Pull On Your Big Girl Panties

I don’t remember anything from the day of my car accident. Mostly everything I know about my recovery was told to me. I was 18, a senior in high school, and my Grand Jeep Cherokee was “t-boned” by a large Ram Truck. Both cars were totaled; mine was folded nearly in half.

To make a long recovery short, I sustained a traumatic brain injury, sustained a dime-sized blood clot in my left temporal lobe, and now have tiny bruises all over my brain.

I went to cognitive therapy everyday for months to prove to doctors I was ready for college. Finally, when I decided to go, the doctors told me not take a full load of classes because I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I took a full load anyway and I made the dean’s list. It was my stubborn perseverance and the support of my family and friends that got me through that first year.

If only the story ended there with the clean-cut happy ending. In April 2008 I came out of one of Whiteford’s bathrooms very disoriented and unable to form a coherent sentence.  I was rushed to the hospital where I was kept there for a week of testing.

The doctors informed me that I was suffering from complex partial seizures that were a result of the severe bruising I sustained in my left temporal lobe from the accident. I had to turn in my license, was told I couldn’t drink, and was placed on a cocktail of medication. I was officially diagnosed as an epileptic.

It has been four years since that life changing car accident and three since my first seizure, but the endings haven’t always been happy. I am proud to say that I will graduate in May with a degree in psychology, but it hasn’t been easy and to be completely honest, some of it was my fault.

I haven’t abstained completely from alcohol, I haven’t filled my everyday diet with “brain” food and exercise, and sometimes I forget to take my medication even when I have a phone alarm to go off to remind me. This means that sometimes I still suffer from break through seizures.

Does this make me a bad person? The answer is no; it just means that I’m young and still learning how to deal with my new health disorder.  Things in life are messy and yes sometimes you contribute to your own downfalls, but the point is to get over it.

My mother has always been very good about teaching me how to deal with my problems. I only feel bad for myself long enough to realize that it could be worse. Once I figure that I out, I “pull on my big girl panties,” stop feeling sorry for myself, and deal with life. This is the only way to survive and live your life to the fullest. Not every day is promised and you don’t want to waste it.