it was hard to have hope... really hard...pretty much impossible. i had just almost died. my entire life had been ripped away from me in an instant. i was terrified and alone. i could barely even believe in tomorrow, how was i supposed to believe in a future, a BETTER future? people kept telling me if i believed and had faith, i would get better. that line killed me. i deeply wanted to be hopeful and positive but i really couldnt. so then, i felt that if i didnt get better, it would be my fault, because i didnt believe enough. this guilt consumed me. 'well, this one person who was really sick, just decided to believe they would get better, and they did! right away!' people loved to tell me these stories to maybe encourage me? but instead, they just made me want to scream. life wasnt that simple. i wanted to say, have those people call me when theyve had a stroke and locked in syndrome. all i was capable of doing and all i wanted to do was to wake up every morning, get out of bed and work like I had never worked before. though I felt guilty every day, that would have to be enough. i was watching joel osteen the other day (mainly because my mom made me, i swear!). he says a lot of god is great stuff or jesus is the man type stuff, but if you listen closely, he says some profound and interesting things. he was saying how every person around you needs to encourage and believe in your dreams. he was also saying that the people you look up to have the ability to speak words that are so powerful to you. i realized that is how i got through it. the people around me were positive for me! though i couldnt believe myself, every person around me believed it for me. They had enough faith and optimism to make up for my pessimism. and i appreciate all the people who were brave enough to say things to me that were so positive and powerful, even before the doctors would say anything. I remember this one older med student, who I have always respected for her poise and intelligence, was saying something about me returning to medical school. though i couldnt say anything yet and couldnt even break a smile, every part of me was smiling inside. if she, the smartest girl ever, believed i was coming back to school, then i had to believe i was! then another teacher from med school, only a few weeks after my accident, through all my tears, she said 'this will all make you a better doctor.' for some reason, those words, since they were spoken so early on, were so powerful to me and always stuck with me. finally, i remember, one day my resident came in the room. i was visibly upset and my mom said, 'what do i do, she doesn't believe good things will happen.' My resident responded, ' well, whether you believe it or not, everything will be happening to you anyway!' what an epiphany, the burden i had been carrying for months was finally taken off my back. the guilt that was consuming me finally melted away. i could just let everyone around me be positive and believe in my dreams for me, and i could just concentrate on working hard every day. that would definitely be enough. so no, i definitely don't believe i can fly, i just really need you to believe that i can.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
drum roll please...I CAN TEXT!!!!!!! you all know that is secretly and sadly, one of my top priorities in life hehe. it is slow and difficult but it is completely by myself, which is all that really matters! im using my old phone, my crazy krazer, with my normal number. i hold the phone with my left hand and type with the middle finger of my right. my finger gets tired so i dont know if i will respond everytime! i already texted a few people because i knew it would be a weird/wonderful surprise for people to see my name pop up in their inbox! next goal - being able to TALK to you on the phone!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
i love(d) running. no really, i did! i enjoyed working out, and even found time to do it in med school! and i was pretty health conscious (that was sometimes an understatement...ask megan...vegetables with a side of vegetables anyone?). so, all that combined, i was in pretty good shape. and then, i had my stroke. within a few days, i was unrecognizable. i saw my legs which were muscular just a few days ago, were now toothpicks, skin and bones. i felt like the insides of my limbs were sucked out. it was like all my muscles had dissolved overnight. my body just felt like a useless pile. gross. i thought things would change once i started eating. but pureed eggs, pureed peas, and pureed pinto beans that i forced down didnt do anything but make me vomit. maybe things would be different? after months of practicing swallowing, failing 3 or 4 swallow studies (yes, first test i ever failed), and having no hope of swallowing normally zgain, i passed my swallow study! i got my last artificial attachment out, my PEG tube, and i could have regular food and drink. i shouldve felt more normal, right? false. i was filling up on pasta and pizza, but i felt and looked so empty. i realized my muscles werent just hidden, they were all gone... and i would have to start from scratch. and it was really from scratch...my first evaluation, every single muscle, from my head down to my toes, was rated as a zero out of five. so my therapists and i, not knowing where to start, went to work. for 6 hrs a day for 5 months, i worked, trying to reignite these lifeless limbs. by the time i left the hospital, every single was at least a one out of five, meaning they had all turned on! so my next goal was to make them stronger. though my muscles had turned on, i still looked deflated. i knew i had A LOT of work ahead... now, a few days ago, my good friend manoj was here. he casually said, 'u look good, do u work out?" i laughed because i was thinking, 'yea, obvi, only every second everyday!' but it really got me thinking. ever since the stroke, ive looked sick, weak, and emaciated, but never good. while i was thinking about this later on, i had reached out to grab my armrest and pull me over. i looked down and there i saw it....a bicep! i could see a little muscle belly poking through! though i definitely still have a lot of work, my hair is still wild, and im paler than my white, eminem-esque trainer, the real me is slowly poking through. so eventually, totally and completely, from head to toe, its gonna be me.