Recovery from an illness, injury or accident can be derailed by feeling hopeless so keeping a positive attitude is imperative.
After brain surgery and 6 weeks in the hospital, my focus was on leaving as soon as possible. When Gerald drove me home, I hung my head out the window and howled with joy. But getting out of the hospital was only the beginning of a long journey.
But after a few days of being home, my euphoria was replaced by reality. I still had a long way to go.
How easily we forget how much we have to be grateful for? Not long ago I couldn’t walk, talk, move my left arm, read a book, follow a conversation.
Though I am frustrated that I may never run, ride a bike or drive, I am still in the game. I am lucky to have been an athlete raised in a coach’s family. From an early age, training became a way of life.
I work out as if my life depended on it. It does. I set mini goals to walk a little farther, a little faster each day. I continued physical therapy until I had memorized all the exercises I needed to do.
“With your self discipline,” my chiropractor and physical therapist said, “you of anybody doesn’t need PT, just continue the exercises on your own.”
I walk everyday, lift baby dumbbells and practice online “yoga with Adrienne” as she talks me through the postures and breathing techniques while teaching me mindfulness.
Setbacks are part of the recovery process.
My neurologists explained that my recent EEG showed abnormal brain wave activity in the frontal lobes indicating the potential for another epileptic episode.
“Don’t even think about driving yet, or even doing anything involving balance or risk of falling” he said and added, “A full recovery from brain injury takes up to a couple years.”
Years? I fight off disappointment. Getting released from the hospital was only the first step of my journey to recovery.
Progress can be slow and indiscernible.
“Maybe recovery won’t be as fast as you’d like, but you have gotten so much stronger, made so much progress” my daughter reminds me.
“Reframe your expectations. It might take longer than you hoped, but you are getting there. Don’t give up!”
Look for an inspiring role model. Mine is my 89-year-old dad who slide steps holding onto the kitchen counter, lifts weights from his reclining chair and walks around the block everyday.
Depend on a loyal teammate. When I wake up with tears in my eyes wondering how to push through another day, my husband drags me out the door. We walk the fields across from our sublime view of Lake Geneva and the Alps and I chide myself. What am I pouting about?
Surrounded by people who believe wholeheartedly in my ability to recover, when my hope wavers theirs lift me up. So I face each new day whispering my mantra.
“Get up. Get moving. Reframe. Go forward. One step at a time.”