My fall in July 2017 resulted in a broken neck, herniated discs, and a fractured left ankle. I thought it was another fall; I had experienced many throughout my military career, yet this one changed my life forever.
Fatigue set in, then incontinence, headaches, pain, shooting light out of my left eye & massive confusion within a few days. Those symptoms have never ended & more developed within the first year – migraines, blurred/double vision, spatial disorientation, vertigo, cognitive impairment, memory loss, infections, inflammation, and muscle spasms felt throughout my body to include my face. The seizures and tremors are truly terrifying! It seems every day brings new challenges and there is absolutely no way to predict what the next day has in store.
Top 10 lessons learned:
1) Provide motivation for yourself – for me, it’s been my faith.
2) Speak up & demand specialized care IMMEDIATELY!
3) Treat yourself after anything difficult (SPECT, labs, etc)
4) Be kind to yourself & others – people never forget how they were treated, even when they have memory loss!
5) Don’t return to doctors you don’t like or can’t trust. I would allow a full treatment year before firing; 4+ years: I’ll walk out on the first appt if I don’t feel heard or respected.
6) Learn your triggers, rest as needed & avoid stress – easier say than done, I know 🙂
7) Record important conversations & document everything.
8) Everyone is on a different journey – do what feels right & works for you.
9) Inform others of your limitations, whether they believe you or not, you are sharing your truth. I struggle with anything on the computer, math, and noisy settings – treatments offer apps but that doesn’t work for me.
10) Use this “slowed” pace of life to see the beauty in each day as it truly is a blessing! <3
If a support group isn’t available, use positive messaging, books & other methods to battle the grief you feel, as you mourn the old you & discover your new life.