November 19, 2017

My hero….my dad

father I can go on and on about my dad. I could write a novel about his character, compassion, loyalty, selflessness and love. I don’t have any pictures of him holding me as a baby or walking hand in hand with him as a toddler. But what I do have is memories and no one can take those away.

dad2 I remember being his Christmas gift one year (I was actually gift wrapped). I remember him making tons of my Halloween costumes by hand every year.  I remember him never missing any of my swim meets or hearing him on the poolside cheering me on. I remember him scolding me when I went against his rules, but then his comforting nature after to talk about things. My dad gives the most amazing and wise advice, not that I always listened, but I love how he gave me the room to learn by mistakes and love me through them. I remember him never leaving my hospital bed side, all 4 times. He did things no father should have to do for his adult daughter. While being bed bound after each accident, he showered me, washed my hair, dyed my hair, shaved my legs, did therapy with me three times a day with tears streaming down my eyes but pushing through because he was there. I remember getting on my walker for the first time 9 months after my first accident (age 19) and taking 3 unassisted steps into his arms. I remember him being my Valentine many times. He has held my hand through tough times, comforted me before multiple surgeries, cared for my daughter when I was physically unable to, being my strength when I had none left, letting me cry when I needed to and telling me to suck it up when he knew I could. He loves me unconditionally, even in my darkest times, he found my silver lining.

father2 My dad has not only spoken words of love to me, he has shown them over and over again. I love him with all of me and he truly is my best friend and my hero. The only thing I will probably regret is that he will never walk his baby girl down the aisle or dance with me at my wedding…but he already has taken the first dance of the best thing that ever happened to me…he was my daughters first love and first dance!

best dad

Giving In and Giving Up, IS NOT AN OPTION!

give up 3 There are times in life when all you want to do is give in or even worse give up. I think I know this feeling better than most, unfortunately. There were many of times in my teen years that I wanted to just give in…give in to peer pressure, give in to being the best daughter possible, give in to friendships/relationships that were not healthy. Then I hit 18 and wow, did all that change!

Yes, at the early age of 18, I learned how NOT to give in or give up. What was acceptable to put up with and what was not. How a person should be treated and how you should treat others.

Are you wondering HOW I learned all this so young? Easy, almost die and battle way your back from the grave for almost 2 years and you learn a lot! 

nightmare

After my car accident on Christmas Eve back in 1993, my life changed forever, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. How could it not! But there was a fork in the road. The fork was, do I get bitter and negative about what the accident did to me and my life or do I look at it as a blessing and become positive. I battled with this for about 6 months, 6 months of doing the bitter and negative road. 6 months of being mad at God, being mad at my doctors/nurses/physical therapists, being mad at parents/family/friends…just all around being an angry person. Being stuck in a hospital bed will do that to you and not just stuck there, but being unable to move your entire body except your head and arms. Just watching people WALK in to my room pissed me off. The worst phrases said to me were “Just stay positive”, “It could be worse”, “at least you are still alive” or the infamous question “how are you?”… how are you

REALLY, do you want me to seriously answer that question truthfully!? Could you even handle the blunt honest truth of that answer?!

 

Then Kevin happened! No Kevin was not a new boyfriend; he was not of any love interest of that kind. But I did love him and besides my parents, I owe him a lot! Kevin became my night nurse. I barely ever slept and since I was the youngest on the floor (literally by like 60 years), he spent a lot of time in my room in the middle of the night just sitting with me and talking. Not telling me how I should feel or telling me to stay positive, but just being there. We talked about everything; we even talked about my accident. Something I never did. You see, I couldn’t remember much about it, but what I did remember were things I wish I could forget. Those memories are forever seared into my brain, my life. But here is where I owe Kevin a lot. One morning after a night shift and an extremely painful night for me (physically), I woke up to find only one thing written on my white board in my hospital room. Typically that white board had my instructions for the day, what tests I had scheduled, what time my physical therapy appointments were, my day nurses name and phone number, etc. But not that day…that day I woke to find just this:

phil 413

Now go kill it! Signed….Kevin

I had no clue Kevin was a Christian, I had no clue that he knew The Bible, I had no clue that when I did sleep he prayed over me.

I also woke to my dad sitting in a hospital chair right beside me; Kevin called him and told him I would really need him today. He was right!

This is when I decided to barrel down the side of the road of bitterness and negativity to the road that led to something greater…the road of my new life!! It literally was like a switch flipped and this new person appeared. I was no longer this weak fragile shell of a body in a hospital bed. I was determined, I was positive and most importantly…I was filled with life again!

That is when progress happened. My board never was wiped clean and nothing new was ever put on it. My days were filled with physical therapy, even when I was told to slow down, I didn’t. I had a goal! What was it? To walk again! I didn’t care if it meant with assistance, with crutches, a walker…I didn’t care. I was not being labeled by society and deemed an outcast because of this new life I was embarking on. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, that there would be many difficult days ahead of me, but I was ready to hit them all head on and be the one standing at the end.

Here is where I lost a lot of people in my life. Remember in the beginning I said how giving up and giving in is not an option. Here is where I tell you it is.

Confused yet?

Let me explain. It is NEVER ok for you to give in or give up when it comes to YOU, but it is absolutely ok to give in or give up on someone or something that is making you doubt your abilities and yourself. I have learned that life is too precious to care about hurting someone who is already hurting you. To worry that if you don’t give in to the way people want you to be, you will be alone. That if you aren’t doing, saying, being that perfect person at the perfect time, no one will love you.

Guess what!!!

Whether you do all of that or not…it will never matter. People will still come to their own reason or rationality on why they either like you or don’t, or if they choose to love you or not or if they even want to be a part of your life through the good and the bad. But here is where you get to have your say…you get to choose if they like you or don’t, if they will love you or not or if they stay or if they go. It’s all up to you. No one else holds the reigns in your life. The path you take is up to you. The decisions to be made are yours to make.

So it all comes down to this…

Never give in or give up on you…but it’s ok to walk away from the ones who have given up on you.

give up 2

Stop talking and starting doing!

now blog Why do so many people say things, but never do things?

There’s that famous quote “easier said, then done”, but I feel like too many people use it as an excuse to just get by. Why on earth would you want to JUST GET BY in life?

easier said blog There have been many of times that is exactly what I wanted to do and it is exactly what I did do. If I look back on my life so far, the moments of risk taking are the ones I remember. The only “just get by” moments I remember are ones I want to forget.

I think one of the most amazing moments of risks I have taken was becoming a mom and a single mom at that. I give props to the parents who are doing it on their own. Not just the single parents either, but the parent here on the home front while their spouse is defending our country and freedom. The stay at home parent, that doesn’t get enough appreciation for making the ship sail smooth. Yes, I, a single mom, is giving props to parents who’s partner is bringing in a paycheck but is physically hardly ever there. It takes more than money to run a home and love a child.

Even though at 23, I wasn’t ready to become a mom, I will never regret the decision I made, nor will I ever look at her as a mistake. She is my blessing and my miracle, especially after being told I could never have children at the age of 18. We have taken many risks and challenges in the last almost 17 years together. Without her, I might not have had the guts to take a leap in faith or sometimes a massive jump!

road There are times when the road ahead of you seems daunting, heck you might not even see the road! This is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak! This is when your faith, not in life, but in yourself needs to shine brighter than your fear. It is time to believe in yourself, believe you have what it takes and believe that no matter what the outcome may be (good or bad) you are still ok.

This goes with all areas of your life, not just certain areas. Don’t pick the ones you THINK you can do or handle. Get out of your comfort zone, do things you never thought you could do, trust yourself, believe in yourself and most of all LOVE YOURSELF!

Why it’s OK to be human

human word cloud Yes, you read that correctly…

We ARE human…you, me, the guy sitting next to you on the bus, the woman trying something new at the gym, the toddler screaming in the aisle at Target, the elderly couple holding hands on the park bench. We are human…we are flawed, we have scars, we love, we hurt, we have opinions and thoughts, we fear, we have strength and courage, we have pride, we have insecurities…everyone, everywhere….we are HUMAN!!!

Are you wondering why I started this blog in this fashion? What does it have to do with me? With her? With anything?

Easy! I have seen and read WAY TOO many people think they have to be perfect. That if they could just be like so and so, they would be happier. If they had those legs, that butt, those abs, her hair, that job, those clothes, his car…things would be better, be easier, be happier.

What you don’t take into effect is how many of those people, look at you (or a version of you) and wish the same thing. Just because on the outside things look like what you want…you have to really stop looking on from the outside and focus on what truly matters…the inside.

I know, you are thinking, way easier said then done.

If you can remember one thing…it will take you far ~ No one is perfect AND no one expects you to be either!

We expect perfectness from ourselves, which in turn makes it seem that we expect that from others. But just like we make mistakes, screw up, fail, falter…so does everyone else. What really shows the character of a human, is what they do with those negatives!

With saying that, being human means LIFE gets in the way sometimes. You might be dealing with the loss of a loved one, being unemployed, dealing with a medical condition or injury, taking care of a very sick loved one, being abused in some way, BUT here is the one thing that we seem to forget, without taking care of us first…we can’t deal with life when it gets tough.

So let me give you the advice I give myself…

stop2 STOP!!!….

STOP trying to be perfect.

STOP trying to be someone you aren’t.

STOP forgetting to live life and enjoy it.

STOP living in the past, which is hindering your future.

STOP not LOVING yourself.

YOU ARE HUMAN…and you are perfect in being human, just the way you are!!!

It’s OK not to have a sculpted body, not to eat perfect at every meal, to miss the gym, to say no when you really want to, or to not wear make up or do your hair (every once in a while).

Remember, there is NOTHING WRONG with being human, when others can’t see past the outer view of you, they don’t deserve to get to know the inner view of you!

human quote

All thanks goes to my Doctors and Simon, on this one!

who am iYou are probably sitting there pondering why would I write a blog about the childhood game from our past. Well, easy, it became a vital part of my future.

In my last accident in December 2008, I also suffered from a TBI, traumatic brain injury. Though only a moderate TBI, it was to the front temporal lobe of my brain.

front temporal lobe

Let me give you a little medical background to this first, so then you can understand the rest of this. The front temporal lobe is a component of the cerebral system, which basically directs our behavior. It is the part of the brain that deciphers between good and bad choices, along with recognizing the consequences of those choices. It also triggers irritability, mood swings and an inability to regulate behavior. Another common impairment is memory, both long and short term. An injury to this area of the brain can lead to deficits in anticipation, goal selection, planning, initiation, sequencing, detecting errors and self-correction.  

Now with all that being said, why Simon?

That long lost childhood memory game became my saving grace! Literally!

You see my TBI went unnoticed for over 6 months. It wasn’t until my dad asked one of my doctors “When am I going to get my daughter back?” My doctor looked at him strangely, especially since I was sitting RIGHT NEXT to my dad when he said this. You see, what my dad meant was, the daughter he knew before the accident, is not in the woman sitting next to him. Things are different, a little off, or the easy way to put it “She is not Sue.”

Let me explain the meaning behind my dad’s words. Before my accident, I was always on my toes, I could calculate things in my head, I remembered EVERYTHING (which sucks at times), I never had to write things down, I laughed (a lot), I was a social butterfly. You get the picture. The daughter sitting next to him now was a roller coaster of emotions, couldn’t remember to take medications, let alone remember simple everyday tasks, like flushing a toilet or to brush my teeth. Forget counting money, running errands or going grocery shopping! Can you say NIGHTMARE!?!  I also lost a section of my memory, from about 2001 to 2005. There are a lot of just dead spaces that I just can’t recall. The worst is meeting someone again that I haven’t seen since then and NOT remembering how we met, but knowing I know them. FRUSTRATING!!

So this led my doctor to order some tests, one being an MRI of my brain. Can you believe they never did that the night of my accident after having trauma to my head? Well three days later, my dad received his answer, I had a TBI that has been left untreated, so it was still causing damage. My doctor stated that it would be reversible, but he’s wasn’t sure by how much and it would take me longer, now that I was already delayed in getting diagnosed. So it began, my venture into Cognitive Rehab. I never felt so frustrated and alone than I did during this process.  I had rehab 3 days a week, along with homework I had to do at home, it was just like physical therapy, but only with my brain. The things I was doing, were things children were learning in kindergarten. I felt extremely stupid, in a part of my brain, I knew the answers, but I couldn’t get them out. I was known for my attention to detail, remembering the smallest of facts and details to a case, but now I couldn’t even remember 3 items (written and picture) on a shopping list. This went on for weeks and weeks. This is also when I purchased my first smartphone, talk about a complete lifesaver it turned out to be. I would sit down every morning and set my alarms to go off for every medication (remember at this time I was taking 9 different ones, 24 pills in all for just one day) I had to take and which one I needed to take at that time along with the dosage. Then if I had errands to run, I literally mapped it out and did a task where I could check off as I went. Now why did I have to map it out, well because even though lived in the same city for over 30 years, I couldn’t pin point where locations were anymore, sad but true.

Then I was told by my doctor to download apps and get memory inducing games, like Simon. Well, wouldn’t you know it, once a master at Simon as a child, I failed at miserably now. To the point I chucked the game across my room several times and screamed that it lied!

Simon

Well, now let’s jump ahead one year from that point…I have almost all my short term memory function back, I still am missing gaps of memory throughout that block of years, my emotions have finally even keeled themselves to the point of where I can recognize when I go from one quick extreme to the other and I stop it. Was all this frustrating, hell yeah it was, you feel like you are standing outside your body looking in and wondering where the hell you went to. It’s even more frustrating trying to explain it to people when you couldn’t even understand it yourself. I lost a ton of “so-called” friends throughout this phase in my recovery from my accident, but I also had some amazing ones who would sit with me and try to help me get my memories back of the times I had forgotten about.

You truly never appreciate a part of your body until that part is injured or taken away from you. I am blessed that my TBI was not as severe as it could have been and that I have about 90% of what I damaged, healed. So in the end…yeah, I’ll take it!!!