I am going to ask that all of Coco’s and my friends rally in support of Coco at a very trying time. For the past several months, Coco has been dealing with a health issue. I am not speaking of her over-sized, pre-cancerous ovarian cyst, the surgery and post-operative complications of last autumn. Rather, Coco has lost all hearing in her right ear. She has become profoundly deaf in that ear, which for a musician and music teacher is devastating. The hearing loss has been gradual, but was not addressed due to more pressing health concerns at the time, even though she made her doctor aware of a hearing problem two years ago. For various reasons, she and I chose not to let anyone know until further test results were available. Those results are now in, and she and I decided that I should be the one to let everyone know the results.
Coco had an MRI performed on Monday, 21 January 2008, and was told the results Tuesday, 22 January 2008. Apparently, she has what is known as an Acoustic Neuroma. In short, she has a tumor that began growing inside the auditory nerve of her right ear. The tumor is benign, but has grown to over 15mm x 25 mm in size, large enough to be pressing on the brain. Left untreated, this tumor, though benign, will kill her. She must have surgery. Unfortunately, removal of the tumor is not easy, and will not reverse the hearing loss; it is permanent. And the surgery will most likely have short- and intermediate-term side-effects such as having to learn to walk again, relearn certain hand-eye movements, among others.
The tumor is large enough to put her in an emergency situation, and the surgery will be scheduled sometime within the next four months. She will have the surgery as soon as it is scheduled, but will first have to visit with specialists in towns distant from her own. And the surgery can not be performed locally, requiring her to go to a distant location for surgery and recovery. Minimum recovery time is 4 months, during which she will not be allowed to be alone at any time, nor will she be permitted to drive. She may not even be able to get online to be with us. The surgery is, after all, considered brain surgery. As you can easily imagine, she was somewhat despondent after it was explained to her fully.
Coco has been through a lot this past year with regards to her health. She has missed work and lost income. And she stands to do so again. While having bent, however, she has not broken. Quite simply, I am in awe of this woman. She remains a strong force. She remains the same gentle, caring, nurturing soul. Her online friends have been and remain a major source of emotional support for her, more so than she likes to let on. Coco never lets on what her internet community and acceptance within it has meant to her. Now, however, she is going to need her friends more than ever. I humbly ask all of you to regularly send emails, leave comments on her blog, leave offlines, get-well e-cards, etc., in show of your support. Feel free to copy this post and place it on your own blog, or make it an RSS feed if you wish. Just get the word out to all her friends. Let her know you care. I am not asking for, nor would she accept, sympathy. I simply ask a showing of love and support. Trust me, doing so will boost her spirits immeasurably. I will keep everyone informed as events unfold.