To say I had a big week would definitely be an understatement. I started the week out with a Valentine’s Day delivery of a brand new treadmill!!! It did not say who it was from but later in the week I received a card in the mail to see it was from the community in Michigan I grew up in and given by many friends of mine through the years. This song lyric has been going through my mind since I read the card.
“It’s beautiful to give, with nothing to gain
A simple act of care, gives more than words can say”
There has never been a moment in my life where I can say this lyric applies more. All of these people could have called to check up on me or asked me what I needed but they just gave, with nothing to gain, and it immeasurably blessed my heart.
On Friday I had my checkup with the doctor who was in charge of my care at Atlanta Medical Center and it has been almost 9 weeks since I have last seen him. He was very encouraging and so proud of all of my progress to date. The two big issues remaining from the accident, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and blood clots, are not things he can look at in a normal visit, but he can see by the way I am getting around and talking that both have improved tremendously. My back, shoulders, and neck continue to be the most painful areas and he treated the worst muscle pain in my left shoulder with injections and acupuncture. It has provided such relief. He discouraged chiropractic care right now because he feels that there is nothing out of alignment and feels it is too soon after the trauma for me body to be able to handle adjustments. He did however encourage weekly massages, focusing on my left shoulder and neck area. Which I have no problem with! 🙂
In that same day I also had two big things happen in my therapies. My Physical Therapist told me that after this week I would be discharged from PT!!! I have very strict exercises pertaining to my balance that I must do if I want to keep seeing progress of such magnitude, but it will be up to me to keep it up now. My balance continues to be one of my biggest struggles and I definitely have to make sure not to get frustrated easily. “Balance is the result of a number of body systems working together: the eyes (visual system), ears (vestibular system) and the body’s sense of where it is in space (proprioception).” When I am able to use all three, my balance is not perfect and I still have trouble but it is quite strong. The challenge is when I cut out the visual system, the other two systems are not able to compensate. My body’s sense of where it is in space is definitely lessened and I will overcompensate forward or back or right to left and end up losing my balance. An example of an exercise I have had to do often is to stand heel to toe and hold it, varying which foot is forward. When I began at Shepherd, I could only hold this exercise for 2 seconds! Last week Michelle got to see me do it for 14 seconds, and on Friday I made it 30 seconds!!! It is physical skills like this, which before the accident I certainly took for granted that make me the most proud these days. 🙂
I restarted Occupational Therapy last week because I felt that I am starting to feel emotionally ready to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. They wanted to start weeks ago and the thought of even sitting on that side of a car was completely terrifying. Through some great counseling and improved physical and visual skills I feel ready to take on the challenge. Because that is what learning to drive again is for me, a challenge, both mentally and emotionally. I will work for about 6 weeks with the OT doing exercises on reaction times and decision making and in the driving simulator. My actual driving test was all dependent on the Shepherd Center’s schedule and could have been a long way off but on Friday my OT told me that my driving test has been scheduled for March 28th! I am so grateful for counseling that helps you put all of your pain and issues out on the table and work through them and am so proud that with hard work, I finally feel emotionally and physically ready to drive again!
Although I tend to focus on the physical struggles, there are emotional and cognitive areas that I struggle in as well. An emotional area that I feel I struggle with right now; patience. Patience in many parts of my life. For me, for my children, for my friends, and family. It’s hard to see the people you love and care about struggle so much and you just want more time to have passed and more “normal” to return to their lives. I certainly do not want to give the illusion that I am no longer struggling, but I am working everyday to get to the other side of this grief. Working hard. Working intentionally. I don’t expect anyone to do this for me and am blessed to have an amazing number of people who help me through the rough days and rough times. A place where this patience comes in, is for people who don’t understand my cognitive deficits from the brain injury and unknowingly have unrealistic expectations of me. I pray for knowledge for them and patience to allow me the time to process my grief. I know that others have needs too as they handle their grief, but I am not able to meet those needs right now and so I am praying patience into their lives. It is uncharacteristic of me to not be ready and willing to help other people, but it is only temporary. I promise you it is only temporary.
My amazing friend from work, Sarah, gave me an envelope of verses in the hospital and I have them in all different places in my room. The three that I need to hear the most right now are on my mirror.
They are constant reminders of God’s faithfulness, promises, and assurances of hope.
There is one I feel compelled to read a million times a day right now.
“Dear Brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything; strong in character, full and complete.” James 1:2-3
Praying for patience in full bloom!!
And I know there will be a day when I “will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.”
Last night was a big deal socially for me because I took my daughter on a date night to hear some live music. I was in a setting that was unfamiliar and around people I did not know and while this sort of over-stimulation would have crippled me initially, I was completely fine! And Alana definitely takes after her mom in her desire to hear good music, a blessing at 6 years old. 🙂
Along the way, I will continue to add songs to the “soundtrack of my life” and share them. This one is incredible and will remind me to “pray for release, find perfect peace.” God’s word – “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27
Release – Dustin Ahkuoi