A Jay and Deb Production.
Depending on how long you have been reading this blog, you may or may not know I have had two brain surgeries. My first in 2001 and my second, and hopefully last, in 2004. I was born with a Chiari Malformation that went undetected until I was in high school, in the early-mid 80's. Not that I was without symptoms all my life, but it wasn't until then that I complained enough that some testing was done. I was diagnosed as best as you could be based on the technology available. In 1993, however, thanks to MRI's, I was officially and correctly rediagnosed. As time went on and my body got older and more battered by childbirth and life, my symptoms were to the point it was imperative I have surgery. You can read about that here, if you are interested. I talk about it in item #3. I wrote that entry on my 40th birthday, which was almost 1.5 years ago.
Now that you have that tidbit of information, what I really want to focus on is finally meeting another adult who has had so many experiences like mine. Carla (check out her blog Carla Schauer Designs, she's very creative!) is in my moms group, which has about 60 women. We had never met but she recently found out she has this same birth defect. She started searching online for information and found my blog. While reading my blog, she put two and two together and realized I was the same person she had seen on our online communcation loop and she contacted me. It's a small world. It's so cool to talk to someone who understands. Someone who knows what it feels like to sneeze or cough or stand up too fast or turn your head too fast and feel like you are going to lose consciousness or collapse from the excruciating pain that invades your head. To know what it's like to never hear silence because there is a ringing in your ears that never goes away and is intensified after being somewhere that is loud (parties, concerts, bars). To choke and cough uncontrollably when taking a drink of water or even just swallow a little oddly. For both of us, all these years, we thought that everyone did these things. We laugh that we could never understand why people enjoyed running or being on track and field. How did they stand the head pain, the tunnel vision, the dizziness, the tightness in the neck? How can that be fun? In reality, while others were getting endorphin highs, we got nothing but pain and discomfort.
It's funny how it all makes sense once you are diagnosed. How you can read through the symptoms and have those "aha, that's exactly how I feel" moments. But better than that is being able to talk to someone who KNOWS, who understands. Someone who totally gets it. Carla, today's tribute is for you! I am thankful she found me and I hope I can help her through what lies ahead for her. I am thankful for my surgeries and that I feel a gzillion times better than I ever thought I would. I am always thankful when I sneeze or cough and I am reminded what a success my surgery was.