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    Posted December 29, 2012 by
    Farmersburg, Indiana
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    What was your best moment of 2012?

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    Reflection: 2012 Mix of Ups and Downs


    As  the Year 2012 rushes to an end, and none too quickly, I am struck with a  reflective mood. The year has definitely been rocky and filled with far  more valleys than I would have wanted or anticipated. But where there  are valleys, it means there are also mountains. With mountains, it means  there were also "mountain top experiences". Yes, the Year 2012 was a  full mix of ups and downs.

    As  2012 rang in, there was the usual midnight toast and kiss, but the  minutes were also anxiety ridden. I had lossed over 30 pounds in one  month, been running a fever, coughing spells leading to nausea and dry  heaves. Iohn and I, however, tried to be optimistic and look forward to  2012 as being a much better year than 2011. How mistaken we were in so  many ways.

    I  slowly began to gain a little weight back when I relapsed and lost 15  pounds in two weeks. This prompted a visit to the doctor's office,  something I am reluctant to do. I finally had no choice. This visit lead  to one of my deepest valleys as the doctors were concerned that I  either had contracted tuberculosis or developed lung cancer. From the  doctor's office to the hospital and then the surgery ward to have a  double bronchoscopy and lung biopsy. I woke in the hospital bed many  hours later with three tubes sticking out of my side. I remained  hospitalized for a total of 20 days, nearly three weeks.

    The  surgery, however, did lead to what was probably the highest point and  most welcome news of all of the past year. I learned that I would live. I  may have to adapt, adjust, make changes, but I was going to live. My  condition was not life threatening. There was no TB. There was no  cancer. What the doctors discovered was a non-specific bacterial  infection of my right lobe which rendered it useless. In the words of my  surgeon, my right lung was now nothing more than a "dried up sponge".

    I  continue to struggle with the breathing. I am still getting use to  having only one lung. But I am alive and cantankerous as ever if not  more so.

    Then  in September came my second most memorable and elation-filled moment.  On the 20th of that month, my second granddaughter, Alaina Dee, came  into the world. There is little to compare to the joy of the birth of a  grandchild other than the birth of your own child. This was a real  shining moment in a year of so much darkness.

    Before  Alaina's birth, was my third-rated mountain top experience of 2012. In  June I was honored by CNN's iReport community with a Spirit Award for my contributions over the last year. This came as a total shock and  surprise. But I am eternally honored and grateful for such a  recognition.

    That same month another highlight of the year came with an appearance on CNN Saturday Morning when I was interviewed by Randi Kaye on health care and the Affordable  Care Act. This interview came not long before the Supreme Court ruling  on the constitutionality of the ACA. I was later inteviewed by phone by  HLN following the Supreme Court decision.

    Then there was another high when I was picked to debate the ACA with another iReporter, Egberto Willies, as part of the iReport Debate series. We were debating the pros and cons of the healthcare law with me taking the con side of the argument.

    Most  of the valleys I have had to go through this year have been in some way  or another health related. Adapting to my new life has been rather  traumatic at times. But then again one other health concern actually  turned into another mountain.

    My  doctors surmised my lung infection was caused by a genetic condition  that began a few years ago which began decaying my teeth and the teeth  breaking off. What the doctors believe is that during the night the  infection from my mouth and gums would aspirate into my lungs. With help  from friends, family and an email to the Governor of Indiana, I was  able to get the decaying teeth and tooth stubs pulled and replaced with  dentures. Many who follow Inside My Mind and my CNN iReport contributions also traveled with me through both the lung surgery, hospitalization and the dental procedures.

    While  I've been battling with the medical and dental issues surrounding my  lungs and teeth, my other conditions, cluster headaches and presumed  ocular histoplasmosis syndrome (POHS), have also been problematic. There  is also the major depression I must battle daily. Good news on the POHS  is that it seems to be in hiatus and not progressing at the moment.

    Iohn's  roller coaster employment situation has been frustrating for both of us  throughout the year. Thankfully as the year comes to an end, he is once  more gainfully employed. The financial struggles over the last two  years have been draining and at times seemed like it would sink us. But,  here we are facing a new year and still holding on, still together  after what will be eight years in February.

    Continuing  to be difficult on me is not being able to see my sons, Dave and Kev;  their wives, Anna and Hailey; and my two granddaughters, Dylan and  Alaina, as much as I would like. Each holiday, while my siblings gather  with their children and grandchildren, Iohn and I celebrate alone  waiting for that phone call or text or email from the boys.

    While  the road has been rocky and the future uncertain as we sit on the cusp  of 2013, life goes on. Then again the alternative doesn't seem all that  appealing on this snowy winter's night.

    From  the Cornfield, life's ship was never meant to sail only on calm seas  going nowhere. Life was meant to toss and roll with the waves becoming  stronger and better for riding the surf and appreciating whenever a  harbor was reached. As the song goes, without the rain we would never  have the flowers. Or as my Mom once wrote in poem, you can never climb  the mountain unless you go through the valley first.

    Happy New Year to one and all. May the coming year find you healthy and may your soul prosper.


    You can see the pictures embedded in the post here: http://fromthecornfield.com/blog1.php/2012/12/29/reflection-2012-mix-of-ups

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