Thank you so much for your kindness. Consistent communication has never been my strong point. Last time I checked I had 13,000 unread emails in my old account. 10,000 were from BEFORE I got sick ROTFLOL. I realized, though, that I probably didn’t tell you guys a reasonable summary of the last few years. So this post is specifically for Mr. and Mrs. JJM and Ricardo!!
If you haven’t listened to my 2017 update:
Click to play on YouTube
I say that the blog served its purpose and it was very healing in its own way. I realized it was my way of saying goodbye to my Old Life.
For the full story of how I went back to Oregon in 2014 and got rid of my earthly possessions, see Randy’s Book – Vol. 3 Learning How to Run: Life is My Sport, Ch. ? “The Full Workout”.
I did not really have to deal with the full emotional impact of what happened to me until I went back to Oregon. On the day I met her, my MHP was like, I have NO IDEA how you did that without help.
Well, actually, I DID have help. I had met David 3 months before. I met Randy one month before – and the two of them literally kept me alive. I made some totally passive aggressive cries for help – they were really whispers – which they pretended not to notice, but they established a routine and gave me something to look forward to once I returned (I was only going to Oregon for a week, but spent the rest of 3 months at Chez Boo Boo).
Ann and Joyce totally met one night at a pizza place near the Chapel while I was in Oregon, specifically to spend time in prayer for me. Thanks, guys xoxoxo – and of course, I spent a ton of time in prayer myself.
348. What’s This Going to Look Like? [I tell about my first Flashback at the Gym]
Excerpt from New Book – FYI I wrote down EVERY SINGLE ridiculous thing David and Randy ever said to me. I keep a digital OneNotebook on my phone. I originally intended to document the entire process so that on the day I got burned I could go to them and say, You lied to me. I don’t like liars. It’s a good thing I never liked you anyway. Spoiler Alert: The Lord had other plans. Those notes turned into two books bc I got tired of waiting to be burned. PS. I’m still keeping that notebook updated.
[D’s reaction to my first flashback] I was so annoyed. I still am.
Maybe 3 weeks after I had met him, I walked into the Running Gym and announced to Randy, Randy – I decided: Ain’t nobody gonna die. I mean, if I didn’t die THEN (during the bleed). I’m not gonna die NOW.
I’m not sure that Randy was overly comforted by my stance, but it was mentally helpful (if not exactly healthy) for me bc I was able to get organized and ready (planned meetings at all hospitals, with nurses and my surgeon, and an Intel “Hello” Party). And we did tons of other stuff I blocked out.
We got it done.
But the event triggered my PTSD. Here’s a summary from the mental health chapter of my new book, publishing next week – Vol. 5 Learning How to Reach, a.k.a. Shredded Grace: Reaching Higher – Ch.7 “I’ll Fly Away”
- April 7, 2011 (Portland, OR)– AVM Rupture + Massive Stroke, Craniectomy
- I was asleep for over a month
- June 23, 2011 (Washington, DC area) – discharged from inpatient, Mommy Daddy relocated me to their Empty Nest so they could take care of me
- April 1-7, 2014 (Portland, OR) – after 3 years of healing I returned to OR to dispose of my earthly possessions (the contents of my Apartment had been put into storage)
- Q3-Q4 2014 – I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t settle down and do anything – I just felt very troubled
- Dec 2014 – started asking for help. Confided in close friends, asked Daddy to pray for me, consulted PCP and Neurologist
- Jan 2015 – formally diagnosed with Delayed Onset PTSD, began treatment with MHP (Mental Health Professional)
- 2015 – several (4 or 5, I think) very dear friends died. Other stressful things happened.
- 2016 – began Medication for PTSD Dreams and other symptoms (with NP5)
- Spring 2017 – PTSD symptoms came under control, I took a few months “vacation” from Treatment to try my wings
- Fall/Winter 2017-Present: Bumps in the road prompt me to get the full work-up physically and mentally returned to treatment with both MHP and NP5
**Notes: My MHP is a Social Worker (LCSW) – I always had a Social Worker assigned to me at the hospital. This one is in private practice. NP5 is my 5th NeuroPsych. Although he probably wouldn’t classify himself as an NP, I retain the naming convention for convenience, and he does have some neurological expertise. I always had an NP at every hospital. NP5 is in private practice.
Physical notes since 2014:
- Stopped and started eating food several times
- Mental Health has a HUGE physical impact (duh) but now I’m in the place where I’m more settled in this body and not as scared of everything.
- Basically, I spent the last 4 years training SUPER HARD to meet the demands of private and public life, but also bc every minute I spend with D and R is a minute I don’t have to worry – it’s a safety, stability, routine thing that isn’t surprising given the PTSD/Survivorship
- 2 subtle labral tears – left hip – due to use, NOT overuse – the price of mobility for me. Avoided surgery – Coach R rehabbed me
- Major shoulder and arm pain Fall 2017 – Winter 2018: NOT good. Concentrating on breathing, rehab exercises, restarted treatment with MHP and NP5
- David is building me back up again!!
- I got so much better – at Thanksgiving I literally wore a sling. In January I wrote a book. However, I’m still being super careful, breaking every 8 minutes as I write this, and I’m wearing a compression sleeve.
The easiest way to keep up with me is via Instagram.
But hey – I forget if I told you – I have a Podcast. I did 15 episodes in Nov-Dec 2016. I’m resurrecting it for the New Shredded Grace. You can subscribe via Apple iTunes or Podbean. I will be updating the podcast regularly starting next week – Lord-willing. Each Podcast will correspond to a chapter in the new book. But in the meantime, go listen to the existing episodes. I recorded the majority of them on Boo Boo’s patio. You can hear the fountain in the background, and basically, I just crack myself up. The only reason I made that podcast was for Kim and Joyce, BTW – so if it sounds like I’m just talking to my friends, I am.
Shredded Grace Podcast
Apple iTunes Store
Shredded Grace: Reaching Higher – launching next week!
When I first started writing publicly I named everything, including my non profit, “Learning How”
Now that I’ve been Recovering for almost 7 years, “Learning How” has become “Shredded Grace.”
I’ve learned a few things, and I’m ready to talk about them. I wrote this book in response to Marlene’s question, “What is the most important thing necessary for Recovery?”
Marlene and family. FYI her brain bled when she was 4 months pregnant. Thank God she and her son made it okay. She had a second surgery and lost it all again. She’s super hardcore. More on this when we launch. 🙂
Marlene found me in 2013 on Pinterest. She is a Hardcore Survivor. The book is a very long answer to her question. The corresponding Podcasts and YouTube videos will be the episodic version. A LOT of my friends helped. This was a team effort on purpose. The message is this: Survivorship and GRIT do not happen in a vacuum. We learn from each other. And FYI, there are a lot of us out here.
We belong to a very exclusive club. Membership is determined by the fact that you survived a cataclysmic medical event and/or were the victim of violent crime. Obviously, this is not a club you WANT to be a member of – I’m just saying that in case you are given circumstances that qualify you, take a look around, make yourself at home – put your feet up. You’re in good company.
Here is a preview:
Table of Contents
- Introduction – Welcome to the Club
- Is it Ok that you lived? Decision Day – Ruth
- There’s No Crying in Baseball – Why walking is SCARY but you should do it Anyway
- How to Cultivate Survivor GRIT – Matt Hankey
- The Problem of Pain
- Best Foot Forward – How to Use a Medical Resume
- I’ll Fly Away – Mental Health Issues
- The Power of Possibility – A Practitioner Pep Talk – Coach Randy
- How to Find Help – Trainer David
- Why Survivors Have Body Image Issues – Jessica Smurfette, RD
- The Measure of Success – Matt Hankey
- The Bossy and Sassy Show – How to Choose a Medical ID – Megan
- We Can Hear You – What to do when Someone You Love is Asleep in the Hospital
I love this book, but I hate this book. It makes me want to poke my own eyeballs out bc I had to think about a lot of stuff I have intentionally buried. However, based on the interactions I have had as I’ve grown in my role over the last few years, people want to know this stuff. My readership is small – however, the Lord makes sure the people who “need” to talk, find me. This book is for them.
Final proof in process. Note the chocolate. #expectopatronum
But if we’re gonna be real about this, We are ALL surviving SOMETHING. And if you wouldn’t call yourself a Survivor – this book will make you a better Advocate. You know someone who IS a Survivor, or at some point you will know one in the future. And yes, WE NEED ADVOCATES. Please – if you see someone who needs help, especially someone who is unable to speak for him/herself – step up to the plate. Thank you.
Stay tuned 🙂 and thank you!!
Coming Soon: learninghowtolive.org