It has been 328 days since the day my heart stopped beating , which prevented oxygen from going to my brain, resulting in damage to my brain aka my brain injury. It feels like it was just yesterday, but also feels like a lifetime has passed since then. And I’m still struggling everyday. I still can’tdo basic tasks like tie my hair or blow my nose. As frustrating as it is to be unable to use my hands to do what I need them to I see improvements happening every day.
The last time I saw a neurologist we discussed my most recent MRI, and I actually saw how my brain had healed. According to the doctor, the only damage really left is to the part of the brain that affects motor skills. Therefore I know I just have to keep practicing doing things with my hands, and with time , thanks to muscle memory, it will all come back to me.
Even though know that recovery is going to be slow, I am so sick of being unable to walk. This is frustrating because every part of my lower body is strong, except for my ankles. During the coma, because of my brain injury and the fact that I didn’t move for several weeks, I developed drop foot. It is exactly as it sounds: it is when you have difficulty lifting the front of your foot, so it just looks kind of like are ballerina’s foot. The damage to my brain caused spasticity which is when your brain sends mixed signals to other parts of your body, in this instance to my calves, to make them tense up. After being in a certain position for a long time the muscles hand tendons start to shortened. And they can only be released through prolonged stretch, weight-bearing, Botox injections, or as a last resort, surgery. I have tried every non-surgical treatment available, from serial casting , 3 rounds of Botox, laser therapy, massage, acupuncture, Electric stim to orthotics that help me walk, as well as several thousand dollars worth of different gadgets that my fiance researched. But every time I take weight off my feet they go back to looking like this:
So, after trying everything possible to get back on my feet and rewire my brain,I’m finally getting surgery to release the tension in my Achilles. I am mad I couldn’t fix my ankles on my own. I am also upset that I’m going to be in casts for my birthday. Lastly I’m disappointed that I’m not 100% better. But every time I find myself feeling sad and negative, I try to focus on the positive: I am the lucky to be alive, hand to be all there cognitively. Less than a year ago I was in the hospital fighting for my life.
Whenever I look back at these pictures I’m reminded that I have been through a lot and overcome so many obstacles.I might not be where I want to be in my recovery but I’m a fighter, and I’m not going to stop fighting until I get to where I want to be. In the words of Rocky Balboa, “Life’s not about how how hard of hit you can give, .. it’s about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward.”