In the summer of 2012, I made some decisions that changed the course of my life forever. At the urging of my neurosurgeon, I completely overhauled my lifestyle, with a new focus on getting strong and healthy. I did all of this so that I could be better prepared for any future surgeries that would be required to treat my hydrocephalus.
In the years since then, and in the numerous surgeries and recoveries that followed, I have learned more about what my body needs to persevere through this journey we call “shunt life”. The most important component has been strength. The stronger I am physically, the easier I seem to get through the surgeries and the difficulties of recovery. Second to strength, is endurance, which I really don’t train for. I don't run, bike, or do any cardio exercise to specifically improve my endurance. Most of the time, I just rely on my strength to carry me through life as needed.
However, mentally, I am finding that this battle takes more endurance than strength. I am learning and accepting that I don’t have to be strong all the time, especially with those in my inner circle. It’s ok to be heartbroken, angry, and frustrated from time to time, especially when only months pass between shunt failure episodes, and I grow emotionally weary of the fight. But I have to stay steadfast, for the long haul. Sometimes my husband has to remind me that I have the endurance to complete this race. That it’s a long road, and I am not alone. There are others who have the same persistence, who walk by my side, and we will carry each other if the climb is too much at times. In this case, I must rely on my endurance to make me stronger.
The long road of my hydro journey took another turn this morning. After the easiest shunt revision surgery to date (at the end of July), and the best recovery in years, my shunt is once again in failure, and we found out that I am headed to surgery tonight. Right now I feel a mix of emotion that ranges from annoyance and defeat to exhaustion and relief. But I have to remind myself that it is the physical strength and the mental endurance that I know I have, that will carry me through this episode, and whatever the next steps may be.
Tonight, we’ll hit the reset button, and start again, in relentless pursuit.
My name is Amy but friends and family call me Am. I am a lover of dogs, good whiskey, and strength training. I'm a brain surgery survivor (x23), a fiddle player, a construction designer, and a boxing enthusiast. I have six real siblings, and five fake brothers. I love deeply, and consider my close friends to be family.