like a hole in the head

I came to my site this morning to find an old recipe. Reading through the post I needed, I was struck with how much I have changed in the last year: I’m more serious, less funny. I don’t write anymore. My brain exists in a cloud of medications that have made me a different person. I need them to survive, but it’s not a lively existence whatsoever.

I’d give anything to go back to the old Jenny. Starting Monday morning (January 27th), I just might have that chance.

Taken by Katie Blanch Photography -

Let me take a step back. A few months ago, by sheer chance and a bit of good luck, a doctor spied something on my CT that no one had before: a hole. Not a hole in my head (though Monday I’ll have one of those, too!), but a tiny, microscopic hole in my superior semicircular ear canal. It’s called Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome, and it’s incredibly rare.

The watered-down version is this: you have three semicircular ear canals that are filled with fluid. They communicate with the brain as your head moves to keep you balanced. The canals are made of bone which encase the fluid. When a hole forms, naturally your balance–and your hearing–can get all sorts of wacky. In my case, the hole is right next to my brain, so with no bone there, only a thin membrane runs between the canal and the brain. This could very well explain my extreme sound sensitivity, balance issues, pain, vertigo, and dizziness.

Taken by Katie Blanch Photography -

I met with the most fantastic surgeon here in Seattle and scheduled the procedure. Unfortunately, they can’t patch the canal by entering through the ear, so it is a cranial operation–they will cut out a small piece of my skull in order to access the canal they need to patch. Since it’s close to brain surgery, it comes with many inherent risks. Believe me, I’ve lost a lot of sleep over this one! After the operation is over I’ll spend 2 days in the ICU, followed by 3-5 more days in a regular room. When I’m discharged they’ll send me home with a walker so I don’t stumble around the house like a drunken sailor (but if I do I’ll be sure to take hilarious video for y’all).


Now it comes back to the old question: am I hopeful? Unequivocally, yes. I have the best doctor, the best family and friends, and the best husband to help me through this. I believe that I will get back to my old self after all said and done. I’m thinking positive, and won’t let myself think otherwise.

Hopefully this year you’ll see a lot more of me. Hopefully I can get back to cooking, and photography, and writing, just as life was before I got whacked over the head with this illness. I want to laugh again, and cry from joy and not pain. I want to take care of my kids all day long and not get tired; not curl up in a ball of pain on the couch. I want to go out to restaurants, and parties, and play dates. I want to get my life back. And the next time you hear from me, I’ll be funny and sarcastic and cooking something weird. I’ll be Jenny again.

Taken by Katie Blanch Photography -



All photos in this post © 2013-2014 Katie Blanch Photography



  1. Will be keeping positive thoughts for you for your surgery and recovery into bring you want to be. It’s true without health we are nothing.

  2. Libby in WI says:

    I can say I’ve missed you and I hope getting an extra hole in your head helps. I’ve made your chocolate chip cookies and brownies for my new boyfriend and he loves them! I’m running out of baked goods to make him, so I need you to be better soon. Sending lots of happy healthy juju your way from WI!!!

  3. Thinking of you and sending positive, warm, peaceful thoughts. Love you Jenny. Mary <3 🙂

  4. I think about you often, Jenny! I hope that this will finally bring you the peace that you have been so desperately seeking for all this time!!!!

  5. Jenny, I wish you the best, and I look forward to future posts. Before then, rest, heal, play!

  6. Good luck Jen.. Thinking of you. Giles & Gail in faraway Oz.

  7. Pat Proctor says:

    Praying for you and your family Jenny.Pat Winston Proctor

  8. Thinking of you Jenny! And praying for a successful procedure.

  9. val and john backus says:

    Praying for you and your family,Jenny . Much love, John and Val Backus

  10. shamayal jawed says:

    Wishing you the Best of Luck!

  11. Alexandra says:

    Lots of love & positive thoughts for a successful surgery and quick recovery from a long time reader 🙂

  12. I’ve been keeping up on FB and the journal thingy. I just read this post today and had to drop you a note to say hang in there. You are amazing, and have an incredible support system. I’m hoping you’re feeling somewhat better today, and on the way back to your lovely life.

  13. Hey Jenny,

    I’ve been thinking of you, and just wanted to let you know


  14. 🙁 Where’s Dr. Dereck Shepherd when you need him?

    I hope and pray you are on the road to recovery.

  15. I hope the surgery went well! I wish you could come back with an update D: I’m worried.

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  20. Jenny,

    Perhaps some of the comments on vertigo from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation site can help you in some small way.

    I’ve enjoyed browsing through your recipes, and reading your sassy comments. Thank you.


  21. Please help..I need a good doctor,there are only 2 specalist in portland,ine is booked,the other does not take my insurance,and is only out gor money.iam sufgering,seen 3 wrong ents,3wrong cts in one year,I know I have hole,or tumer,I cant hardley get up,I have no family,cts show mastoiditis,its spreadng in my neck now,noises are misery ,pleasehelp,I will dying I think

  22. Pleaseif anyone can give me names of correct specialist..Please email me..

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