It all started back in 2003 when I had a serious car accident which triggered a chain of events that would change my life forever… When I awoke from being knocked out by the impact of hitting a gigantic tree I was alone, in a daze, and in the middle of nowhere. I was able to walk so I searched the area for help. All I remember is finding a house and then going to ring the doorbell, when the kind couple answered the door they offered their assistance and took over from there. When I arrived at the hospital they did some test and determined that I suffered a concussion and released me the next day. I was still dazed and confused and could walk but ever since that day things were getting weird i.e. I would stand and stare at the ground and watch it spin; I started losing balance sporadically; I would vomit after eating etc.. Something was definitely wrong! Then a couple of months later I was getting ready for work and as I was stepping into the shower I lost balance and smacked my head against the tub, it was a mess; blood was dripping down over my face and when my mother saw me she “freaked out” and called my father to take me to the Emergency.
When I was emitted to the hospital I had an MRI Scan that found inflammation in my brain caused by a neurotoxin that bypassed my blood brain barrier. Then a couple weeks later doctors decided to give me a spinal tap to extract brain fluid to determine more conclusively what was happening. When the nurse proceeded, she never cleansed my skin and I contracted an infection that put me in a coma for ten days. From that day forth nothing was ever the same. When I awoke from the coma I had no idea what had happened to me, and on top of that I couldn’t move or talk. Nobody knew if I was ever going to come “back? Before the catastrophe doctors said I had a 95% chance of recovery but now they were telling my family to find me a nursing home…
Thank goodness my family had more faith than that! They looked around for the best place for me, and found Toronto Rehab Institute. When I arrived there I was still in my stupor and could not participate in therapy, so I was sent to a branch of TRI (Now Bickle Center (I call it Dunn)- a long term care hospital. (Keep in mind all of this is very vague to me now, those days felt like a cartoon, literally.) At Dunn I would do physio, occupational and speech therapy and finally, over one year, I started regaining my faculties. I started standing (which seemed impossible at the time) and moving my limbs. I started communicating (at first I was using one blink of the eyes for Yes and two for No, or was it vice versa?). I’m sure you can imagine the struggles, trials and toil I endured, so I’ll save you the details.
From there I went back to 550 University (TRI) and worked my butt off, but still I was not adequate to be discharged, so again, off to Dunn I went. Long story short- I kept getting better and better, but very slowly; I started taking my first steps with aid, I started eating independently, my speech was returning etc. And because of this, and the help from people who believed in me, I made at least three trips back and forth from Dunn to 550, and during that time I would gradually go from wearing diapers to gaining my independence back! And all this was made possible because of the great support I had from my family and the amazing therapist and doctors at Toronto Rehab.
After contemplating the main factors of my recovery the acronym S.A.M. came to me: Support, Attitude, Motivation. Combine these three and your chances of a successful recovery increase significantly. And this applies to all walks of life!
So after four LONG YEARS, I beat the odds and made my way home. I moved back with my parents and still having mobility issues and living a reclusive lifestyle, I had no choice but to reflect on myself and life. This whole journey has shown me a part of life that I never knew existed, or could even imagine existed! You see, before my injury I thought life was all about making money, partying, nice cars and motorcycles etc.; put bluntly, unconscious materialism. I was living a life in that small part that I could only see; I was blinded to what was REAL, to the biggest part that makes life magical and vibrant… THE TRUTH!
After finding myself and realizing that I have a life to live I decided to move out on my own and started looking at my options. Not having an income or lots of money, I applied for subsidized housing in Toronto. Six years after living with my parents and working on myself I now live independently in the area and apartment I envisioned. I still live with the physical effects of my brain injury and sure things can get challenging and frustrating at times; But I have come to realize that every challenge and/or obstacle we face brings with it equal opportunities for us to learn and grow from. If we do choose to learn and grow, we discover ourselves and live joyous lives; we evolve and become stronger human beings and make the world a better place to live. If we decide not to learn and grow, we live a miserable life, full of darkness and hopelessness, and make the world an unpleasant place to live… It’s all a matter of choice.
To me, my journey has just begun; I keep moving forward and everyday I am getting closer to realizing my dreams. I now know what my passion and purpose is, and that is to share my knowledge, wisdom and experiences and to inspire ALL people to live free and happy lives regardless of circumstances and/or limitations. And all of this wouldn’t have been realized or even possible if I never went through all that I went through. Life is funny…Some of the greatest gifts in life come to us disguised as tragedy; the key is to focus on finding the gifts and not the tragedy, if we do this we’ll discover hidden treasures. We live in a miraculous world and if people just let go of their limitations and problems and go with the flow they would SEE this too.
The question is: Are you brave enough to LET GO and TRUST in the flow?