially dementia and Alzheimer's. Not remembering things you should is frightening.Not trusting what you perceive is scary as hell. 

There will be more doctor visits, ongoing treatment and therapy decisions to come. My posts will begin to space out a bit, but I will post news when I have it. 

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