August 19, 2018
Writing in a blog about not letting scars define who you are is very fulfilling for me. Writing was a strength for me, I was always able to express myself with little thought or concern. In November 16, 1999 that all changed. I was in the 9th grade and stayed after school when my life changed forever. I first experienced a headache that no words in the English language can describe. I was rushed to an ER (at this point I was unconscious) where doctors scrambled to figure out what was wrong with me. After tests and scans they realized I had a ruptured brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation)and would need surgery ASAP! I was rushed to a children’s hospital and received several craniotomies to fix the ruptured, tangled mess in my head. Once I awoke from my induced coma I was so thankful to be alive! The first thing I wanted to do was to write thank you notes to those who brought me gifts and cards at the hospital. When I began to write I realized my thoughts were not what I was writing on the page. My sentences made zero sense and the words I saw in my head didn’t come out of my mouth correctly, which is so devastating to a teenage girl. All I wanted was to be the same as everyone, I just wanted to be “normal”. I decided there in that moment sitting in that hospital bed that I would never give up no matter how hard it would be to have the ability to read and write well again. Once I left the hospital I entered into a rehab facility where I stayed for 4 months where teachers and speech therapists challenged me with language-based tasks that I was struggling so much with; the exhausting and difficult days drove me to push through it. The support and love I got from my friends, family and rehab teachers helped me to heal and push my personal limits. Against the odds (and some people’s personal opinions) I went back to school, kept good grades and finished high school on time. I was also able to go to college where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree.
After all that being said, what’s my point? The point is I have a massive scar on my head that reminds me often of where I was and how much I accomplished thus far. The struggles from the traumatic event were unable to change what I wanted in life despite the challenges it brought. Now, don’t think I don’t have days where I get really anxious writing or reading out-loud to people. Writing this blog right now makes me anxious. I have chosen to push through it and not let fear control my life, what can I say I am a work in progress. The challenges I had with language made me find ways to explain myself in other ways when I couldn’t remember a word. I found that photography was a great way to express myself outside of language. Photos can represent many words all at once no matter the language you use. I am forever thankful that I was able to recover so well and people that meet me today wouldn’t even notice it. My scar, though, continues to remind me to always be brave, go for what I love and to inspire others in the process.
I would love to hear from you and your stories!