In today’s episode of When Everything Changed, we hear from Jonnel, a retired senior research analyst for the Washington State legislature. When hearing problems and other unusual symptoms began occurring during her last few years at work, Jonnel just thought it was part of the normal aging process. But when these symptoms started interrupting her ability to work, a visit with her doctor led to the discovery of a benign, slow-growing tumor called an acoustic neuroma that attaches itself to auditory and facial nerves.
Faced with surgery, Jonnel had to choose the doctors and surgeons that would be on her health care team, see our Questions to Ask Your Care Team resource. She ended up selecting a lineup of keen and well-versed Kaiser Permanente physicians.
The surgery was a success, however, a blood clot formed and her trigeminal nerve (the nerve responsible for sensation in the face and biting movements) was pinched. These unforeseen complications and the requirement of a feeding tube, took a toll on her emotional health, and left Jonnel feeling frustrated and depressed. Feeling lost, she accepted guidance from her friends and family and enrolled to participate in Kaiser Permanente Washington’s Living Well with Chronic Conditions workshop. The sessions taught her how to manage her new chronic condition, and she was moved by the stories of other participants. Ultimately, Jonnel was inspired to live a more balanced life and make peace with the fact that her health required her to retire early.
In this episode
- Jonnel’s experience coping with the discovery of an acoustic neuroma
- How she chooses to maintain work-life balance
- The challenge of recognizing how to deal with turning points in your life
Thank you for listening
Did this story move you? If so, please share it. Do you have a health turning point story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. When Everything Changed is a production of Kaiser Permanente.