I Was Habituated — Nine Years Later, Tinnitus, Hyperacusis, Headaches and Ear Pain Are Back

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by aura, Mar 25, 2021.

    1. aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Hello guys! Again.

      My first post was in 2012. That was my first encounter with tinnitus. (You can read my old posts for details).

      With your help, sleeping pills, supplements and lots of patience, habituation finally happened.

      Now I'm back in 2021.

      In January, I developed tension headaches, ear pain, dizziness, brain fog, ear fullnes and anxiety that led to insomnia. Insomnia aggravated all the other symptoms and I entered a vicious circle. I had blood tests, ENT exam, neurologic exam, brain MRI, abdominal ultrasound... But nobody could tell me what was the problem.

      The pain killers didn't make any difference, so in order be able to sleep I had to take Trazodone and after that Mirtazapine. The doctors told me that all my symptoms were stress-related and the headaches were probably a type of vestibular migraine.

      After two months of nightmare, I somehow managed to sleep again, which helped a lot with the headaches, BUT guess who returned... tinnitus.

      It's been two weeks since I heared a hissing sound in both ears and a strange buzz in my right ear. (And every 2-3 days a clicking sound like a morse code especially in my left ear.)

      And let's not forget about the horrible hyperacusis plus the ear pain.

      Now I'm dealing with a spike and I try to stay positive, but it's very difficult. I could really use your support.

      My story is somehow positive considering the long period of time when I was tinnitus-free, but aparently all good things come to an end. Let's just hope that tinnitus will come to an end, too.

      Thank you for your patience and sorry for my English.
       
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    2. twa
      Studious

      twa Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017- mild /Sept. 2020-moderate
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      meds/acoustic trauma
      Did you have a noise exposure? I've had similar symptoms after an acoustic trauma. I'm sorry you are going through this. Try to stay calm so that your nervous system will calm down too.

      Take care,
      twa
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      No, I didn't have noise exposure recently. I always use earplugs when it is necessary.
      I was diagnosed with incipient otosclerosis in 2012, but I found 2 years later that I didn't have it after all.

      I don't understand what's with the spike. Maybe I'm taking too many supplements at a time (magnesium, turmeric, melatonin, tilia tomentosa extract)...

      The hissing sound is so annoying... and the buzzing sound is pretty loud, it doesn't let me sleep...

      I'm scared. It's 3.30 AM and I can't sleep. It's very disturbing.I can't go through this again.
       
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    4. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      As a 30 year sufferer and having experienced several setbacks I feel for you. My tinnitus never went away. I habituated to it. It usually takes 12-18 months but I do habituate. It is a terrible cycle but you can habituate again! Xanax, Prozac, Ambien help me.
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      I think you are right, it took me about a year and a half to habituate back in 2012. But even though I am more experienced now, I feel that I am not as strong (mentally) as I was nine years ago.

      I'm still exhausted and scared because of the anxiety/insomnia/headache episode I had in January and February.

      I've hever had such a headache, tormenting me all day and night. It almost drove me insane, I was desperate, crying all night. I don't want to go back to that place.

      And now, just when I started feeling better, the tinnitus, louder than ever... It's too much for me.
       
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    6. AliasM
      Depressed

      AliasM Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      Dec 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ? Autoimmune, daily headaches, Ibuprofin, BP meds, Virus?
      Did your first tinnitus lower in volume? If so, over what period of time did that happen?

      I am no help sorry. I am trying to learn how to habituate myself and doing everything wrong!
       
    7. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Aura

      If you are experiencing hyperacusis, this is usually (but not always) associated with noise induced tinnitus. You have said that you always use earplugs when necessary which is the right thing to do. However, after a long habituation of 9 years there are normally two reasons for the tinnitus to increase, once an underlying medical problem within the auditory system, has been ruled out as not being the cause and not associated with stress.

      The two reasons are related to sound: using headphones this includes earbuds, headsets and AirPods. If you have been using any of these devices even at low volume, then this is likely the cause of the tinnitus increasing. The second cause is being around loud sounds. This can be listening to music through speakers at levels that have irritated your ears and auditory system or working in a noisy environment. Sometimes the effects of a spike are not noticed immediately.

      Even though you have been wearing earplugs when necessary, please don't think they will protect you all the time. When a person habituates to noise induced tinnitus the auditory system is still sensitive so one is never completely out of the woods even when wearing earplugs and needs to be careful. If external sound is loud enough it will pass through the head and transfer to the inner ear by bone conduction and cause the tinnitus to spike. Sometimes the tinnitus will reduce to baseline level. This can take a week or two even longer so give it time.

      Please click on the link below and read my article: Will My Tinnitus Get Worse?

      Michael

      Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
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    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Well, that's a good question. But I'm not sure I know the answer.

      After 1, maximum 2 years, it was gone. Or I just haven't noticed it anymore.

      If I covered my ears, I remember I could still hear the buzzing sound in my right ear, but that was all. The hissing sound, on the other side, just wasn't there anymore.
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Thank you for responding.

      First of all, I'm not sure that I don't have a auditory disease. I just think i haven't discovered the problem yet.

      The first diagnosis was incipient otosclerosis (because they found a pathological acoustic reflex). Everything else, like the hearing tests, inner ear CT scan, were within within normal range.

      As the years passed by and habituation happened, I forgot that tinnitus ever existed.

      But that episode in January-February 2021... that was something else. Terrible headaches and earaches, dizziness, ear fullness, brain fog, anxiety, insomnia... all of that just because of the stress?! Yes, it's been a hard year for all of us, but still...

      My psychiatrist told me that if I wouldn't sleep within 7 days of Mirtazapine she'll start using antipsychotic drugs. I was so close...

      Anyway, after I started feeling better and socialize more (after receiving the Pfizer vaccine), I think I may have exposed myself to louder sounds/music. Maybe that was the trigger?
       
    10. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      HI Aura.

      As I have previously said, if there is no underlying medical problem that has caused your tinnitus to increase and stress isn't the cause, the two main causes are using any type of headphones or being around loud sounds. Even if you wear earplugs this doesn't mean you are safe.

      Take care
      Michael
       
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    11. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      @aura, you can never go back to 'louder sounds/music'. Remember what got you here! Every new spike is back to square 1.
      Michael is right. Never ever feel comfortable around loud noise and social events. Even with ear plugs - they are not as protective as you read on the label. You did habituate and you will again. I know it takes time and I do a lot of praying. Let's all pray for better treatments or cure. G-d bless all.

      Keep posting. You'll know there will be good and bad days. I hope you have a good support system.
       
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    12. mohn

      mohn Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Any chance of an allergic reaction? Did the tinnitus reappear immediately after the vaccination? Quite a few others here also seem to have faced allergic reactions from the COVID-19 vaccines.
       
    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      No, I don't think so. I had my first shot on January the 4th. The tinnitus reappeared 10-14 days ago.

      Even after my second shot, I only had a sore arm.
       
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      It's not a spike. It's a new sound. Loud, high pitched. I've never, never had this sound since it all began, in 2012.

      It's 4 am in my country. I've been up for 2 hours. I was asleep and the sound woke me up. I just can't cope with it. I'm hearing this hissing sound for days, for weeks. Louder and louder. And then the hyperacusis. And now this new sound. It's too much for me. I'm on panic mode. This is not normal. I don't expect things to get better. This is just the beginning of a new nightmare. I've been protecting my ears these days, weeks. I didn't do anything wrong. I've been taking my supplements. I really stayed as calm as I could be all of the time. Something is wrong with my ears and nobody can tell me what.

      I always tell myself that things can only get better or worse. They never stay the same. And now they are worse.

      I've already skipped my job for a month because of the headaches and insomnia in January-February. I've just recovered a little bit. I can't cope with this now.

      @Michael Leigh, @Ken219, @twa, please say something.
       
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    15. GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Hey - sorry to hear what happened - I hope it abates again with time. I think people were somewhat confused with your wording because it sounds like the sounds actually went away, which is not habituation, it's just resolution. Hopefully if it happened for you once it can happen again.
       
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    16. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      @aura, are you taking medication(s) to help through this terrible time?
       
    17. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I know exactly what you mean @aura as my tinnitus increased after a long habituation period similar to your own. As I have previously explained, there are two reasons for this happening once no underlying medical reasons are found to be responsible for the increase including stress. The cause is the regular use of any type of headphones even at low volume. The second cause is listening to loud music or being around loud sounds. The wearing of earplugs is no guarantee that you will be safe, as sound can pass through the head and be transferred to the inner ear by bone conduction which can irritate the cochlea.

      The belief that once a person habituates to noise induce tinnitus, their auditory system is as it was before and they can return to a life of using headphones, listening to loud music or playing an instrument in a band is incorrect. One can do this if they wish but risk making the tinnitus worse which may not happen immediately but slowly over time. Unfortunately this is the danger of habituation especially after a long period, as a person tends to forget as I did back in 2008. I have written about this in my post: My Experience with Tinnitus. It took 4 years to habituate for the second time and my tinnitus isn't like it was before. It has taken a long time to accept this new normal as the tinnitus has large fluctuations in intensity almost on a daily basis. I take medication to help when it is very severe.

      Try and see an Audiologist that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis treatment. You may also need medication to help manage the way you feel at the moment and hopefully, you will improve with time.

      Take care
      Michael

      Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      My Experience with Tinnitus | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
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    18. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      I haven't really thought about it. The hissing sound and hyperacusis definitely went away. I would have noticed them.

      If tinnitus covered my ears, i could still hear the ringing in my right ear, but because the volume was pretty low I stopped searching for it. I could sleep in a silent room without it bothering me.

      So I don't know if this was habituation or recovery.

      This time, on the other hand, it's much louder. And I also hear a new sound.

      Plus the hyperacusis and ear pain...
       
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    19. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Thank you,@Michael Leigh!

      Yes, I've been very stressed this year. Could the stress be the only trigger? I guess so...

      I don't expose myself to loud sounds.
      Unless talking and laughing with my friends is considered too much... or the voices of children playing, or the traffic sound... at this moment, I am very sensitive to all the things described above.

      There are two components, the sound itself and the fact that you don't have any control at all. It's like a roller coaster every day, and it seems like there's nothing much to be done.

      4 years?! Wow. I don't know how you managed to keep it together.You are a very strong person!

      I refered to an ENT, but my case seems rather special.

      My hearing is just fine, I have a type A tympanogram, normal brain MRI, the only problem is with acoustic reflexes (they are absent).

      How are you now? Are you functional, enjoying life, sleeping well?

      Sorry for my English :)
       
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    20. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      HI Aura. Your English fine so please don't worry yourself.
      Stress can make tinnitus worse but I don't think it's responsible for the sudden increase in your tinnitus after 9 years, although I could be wrong. You have noise induced tinnitus. The most common reasons for this type of tinnitus to increase is related to sound as mentioned in my previous post, once no underlying medical problems are found to be causing it.
      It was a very difficult period in my life and I hope never to go through the experience again. According to my ENT consultant and Hearing Therapist, I have a very severe form of tinnitus that they don't often see in tinnitus patients due to the large fluctuations in intensity.
      I have habituated to my tinnitus and accept it as the new normal. It still puts some restrictions on my life but I'm able to rise above it and focus on positivity. I like to read and write but when my tinnitus is intense, I simply cannot concentrate on these tasks, so I direct my thoughts to other things. Going out for a walk or doing things around my home. I am able to sleep quite well. I use a sound machine throughout the night until morning and never hear it!

      All the best,
      Michael
       
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    21. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Thank you again!

      Could you please tell me something else, since you are far more experienced than I am regarding tinnitus?

      I just came back from work. (I had to endure the traffic noise all the way back home.)

      In the first minutes after coming home in a silent environment, all I could hear was the hissing sound, pretty intense, in both ears and somehow in the brain (the noise exposure accentuates it).

      But 5-10 minutes after sitting in perfect silence, the other sound appeared (the new one that woke me from my sleep last night: a high pitched sound in my right ear).

      Does my brain "fabric" this sound because of the silence? Why doesn't it appear the very moment I enter a silent room? Is there any rational explication to this?

      The only thing that helped me coping with the tinnitus the days that passed by was that the hissing sound tended to fade out in silence, particulary right before falling asleep and the moments after waking up.

      But now, if this noise appears in silence, BECAUSE of the silence, I don't stand a chance. If I don't sleep properly, I will go insane.

      Thank you again.
       
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    22. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I know you are going through a lot of difficulty at the moment @aura. One of the best ways to deal with this is to focus on the positive things in your life because the way we think can affect tinnitus a lot. Since you are able to work that is a good thing and suggest that you keep this at the forefront of your mind as your situation will improve. Try to avoid being in quiet rooms and surroundings as it allows the brain to increase its background activity and will also increase the tinnitus. Therefore, when you come home from work put on some low level background music such as classical or the radio. Remember not to mask the tinnitus.
      The brain will generate the sounds that you hear because of silence, so remember to use low level sound enrichment. With time this will improve and use sound enrichment at night.
      Before going to bed you could try a beverage such as drinking chocolate to help induce sleep, or if you are having a lot of difficulty, talk to your doctor who may prescribe something short term to help you for a while. St John's Wort is a natural herb and good for stress. Have at talk with your doctor before taking.

      Please click on the links below and read my articles.

      All the best
      Michael

      Acquiring a Positive Mindset | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      Tinnitus and the Negative Mindset | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
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    23. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      Sounds like the same thing my left ear does. I have a multitude of sounds that are ever-present but this particular tone only appears when surrounding noise is under about 40 dBa (I've sat with a white noise machine and a decibel meter to figure this out).

      What I do for sleep: I have a little Sonos One speaker that I play nature sounds (anything that has some crickets in it work best for me) just enough to make it barely audible and take 1 mg of Melatonin. I think a quality speaker is important as cheaper, tinny sounding speakers just exacerbate things. I'll usually play an audiobook on my phone to distract me until the Melatonin kicks in.
       
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    24. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      @Ken219, how are you now?

      I'm still struggling.
      I had maybe 2-3 better days when I was somehow less anxious, but now the hissing sound is very intense.

      I also have short spikes of very high pitched tinnitus, hyperacusis and ear pain. I don't know what I can do to get just a few moments of silence.

      @Michael Leigh, you seem like a very calm person. It's like you made peace with it. I wish I knew how to do that, but for the moment I'm obsessed with tinnitus and very anxious. I think it's a long process and you can't speed it up. :(
       
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    25. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I believe I have made peace with my tinnitus. That is a good description something I hadn't thought of before, so thank you. It has been a long hard road and at times I thought I wouldn't make it so know how you feel. Try to focus on the positive things in your life whenever the tinnitus gets too much. Please go to my started threads and read the following articles, that I hope will give you some inspiration: From Darkness Into Light, The Habituation Process, Inspiration,
      A Change of Lifestyle, Look at What You Can Do, Not What You Can't, The Big Picture, What Should I Aim For?

      Take care and hope you start to feel better soon.
      Michael
       
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    26. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Is it possible that a high frequency hearing test could induce a tinnitus spike? Or worse, could it cause permanent damage (increase in tinnitus / noise induced hearing loss)?

      For those who didn't read my previous posts, I have been suffering from tinnitus since 2012.

      I was told that I have otosclerosis, but 2 years later another doctor said that my ears were just fine.

      I habituated, but in February-March 2021 I have had another episode of tinnitus, this time more intense, with hyperacusis, ear pain, headaches and dizziness.

      Considering the fact that this time the symptoms are very hard to tolerate, I addressed an ENT doctor again.

      Only this time, after 9 years, I have had a high frequency hearing test done and it revealed that I have mild hearing loss (on high frequencies). All my previous hearing tests were within normal range.

      The doctor said that there is a problem with the inner ear/hearing cells. He has to do a couple of tests before the final diagnosis (including a CT scan, considering that the old one revealed an asymmetric/hyper pneumatization of the temporal bone and sphenoidal sinuses, including chronic sinusitis.)

      After all the tests I had today, my tinnitus exploded. I'm scared that the damage could be permanent, but I had to do all these test in order to finally have a diagnosis after 9 years.

      I will keep you updated.
      Thank you for all the support!
       
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    27. Sayeed

      Sayeed Member Benefactor

      Location:
      miami fl
      Tinnitus Since:
      4/1/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unsure
      @Michael Leigh, I'm amazed. Even after having such a severe form of tinnitus you still find time giving hope to people. I'm sure you have helped 100s of people cope and live normal lives.

      @aura, you have my support. I'm new and still learning but I'll keep you in my prayers.
       
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    28. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      @aura, I believe that's what it is, a spike - and nothing else. It will calm down eventually. A test like this do normally not cause any permanent damage in my opinion/experience.
       
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    29. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Update:

      The tinnitus is still present. The hissing sound is very loud. Louder than before...

      I did have a week ago a few seconds of... almost silence.
      It was magic.
      I don't now how / why it happened. Maybe it means that my body is still able to function properly... I try to stay and think positive.

      Soon I'll have the CT scan and the electrophysiological auditory tests.
      At least I will know the diagnosis.

      I don't know why, but I feel that it will be harder this time for me to habituate.
       
    30. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      aura

      aura Member

      Location:
      romania
      Tinnitus Since:
      05.2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Update (5 months following onset of symptoms):

      There may be hope after all. I don't want to jinx it, but I think I'm starting to habituate.

      I've survived a dentist appointment (2 more to go) and I am not that sensitive to sounds anymore.

      I don't think that my tinnitus is less intrusive, but I am not as obsessed with it as I was a few months ago.

      I haven't experienced earaches and ear fullness in the last month. I have had headaches only from time to time. I'm not taking any kind of supplements for the moment.

      Maybe it will all come back, but I'm trying to enjoy this feeling and live in the present rather than worrying about the future.

      I'll keep you guys updated.
       
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