Today is a special day. It was 43 years ago I had the brain bleed that would change everything and while a lot of trauma and loss came from that day my mom made an effort to turn it around.
Take the focus off the sad.
Beginning the very first year and every year since we celebrate this day because I’m here. I survived and proved a lot of medical professionals wrong by making a full recovery and going on to live a normal life.
Funny, none of the nonmedical folks were pessimistic. They were all very encouraging.
There were some very special anniversaries, including the five year which my mom, brother, and I toasted with champagne!
Ten year was special too as I had multiple celebrations, some with friends, some with family.
After my mom remarried my stepfather made a point of calling me on this day to congratulate me.
They often sent flowers, too.
Throughout the years I’ve included those in my sphere in celebrating this day.
Sometimes it was small, other times a party. Sometimes friends, sometimes coworkers as we went to the Novi Hilton behind our office for a drink to celebrate life.
Tonight I’m thinking of a nicer dinner – maybe a dessert. As for including others in the celebration…
This is for readers and visitors…
Celebrate life and all its wonders!
As the title suggests, visualization can play a big role in health and healing.
It did and does for me!
It may be that visualizing as a part of healing came naturally to me because even before having the brain surgery I was big on imagery.
I had a vivid imagination.
Still do, thus, fiction writing.
I regularly put this imagination to good use in play and school.
I won my first fiction writing award in first grade. I had to illustrate the story which I did in crayon.
I also learned to use visualization in sports, which helped in my acceptance to the US Olympic gymnast team the spring of 1979.
I was to report to training camp two weeks after the brain bleed. Talk about life reroute!
In sharing this here on this day I’m empowering readers by either reminding them of something they know or educating them on something they don’t and that is that visualization can and does play a huge role in health and healing.
After I got my sight back I asked my dad to lift me up so I could look out the window.
I’d been blind for weeks. My sight came back slowly and in the beginning it was only in black and white.
It was the end of August and more than anything I wished I was out riding my bike or roller skating as I had been the day before the brain bleed.
Thinking as I was skating how much my life was about to change – because the training camp I was going to was run by gold-medal winning Romanian gymnast coaches.**
I remember looking first at the clear blue sky then at the enormous hospital lawn.
Green and beautiful.
It was the lawn that ignited the imagery that turned my healing in a new more powerful direction.
Some people make fun of Midwesterners and their lawns but I can say with absolute certainty that seeing that large green lawn on that perfect summer day changed my life for the better.
After asking my dad if I was too heavy – I wanted to stare at the lawn some more – I allowed all the feelings the lawn represented to fill me.
I thought of how I’d only seen such a large expanse of grass like that at a park which made me think of running around on that lawn, playing jarts or croquet, and all sorts of other fun things.
I declared I was going to walk again and more – ride my bike again.
I could see myself riding a bike on the sidewalk next to that grass.
Months later I was sitting in the car in the parking lot of St. Mary’s of Redford and once again visualization catapulted me forward along the path of healing.
And got me out of a serious downward spiral of despair.
A misguided therapist had asked what I was going to be for Halloween – a billiard ball?
Because hair shaved for the surgery was only a little over an inch long.
To understand why I was so devastated by the remark.
Prior to the surgery my hair was down to my waist.
Dejected, I was staring into the distance when I caught sight of the shadow of my head on the car door. My ears were sticking out, which made the comment hit home – and I started to cry.
My mom was returning the wheelchair to the hospital lobby because it had only been 2 months. Yes I could walk, but distances wore me out which often caused me to trip and fall.
As I was staring at the shadow a gentle voice spoke to me and I was filled with warmth.
As if I’d been wrapped in a warm blanket.
My mind immediately focused on the shadow and I imagined what it would look like if my hair was long.
I could see it!
Rather than stopping there I allowed my mind to wander at will to a time in the future when I would be normal again.
Well, that wasn’t going to happen but at that point I still hadn’t grasped the enormity of what had happened.
By the time my mom got behind the wheel I was excited because I knew it was all going to be okay.
- I would walk normally again
No dragging my left leg behind me because my knee hadn’t yet remembered what to do
- My hair would grow long again
Though I did cut it short in high school – once…
- I would become the writer I’d wanted to be since I was 3
Before gymnastics, math, and science took center stage.
That image got me through a lot of tough times and because I held it firmly in my mind during every physical and occupational therapy session, worked magic
- 9 months later I walked 26 miles to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy
- A little over a year after that I skated 56 milles to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Association
Whenever I’ve been faced with a health challenge I’ve included visualization as part of the healing process.
** Both my parents – separately – commented years later about that day.
Watching as I was skating – twirling then jumping up into the splits and touching the toes of my skates before coming back down to the sidewalk – and considering how much life was about to change.
August 6th: A day that changed a lot of lives!