Friday, December 28, 2012

Perhaps a Singing Career is in My Future?

I thought I would provide an update on the nose situation.  If you haven't already done so, read "Oh to Breathe Freely Again!"

On Monday, Dec. 17th I went in for surgery. Three different procedures were scheduled: to straighten a deviated septum, add cartilage to my collapsed nostrils and a cleaning out of the sinuses. My best friend Nancy, was there when they took me away and when I woke up again. Husband John had to work and frankly, it's not a sight a husband should have to see. It was bad enough he chased me around the house before I headed to the surgery center, wanting a "before" picture of my nose. I did take "after" photos, but, ummmmm, they aren't for public viewing.

The days following the surgery were, to say the least, awful. With some contraption up the nose to keep it open and the other yucky side effects it wasn't pleasant, but I won't go into detail, especially on behalf of Linda Lou, who can't tolerate any mention of such things. I finally felt better on day #6, but then it was holiday time: driving to Los Angeles, arriving late at night, unloading the car, saying hello to those that waited up, and then trying to settle down enough to get some sleep before waking on Christmas morning to excited kids and all the chaos of the day. That was a quick trip, back to Las Vegas in 48 hours with two kids in tow for a grandparents/grandkids visit. Such excitement just days after surgery is not conducive to rapid healing, but I am pretty resilient and have fared pretty well.

The worst of it was the pressure in one eye; it felt like a migraine headache and I had to walk around the house with my hand over my eye and not turn my head too quickly. On top of it, the page proofs for my soon-to-be-published book, Showgirls of Las Vegas (which is, by the way, on pre-order sale at Amazon); which were not supposed to arrive until after Christmas, came three days before surgery and was expected to be back in the publisher's hands within seven days. Not one to call attention to myself, I did not, but should have, altered my editor that I needed more time. But, no, I got it done despite the one-eyed vision and the frequent need to take lie-downs.

This morning there was the follow-up doctor visit for a "proper cleaning" and I don't mean the kind the dentist provides. While really uncomfortable, it was a great relief to have the pressure removed from my clogged sinuses.

Was it worth it? Right off I can say that I believe I am breathing properly for the first time in my whole life. I never broke my nose so the crooked septum must have been a part of my anatomy all along. It takes some getting used to having this much air flow into my nostrils; sometimes I have to cover my nose with hand or scarf to warm the air as it enters. I am told my voice has changed somewhat; I sound different than the nasally voice that my seventh-grade chorus teacher tried to desperately to fix all those years ago. Maybe I can hit those musical notes now, after all.  I can’t wait to hear my voice on my next oral history interview.

So, the verdict is this: I’m glad I did it and here’s to modern medicine.  By the way, my doctor, Dr. Vincent Nalbone, is a great surgeon.  And, it helps he reminds me of my very first crush; he looks just like Andy Coppola, the boy I made a fool of myself over when I was a freshman in high school.

Happy New Year to everyone, and Happy New Nose to Lisa

Monday, December 17, 2012

Oh, to Breathe Freely Again!

After years of fighting a chronic sinus problem, which it turns out is not a result of allergies but due to the structure of my nose, inherited from the Italian side of my family, I am about to get relief.  I wrote a post about the situation, A Necessary Nose Job some while back, never really expecting that a nose job was in my future.  But, here I am about to go in and have "work" done. 

The doctor guarantees that 1) the nose I've come to love will not be altered in how it looks and 2) I'm going to feel a whole lot better (not right away, apparently this surgery takes a lot to recover from.  I'm in for several days of looking and feeling pretty gross.  I'm willing to go through it though; this persistent sniffing, hacking, blowing, and inability to breathe has worn me out. 

Until later...............  Have a great day!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Who's Your................... Family?

When a particularly important professional moment occurred for me recently, my fingers itched to send an email to a close family member to share my news as well as to hear those words every kid-inside-the-grown-up body wants to hear: “I’m proud of you.”  Then I remembered that I am no longer in contact with that person; that I had disappointed them to the point that shunning is my punishment.  While I felt a moment of sadness and regret that someone I love and was close to on so many levels is no longer in my life, the optimist in me began to see the silver lining.  Why?  Because I am no longer tethered to the need to please; I no longer harbor fear that I will be judged and rejected.  I am free now to be “me.”

That’s the thing about family; they have such power if you let them; power to build you up as well as to tear you down.  The cliché goes that you don’t pick your family; that’s true.  But, what is also true is that your family doesn’t have to define you.  With the loss of this person who played so many significant roles in my life, the greatest of which was surrogate mother, I am released from a sense of obligation to be the “good girl.”  I answer to myself and the husband I am committed to, as well as to my siblings and children, but to a lesser degree.  Do I worry that I will misstep and lose their loyalty, too? Sure, but I strive to give them unconditional love and support and hold the belief that it is reciprocal.  In addition, I’ve created an extended family, made up of friends who buoy me through rough times, who celebrate my accomplishments, and who are willing to give of their time and love, and anything else they can offer because it is a choice and not an obligation. 

It was over two years ago that I stepped out of line and paid the price with estrangement.  Between then and now I have experienced a range of emotions: shock, guilt, shame; then “angness” - that complicated, fluctuating mix of anger and sadness.   I have grieved the loss and finally come to terms with it with the help of time.  That optimist in me is grateful for the experience.  Now, who knows to what heights I’ll be able to reach with my new-found freedom. 

Who’s your family?  The one that surrounds you with love, that’s who.