Dear Lithe Community,
As some of you have realized, I have had to take a personal leave from Lithe and haven't been in the studio recently. I wanted to share what's been going on with me and also hope that it might inspire you to start your New Year with a fresh perspective like it has done for me.
Earlier this fall, I started to have trouble with my vision. It started gradually, but by November it was quickly deteriorating to the point where I could no longer read, drive, differentiate colors, or see my husband's and daughter's faces clearly. I went to an ophthalmologist about six weeks ago and was sent for an emergency MRI. They found a tumor on my brain that was pressing on my optic nerve, causing the changes in my vision. Making things a bit more complicated, I am also 14 weeks pregnant. The hormones from my pregnancy were stimulating the tumor, which the doctors believe led to my sudden loss in vision. The tumor was thankfully benign, but it was large and growing more quickly because of my pregnancy, so the doctors wanted to move fast.
About three weeks ago, I underwent a craniotomy to have the tumor removed. It was a long procedure that lasted over 10 hours, but fortunately my neurosurgeon was very happy with the removal and everything went well. And, even though I have not had any official testing yet, my vision appears to have fully returned or, at the very least significantly improved, and I can see more clearly than I have seen for a long time. The doctors believed that I was at a serious risk of being permanently blind and had told me that it would be "something of a miracle" to wake up from surgery with my vision fully recovered, so I feel extremely fortunate. I have also had three ultrasounds since my surgery, and my baby is doing well and growing right on track. For these things, in particular, I will forever be grateful.
Over the past few weeks, I have been feeling better and my recovery has gone about as well as it could be. Less than 48 hours after my surgery, I was able to move around, take short walks, and even managed to make it up and down a flight of stairs on my own. My doctors and physical therapists at the hospital were impressed with my strength and stamina after such a major surgery and had told me that it would be a game-changer in my recovery. I am thankful that I am in good shape, and know that it has made such a difference in helping me to overcome so many of the challenges my body has faced since my surgery. In the past, I've worked out with intentions of "fitting into that smaller dress from a few years ago" or "getting bikini-ready for summer", but this experience has helped me to realize how important it is to be active and fit, for no other reason, than to simply be healthy.
When the doctors found my tumor, I was told that I could no longer exercise because they didn't want me straining in any way. While I knew that I would miss it, I was not prepared for the void I would feel by not being active. I miss moving my body, taking walks with and carrying my daughter, and, of course, lithing, more than I could have imagined. For me, it has truly been the hardest part of my recovery; trying to just relax and forcing myself to do less and rest more. Once I return to a more active lifestyle again, I know that I will not take it for granted, and that I have found a much greater appreciation for it.
As anyone can imagine, receiving the news of my initial diagnosis was a life-changing shock for my family and me. And while I definitely can't say that I'm thankful for it, I am grateful for the new perspective it has given me. In the beginning, I kept thinking this can't be for real...this can't be happening. I'm not sure if it's even fully sunk in at this point. It definitely was a jolt that shook me to my very core. How quickly life can change in a matter of seconds. For me personally, it has always been easy to over-think minor details, to let my to-do lists run too long, and to get caught up in "keeping up," to the point where these things take over and cause me a great deal of stress and worry. But in the face of a situation like the one I've just been through, I realize that so much of this doesn't matter and that life is just too short. Now I can appreciate that, at the end of the day, there are very few things that truly matter aside from health, family, and friends. My New Year's resolution is to keep this new perspective in mind each and every day, and to be there for others during their time of need, just as I’ve been lucky enough to have so many people here for me.
I am looking forward to regaining my strength and getting back into the studios and seeing all of you over the next month or two. Wishing you all a very healthy and Happy New Year!