An Unknown Path

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It is amazing how fast things can change.  In less than the blink of an eye.

Last I shared, I was on my way to share with some amazing college students at an event in New England.  On the way home returning from the airport in Florida in late January, I was in a major car accident that totaled the car I was riding in.  In an instant everything changed.  E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

The last few months have had me simply trying to survive.  Barely.

My dominant wrist was broken, my hand severely injured in the impact.  I also sustained a traumatic brain injury that has left me searching for words.  Words that used to flow freely now are a war to find.  Sometimes every syllable is a skirmish.  The headaches and dizziness are almost constant, background noise is a strange form of torture, and the supermarket usually leaves me on the verge of tears. Taste is off (coffee flavor I miss you), my emotions are stuck in PMS overdrive and my thoughts feel like a tangled ball of yarn.

Could someone please tell me where to return the fluff inside of my head?  This girl would like to have her brain back.

Holding a coherent conversation takes every ounce of muster I have, and even then there are no guarantees.  I go to say one word and another comes out, or words combine into non-words and then float off into foggy oblivion as I miss half the conversation trying to chase them down.

My days are now divided between better brain days and bad brain days. Frustration feels like my new normal.  It won’t be forever.  But it feels like it.

In the few weeks following the accident, I watched the business I had built be systematically dismantled, unable to do anything from my dim, silent room to stop it.  Because of the brain symptoms, I could no longer coach clients in the same way I had previously or think fast enough on my feet to offer the value they signed up for.  With my wrist broken and hand severely injured, I could not letter or paint or create.  And my business, as it was, died right in front of me.

Worse yet, it seemed all my progress getting stronger and recovering from Africa-related health issues had been knocked backwards about 4 years. Years. With my wrist and hand injured, I can’t walk with my usual crutches or bear weight on it — still. So I hobble around with 2 mismatched crutches, a wrist splint and have had complete strangers stop their car to see if I needed help.  Because I evidently look like I need it. 😆

Suddenly my life has shrunk down to an endless litany of medical appointments and therapy sessions and even with all the help and intervention, I am not healing as hoped for and now I am off to see even more specialized providers.  Weeks are dragging into months and keeping hope alive is like guarding a flickering candle in a hurricane.

On top of all this, my parents have had a very difficult, and at times a life-threatening, year medically speaking thus far and every time we think we can catch our breath, it feels like 2018 throws yet another sucker punch.  My day planner laughs at me as plans in these circumstances are really just cosmic jokes.  It has been one certifiably hellacious year.  But it could be so much worse.

In the middle of the fog and the muddy unknown, gratitude is a choice.  It is not that I usually feel grateful.  Most days, I am biting back some, ahem, adult adjectives I never knew I knew before the brain injury and I’m so frustrated, I want to (and occasionally do} hurl them at the empty walls around me.  But even then I can choose freaking gratitude {PG translation} like my life depends on it. Because in all reality it does.

Gratitude builds joy capacity and joy becomes strength which grows into resilience. And resilience, that ability to pivot and see a setback become a set up for a greater comeback, is a muscle that can be trained.   We were not created to merely survive friends.  We were created to thrive.

Our success is not measured by how we handle the expected turns in the road, but by how we pivot to embrace the unexpected ones. {Read more thoughts on Creative Resilience here…}

If your 2018 came out swinging… You aren’t alone.  Know that.  More to come friends… on better brain days. 😘