Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Tell me it gets better"

Summer has been busy, I haven't written in awhile. Not because I haven't pondered and formulated blogs in my head.  I just had too much cognitive fatigue to even desire trying to write them out!

Today "superhubs" took me to a walk for Brain Injury Awareness. Today also happens to be exactly 10 years ago that I was in my last 23 hour brain surgery. 2015 and  I am walking across the Hudson River. All by the Grace of God!!  There were hundreds of survivors, caregivers, friends and family (I had cousins even drive hours to join me, I was humbled and honored by their presence) All of us touched and changed in some way by Brain Injury.  It always overwhelms my tender, caring heart when I am surrounded by so many TBI stories. I wish I had the time and energy to know every single one! But today, because of the wonders of social media I got to meet, in person, another young brain surgery survivor (hers a tumor instead of an aneurysm.) We share the same first name too!! After talking recovery for a few minutes, I went to leave and let her (and me)  rest  (it was a really long, busy day for a survivor!) Just before walking away, she looked at me with tired eyes and said, "Tell me it gets better!" I was glad for dark sunglasses hiding the tears that began to form in my eyes and I took a deep breath and told her it honestly does get better! It will be slow and it isn't fun or easy but IT WILL GET BETTER! I still have to carefully manage my energy or I get migraines,dizzy or nauseous. But it happens less than it used to! My internal thermostat still doesn't work perfectly nor is my blood pressure always regulated perfectly by my brain. However, it has been years since I have literally panicked over the dysfunction so badly that my doctors ordered scans, just to put all of our minds at ease (I do have routine ones still. )I can even take a shower most days without needing an immediate nap from all the sequencing, IT DOES GET BETTER! And, I was reminded why I expend so much energy to get to these events.  I truly love advocating and raising awareness but the real reason I do it is so I can tell somebody what I so desperately needed to hear from another brain surgery survivor......You can live a happy, productive, fulfilling life if you let go of whatever image you had in your head before this and my friend, IT DOES GET BETTER, hang on!  You learn how to deal better with your own limits and accept them for what they are. Don't be like me, insecure and WAY too hard on herself. Give yourself some grace and time to heal!  You are here walking and talking about it and your life has purpose, "Be brave and keep going" (I have a necklace that says this and it is one of my favorites!)

As I prepared for and prayed over this walk, you see, I wasn't even going to go until a few weeks ago. The summer had been so busy I just wanted to write off anything not essential to living.  But, the Lord brought to mind my prayers of 13 years ago.  I was a newlywed and had just graduated from college with my education degree.  Life was great but, honestly, I was lonely.  I missed my college friends and my sister that I had gotten to see on campus every day for my last two years.  I missed a soul that wasn't drying up. I prayed for friends. I prayed for a career that would impact others lives for good. I prayed that I could find a place where my soul would heal and be real again instead of being driven by duty and stated meetings and I longed for a bit of rest, a place to thrive with my new hubby, not because we "had to" but because we "wanted to &we loved to." Two aneurysms, three brain surgeries, and a stroke later I see how my prayers were answered in the most mysterious ways! Honestly, if I had seen the whole picture I might have stopped praying and missed the glorious struggle.  Chasing after a career I didn't love, stuffed in a box that did not fit me and who God created me to be.  It doesn't look like the box most people get, but we always knew that :-)I think others can finally begin to see what I kinda always knew!  So I end my tired babbling thoughts being thankful for friends, freedom and room to grow, and a story I love to share if it will help others!