In talking with my husband the other day, I said to him that I feel like I haven’t done anything with my life since my accident in 2008. “It’s been almost nine years and I haven’t accomplished anything.” I actually said out loud and caught him looking at me incredulously. “Are you serious? Look at us- you haven’t done anything in nine years?,” he replied as he continued to pack our children’s lunches for Summer camp. That’s when I stopped to truly look at our lives since my accident. In 2009, I took a leave of absence from my job and started a number of various therapies and kicked off my career in TBI. Late that year, I got married and started my seven year journey with acupuncture. I won a contest in a magazine to the Cayman Islands and we were featured in two issues, both before and after our trip. I spent hours, weeks and years in various therapies in the facilities in NJ with doctors/therapists/other TBI patients (“survivors” as we refer to ourselves) learning and relearning habits to survive in a world beyond my head injury. I started driving a car again, had panic attacks and dealt with depression.
We had our first daughter in 2012, moved to a new home when she was nine months old, and almost got divorced. I got pregnant again and we had our son in 2014, who from the moment he was born has always been two steps ahead of us with a plan and purpose of his own. We dealt with food allergies (milk, egg, almond and peanut) and during the Summer of 2016 he started having seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. We started to learn how incredibly frightening it is to watch your child experience something that you can’t control, can’t fix, or prevent. A week after his diagnosis, I found out I was pregnant with our littlest [insert panic attack and “WHAT THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO DO MOMENT”] who we welcomed to the family on the first day of Spring this past March.
All it took were the words coming out of mouth and I realized how insane I sounded, thinking that I have not accomplished anything since my accident. I guess I should’ve said I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything professionally, in these years, but looking back, my health and children have been my profession. I have 8.5 years under my belt as a TBI survivor [I still struggle labeling myself that], five years as a Mom, three+ years as a food allergy Mom, and one year as parent of a child with epilepsy.
So here I am, taking a huge leap and chronicling our life for the world to see. My CPA career could’ve never prepared me for the wild ride that started in 2008, but the Internet quickly became my bible as I researched everything I was experiencing and tried to connect with others about TBI, food allergies, epilepsy and any other topic I have been presented with that I’ve struggled to understand. I’ve read books, blogs, medical journals and I’ve saved a lot of memories electronically, frequently flagging things as “Remember this” so I wouldn’t forget them. I am always a Google search away from another article, another blog, and more information. I have nothing to lose by sharing our life but I have everything to gain- more insight, more resources, more friends. And if I fail, at the very least, I have a wonderful memoir for my children of our days together and proof that I’m doing the best I can and everything I have tried.
So why me? Is more of a rhetorical, why not me? If I have relied on others to help me on my journey, why can’t I do the same for them? My TBI career has been filled with lots of personal experience and despite my shortcomings, I’ve had a lot of personal success. My plan for “Remember this” is to keep our memories and share our solutions.
My takeaways from all of this? Remember this, it hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it. Welcome to our world.