While 4 years sounds like a long time, it also zips by so quickly that it’s a little mind-boggling – especially to the mind-boggled! On my 4th ‘new’ birthday I’m reflecting on how far I’ve come in my recovery, balanced against the remaining issues. I realized today that haven’t touched this blog since 2015, and completely forgot to post on my 3rd birthday. I can’t really play catch-up to cover the last 23 months, so I’ll just ramble on about stuff and end with the current situation. Especially fitting since tomorrow night is the start of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana.
Rosh Hashana is a time of rebirth, and my surgery was certainly that. Nowadays I measure everything in my personal history by a before-surgery or after-surgery metric. So when Nicole and I are recounting things in our recent past, I always have to determine whether the event happened pre or post. Some post-surgery events since my last post on this blog (ok, so a little catch-up):
- I took my first classroom education class over the Oct 2015-Feb 2016 time. It was Introduction to Judaism, and part of my personal journey towards conversion. Fantastic teacher, Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein
- Oct. 29th 2015 we lost my mother, Jan Gardner Warnix. Not being able to travel, my brothers and sisters arranged for me and others to virtually attend the funeral service at her church in Alaska.
- April 2016 we move Nicole’s Dad Eric to live closer to us, making it possible for me to spend more time with him. I’m trying to get to him at least once a week.
- May 26th, 2016 I completed my (initial!) journey towards Judaism. A dunking, a Beit Din (definitely not a cross-examination) by my beloved clergy, some time on the Bema finalizing the conversion ceremony, and a little celebration afterwards. I’ve joined the tribe!
- Also in May 2016, cousin Joyce marries Bernie on the beach, thrilled to be there.
- Sept 2016 my mother-in-law June gets a life-saving operation to replace a failing heart valve.
- End of 2016/start of 2017, an awful election season with a horrible outcome.
- December 2016 we lose my good friend (and fellow TRS musician Andy Trice, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer several months before my brain tumor diagnosis.
- January 2017 CJ and I build new computers for ourselves. Also in January, sister Lisa comes to visit and march (with Nicole and a host of others for the Women’s March on Washington).
- Spring 2017 I start to (attempt to) golf with the guys. As long as I don’t move my head fast, I can do it. Miserable performance but fun and camaraderie with my buddies.
- April 2017, my son CJ and his team win the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition – woot!
- Summer of 2017 Nicole and I take a great class at TRS on forging a new relationship with Israel, facilitated by my favorite teacher Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein.
Ok, cathartic. On to now. At this auspicious occasion (my 4th b’day), I can drive up to an hour at a time, I can play golf (sort-of), and can handle some social situations. I’m still stymied by being in earshot of multiple conversations, large groups are very taxing, and I find that normal living necessitates an afternoon sensory break (read nap) whenever I’ve been out and about. I still struggle with balance issues (that ol’ head-sloshing business), and following conversations with other noise (especially talking) really drains me fast. I’m still not up to regular community get-together type of stuff, so I may attend Friday night services virtually. I tried getting involved with the TRS Men’s group but I’m not sure I have the energy/ability to do more than dabble. The Rosh Hashana services at TRS are going to be an interesting experiment, I’ll see if I can go without earplugs through most of it this time.
Ok, it’s taken me more than a day to finish writing this, so I’ll stop now. I think I’m 85% or so back to normal, and am sad that the 15% may be gone forever. But I’ll make the best of it, and my remaining days, and enjoy life. I’m so thankful for what I have, my darling bride (of 25 years this month!), my awesome son, and my extended family and friends. May we all have a sweet new year!