Expect miracles

I am going to live rather than die
To recover rather than receed
To rest and rejuvenate without guilt and loss
To take it easy on good days despite my urge to run and play and dance and do
To cry without going to the bottom again
To know my symptoms are messages from a brain that is working like hell to fix itself
To see myself well and strong again
To know,  without a shadow of doubt, that I will make a full recovery.
To love myself unconditionally through this to the other side.

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What about the bone?

I went to the doctor the other day. I needed a note to give to the insurance company to apply for wage loss benefits. Before going I made a pact with myself that I’d stay calm, present the facts, get the note and wobble on home. I’ve seen so many doctors, told my story so many times and hit so many brick walls that I’ve learned to be unemotional and have no expectations.

She asked me how I was doing and inquired into my symptoms. I started to relay the months of suffering, the difficulty walking, the confusion, the eye issues, the sensitivity to sound and movement. I began to cry.

I cried because I know what I’ve lost; my job, my ability to be the mom I was, my money (treatment fees anyone?), my identity, my energy, my lifestyle, my physical abilities. I cried because I am tired. I cried because I am scared. I cried because I feel like I’m dying and the medical community seems to be knitting at the gallows. I cried because I don’t know what else to do.

I wiped away my tears and took a deep breath. I looked at her and saw compassion. My spirits lifted. Maybe I had finally found my care provider; someone with the keys to the concussion treatment Kingdom who will offer me a way through this hell. Maybe I am not so alone in this after all.

“I’m going to prescribe antidepressants”, she said looking at her computer. “I’m also going to refer you to the public health office for counselling. Have you heard of celexa….”

I retreated back to my shell. I stopped listening and returned to the inner voice that believes me. We can do this it said, we will find our way back to wellness.

“Isn’t that like putting a band aid on a broken leg?” I replied. “Sure it stops the bleeding but what about the bone?”

She did everything but shrug her shoulders. That was the end of the conversation. I’m on my own.

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The thread that pulls me through.

What does strength look like? How does one fight? In the midst of this struggle I feel weak and lost, not strong and determined.

You asked about the wobble and I’m so glad you did. I’ve told countless doctors, specialists and friends and they all cling to the pain, offering remedies to kill it. But the physical pain, as horrible as it was, left months ago. Its departure seems to have left empty caverns in my brain that fill to bursting with fluid that sloshes around when I move. The electrical current in there sends sparks all over my head which fizz when I touch my face and hair. Thinking makes my eyes move unnaturally at times which makes my stomach drop and my nerves jitter.  

There’s a channel that runs from my right shoulder, up through my neck to a spot inside my right hemisphere – this is the point where the ‘feeling’ began. It was like a tiny bug was burrowing in there for about a week before the crushing headaches began. This sent me to bed for weeks with near daily trips to the hospital or clinic where doctors would stare blankly at me and say ‘migraine’. One doctor connected me to monitors and injected me with propofol to ‘put me out’  for an hour to ‘reset my brain’, another ordered twice daily injections of torridol and gravol which zombified me terribly. Tests of all varieties,  including CT scan, MRI and blood work,  all came back clear which ultimately led the doctors to prescribe “therapy” and ask about my mental state. One Dr told me to ‘enjoy it’  which was the end of the medical road for me. 

I came to my parents house with the boys for a week after seeing a neurologist who took 20 minutes to diagnose ‘migraine’ and tell me to quintuple the amytriptaline I was already taking. It was only meant to be a week, just a little time to give Adam a much needed break from the pressure and stress of being a single parent and caretaker to me. As a last ditch effort to save my brain my mom took me to see her chiropractor. I was so ‘gone’ by that point that I felt invisible and floaty. I couldn’t talk to people and walked as if pushing through lava. When they gave me an intake form I wanted to just write ‘help me’ but instead dutifully circled my whole head as the ‘problem area’ and checked the little boxes like it was yet another fruitless request for understanding and support.  

With NUCCA treatment for ‘axis sublaxation’ over 6 weeks I’ve had a total of 6 days where I bordered on feeling well. The clarity is like seeing again after being blind. In those moments I begin to think of the future and let gratitude for the miracle wash over me. When the wobbly brain comes back it’s like being in the dark again. So scary and hopeless. I scratch around for clues to what I did wrong to break the spell, wondering when I’ll see again.

So I ask what strength looks like? People keep saying I’m strong but inside it feels like deep crumbling, loss and failure. It feels like powerlessness and rage, resignation and depression. I know of that thread you spoke of, I feel it whispering to me that this death will at last be followed by rebirth. It is the only internal comfort I have. It saves me from the self hatred that threatens to blame me for this whole fucking mess.  It’s the living through the transition that is so unbearable and chaotic. 

I keep thinking of butterflies. Does the caterpillar cry when it disintegrates into cellular mush? Does it hurt? Does it lament the loss of its hordes of tiny legs? Does it struggle against the transition or release itself with some inate faith that soon it will fly? 

This is happening. It is real and it is now and I am alone inside trying to survive with as much grace as possible. 

Thank you for letting me in and offering me a safe place to land in all my fractured vulnerability. Please know that the tiny thread is strong. It will pull me through. 

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Fabulous Friday #4

These regular posts of inspiration and determined focus on what is fabulous are like buoys in the ocean. They are like little guide posts on the path towards the good life.

In the inevitable ebb and flow of existence I’m going to admit to feeling a little less than fabulous today. My recovery from post concussion syndrome and whiplash is taking longer than I ever anticipated and my capacity to remain calm and centred is eroding.

Gloria Steinem said “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”  I guess my current truth is that I have had to let go of control of my body. It has pissed me off to the point of total surrender. It is not fun. It does not feel like liberation. It does not feel like awakening or any of that good stuff. It actually feels like failure if I’m totally honest.

So in this place of surrender, with a looming feeling of failure, I offer it all up. I let go of it all. Like leaves in the river I will let the current take me away and have faith that it will all work out.

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Creating desire

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Stuck in limbo suffering from post concussion syndrome I feel trapped by the limits of my own miss functioning brain. During this time it’s hard to avoid walking the path of fear which inevitably leads to doubt. My feet are too inclined to march downhill. As much as I want to take the road less travelled I’m tired and worn down by pain and despair.

What I have left is my imagination. I can push forward far enough into the future that I can see myself as well again. When I close my eyes to what is I can open my heart to what will be. This is my salvation but it is also my choice. I paint the future with my mind. The colours and brushes I choose define the path I will walk.

I paint joy, abundance and freedom. I paint laughter, travel and acceptance. In my imagination I am. All that I want to be.

Digging deep…

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In sharing my struggles with post concussion syndrome with my friends family and readers on my blog, I have opened a door to compassion and love and sharing. I think on some level I felt as though sharing my pain with the world was a sign of weakness and I was very hesitant to do so. As I pursue positivity and strength and wellness in this world it is what I wish to project, but I am also human and vulnerable and in this moment going through something very difficult and painful.

A friend of mine shared the photo above with me on Facebook and it shook something deep inside me. What a beautiful sentiment to imagine that the darkness is where you plan to yourself and from this place you grow stronger and into the Sun.

I would really like to open a conversation about how the darkness can become a place from which you grow. Does anyone have an experience they would like to share?

It all came crashing down…

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It was as if someone pulled the rug out from under me; like a gust of wind picked up and blew apart the house of cards I’d been diligently building. I tried to carry on, push through and catch up. Ignoring the signs my body was desperate for me to read, I carried on… until I absolutely couldn’t. The pain literally shut me down –  first body, then mind, then soul.

I’m working on living an authentic life. Trying to be mindful, aware, open and accepting.  I’m determined to let go but trying to not try is harder than it sounds. But I’m not alone in this endeavour. I’ve got support. From Elkhart Tolle to Bruce Lipton to my dear friend Liza Hindmarch I’ve learned that our mental state is not meant to be reactionary, it’s meant to be creative. Our thoughts are powerful contributors to our experience and we’d all do well to make them supportive rather than destructive.

So what happened? Why, four months after a car accident which left me with whiplash and a concussion, after rounds of acupuncture, chiropractor visits, guided meditations, massage and rest, did my symptoms suddenly return with a vengeance? The pain and mental disconnect became so bad I took medical leave from a job I love, sequestered myself away from the children I adore and wept in bed for weeks. I leaned more heavily on my husband than ever before and resented myself for having to do it. I was so far from accepting and allowing that I gobbled up pain meds like candy and drilled my knuckles as deep and hard into my temples as I could muscle. The CT, MRI, ENT and blood work all revealed a healthy body. Doctors postulated around the headaches, selecting new pain meds almost daily, but despite the pharmacopoeia that was my purse, the pain endured and the wooziness remained. As I write now, my brain feels like some wires are loose. My capacity to function has returned enough for me to be awake and partake more in the day, but I’m still recovering. I’m still frightened and fragile and far from myself. 

This is post concussion syndrome. It’s a medical word to describe feeling messed up for weeks , months or years following a head injury. It’s invisible, and insufferable. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. But there is a lesson here… I will uncover the message my body is sending me.

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