Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lopsided Smiles and Messes

I was brushing my teeth on the morning on November 17th, 2010, when I realized the left side of my face was completely numb. I smiled at myself in the mirror and noticed that the left side of my mouth didn't move. I probably slept on it funny...I thought.

By noon my face was tingly but still limp. I also noticed that I couldn't make a strong fist with my left hand. I started to get a little worried so I called my mom who suggested I call the doctor. After I described all of my symptoms, he said I was experiencing Todd's paralysis. He explained that the paralysis was temporary and that it was caused by a seizure I must have had while I was sleeping. It should go away within 36 hours. He suggested increasing my medication but I was already taking 2-3 hour long naps in the afternoon on my current dosage. He said that if my paralysis didn't go away or if anything else changed I should call him.

The original date for my surgery was December 15th but after some scheduling issues on the doctor's part it was rescheduled for December 21st. Just four days before Christmas.

"Well, if it's going to be different, let's make it really different," my mom said in reference to this year's Christmas celebration. "How about we open gifts and eat turkey the day before your surgery?" she suggested.

Sunday, December 5th I performed in the annual Christmas choir concert at school, which meant a four hour rehearsal the day before and then two performances the day of. My mom bought twelve tickets, almost an entire row of people were there to see me! Not too shabby, I chuckled to myself. After the first performance and dinner with my adoring fans--ahem--family, I rode back to school to do it all over again. I am always tired after marathon concerts, but I had a hard time focusing before the second performance was even over. I was exhausted when I was finally able to go home and hit the hay that night.

The next weekend, on December 11th, my fiancĂ©e and I met our parents at our wedding venue for a tour. As we sat waiting for our parents to arrive, my left peripheral vision began to spin...another one?? I thought. It passed within two or three minutes and I was able to go on the tour but I was very tired and a little disoriented. With the surgery so close, I decided not to call the doctor after this seizure. I would tell him at the next appointment. Oh, and by the way, both sets of parents loved the venue and the date was tentatively set for the big day. :)

All of my teachers were very supportive and allowed me to complete my finals by Monday, December 13th. I had another MRI scheduled on December 14th along with a magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and some lab work so I needed to leave school by that Monday afternoon. Packing for five weeks at home was very difficult...especially since I also had to pack my cat, Jinx.

In my experience cats don't travel well and Jinx was no exception. My brother and I loaded up the car to begin the journey home and about thirty minutes into the trip we got a strong whiff of cat urine. As we pulled into a gas station to clean him up, I wondered if he had wet himself because he really needed to go or out of pure fear. A friend of mine and I have often talked about the great power that the act of wetting yourself really carries. Everyone has that memory of peeing their pants and the feeling intense embarrassment that followed. Or that sense of urgency that is felt when your little sibling said, "Dad, I'm gonna pee my pants if we don't find a rest stop soon!" from the backseat on a road trip. But what about Jinx? Was he just mad that he was being ripped from his comfortable life and thrown into a cramped plastic carrier to go who knows where? But what about me? What about my life? I 'm not too happy about this whole situation maybe I should just wet my damn pants!  My future was just as uncertain but I was the one cleaning up the mess...

Lord, I am so glad that You are the One in control. Give me the strength to keep cleaning up these little messes and the courage to let You handle the big ones. 


  1. oh maggie, i hope everything goes well. it's amazing what they can do nowadays, and i'm sure you will come out fine. i'll be thinking of you during the candlelight concert on the 21st!

  2. I'm extremely proud of you for keeping your composure during this diffucult time and finishing this semester even though I'm sure you were filled with stress and worry. It shows a lot of strength in your charachter. Anything you need I'm there for you girlie. And I'm glad more of the wedding is planning is comming together. I'm so stoked for you and Brad and I'm constantly thankful that you guys have invited me to be part of your special day.