Sunday, July 15, 2012

Unwritten

“The mind is fragile, fickle, but the human body is resilient.”
 - Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone

 False. I love him and love the book, but this statement is absolutely false, well, for me. My body has been the weak, frustrating, and rampantly disobedient one. My mind, on the other hand, has been thè surprisingly and seamlessly miraculous one, impressing even my harshest critic, myself. I don't think I have ever given enough credit to the tenacity and resilience of my mind. I've been in a brain injury rehab program the past two months where I've seen, felt, and understood a whole entire, rather hidden side of rehab. I'm well aware of the physical damage accidents and strokes can cause, but I've been embarrassingly ignorant about the amount of MENTAL damage these injuries can cause. I've seen it all here, and every time, it breaks my heart. The other day I was sitting next to a man who recently suffered a traumatic brain injury, and had some physical, as well as mental deficits. Through some garbled speech, he said he was drawing a picture for his young son at home. I had my mom take me away to the side and just burst into tears, right then and there. I just couldn't understand ( and still cant) how cruel the world could be to not only a person, but a father. A son needs his father, but how can he be there for his son, when a freak accident turned him into someone who can't even properly be there for himself? The word 'unfair' sounds incredibly inadequate right now. I'm surrounded by young people who all had great lives and incredible futures, and they lost it all, not just because of their physical deficits that can eventually be rehabilitated, but because of their mental deficits that have changed them forever. My therapist recently explained to me that it's rare for someone to have a brain injury or stroke, and be completely and severely, cognitively intact... So here I've been for the last 3.5 years, complaining and whining loudly, ignorantly, and quite selfishly, that I've had the worst possible stroke ever in the whole, wide world. While, yes, I've had the worst stroke in the world physically, I've had the best stroke in the world mentally. It's taken me years to realize the most basic thing about my condition, to not just realize it, but to truly understand it and to wholeheartedly feel it, with every ounce of my being. I've been so blinded by my massive physical deficits, my few strengths tend to be rather elusive and difficult to truly appreciate. But I've come to the semi-harsh realization that, however awful my situation is, it could be worse, so much worse. I have my mind, MY MIND, so pure and completely untouched. I'm still me. I know I've said that before, but for the first time, I'm truly awed and deeply humbled by this precious gift.

 But the unappreciative devil's advocate part of me disagrees and disapproves, and begs the question, isnt it that same 'pure and untouched' mind that allows me to see and understand the severe devastation of my injury? Wouldn't I be happier if I wasn't so acutely aware of how much I'd lost? Is my mental clarity and medical background actually a curse? Can a person understand their stroke too much? I don't know the answers to these hypothetical questions, and frankly, I don't care. I probably would be a lot happier if I had some mental deficits to leave me peacefully in blissful ignorance, but would anyone else be happier? My family and friends lost me physically, but they have me, without a doubt, mentally and emotionally. I think that subtle fact is what's keeping people together - they know I may not be around much, but they know if they read my blog or my tweets, or visit me in person, it will be 100% pure Harshada. I may not look like me, or sound like me, but it's me, all me, the same ol' me - Shady, Harshonda, Hersh, ibe2fly4u - still the same girl you all know and looove (though I seriously think my stroke made me witty). Actually, I think it's what's keeping ME together, keeping me from breaking into a million hopeless pieces every frustrating day, keeping me from losing myself altogether. I'm still me. You guys have no idea how empowering writing this blog is for me; even though I've lost so much of myself and my life to this stroke, writing this blog reminds me that my voice is still mine. But, I've come to realize that writing this blog is bigger than just me. I was somehow allowed to keep my entire mind, despite having a massive stroke. Not everyone gets that luck. The media has a knack for euphemistically portraying brain injuries and mental deficits as glamorous and simple, but I now know its quite the opposite, horrifying and tragic. I need to write, to share my story, to use my mind; not only for you and me, but to represent all the wonderful people I met, who all had tragic stories, but weren't given the precious gift of an intact mind. With my mind leading the way, we won't be unwritten. (This blog was largely inspired by one of my therapists.Thank you for showing me and teaching me that my life has meaning.)

12 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for writing this. I think you are so right to appreciate having "your mind". It is the source of your humor, personality and your strength. Pretty sure last time I visited, I got smile and a classic Harshada wink, so I know you ARE the same Harshada. Thank you for sharing your mind with us through this blog. It is incredibly valuable to all of us who admire and love you.

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  2. Harshada - You once hosted me at Duke, me a senior in HS, you a freshman loving life. You showed me around and relayed your opinions. I thought the world of you then and I think the universe of you now. You're a fighter. I'm so incredibly impressed by you. Thank you for keeping this blog. Keep fighting!

    Catherine

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  3. U inspired me from the moment I met u!! I didn't know the old u but I don't think that matters because u r a beautiful person inside and out!! The time that I have known u, I feel that I have learned so much from u n I am so grateful to have had the chance to even know u!! Ur mind is so full of incredible things and I am so excited when I get to see the pictures u create with ur words! Keep writing!
    Hugs!!

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  4. I randomly stumbled upon your blog and read over it. Some of your posts are really interesting. I like a point you really drive home: essentially that there are "good people" and there are "good-hearted people." I think you are indeed very lucky to have good-hearted people that care for you so much, family, friends, therapists, doctors...especially the therapist in that last post.

    And your absolutely right, you are incredibly lucky to have intact mind. I have family not so lucky, with the human body but without the mind, and it can be devastating/frustrating to deal with. But what's beautiful about it is the good-hearted people you have by your side as well as the new good-hearted people you would never have met along the way. Some of the people I have met helping my family have been the most genuinely kind people I'll probably ever meet in my entire life. How lucky is that.

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  5. And one more thing I forgot to mention. I'm very envious of you for this. And that's your strength to endure, along with the strength of those around you supporting you. I don't think the top 10% has half the strength of one of your supporters, less likely the strength you have yourself.

    So no I don't feel sorry for you, maybe a little envious.

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  6. Hi dear girl

    2 comments in one day from me huh , your posts are heart wrenching .
    -Asha (mommy to a former micro preemie )

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  7. Hi there!

    I'm an MA Magazine Journalism student at the University of Sheffield. I'm currently in the process of creating a magazine aimed specifically for Stroke Survivors. I came across your blog whilst researching young stroke survivors. I've developed a survey for my magazine in order to get some feedback, whether people would read it and their thoughts on the idea! Any feedback of your own would be much appreciated. :)

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/strokesurvivorsmagazine

    Neeru Sharma

    University of Sheffield

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  8. My name is Patrick and we live in New York USA. I saw the address of a doctor in one of the blogs recently.

    I (52 age) had a severe stroke on 7th of April 2016. I was diagnosed with Lupus in January this year and was taking Steroids (prednisone) tablets along with other medicine. No history of BP or diabetes nor heart disease. Am a non smoker and drinks occasionally little for social meets. Before I was diagnosed with Lupus this year in January I was given numerous anti biotic by family physicians since they could not diagnose me. I had joint pain and acidity and cough. I never used to take any drugs since I was quite healthy. I Steroids caused the stroke I had, I was not prescribed any blood thinner nor aspirin then. They thought I was allergic to them. However I am not allergic to any drugs

    On April 7th I was admitted due to stroke and underwent surgery on right side of the brain to stop bleeding and swelling. They retained my bone flap in freezer and on September 20th I had surgery to restore my bone flap which was very successful. I am now able to talk and eat without any help. my speech is quite clear , though not like before. I walks slowly with the help of cane. But cannot walk long. I cannot move my left leg and hand

    But when I took Dr Ben Herbal medication, for one month,I was completely cured, now I can move all part of my body.speak clearly and walk freely. If any one needs his help, contact him Via drbenson833@gmail.com

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  9. Unbelievable, I remembered I was once here in need of help on how to go about the problem of Stroke I was having, I must say those years was so frustrating, the experience was something outside the world of being normal,my wife had to join me in search of various kind of help,and the search lasted for 1 year and some months and like a dove sent from heaven, a friend of mine referred me to Dr Johnson a specialist with a difference full of knowledge, with his vaccines/medications and his advice on what to stay clear off and how to approach the problem, after one month of using his product, I was made well, I never believed there is a cure to Stroke, but now am a testimony I can move freely and all part of my body.
    Any one with such problem can contact The Doctor on his mail address at drjohnson958@gmail.com

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  10. As a sign of gratitude for how my husband was saved from stroke , i decided to reach out to those still suffering from this.
    My husband was diagnosed of stroke and it was really tough and heartbreaking for me because he was my all and the symptoms were terrible, he had difficult speaking , and he always complain of muscle weakness and balance disorder . we tried various therapies prescribed by our neurologist but none could cure him. I searched for a cure and i saw a testimony by someone who was cured and so many other with similar body problem, and he left the contact of the doctor who had the cure to stroke . I never imagine stroke has a cure not until i contacted him and he assured me my husband will be fine. I got the herbal medication he recommended and my husband used it and in one months he was fully okay even up till this moment he is so full of life. stroke has a cure and it is a herbal cure contact the doctor for more info on drwilliams098675@gmail.com on how to get the medication. Thanks for reading my testimony

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  11. ALL THANKS TO DR WILLIAMS FOR THE GREAT DEED HE HAVE DON FOR MY FAMILY.This information will be useful for Epilepsy and stroke patients who is willing to use herbal medicine. My daughter had temporal lobe epilepsy, She had seizure and had a grand mal with rage episode. Our daughter's seizure is constant throughout the day. We had used several medicine which include: Epilim and Keppra, experience seizure control at the cost of serious debilitating side effects. It was during a casual conversation with a friend that I learned about herbal Dr. William on how he help her cure his son from stroke and so many others with different illness,his medicine does not have any side effect.after my daughter have finish taking dr williams medicine I am glad to say that he has been seizure-free since July 2015 after taking William medicine. this a miracle cure?contact him for more detail (drwilliams098675@gmail.com) .
    thanks once again admin for such an informative blog.

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