But the most wonderful part of the past 24 hours is that I'm here and I'm whole! I am exhausted and hungry and have a headache, but I realized something to do that humbled me yet made me feel just wonderful. Four of us shared a taxi to the London Centre, which was about a 30 minute drive, so we got to talking; one of the girls happened to go to Provo High, and it turns out she is the little sister of a girl I went to high school with. In and of itself this isn't all that exciting, but my old high school peer happens to be a fellow Chiari-survivor, and there aren't many of us! She actually had her surgery back in high school, years before I had mine, and I was always a little jealous, thinking that she healed quicker and was better off for it, being in the prime of life and all. I was only a few years older when I underwent surgery, but from my extremely impatient perspective, it's been a LONG road to recovery, and there were several times I wondered if I would be sick for the rest of my life.
So as I chatted with this girl, she explained to me that her sister (Chiari patient), although her surgery was years ago, still suffers quite a bit even now, especially with migraines--she pretty much has to deal with them every day, and talking even a small vacation is difficult on her; if she were to take a flight to London like I just did, she would definitely have to dope up on sedatives and painkillers galore, but even then she may not make it--at least she would suffer for it for several days following. And there I was, surgery only a year ago (my hair still hasn't fully grown back), coming off of a long and unusually turbulent flight to London, just chilling without any problem at all. I did have a slight headache, but I soon discovered it is more from lack of food and sleep than anything, and even then it's not debilitating. I used to suffer from killer migraines every second of every day, like this girl still does, but now only a year later I have absolutely no trace of Chiari, minus a scar up the back of my head and neck, but even that is rapidly fading.
I can barely believe that it was just a year ago--I thought the torture would never end, and anyone who knows me well knows how impatient I was about the whole thing (and still am--patience isn't one of my better virtues, that's for sure). I thought I would never be the same, but I can honestly say that I have never been better! I didn't know if I would ever be able to fly, and here I am 13 flight hours later and I'm just fine. It easily could have gone another direction, like it did for this girl--but miraculously for me, I have been blessed beyond measure. It didn't come quickly or easily in any way, but here I am, ready to take on the world and without any health problems (knock on wood) to hold me back. It's moments like these that you realize just how blessed you are and just how wonderful life really is. Thank goodness for such a loving and patient Heavenly Father, an understanding and healing Savior, and for the two most stubborn gene pools on the planet (thanks Mom and Dad): it really does pay to be a Snouston... or a Ho. ;)