Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The other day, a few of my good friends from Charlotte were hanging out with me. They were getting ready to leave and I said "Thank you for coming!" in an appreciative yet robotic-like fashion. One of my friends started laughing and replied, "Why the formality?! It's still us." I knew he was right, they had been over hundreds of times before my stroke, and they would be over hundreds of times after it. It was still them, yes, but... Was it I have been dragged through dirt, mud, garbage, and hell the past three years. I have felt hopeless, helpless, meaningless, powerless, and useless, after living 23 years that were utterly and completely full. In a split second, I went from cloud nine to rock bottom. What. A. Fall. I went from smiling all day long, for quite literally no apparent reason, to being completely unable to smile physically, to being unable to smile emotionally, to finally being pretty apathetic to the whole smiling thing. And it's not like one tragedy in your life makes you invincible, untouchable to more tragedy. Nope. I have been beaten down so much by the world, whats left of me? Has it all changed me?
Three years ago, I had an ugly stroke of reality. The world I had once believed in, the world that I thought beautiful, and just, the world that I even wanted to save, had revealed to me it's cruel power - it didn't need saving, I did... Then, I went through an ugly breakup. I always used to see the good in others - it was probably my greatest gift, and my most tragic flaw. I didn't do this knowingly, but now, looking back, through my slightly more critical lens, I realize I did only see the best in others. I realize now that people can seem so good on the outside, but capable of being so bad on the inside. I've decided to instead, trust in my dog's opinion of others, because I dont trust my own. One bark = like, two barks = dislike. He pretty much barks 50 times at everyone, so our system still needs work. Or it just means that he loves everyone (like mother, like son)... And all the while, I've been going through this ugly rehab process. Before all of this, I was enamored by the medical world, the science, the knowledge, the service, etc. but being a patient now, I've felt how much we dont know at all about the human body. Ive heard the phrase 'I don't know' more times than i can count. I think I've been disillusioned and disappointed by everything..But then I read this: "Sweetheart - this pic's for you babe. Just to remind you of my smile - how you make me smile. How even if you're so far away - I smile when I think of you 'cuz you're truly my angel. The one who I NEED to see at least once a year or I'll lose my mind. People like you rarely exist babe and I'm so so blessed by your presence. I'm humbled by your unselfishness, your sweet personality, your unwavering support, and your unconstitutional love. I <3 u forever." That was a message written to me by Rajul, on the back of her senior picture, that she gave to me TEN YEARS AGO. But its EXACTLY something she would say to me now! I think that means I'm still me (and Rajul can still write so beautifully, it makes me melt). Yes, my skin is thicker, my mind is wiser, m blood is...thinner? (daily baby aspirin, baby), and my heart is careful, yet my soul is, thankfully, forever unchanged. So i guess I've grown, not changed. Sorry world/fate/destiny, I know you tried really hard, but I guess I'm still the same ol' G... You can take everything I am, you can break everything I have, like I'm made of glass, like I'm made of paper..... Go on and try to tear me down, I will be rising from the ground, just like a skyscraper...just like a skyscraper.

Friday, November 4, 2011

This is why I'm hot

I really hate how inherently selfish the whole rehab process is... Think about it... Millions of hours, millions of therapists, millions of dollars, millions, no billions, of miles on the road from therapy to therapy, and millions of prayers from everyone, all for what?¡ All to get one person a little, tiny bit better. Hours upon hours are spent on this person, from doctors, nurses, therapists, trainers, family and friends. But to thrive, or survive, in this rehab process, you really have to milk all of this. You have to become, well, selfish. You have to fancy yourself important enough to deserve it ALL, otherwise you will go insane. And I'm trying! I'm going hard in this rehab process with a single, arguably selfish, goal in mind. But, I'm not so good at this whole 'being selfish' thing... Like, I love the attention I'm getting from friends and everyone, but then I remember why I'm getting the attention, and then I start to hate it. When my mom used to tell me that people were praying for me at the temple, I appreciated the sentiment, but absolutely hated the attention, especially the reason for the attention. I'm not good at solely thinking of myself and my needs, I'm good at thinking of other people's needs. Before all this, I had the luxury of being utterly selfless. It was really nice, and though it felt natural at the time, I realize now that it was a luxury. Service was my life - sometimes literally (just ask Megan!), but I was proud of it, so proud. I cared about the kids I worked with more than I did myself... I know that sounds silly, but it was true. I may have given them my love and support, but they gave me a wonderful purpose. From my college essay, medical school essay, to various speeches, one line has been the same. A quote by Mahatma Gandhi, "In a gentle way, we can shake the world." I wanted to save the world... But as Lamar Odom said on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, "Wanna make God laugh? Tell him you plans." Yea, my plans definitely made him laugh, and he threw me a hell of a curveball. Then, about a year ago, a doctor approached me after therapy, and told me she had a patient who was a 19 year old girl who just had a stroke and was really upset. She asked if I could stop in and talk to her. I was overwhelmed and unprepared, but so anxious to help. I immediately went to hr room, but I had no idea what to say... I knew she must feel so alone, so I told her my story. I knew she must feel so freaking scared, so I told her the one line that made me believe, "Everything gets better from here." The whole room was in tears, including me and her. I came to check on her two weeks later, and she was doing so much better, it was so exciting, she looked so happy. Her doctor told my dad that it was either something I said or a coincidence, but she started improving after I talked to her! What!! I felt something at that moment, something great, something I hadn't felt in so long...needed...instead of hopelessly, embarrassingly, desperately needy.... It was so freeing, to forget my needs, and focus on someone else. Over the last few months, I've been getting emails from friends and strangers saying that my story and blog have helped them in some way. I don't know what I'm doing or saying, but I figure I'm doing something right. Because of everything that has happened, I have a voice, and people are listening. And sometimes I'm actually helping people other than myself. So now, I think I have an even more wonderful purpose. Basically, I'm hot cuz I'm fly, you ain't cuz you not. Jk! You are all fly, it's just that ibe2fly4u ;). So maybe I can still save the world, or at least shake it a little...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Killing me softly

So, I don't look like the person I was before... Emotionally, I'm pretty similar except now with a 'Sasha Fierce' side to me and sometimes a "No me jodas" type attitude. But physically..where do I begin?! I mean I look like me, but I look a When I say I was paralyzed from head to toe, I mean literally from head to toe. My forehead, my cheeks, my lips, my tongue, my throat, my trunk, my limbs, EVERYTHING. I could only blink my eyes which sounds like such a tiny thing but it probably saved my life because without the blinking, everyone would have thought I was brain dead. Now, all my muscles have come back, but not quite  right. Some are weak, some are slow, and some are just confused. This all makes for one awkward looking girl. First off, my legs aren't strong enough yet, so I'm confined to a wheelchair. But surprisingly, that is the least of my aesthetic problems. I have a 6th nerve palsy of my left eye so I can't really move my eye left; and my eyes aren't aligned exactly, so I look like I have a lazy eye all the time. My facial muscles, my neck muscles and my trunk muscles are still weak, so my face looks weird, my neck droops to the side, and I slouch. My arms lie limp in my lap, and I have a few visible scars. Worst of all, what alienates me the most is that I can't speak properly. Little kids stare at me like I'm a monster. If I try to talk to them, they literally run away. It kills me. When I try to go out in public, people say things to me or about me that make me want to vomit or just die. It kills me. Just the other day, my dentist said to my dad right in front of me, "She looks good today! She looks alert!" just like that, even though she meant well, she killed me. With just a few words, I felt like I was stabbed in the stomach. Before my stroke, I was strong and confident enough to handle anything, but now just a few words or a few stares can make me self combust. Don't get me wrong, I have optimism, I have positivity, and most importantly, I have hope, but it is SO fragile, its like a house of cards, one blow from caving in... When people see me, they see I'm completely broken on the outside, and then assume I must be broken on the inside too. If only the whole world would just read my blog ;) then they would realize my brain is in fact, far from being broken. But theres one person who, in his eyes, I am complete. He doesn't even notice my flaws, if anything, he sees them as assets. His unconditional love is exactly what I need to bring me back to reality, to bring me back from the dead. I'm talking about none other than my puppy, Duke :) I know it sounds silly, to rely on a dog so much, but honestly, whatever works! And it does really work. I cant really talk, so I never have to discipline him. I can't really use my legs, so i cant take him on walks (laziest puppy ever, he hates walks). I can't really use my arms, so I don't ever put him in the crate he hates. I'm a sloppy eater, so he loves sitting in my lap and discovering hidden crumbs on me. I cry a lot, and he LOVES licking my tears, and I need his distraction. Riding in my lap on my wheelchair is like a roller coaster for him so he doesn't let me go anywhere without him. That boy would follow me off a cliff if that's where I was headed. So it works! For now, he is enough to pick me up when I fall, but I fear the day that won't be enough anymore...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Allah ke Bande

Karma is an interesting thing... Of all My beliefs in Hinduism, it was the one that made the most sense, that made the other beliefs have some meaningful context (like dharma, reincarnation, etc). You could say it kinda held everything together for me. Karma is the concept that events happen in your life, whether good or bad, based on your previous actions or deeds. Makes total sense right?! It makes you feel that there is some cosmic justice in the world. It's even backed up by the laws of physics, which you know made my science-ey brain happy! 'every action causes an equal and opposite reaction.' karma is the closest thing any religion had to fact. I mean c'mon, how else do you explain LeBron James with his insanely talented Miami Heat losing the championship bitterly to the underdogs? Karma. But then I had my stroke, and all my beliefs and facts, became a lie. While I've made mistakes in life, I don't think any of them deserved even a week of this hell. Many people believe this is all because of karma and that I'm paying for something from a past life. Umm, ok... What do you say to that? Anyway, so by past life, they are implying reincarnation - which is, after death, your soul comes back to life in another life form. Now, I'm going to tell you all will probably think I'm crazy, but I think I've seen my soul. Not just a peak, but a long, never-ending stare. Let me explain. When I had my stroke and woke up in the ICU, I had a horrible, horrible epiphany - I had lost everything. Everything. My whole body, my voice, my mind, my family, my friends, my life, my career, my everything. All I had left was my soul...everything else ha been stripped, and all that was left was what made me, me. And what I saw was a scared, sweet, innocent soul, untainted by vindictiveness or revenge. If this was the same soul inhabiting past lives, I highly doubt it could be capable of doing anything that would deserve this kind of say I was a lion in my past life, I would totally be like Simba from 'The Lion King' and sing and dance all day instead of fighting and killing. So, karma, why aren't you true?!?! I need you to be true. I need to get completely better for any of this to make sense, for there to be some kind of balance in this world. I think we all need that balance to get through the terrible things in life... I've always loved this song 'Allah kè Bande' but only recently looked at the words. It's about angel who truly learns to fly, only after he loses his everything, his wings. It says, 'it is only in the scattered pieces of your dreams that you will find the meaning of Allah's will.' Wow, so lost my everything...check, dreams scattered...check! so maybe I will find meaning in all this...and truly learn to fly.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Time after time

Time after time-Javier colon

I'm scared...terrifed...lost...cconfused...nervous...and worried, really worried, about something everyone worries about, but, argueably, I have a lot more at stake...I am scared about my future. After many doctors told me I would eventually get better,my burning question was “When?” All of them would say the same thing, time after time, “I don’t know, it will take time.” That answer infuriated me, but at the same time I felt that this answer was protecting me. I so badly wanted an answer to that one question that was drowning me, but I was scared to hear an answer I didn’t like. I was scared they would tell me 20 or 30 years or maybe they would say 3 or 4 years, I didn’t have any idea, I still don’t know. So I started to hang on to every time limit my family members would say in passing. First, it was 6 months. I thought I can do 6 months.. I really believed I would be better in 6 months, believed it with all my heart, even though after 5 months, my muscles were barely working, I was still believing some divine intervention or miracle would come and fix me before 6 months. But it didn't, and I was crushed. My hope, my world, my universe came crashing down with a vengeance and took my spirit along with it. But I woke up the next morning, gathered myself, and started all over again, all my hope back at ground zero, ready to be built back up again...only to come crashing down again in 6 more months, and every mîlestone after that until I woke up this morning and realized it had been 2.5 years. And still no miracle. Time after time, I am disappointed..How much freaking 'time' does my body need!?!? I thought maybe I could find some answers online... Big mistake. All I found were details on other young stroke survivors who didnt have half as much damage as me and were perfectly fine in a few months or details on other locked-in syndrome patients who were dead in a few months. It has been 30 months and I'm far from being 'perfectly fine' or dead... So what the hell?!?! Had I run out of time to be fine again or am I just a breath away from death? So many awful questions about my future. I want my future to be happy, I want to fall in love, I want to get married, I want to have kids and raise a family, I want to become a doctor, i just want to be happy. They are such simple dreams, but right now, they feel impossible, like they are on another planet, in another universe. Is life even worth living if you can't pursue these basic dreams? I've totally missed out on life enough already! I'm in my 20's, the prime of my life. I should be out with my friends, partying and dancing; instead I'm always at home, drowning in a pool of constant humiliation, loneliness, and fear. Time after time, day after day, nightmare after nightmare, I always, always fear my future. Most of the time, I try to focus on the present, and keep fighting, but it's always at the back of my mind, silently eating away at my spirit. So I desperately want an answer to the question "When?!" but I only want to hear an answer I like and I'm terrified to hear an answer that will demolish my dreams for the future. So will my future hold my dreams or my nightmares, will it hold good luck or bad luck? You know what, eff that, I'll make my own luck.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Don't you, forget about me

Everyone is moving on, and I'm still standing still. Everyone is out conquering the world, but the world is still conquering me. Everyone is living their lives, but I still am struggling to have a life. Part of me is happy that all my friends and family are insanely successful, but it makes being here at home really lonely. I'm scared that with everyone moving on, they will forget about me. I don't always hear from people, so maybe some of them have already forgotten about me. I don't think I'm really forgettable, and maybe people are too busy or too scared to be in my life, but isn't that just as bad? It still leaves me feeling alone. I mean, I don't blame people. If I was living my life successfully, I would be hard presssed to stop and turn around to look back at a friend I left behind. I know my story is really sad, so maybe it's hard for people to even think about it because it's just too sad. But when people visit me, I am so overcome with happiness to see them that I'm all smiles and ignore that big elephant in the room. Most of the time, I try to put on a happy face when people are around, well, some of the time. Now I don't talk about this much because it is kind of humiliating. But when I had the stroke, I lost the ability to inhibit my emotions(Pseudobulbar affect). So, even if something is a little bit funny, I laugh, and if something is a little sad, I cry. If I get a little frustrated, I also cry. When I start crying in front of someone, I then get mad at myself, which makes me cry more. Then I get scared that I'm scaring them away, and that makes me cry even more. So it's an awful cycle that I try my hardest to fight. The last thing I want to do is scare people away. It has slowly gotten better, but it's still another obstacle I am forced to deal with. But i don't need people to visit me, i just want people to know it's still me. I want people to be comfortable enough to just email me or just send me a little message. I know that is hard because i type slowly, so i don't always reply. But i'm there and i'm listening. I am amazed at the strength, loyalty, and care some of my friends show me on a daily basis. I can't believe they can face me with all my sad problems, and actually be there for me. I am so surprised by their bravery in standing by my side and supporting me. Like Rajul, for example, who is my number one fan, supporter, cheerleader, and angel(it is funny because I think she fulfilled that role long before my stroke). Or Chaya, who is strong enough to talk to me about some of the hard stuff and shares with me her concerns as well as her love. Or Nisha, who makes feel like I'm the only girl in the world, hehe. But for
real, she shows me endless happiness, fun, and love. Or my wifey, aka Krishna, who is always there to share everything with me. Or many, many more unbelievable friends. Or my brother, Anand, who is my ultimate best friend and hero. I need them in my life to remind me I'm not alone. I need them in my life to remind me that things will get better. I need them in my life to remind me that I am still needed. And most of all, to prevent what I'm most scared about, I need them in my life to make sure I don't forget myself.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Still Fighting It

"To live doesn't mean you're alive"
- Nicki Minaj

In every sense of that phrase, I died on November 29th, 2008. But sometime in December 2009, over a year after my stroke, I finally felt, quite simply, alive. Even though, it was only for a few moments, it felt so real to feel something other than powerless and useless. But a lot had happened in a year to lead up to that feeling. So, ever since the first day of my stroke, I had let the nurses get me up out of bed, and I did whatever my therapists wanted me to do. Though I was broken inside and out, I still did all I could to work hard. Some nurses and Doctors were destroying every hope I had that I would get better, but my family and other doctors were adamantly telling me I was going to be fine. Though I was utterly confused and pretty hopeless, I knew deep down there was a small chance my family would be right and everything would slowly come back. So, through blood, sweat, and many, many, many tears, I fought every day, even when I left the hospital, I didn't skip a beat in my therapy. I started physical, occupational, and speech therapy three times a week plus whatever I could do at home. My therapists and I quickly realized this wasn't enough for me, I needed time, creative approaches to therapy, and to strengthen each of my muscles before hoping any of them would be of any use. So my doctor mentioned that maybe I should look into another place called Race To Walk. Now, the name itself brought hope and excitement to my eyes, but I didn't want to get my hopes up, only to be disappointed for the one millionth time in the past year. So I started working out at Race To Walk twice a week without any expectations. Within the first few moments, I noticed the dedication of the owner and trainers there, the amazing equipment and machines that filled the place, the creative and new ideas that the trainers had, the hope and positive attitude of all the trainers and clients that seemed to seep into every corner and engulfed me completely. And finally, I noticed that little feeling inside me like the sun was finally rising out of every inch of my body that had only seen darkness for the last twelve months. I had barely been living for the last year, but I didn't even know it until I felt the magic of actually feeling alive. I used to get really angry and really upset when people told me I was strong or inspirational or a fighter. I felt like anyone in my situation would have done the same thing. I feel like we all have inside of us that craving to survive and be alive and this awful situation brought that out in me. The other day I heard the quote on a commercial, " I don't need easy, I just need possible." Though it could be just a corny phrase, it really spoke to me. I finally realized what everyone meant that I was strong and an inspiration and yes, that I am a fighter. I realized that for many people when things aren't easy and when things get tough, they crumble. I won't deny that I didn't crumble too, but I fought through it. I knew that getting better was somehow possible even if it was the slightest possibility, it made me fight. I was so hungry for that possibility that I could have my life back. I was so hungry to fight even though things were far from easy. I was so hungry to feel alive. One day, I know I will feel alive all the time, but that will take some time. In the meantime, when the walls of life seem to be crumbling down all around me, I will fight, I will promise you, I will fight.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chasing pavements

I know a evil secret. Most of you won't like it, but I have kept it inside long enough. The world is a scary place. People hide behind phrases like "Don't worry, It will be ok," "it's all part of God's plan" and the worst quote, "Everything happens for a reason", instead of accepting the reality that we live in a cruel world. Awful things don't happen for any reason in particular, they just happen, and it sucks. When we are younger, we are told a lot of things, but we aren't told about how sad life can be. We believe that people are invincible, the world is infallible, and as Louie Armstrong would have us believe, the world is in fact, wonderful. As we grow up, we learn that bad things happen to bad people, but that seems justified to us. As we grow older, and as tragedy hits closer and closer to home, we have the harsh realization, that bad things happen to good people, and everything we thought true in the world is irrevocably turned upside down. Love, happiness, friends, and family are the things that make life worth living. But to enjoy those privileges, we signed an unspoken agreement with God and the Devil that awful things might randomly happen to us or our loved ones. I hate how unfair that is. You know, before my stroke, "hate" wasn't even part of my vocabulary, but now it screams from every inch of my body. I hate that all the clothes I was so excited to have 2 years ago will be out of fashion by the time I get better. I hate that I see my favorite pair of high heels every day on our shoe rack, and I realize I may never wear them again. I hate that I haven't been to my bedroom in over 2 years, because I can't walk upstairs, let alone walk. I hate that my parents have to waste so much time and money on therapy that only gets me a tiny tiny tiny bit better. I hate that I only get to see my friends two or three times a year if I am lucky. I hate that I recently had to tell my Duke Medical School friends, after a fit of tears, that I couldn't come watch them graduate( I was supposed to graduate with them in May), because I wouldn't be able to handle being there. I hate that I have had to put all my hopes and dreams aside as well as all my dancing and partying(but that's ok, the club can't even handle me right now). I hate that I don't even remember what genuine happiness feels like. I hate my life. There, I said it. I think saying it is the first step to accepting it, and maybe, eventually changing it. As J.K. Rowling said in her Harvard Commencement speech, it was rock bottom that formed the most stable platform on which she rebuilt her life. It's so easy to say "She is strong, so it will be ok, she is fighting through it", but I get so frustrated everyday because my reality is so hard and the world had forced me to hit rock bottom. Every month when everything seems hard and hopeless, I tell myself "Maybe next month will be better" and so I keep fighting. Sometimes I feel like a dog chasing its tail. It keeps running because it thinks it is getting closer to its goal. But it just ends up being a silly animal running around in circles, never reaching the end. Should I give up, or should I just keep chasing pavements, even if it leads nowhere? I think I will have to continue hiding behind another phrase, "Maybe next month will be better", and so I keep fighting.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No one man should have all that power

But, unfortunately, they do... I'm not talking about Adolf Hitler or Osama bin laden, i'm talking about something different. Something that can control your every action, something that balances you between sheer genius and sheer insanity, something that can make a perfect life not worth living in a matter of seconds. I'm talking about the brain, and yes, it does have that much power. As a medical student, I'm supposed to be intrigued by its intricacies, appreciate its complexities, and encouraged by its capabilities, but instead, I'm just terrified by its power. Though it is hard to believe, I didn't know what exactly had happened to me for the first six months. I knew that I had a dissection that led to a stroke, but that's it. After I left the hospital, I finally met a doctor who was a stroke specialist and he answered some of my questions. Brace yourselves folks, it's about to get kinda nerdy up in here... So, I found out I had a completely random dissection in an artery in my brain that led to turbulent blood flow and a subsequent stroke in the pons. He explained that for the first 6 months, new neurons from the rest of my brain would go to take the place of the neurons in the pons that were killed by the stroke. For the rest of my life, I would have to train those neurons. Can you believe one tiny, little mistake could lead to such widespread damage that would take years to fix? No one man should have all that power.. Now, what people don't tell you, and what you don't learn in medical school, is that strokes really really really suck. The pons is an area of the brain stem and it is responsible for receiving signals from the rest of my brain and translates them into messages they send to the muscles via the spinal cord. These new neurons are up for the challenge, but they have A LOT to learn, to say the least! These new neurons are like, "dayum mami! Why is the rest of the brain bugging us to talk to the muscles?! Wait, what on earth is a muscle? And how the hell are we supposed to talk to them?" These neurons are blank slates and kind of clueless about muscles and messages. They not only need to learn how to turn muscles on, but also how to turn them off. On the other side of that, I also need to strengthen muscles that haven't been used in months. Now there are two huge problems with all of this. First, yes, for example, my arms are getting stronger, but it is nothing without my wrist and my fingers, but those muscles are much smaller, so they are much harder to strengthen. Secondly, when we are normal, there are so many things our body does that we take for granted and don't even notice. Who knew there are about a billion steps involved with walking? Who knew there are muscles in your leg that need to work to keep shoes on your feet? Who even thinks about how they remove their shirt? I need to think about each and every little movement, every muscle, and it is so frustrating, close to impossible. I have been working insanely hard every day for the past 2 years to try to help my brain get my body back to normal. And I tried everything, I mean EVERYTHING. I hope there is a learning curve to all of this, that one day, my brain will take all it has learned and take off running. I'm just a girl, standing in front of my brain asking it to amaze me ;)Instead of being scared of my brain's power, I might as well embrace it. I mean it is my brain that allows me to think of my crazy questions, come up with my insightful theories, and feel every emotion under the sun, and pour it all out into this lovely blog. Most importantly, the best part of the brain's power is what is going to save my life. It is the amazing ability of the brain to recover from an injury, to return the brain back to normal after an accident, and somehow persevere through any bad stroke of luck. This unbelievable ability is called plasticity. And all my hopes and dreams are riding on it, so let's hope the brain does some magic! The brain with all its power is vulnerable even to the smallest of mistakes, but it's capable of so much. I don't expect my brain to do this all alone. It will have my hungry heart, my fearless spirit, and my passionate soul to help it achieve greatness. So let's toast to the brain, my arch enemy and my best friend, and here is hoping its power will impress us all!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dancing with myself


Boredom used to be a luxury I enjoyed occasionally during rare holidays at home when I didn't have 500 things to do. It felt really good to do nothing. But the day I entered the ICU, boredom became a state of being. Now, doing nothing, literally, felt absolutely awful. All day, everyday, I was alone, except for brief visits from my family. There was silence, absolute silence, except for the incessant beeping from the machines keeping me alive. But I could hear something else... something loud... something dying to get out... something dying to be was the fear building up inside me, screaming with pain. But there was no escape, no exit, no way out. I had to learn pretty quickly those fears, thoughts, questions that were haunting my every second, were locked forever inside me. I was hopelessly trapped inside myself. Instead of letting my mind self destruct, I embraced it. What I mean is that, I somehow embraced being locked inside myself. I became best friends with myself. I went dancing with my thoughts, singing with my fears, and trying to answer my own questions. I relived all of my memories, freezing them forever in my brain. Since my stroke took away everything else from me, all I had left were my memories, and I was so scared they would slip away too. With time, I was able to use a communication board with my eyes, but I could only spell out a few words. Slowly, I was able to have some semblance of a voice, but it was unintelligible to most. But one day, I got an ultimate cure to my boredom. After seven months of relative silence, I had a voice. I finally had a voice, well, kind of. With some insane technology, I was able to use a computer with a slight movement of my head. I could use email, Facebook, browse the web, play my itunes, everything, all by myself. It may not sound like a big deal, but it truly changed my life. It opened up a world of opportunity, and it opened up, me. One day, I was talking to a friend on gchat, who I hadn't talked to since my stroke, and we were having a fun conversation. I was using some of the phrases I always used, like "Otay" and "Totes" and my friend was like, "Wow, it's really you." Those four simple words really touched me. I had been dying for people to know it was still me inside my mess of a body. Now, I finally had a way to show it, and show it damn well. Then Nisha had the amazing idea to start a blog. I had spent 23 years being a math and science person, but from her brilliant idea, I blossomed into a writer. I was a mathlete and science olympian, and on my way to being a doctor, but my horrible experience, my months of introspection and my hunger to be heard, turned me into a writer. And boy, do I have a lot to say. There is something special about the written word. I haven't figured it out yet, but it allows you to be so brutally honest, much more than you would be in person. I don't know if I am writing for you or writing for me. It feels really good finally get all my thoughts, fears, and questions out there, and hopefully you all are gaining something from my experience. I remember telling my friend that all of these awful things that have happened to me and everything I've learned would all be for nothing if I didn't share it with people. So until my speech becomes normal again, I have this to show you all that it is still me, to tell you all of my secrets, and to forever open up, me.