Don’t focus on how far you have to go, focus on how far you have come, and then keep going – unknown
What is Occipital Neuralgia? That was my question to the Neurologist. I had never heard of this condition, nor did I realize in February just how much it was going to impact my life. The official definition given by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS for short) is as follows: “Occipital Neuralgia is a condition in which the occipital nerves, the nerves that run through the scalp, are injured or inflamed. This causes headaches that feel like severe piercing, throbbing or shock-like pain in the upper neck, back of the head or behind the ears.”
Several months back in “Brain Waves” I detailed our accident and the beginning of the healing process for post-concussion syndrome. Since that time I have learned more about eye disorders than I ever wanted to know. With the assistance of a fantastic Occupational Therapist, we were able to stop my eye’s random movements. Taught it to focus in sync with its partner once more. It is not 100% yet, and may never be. My Physical Therapist works on the neck muscles. The Occipital muscles in the back of the head, control stabilization and control the eyes. When both are inflamed, migraines and severe eye pain occur.
So how has this impacted my life?
When 1 sense is impaired your body does an amazing thing called compensating. Other senses become heightened. In addition, your style of learning may change. I am a writer. The written word was always my go-to reading style. Since the accident and diagnosis, I have had to shift to auditory learning. I can no longer trust my eyes to accurately give me the information and send the correct processing to the brain. I have essentially had to relearn karate. Certain movements can cause vertigo and dizziness. This was a major obstacle at the beginning and hindered my ability to practice. I am now at a point where I can complete a class with little ill effects.
I can no longer read my notes and visualize the techniques. Videos and audio have become my instructors. I sometimes skip steps in writing or practicing and have to stop and concentrate harder, repeating in my head the words or steps until I figure out what I missed.
When I started TW at the beginning of the pandemic it was a way for me to cope with the changing reality.
Now since the accident, the written word has become harder for me to convey. The neurologist assures me it will come back in time. Ironically what has become damaged is now becoming my greatest strength. My eyes. If I can’t translate written to visual, I can go the other way.
Photography, which started as an admiration of David’s talents has evolved for me as a way to record my day. Take those photos and remember the thoughts that were going thru my head at the time. The camera lens can focus on what my brain can not and give me the challenge to continue doing what I love.
Biking and hiking have become my therapies. Being in the outdoors and experiencing the sounds and solitude of nature calm my spirit and my soul. The journey has been a long one, but the support of my friends, family, co-workers, karate peeps, and of course, David have kept me moving forward. I am working with a vision therapist and a Chiropractor now. They have found spinal damage is the main factor, in the Occipital Neuralgia, and adjustments and laser therapy are helping considerably.
So, The Path?
We all journey through life on a pathway. Sometimes things are planned, sometimes things just happen. We never know where the path will take us, but if we keep positive, and learn along our journey, we will end up where we are supposed to be. Never let the obstacles, big or small, block your path. You need to learn to move around them.