A Personal Account Of Seeking Treatment For Acoustic Neuroma

On The Occasion Of My Re-Birthday

July 19, 2008

One year ago today, I received the fateful call that all Acoustic Neuroma patients have received at some point or another.  I learned the news of my diagnosis on an otherwise ordinary day at work, and as many of you might recall from your own experience, my life was thrown into chaos as I grappled with the shock and struggle to figure out how to treat my tumor.   Now it is a year later, and I am leading a full and normal life again.   But I am a changed person.

As I reflect this morning on this incredible journey, this experience that I never wanted but that has been given to me by a power beyond myself, I know I have received great benefits and blessings.  Character is everything in this life and before I was diagnosed, mine was lacking.  I was not living with courage and power and determination.  My desire was to lead an inspired, value-filled life filled with love, helping others, improving the world.  Yet I did not have the inner resolve to realize my visions.  I was hating myself, lacking in confidence, unable to advance towards a better life.  I was wasting time. 

This experience has brought me closer than I ever wanted to my own mortality, to the fragility of life.  In the months since treatment, I would fall at times into despair and darkness, and I realized then that more than my body, it was my spirit that needed healing.  And I have begun that healing process.  I am working now to fashion a life for myself that is in line with my values, with what I care about and what is important to me.  And the fact that I am doing this while living with uncomfortable sensations in my head, with some dizziness, with less energy than I otherwise might have -- well, pressing forward in the face of these symptoms has given me gifts I never anticipated:  grit, fortitude, compassion, inner strength and resolve, the determination to use my time to contribute my gifts to our ailing world.

Last night, I read these words in an essay by Diasaku Ikeda, a Buddhist educator:

How can we make the most of this prescious day that will never come again?
For what purpose will we use our prescious lives in this existence?

Well, I am not entirely sure yet, but thanks in part to this journey that we are on, I ask myself these questions all the time now.

I want to thank each of you for helping me on my path and for sharing yours with me, and I wish you all continued health, strength, wellness and good fortune.