Let me be as perfectly clear as I am capable of…..

Yesterday I felt a little bullied and it got me to thinking, which I do a lot of when I’m criticized.

Perhaps my readers don’t fully understand my health history. So I thought I would take this opportunity to clear some things up.

Starting with……

Jeff

He’s the most amazing husband in the world!! He has stood by me through some very difficult life circumstances. I, in no way, meant to convey that his life’s goals of pursuing higher education somehow caused him to abandon me or the kids. His pursuit of a better life for our family has taken teamwork. Sure my health history has been difficult for both of us to deal with while he put in long tedious hours of studying, and going to class. BUT he NEVER neglected me or the kids in a way shape or form. So let me clear that up first and foremost.

Secondly, it’s very easy to look at my life from the outside and think you fully understand the inside. Let me be perfectly clear, unless you are living with a traumatic brain injury, you have absolutely NO clue whatsoever what it’s like on a daily basis. So I want to take this time to educate my readers on what a TBI (traumatic brain injury) is and what exactly I suffered and as a result deal with.

First,

What exactly is a traumatic brain injury?
Our brains are terribly fragile and vulnerable to all sorts of injury. Although brain tissue can be damaged by a variety of things like infections, tumors, or strokes, any injury to the brain from an external force results in a TBI.  According to  http://www.brainline.org/landing_pages/categories/abouttbi.html?gclid=CjwKEAjwm-aqBRD39YPqhbzthzYSJACFj-AtOq_KdLCvJsEGz0KPykSjbRO-ya2xnP_TfDh4Q_8U_RoCGuzw_wcB

Now I’ve talked extensively here about having a stroke in December of 2009, but now I’d like to educate you on the type of stroke I had and how it impairs my daily functions.

The type of stroke I had is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage, but what exactly is a subarachnoid hemorrhage?

Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a serious, life-threatening type of stroke caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain. A stroke occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen because of an interruption of its blood supply. SAH can be caused by a ruptured aneurysm. One-third of patients who suffer an SAH will survive with good recovery; one-third will survive with a disability; and one-third will die. http://www.mayfieldclinic.com/PE-SAH.HTM#.VVnjULlViko

I survived with a disability. I’m thankful to be alive because according to my neurosurgeon within the first 24 hours after my SAH I was “three breaths away from death”.

SAH patients may suffer short-term and/or long-term deficits as a result of the bleed or the treatment.

Some common deficits are as follows:

  • Speech and language deficits
  • Weakness or paralysis in the arms and legs—I have weakness in my left arm and hand and I have absolutely no feeling in both of my feet
  • Visual problems– I have low vision as a result of the SAH, while I can legally drive, I just don’t see as well as I did with corrected vision.
  • Fatigue-yes
  • Headaches-yes
  • Short-term memory loss- yes this is me as well
  • Lack of attention and concentration 
  • Change in perception 
  • Difficulty with organization
  • Personality changes

And then this is where I fail miserably……

The most successful recovery will include:

  • Not expecting too much of yourself, or pushing yourself too hard.
  • Not returning to work and doing a full work load too early.
  • Not minimizing your difficulties.

So yeah, these are all my areas of weakness from day one really. I always push myself, I always have so it’s all I’ve ever known. I attempted to return to graduate school a year after my SAH, but I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to be successful in finishing my Master’s degree. Up to this point I was easily a 4.0 student but upon returning and attempting to finish out my degree I knew I would not pass my classes to graduate. So it was at this point I made the heart wrenching decision not to return and complete my degree. It took me about 3 years to really be at peace with this decision. It still irks me if I dwell on it to heavily, so I don’t.

Also I tend to minimize my difficulties. I walk through this like knowing that if someone looks at my physical appearance they would never know I have a TBi. I guess I do this because there is a part of me that feels “less than” and I get tired of the pity looks or comments from people. I  don’t care how accepting you think you are, people with disabilities are often times look down your nose at and this is exactly why I feel the need to conceal the many difficulties I have on a daily basis. It serves me well until my thoughts and attitudes are called into question. That’s when I feel I need to come “out of hiding”, if you will, and educate people on what a TBI is and how it’s affected my life. My thoughts and ability to communicate them have been greatly affected and therefore this blog won’t always make a ton of sense. I have good days and bad days and apparently yesterday was a bad day because I never intended for anyone reading this blog to question my complete respect and admiration for Jeff and how he’s helped me to live as fully as I do. Without him, I’m sure I would be rotting away in a nursing home, no lie.

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