2017 in Review: Looking Back, Looking Forward, Looking at the VNS Scar on My Neck Every Time I Look in the Mirror

Well, it’s been an interesting year.

I knew that 2017 wouldn’t be devoid of challenges: it started, after all, with scheduled neurosurgery that had been looming over me for much of 2016. I didn’t anticipate, though—I couldn’t have anticipated—how many twists and turns I’d navigate from January (intracranial grids implanted, almost the entire month spent in the hospital) to December (another concussion: remind me to stick with collecting LEGO minifigures rather than head injuries from now on).

This is where I get lazy and resort to bulleted lists, mostly because I left this end-of-the-year post until the very end of the year.

I’ll start with my health-related lows of the past twelve months:

  • I had the aforementioned neurosurgery to have intracranial grids implanted and proceeded to laze around in the hospital, in tons of pain, for most of January. (Hello, 2017!)
  • I found out following this first procedure and hospitalization (I feel like I should give this neurosurgery a name in order to avoid repeating “neurosurgery” over and over; “Chad” strikes me as pretty villainous—yes, I think I’ll go with “Chad”) that I’m not a candidate for corrective surgery.
  • I went back to the hospital for a significant chunk of February after developing complications from Chad.
  • I was told that I had an acquired brain injury as a result of Chad.
  • I was readmitted to the hospital several more times, most notably in July (or August?), when I was in status epilepticus and spent a few days in the ICU.
  • I had surgery to have my VNS implanted.
  • I hit my head and sustained the aforementioned concussion.
  • And then, of course, there were the seizures. So many seizures.

I’m both obligated and privileged to provide this second list to help balance out the negativity of my first one:

  • I was able to undergo my neurosurgery/Chad, who, despite his fratty name, was a fantastic lesson in the importance of the support of family and friends and of publicly funded health care.
  • I had access to a great neuro-rehab program to treat my acquired brain injury, at no cost to me—I’m going back in January for a second block of treatment, so stay tuned for obnoxiously detailed updates.
  • I’ll just go ahead and devote a full bullet point in which to yell “PUBLICLY FUNDED HEALTH CARE” at the top of my Internet lungs because my husband and I would likely be bankrupt, or at least much, much poorer, by now without it, and the quality of care I’ve received this past year has been top-notch.
  • I was able to recover enough to go on a trip to Montreal and Prince Edward County in August with my husband’s side of the family.
  • I was well enough to go to Prince Edward Island in October with my father.
  • I eased my way back into reading, writing, and venturing into the community on my own.
  • I bounced back really quickly from my VNS surgery and have continued to adjust to my VNS better than I anticipated that I would.
  • We recently had a lovely Christmas trip to London, Ontario. My husband discovered that he can drive in snow, we spent the holiday with close family friends, and we discovered that sometimes what starts as a because-we-can’t (in this case, travel to Victoria or NC) plan turns out to be the perfect option.

 

IMG_6902 (1)
Christmas stroll in London, ON.

I’m genuinely looking forward to 2018. It’ll also be interesting, of course, and not always in the positive sense of the word, but I’m confident that I’ll spend less of it (none of it?) in the hospital and more of it moving toward my non-health-related goals. I’ve got a few of them, like writing a tell-all memoir—prepare yourselves, parentals—and eating through all of my Christmas Pocky. I’m kidding about one of these; I’ll let you guess which. 

 

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One thought on “2017 in Review: Looking Back, Looking Forward, Looking at the VNS Scar on My Neck Every Time I Look in the Mirror

  1. Eff you, Chad. Hooray for you, Friend! And welcome, 2018. Whatever happens—great and less great—, we’ll be here. ❤

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