Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sorry This Took So Long...

I couldn't figure out why I was having trouble starting this letter... Since my AVM stroke three years ago I have spoken to countless people about my newly found lessons learned and experiences thus far. But then I think that there is the crux of it, 'my experiences thus far'; I was trying to talk to you about an obstacle I had overcome, something I had already worked past but three years later and I don't think I'm halfway there yet; and I am so very grateful. I "surfaced" (first REAL moment of consciousness since being admitted to the hospital, and after brain surgery- where they drained 200ml of blood from my skull cavity) and was presented with the knowledge that I had just survived a severe AVM stroke and lost all function and sensation of my left side head to toe; with lots of hard work I may be able to walk again. My first thought was "Okay, where do we start?" It was daunting but if there was a CHANCE I could earn any of it back I would do all I could to ensure success. There wasn't room for 'why?', 'it's too hard', or acceptance... There isn't room for 'why?', 'it's too hard', or acceptance. This is just another chapter, life does not stop because this happened but now we have the coveted opportunity to take the time to earn back every single blessing that was taken for granted. In one swoop I was taught that I had become very spoiled, caught up in trying to be everything to everyone and collect as many moments as possible. The Lord reminded me that every breath, every pain, every single thing is a gift; a blessing that can be taken as easily as it was given. But in that I was bestowed the greatest gift I'll ever be honored with... the chance to earn it all back. At 26 I got to earn back my privacy, my ability to talk, walk and go to the bathroom alone. Everything is a gift, a blessing. Let me reiterate, EVERY SINGLE THING is a gift; the ability to earn your life, yourself back, all the pain, all the struggle is a gift. Each day you wake up, every day you have breath in your lungs is an opportunity to fight; fight your circumstance, fight your disabilities. No one can recover for you, no one else can get better for you. You are the only one who truly suffers if you do not regain your quality of life. Every task I take on is hard, absolutely exhausting, but the more I do them the easier they become. I am not going to lie, this is the fight of your life, the fight for your life; and I ask you, if this is not worth giving all you've got, what is? What will be? Have I wanted to give up? Yes but for no longer than a moment at any given time. Simply because if I give up than I will for sure not ever get better, than I have already lost. We are being tested, tested by a God that KNOWS we can get through this. It may feel that for every step forward you get knocked back a few but all that matters are those steps forward that you take. Trust me, I am still making progress three years later, I still have the bulk of my recovery ahead of me, three years out. No one can tell me I'm as good as I'm going to get because they are not me, they are not you, they do not know what we can accomplish through faith and sheer determination. The day I stop making progress is the day I give up, the day of my last breath- until then I will fight. Life is all about perspective, I honestly believe happiness is a choice not a destination. You can choose to focus on what you've lost or keep your sights set on the infinite possibilities that lie before you. I know that 90% of people would not trade places with me for all the money in the world... but I'll let you in on a secret... I would not have things any other way, I wouldn't trade places with anyone or avoid this if I could. What I continually gain, what I have learned is so much more valuable than anything I have lost.