November 19, 2017

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

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!!! 

I Was Told NEVER

Never

How many times have you heard it?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have heard it spoken to me, whether by a loved one, a friend, a doctor or even strangers. I even heard it said  in so many different ways!

You will NEVER walk again.

You will NEVER have children.

You will NEVER play sports again.

You will NEVER amount to anything.

You will NEVER make me happy.

You will NEVER know what true love is.

You will NEVER graduate.

You will NEVER get married.

You will NEVER lose weight.

You will NEVER….BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!!!!

And the list goes on and on.

So why am I writing this? Why am I blogging about this ONE WORD? Why do I feel so strong about this?

I am writing about the word NEVER because as much as it can be a absolutely HUGE negative in someone’s life, you can also make it a pretty massive positive, it all depends how you react to the individual spewing the negative NEVER.

Let me explain~

Ever since I can remember I have always had someone telling me “never” and for the longest time…I believed that word for my life. I don’t think people truly know the depths of a wound that one word can make in someone’s life. One of the hardest things I had to overcome was my own mind and what I let others do to it. I remember laying in my hospital bed at age 18, after being told on Christmas Day, that  would never walk again or have children. Merry Christmas to me! NOT! And here is the kicker, I BELIEVED HIM! Why? Because I was 18 and he was a Doctor…well I learned very quickly that just because someone has a doctorate, doesn’t mean they get to decided the outcome of the rest of your life. Imagine if I listen to him and all the other doctors that spoke that word into my life.

TractionI look at this way, my doctors might have told me that I would NEVER walk again (at 3 different times in my life), but that didn’t mean that I had to stop using my legs. In all of us we have the spirit to fight, to buck against the system saying this is HOW IT IS. Yes, they are doctors and they specialize in the trauma that was done to my body, not once but three separate occasions, but that doesn’t mean they know EVERYTHING. Why? Because a doctor is only a person who PRACTICES medicine. (I say this strongly because my sister is an ER doctor and she iss one of my BIGGEST supporters and cheerleaders and told me NOT to listen to ANY Dr that says that word)! There are so many deciding factors on all the “what COULD be” for me! How does a doctor, let alone anyone for that matter, know what YOU are capable of. No two people are the same. So you can have 10 people, all with the exact same injuries, in one room and have 10 absolutely different outcomes of their recovery.

Let me put it this way, just because a doctor told me I would never walk again, didn’t mean I wasn’t going to keep trying to stand and take a step. Just like when I was told I would never have children, would that stop me from getting into serious relationship and staying abstinent for the rest of my life because of what a doctor said!  HECK NO!! Imagine if I did…almost 4 years  to the date of my first accident, I became pregnant and I was blessed with a beautiful baby girl.

Over time I learned to use someone’s NEVER and make it be the driving force to prove that NEVER wrong. Now, I will admit, I might have not walked again, but I would have found a way to walk, it might just have looked different than what people are use too. I might not have gotten pregnant, but that wouldn’t have meant I would have not been a mom. I might have not played sports again, but that wouldn’t have meant that I wouldn’t have found a new sport to fit my life.

I look at life this way…every scar, every battle wound…INSIDE and OUT…make me who I am today…the good, the bad and the ugly…I could have just gave up. Trust me, I get that statement all the time “Sue, if I went through half of what you have, I would have just let myself die”. And they are right, I could have. I could have not fought to regain my life. I could have died on the scenes of my accidents, I could have died in the helicopter or  ambulances, I could have died on the multiple OR tables I have laid upon. But I chose life…as hard as it may be sometimes…I chose ME!!

I am not saying that your life will look like the way society makes you think normal should be…but what I am saying is that you get to decide what your life looks like and you get to FULLY control which way you want your life to go. YOU DECIDE YOUR NORMAL! And I think that is kinda awesome!!

survived cropped

2013…This truly HAS to be MY year!!

2013

You might be asking your self, WHY?

Well, if you don’t truly know me yet, then you don’t know that my lucky number is 13! So with it being year 2013 and then my birthday is on the 13th, oh and might I add it also falls on the greatest of all days (at least for me)…it’s a FRIDAY the 13th at that!! So YES this truly has to be MY YEAR!!

friday the 13

Though 2012 wasn’t so bad, the first half I was still recovering from my total left hip replacement. I finally got the “OK” to get back in the gym in May, but no low body weight training til almost August. I have had tons of set backs due to issues that have come up because of my surgery, that left me bed ridden for a few days here and there.

Let me talk about an issue, that actually has become second nature to me…my weight. I am one of those women who can tell anyone any “stat” of my life…whether it be years as a mom (14), years single (37), my age (37), years at the sheriff’s office (10), years dealing with medical issues (19), number of surgeries (20), number of tats (20), how many bones I have broken (seriously I have lost count), how many true loves have I had (1)…see the list can go on forever!

So back to my weight. At my highest, I was 275 (1/1/2005) and at my lowest I was 138 (9/1/2009).  I finally settled at my ideal weight for me, which is between 150-155. But over the last year my complete mindset on my weight has changed. You see being bed ridden from Feb 17, 2011 until January 30, 2012 (being able to get up an about but no exercise at all) left me at 181lbs. So I started back to really watching what I ate, not counting calories, but nutrient content (protein, carbs, fat grams). You see I decided I didn’t care about the number on the scale, I wanted my body composition to change this time, meaning lowering my body fat and not caring what my weight was. I started at 28.3% body fat, which is deemed overweight for my height of 5’7″. So now this became my goal, gain lean muscle, lose body fat. Well I was on a roll up until Dec 8th (when I kind of fell into a slump which then turned into mild depression).  I dropped weight to 160 and my body fat dropped to 21.7%, I was ecstatic! Now I was to only lose 5 or so more pounds but I want to be at 16-17% body fat. Well 3 weeks of depression and not really caring did me in…gained back weight and it wasn’t healthy weight because I was constantly in starvation mode due to hardly ever eating. So the last few days I have refocused and besides my emotional eating last night (yes I am human), I am gonna set out to ROCK 2013!!

407814_489826364402014_1832467888_n

Staying Positive AFTER An Injury or Surgery

You might be thinking to yourself, is she kidding, everyone at some point becomes negative during the recovery process! My response to that is, you are ABSOLUTELY correct! We do, it is part of human nature for us, but at the same time, we also have the capabilities to counter act that choice.

Let me give you a little background to back up what I am about to say to you. I am a 37yr old single mom and I should have died not once, but 4 different times in my life. I have been told by doctors at 3 points in my life that I would NEVER walk again. I was told my life would NEVER be the same. I lived through 3 near fatal car accidents, my last being in the line of duty. The other thing that almost killed me was when I contracted bacterial meningitis. I have more titanium in my body holding me together than anyone should EVER have. I have gone through 20 surgeries to date, mostly on my lumbar spine, pelvic and left hip. So now that you know a little about me, let me tell you why I am a SURVIVOR, not a victim!Never believe words of people who have NEVER gone through what you are going through, and YES this includes the doctors treating you! You truly are your own worst enemy when it comes to your recovery! It is just like when we want to hit a PR (personal record), if we go into negatively, we might as well NEVER even try! But when we go into with a positive mindset, it is truly amazing what our minds are capable of putting our bodies through! Another thing about mindset, don’t be a stubborn or a prideful person when you reenter the box/gym. You do this; you might as well have just stayed home! Let me tell you this now and get it out of the way – YOU WILL NOT BE THE SAME PERSON AS BEFORE, throw out all your old goals and make new ones for the person you are NOW!!  Now, I am not saying that you will never get back to where you were, hell you might even exceed all your past PRs! What I am saying is your body has changed, PERIOD! There is no going back to the way it use to be. It is time to start finding out what works for the body you have NOW! This is probably one of the biggest struggles people deal with when in recovery. The second is the time from which the injury or surgery occurred to when you actually get back into the box/gym!

So let’s talk about that for a second, that down time can either be used to play the pity card or it can be used to start formulating a path in which you want to go. Only YOU can make this decision. Only YOU can decide if want to be the “oh woe is me” person or the SURVIVOR! And I don’t care how many cheerleaders you have in your corner, NONE OF THEM can do this journey for you! Matter of fact, there will come a point that if you hear one more positive word out of someone’s mouth, you literally might go insane!

In closing, let me just make one thing clear! An injury or surgery doesn’t define WHO YOU ARE…you do!  I am not going to sit here and tell you that it’s going to be easy, it actually might be the hardest fight of your life, and like me, you might have to fight it a few times. But what I will tell you is not only will it be worth it, but you will be stronger than you have ever been hitting any PRs!!!