Woo hoo!!!

No aneurysm! No skull drilling! We’re totes doing the surgery through the nose! And, as it turns out, I’m no longer paying through the nose (as much)… the whole kit and kaboodle will only cost $56,000, so like, half of the original estimate. Nothing but good news today! ūüėÄ

The surgery is called an endonasal transtubercular resection. I strongly suggest that you do not Google that or watch any videos of it. But hey… good news. Good, good news.

One more thing. A quote from Jordan Chaney‘s book Wolf, which is kind of my mantra right now:

It’s about choosing to love when the invitations for hate are overflowing and abundant. It’s about finding the strength and courage to be gentle and to be kind and to smile when right outside your door you’re tempted to resentful, cold, and apathetic.

That’s all for now. <3

Tumor Update

*Trigger Warning‚ÄĒThis post may contain the following triggers: descriptions of surgical techniques and physical symptoms*

Yesterday, I met my brain surgeon. He’s a badass who removes about 300 pituitary tumors per year, and he’s also super nice. His name is Dr. Ferreira.

Dr. Ferreira doesn’t fuck around, which is awesome. I want the straight facts and he gives them to me.

The first thing I learned yesterday is that I do not have an adenoma. I have an epidermoid cyst, a relatively rare type of tumor that only accounts for about 1% of all brain tumors.

I also learned that I have an aneurysm, which will make it less safe to have the tumor removed through my nasal cavity. Instead, the surgeon will remove a small part of my skull and do a “keyhole” craniotomy.

Don’t watch this if you’re squeamish:

Here’s the wonderful news: the type of tumor I have may be a major¬†cause of my chronic neck and back pain.

Do you know what that means??? Getting rid of the epidermoid cyst might also rid my body of its chronic meningitis! My tumor “flakes,” and those flakes are released into the spinal fluid and meninges that surround my spine and skull, causing chronic meningitis‚ÄĒheadaches, neck stiffness, vertigo, and other symptoms. (In case you’re wondering, none of this is communicable; I can’t infect you ^_^). This tumor is congenital. It’s probably been growing slowly my entire life.

Here’s the not-so-great news: Epidermoid cysts are difficult to remove “cleanly.” Because they tend to flake, it can be difficult to get them¬†all in one surgery. Dr. Ferreira said he has seen patients that need multiple surgeries over their lifetimes, but I’ll stay positive and hope that I’ll only need a few surgeries (or maybe even one!).

So, what’s the takeaway? Bright, shiny hope!
The key is to temper expectations while hoping for the best! xoxo

Whose Principles?

Originally written for ThePot-Luck.com on 5/1/13

There are no truly universal principles of design. The basis for what makes good design does not rest solely on the shoulders of Dieter Rams (nor on those of  J. Paul Getty, or anyone else).

I would like to propose that every single client deserves their own set of principles.

As designers, we are charged with the task of problem solving. We’re aesthetic engineers. It is sometimes a delicate job to design branding, collateral, and web that not only reflect our clients but also do the very specific job they are designed to do. That is, the job of reaching the target audience and directing them appropriately.

Designing a website for a law firm, for instance, would be a decidedly different process than designing for a comic book publisher. Each of these obviously has very distinct clientele, and using one design standard for both does not necessarily address the gamut of needs that follow from those two audience groups. Accordingly, we must have a bevy of tools and skills at the ready to address each new client need discreetly. Sometimes, we have to set aside our standards and MacGyver brand new solutions (although, hopefully we’ll have more to work with than a paper clip and rubber band).

My point (and I do have one, I swear) is that design principles are useful guidelines, but that no reigning Principles of Design, boldfaced and capitalized, can hold court over every designer on every occasion. As designers, we must be wary of enclosing ourselves within too small a box, and instead must be agile enough to shift our beloved principles to meet the needs of our even more beloved clients.


The difference between pride and independence

I am no longer allowed to drive.

If you’ve read my previous blog post about vision loss, this probably doesn’t come as any surprise. In addition to the vision issues, I am getting more and more frequent dizzy spells. They come upon me when I¬†look to the side, so if anything, they have made it even less safe for me to drive.

Now I have to rely on other people for so many things.¬†A friend took me to a doctor’s appointment today, and my sister is taking me to another appointment tomorrow. I can’t go to the store. I can’t meet a friend for coffee. I can’t go to Fuse. I can’t do anything. Not¬†by myself, anyway.

For the first time, I understand why elderly people don’t want to give up driving, even when they know they should. It’s not the driving they’re giving up…it’s the ability to do anything alone and without comment.

Think about it: If you needed to ask for rides everywhere you went, how many more people in your life would know all of your private business??¬†I don’t want everyone in my family to know what doctors I’m going to all of the time. Any sense of modesty or privacy has disintegrated between us.

So, here I am, feeling sorry for myself, when I realize that what’s hitting me hardest is my own pride.

There is something to be said for letting go of pride and asking the people in your life for help that you genuinely need. Yes, there is a loss of independence, but there is also a loss of pride, which is not a bad thing.

I am going to use this whole experience as a chance to grow. The things that I’m struggling with can make me a better person! I would be a fool to let this chance pass me by!

It’s been a while, but when I read Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking, I knew¬†that asking for help was something I needed to work on. A LOT. Well, here’s my chance! I’m going to get tons of practice asking for help!

That being said, please know, dear friends, that “no” is always an acceptable answer : )