Thursday, June 10, 2010
A shorter version of my story!
Sorry it has been pathetically long since I have updated. I am afraid I am still bad a learning my limits and did too much and had a total CRASH. I mean worse than it has been in years. I spent two whole days sleeping, that is how tired I was. I even got someone to cover my shift at the library which I never do because I really like going there but I was just so tired I felt like I just couldn't go on. So why the crash? Well, I won an award at this year's Brain Injury Conference here in Albany which meant giving an "acceptance speech" so I decided to say thank you and share my story with other survivors. It was really 'fun' actually but the emotions involved in relaying the story was more exhausting than I thought! Wow, it drained me but I am still glad I shared. I hope it at least encouraged one person in the room!! I am trying to figure out how to post it on you tube so friends and family who wanted to be there but couldn't can see it! Stay tuned, I'll find help from someone who actually knows what they are doing!
Here is a 'copy' of what I said.......
First, thank you for giving me this award. There are no words to describe how honored I am, so I’ll leave it at THANK YOU! And, thank you to everyone who put this conference together. I have looked forward to it every year since my injury. For two whole days I get to be in a room full of people who have “been there” and understand what living with a brain injury is all about! What an unbelieveable blessing. Thank you Brain Injury Association for making all this possible every year!!! Now, I’d like to briefly share my story with you:
February 1, 2005 was a cold and snowy day. I reported to my first job feeling fine and was driving to the second one when a brain aneurysm in my right middle cerebral artery burst, instantly filling my head with blood. I passed out and apparently drove off the road and over a 60 foot bank missing every tree and not even rolling my Jeep Cherokee. Someone in a blue pick- up truck saw fresh tracks in the snow, found me unconscience, called 911, then left the scene when police responded to the call. I was rushed to Albany Medical Center and my husband, Nate, was contacted. When he arrived at the hospital doctors told him to say his goodbyes; there was very little hope of my survival. At that point my left side was completely paralyzed and my head was still full of blood. When it looked like I may live, after the clipping surgery, Nate was then told he may want to check into nursing home facilities because the reality was that I would most likely be a "vegetable". When I finally woke up I thought it was 2002 (It was really 2005) , but I could speak, and I recognized Nate and my family. When I was medically stable I was taken to Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital since I still had no use of my left hand and had VERY poor balance! About a week after being released from Sunnyview I had a very stiff neck and Nate says I looked up at him and said that my head hurt. He immediately put me in my Jeep and headed for Albany Medical Center, only 4.6 miles away. By the time we got there, I couldn't walk on my own. Scans showed an aneurysm at the base of the first one had ruptured. My artery was in such bad condition after my first rupture that doctors were unable to check for any more weak spots without causing further, possibly massive damage to my brain. So the second aneurysm was coiled to stop the bleeding and avoid 2 craniotomies in a month’s time. The bleeding stopped and a shunt was placed to relieve all the pressure in my brain (my ventricles weren't working due to all the bleeding). After the shunt was placed, I regained some of the use of my left hand. It was moving again and now I would just have to work on improving my fine motor skills. Months after being released from the hospital, my doctors cleared me to fly to Oklahoma for my sister's wedding. After returning from the wedding, I had a six month check-up and doctors found the second, coiled aneurysm was growing again. It was also discovered that due to the lack of blood through the arteries I had a “stroke” probably right after the first rupture. So to fix this growing, now giant aneurysm, doctors would have to preform a bypass around the clipped vessel to give me enough blood to feed my poor little brain. Since the vessels in my arms and legs appeared too small, the neurosurgeons decided to use part of my temporal artery for the bypass. After 23 hours,(yes 23 hours) of surgery the aneurysm was clipped and the bypass was working. The surgery was so risky I honestly prepared for not waking up. My bypass has since shut down and in another unexplainable way my clipped artery expanded enough to let the proper amount of blood flow through it. This bypass has now reopened which doctors also say 'never' happens after a vessel has shut down. By the way, if you do the math, my chances of even surviving two ruptures was 1/10 of 1%. I really have very few memories of that whole year and I only know the story as it has been told to me. My prupose is clear, By the Grace of God, I’m supposed to be here.
My recovery story is probably much like each one of you here today. It is slow and frusterating trying to relearn things you used to know how to do or could even do without thinking! There isn’t time to talk about all the times I messed up a sequence, or just couldn’t process information presented to me leaving me confused and exhausted. Oh, and the fatigue, the constant relentless fatigue. I know you all understand without explanation. My faith has carried me through along with the love and support of an amazing husband, family , and friends. A good friend once told me “Lisa, no matter how many times you fail, you are not a failure”, I don’t know about you but sometimes I still need to hear that from time to time! . Finally, in the spirit of this conference I wanted to share what I consider to make it all worth every pain-staking minute of recovery. The “silver lining” , if you will, is ALL the moments in life I didn’t miss out on.