In December of 2010 I underwent surgery for an un-ruptured cerebral aneurysm. Fortunately, the surgery was successful and the aneurysm was permanently repaired! Though ruptured aneurysms and cerebral vascular issues have plagued my family, my aneurysm was discovered solely by an opportune succession of events: frequent headaches and a dramatic loss of vision in one eye led my doctor to request an MRI of my head and cervical spine. The results showed the existence of a small sized aneurysm, located at the base of the brain. (Later I would learn that that the symptoms I was experiencing were unrelated to the aneurysm…)
Prior to entering the operating room, I was overcome by doubts of whether I would emerge from this challenging procedure intact, or even alive. After all, the aneurysm was located in a difficult position and the medical team had to slightly move my speech lobe in order to reach it. Surgery, as I would soon discover, was performed at the critical moment: during the procedure, the medical team observed that a bubble had developed on the surface of the aneurysm, a sure sign that it would rupture within days! The operation lasted for 12 hours, including wake up time. Upon first opening my eyes, I distinguished my husband, the surgeon, and my best friend leaning over the bed, gazing intensely at me. It was the most beautiful and comforting sight, as you can imagine! I recall thinking: “Well, it looks like I am alive after all! Wow, it is interesting that these three smiley faces resemble what I used to perceive from the cradle as a toddler.” Indeed, that moment represented a rebirth of sorts. Following a few days of intensive care that included mild speech and physical therapy, I was discharged from the hospital.
Today, 2 years and a few months after surgery, I can affirm that I am fully recovered. I count my blessings! Eight months after the procedure, during a follow-up appointment, my surgeon observed that the recovery was unusually speedy. He attributed that to my being a musician and to speaking several languages. (For those who still refuse to acknowledge the therapeutic effects of music and its importance in the development of the human brain, take notice!)
This fascinating experience has given me renewed appreciation for life and for the wonderful individuals who have crossed paths with me. A deep process of transformation and of re-evaluation has evolved as its result. What the future will bring remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: I no longer take anyone or any of life’s offerings for granted. Whereas work and career used to be the primary focus of my existence, through this experience, I learned that life IS NOT about work. Rather, IT IS about people and the relationships that we forge with one another, and IT IS about love and the positive impact we exert on fellow human beings. Work is merely a way to pass time during our temporary stay on earth. Yes, we need to work in order to survive, but work need not be a way of life, nor an obsession. As a result of my ordeal, I finally woke up and learned to smell the roses. I am grateful to have gone through this experience, as it truly was a blessing in disguise.
Naturally, during most of 2011 and 2012, public performances were on hold. I resumed a few performances here and there, gradually realizing, to great relief and satisfaction, that my pianistic skills and my confidence as a performer were slowly and surely returning. I can now officially declare that I am resuming my performing career! Though I have decided to scale down on the frequency of events, I am terribly excited to be back to the performing world on a regular basis!
Last but not least, I whish to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all who supported and encouraged me through my ordeal. I firmly believe that your endless expressions of love and affection contributed largely to my speedy and full recovery. I LOVE YOU!