Even though my jewelry business is something I take seriously, it’s still secondary to my full time career as a school administrator and tech teacher. (update 6/1/15: I’m now a full time jeweler!) But, my jewelry crafting has been a constant source of comfort during a difficult time.
2014 has been a rough year for me as I was diagnosed in early March with an acoustic neuroma. A small benign tumor, the size of a pea, was growing deep inside the auditory canal of my right ear and pressing against my hearing and vestibular (balance) nerves. For months prior, I was experiencing dizziness 24/7, increasing difficulty with my balance and sudden hearing loss in my right ear in February. I was diagnosed after an MRI of my head, that I had an acoustic neuroma. It was clear that I would have to have surgery to remove the tumor. So, in early June I spent a week in Los Angeles and had the finest surgeons in the world open up my cranium and end the little tumor’s days. Now in my fourth month post-op, I am still recovering and hope to find my “new normal” without hearing on the right side and only one vestibular nerve to keep me upright. Dizziness and balance issues continue, but I see some improvement each week. (update 8/30/16: Two years later, I have had great progress with my recovery, but still not like I was before. Dizziness, balance issues and fatigue are a part of my everyday life. I guess this is my new normal.)
I’m incredibly thankful to be living in this technological age. My maternal great grandmother was not so lucky. We believe one of these slow growing tumors took her life in the early 1940’s when MRI’s and micro neurosurgery were not available.
My eyesight is a challenge, not being able to track movement, and double vision has made it tough to see at a distance, but the ability to focus close has been in tact. I have found that in order to cope with the reality of what I have been experiencing, making jewelry has become my refuge. Some of my finest work has emerged during this time and I have found that I can forget, for a few hours, that I have faced the most difficult health issue in my life. I wanted to integrate riveting into my work and the problem solving challenges were a great distraction!
I have new glasses that help with the double vision, and new hearing aids that improve the ability to hear sounds from my deaf side. Even though my good ear still does all the work, the microphone/transmitter in my deaf ear sends sound to the good side. I’m so thankful for yet another technological miracle!
So, like a good friend who can cheer me up and distract me from personal struggles, my jewelry craft is a great comfort. While I continue with my recovery, those moments at the jewelers bench when I get lost in the creative process are a true blessing.
May you find your place of comfort during challenging times. 😉