KIMI, my seventeen year old sister, just returned from Disneyland! She had souvenir shopped for the nieces and nephews, snapped candids of herself and so many high school friends, and ridden every roller coaster at the park. That will be the last for some time.
Kimi performed a solo in her recent dance recital where she wore the perfect tutu, landed every turn, and shined brightly in front of the crowd. That is, after she got over the stress of almost missing her entrance because the music wasn't turned up loud enough for her to hear.
On June 9th my sister will undergo a procedure where a non-cancerous tumor will be removed from her inner ear. The doctors will have to drill through her skull to reach it. She will recover for a few weeks and then return to her normal life, minus the ability to hear from her left side.
She has experienced gradual hearing loss on that side over the past several months, and has known about her specific condition of acoustic neuroma for a while. This trial of mortality has shaken our family as any similar thing does. There have been many worries and prayers as Kimi has gone through the process of acceptance of a life with partial deafness. There have also been many jokes about Kimi not hearing her alarm, not responding to her prom date's questions, or how she'd have been so in style back in the 80's when chicks were shaving off the bottom half of their hair just to look cool. Kimi has laughed the loudest at these jokes. Although her condition must be constantly on her mind, she has managed to pull a screamin' GPA, waitress, have a paper route, be involved in Young Womens, FBLA, cheer leading etc etc etc. - which is why I titled the blog, "and she danced anyway." Her faith and strength are admirable to me. So is her positive energy!Her unselfishness is a quality that is developed far beyond her years. I don't know if it is myself or my little girls who look up to her more.
My first question to the neuro surgeon when I accompanied her to an appointment was "What about pirouettes and back handsprings?" I was worried that her balance would be thrown off. He explained that sensory input comes through her hands and feet and other sources that will surely compensate for loss of hearing. So she can do anything she puts her mind to. And she will.
The recent lessons I've learned, and that all of us can learn by watching Kimi, are summed up in the words of this Lianne Womack Song...
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance.
Never settle for the path of least resistance.
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance.
"And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,
I HOPE YOU DANCE."