One Day at a Time
March 2023 marks 15 months since the day that forever changed my life. I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic, but sustaining a traumatic brain injury is life changing no matter how you look at it. Some days I can see the positive things that have come from this. New friends I have met, new jobs I might get to explore, new strengths I have found within me. Other days I only see the negatives that have weighed me down for month after month. The loss of a new career I thought I would love so much, repeated questioning of my self-identity, head pain I only wish I could put into words, waves of grief for things I never knew one could grieve and so much more.
It has been 15 months.
It has been 15 months since I have driven a car.
It has been 15 months since I have gone to work.
It has been 15 months since I have bought my own groceries in the store.
It has been 15 months since I have really been able to do everything independently.
It has been 15 months since I’ve felt like “me” as a person or as a mother.
It has been 15 months since that unfortunate day when I sustained my concussion and all the following days were never the same again.
It has been 15 months of taking it one day at a time.
For 15 months…
…I’ve been fighting to get back to driving, back to work and back to being independent again.
…I’ve gone to Neuro Rehab every week for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
…I’ve struggled with vision issues and eye pain that I can’t even begin to put into words.
…I’ve struggled to get my eyes and brain to learn to work together again.
…I’ve struggled to process movement and stimuli around me and have avoided going to stores, out to eat in restaurants, etc.
…I’ve had to learn how to regain a sense of balance when walking.
…I’ve struggled to learn how to turn my head without getting so dizzy and nauseous that I want to collapse.
…I’ve learned to live with daily migraine-like head pains, blinding nausea, crippling dizziness and unmatched neuro-fatigue.
…I’ve worked hard to improve my short term and working memory speeds.
…I’ve been working to improve my cognitive ability to receive and process information.
…I’ve struggled to process my emotions, trauma, grief and loss.
…I’ve struggled to be a person, let alone a mom.
…I’ve struggled to take things one day at a time.
Despite all of these struggles and challenges, perhaps the greatest blessing has been finding my new “family.” The family that I never knew existed and I never knew I needed until that one fateful day. Like any true family, we have not always agreed on everything, but I would not have made it this far in my recovery without them. My first family was found at the Barrow Neurological Institute in the Outpatient Neuro Rehab Center. There I met my occupational therapist, speech therapist and physical therapist who have been invaluable to my recovery. Next, I found Love Your Brain. There I participated in their online 6-week Mindset program where I connected with others like me. Each of us were walking our own brain injury recovery journey, yet each of us were able to connect and relate, providing a safe space to process together. Later on, I discovered the online support network available through PINK Concussions. Being in an online support group with thousands of women who have experienced a similar injury gave me the support and validation that I have needed throughout every step of this journey. While social media can be both a blessing and a curse some days, it has allowed me to connect with individuals that I would not have otherwise known. My “family” has expanded and I can truly say that I have new friends for life because of my brain injury.
My daughter lovingly refers to my brain injury as my “head bump” and often tells me that she wishes it had never happened. I always tell her, “Me too baby girl, me too.” While I would never wish this journey on anyone, I have to stop and wonder if that is entirely true. For as much as I have endured and have yet to endure, I have to hope it was for a reason, a greater purpose in life. I know that the road to recovery is long, full of many twists and turns and may not have a final destination. But I am on this road for life. You see, I am more than my brain injury and I have more life to live. I am a person, with a brain injury. I am a mom, with a brain injury. I am a social worker, with a brain injury. I am someone taking it one day at a time, with a brain injury. #MoreThanMyBrainInjury