Monday, 8 August 2011

Everyone has a story to tell.. EVERYONE: Guest posting time.... #1

I have decided to share my blog space with some wonderful people, to show that EVERYONE has a story to tell, by having a guest post on a random occasion. And today is the first of my random guest blog posts. Each guest blog post that is shared on 'Stranger Than Fiction' will cover a story from the guest writer's life, something that has shaped them, made them stronger, but will also be a great way for us all to learn from. 
Today's guest is a  fellow blogger Mishaps and Mayhem of a Gluten Free Life, who I also went to high school with. Until I read this post I had no idea what she had gone through recently and how much it had affected her life. I am in awe of her positivity and her 'fight though it' spirit.
Here is her story......

I think before I start to write this, a snap shot of me prior to the accident which is my life changing event. I was a primary school teacher, working very hard, I was always on the go, working as hard as I could, to impress the right people (or who I thought were the right people). I would work, walk the dog, cook dinner, do so more work and eventually spend some time with my soon to be husband. I was on the fast track to the top. I would push myself to the limit so many times, and I honestly don't think I stopped enough to appreciate the people in my life, who I love and care about so much. I had been bridesmaid 4 times and things were finally working out for me and then we got hit with a bit of a jolt to say the least.

I originally said that I was going to write about the accident once, but this is a guest post for an old friend and I'm not focusing on the actually accident itself. If you want to read about that go to my archive at Mishaps and Mayhem of a Gluten Free Life, and look for the post entitled accident.

My life changing experiencing, as you have already gathered by now, is a car accident. It happened last Septemeber, the date is tattooed into my memory. All I will say is I now suffer PTSD from the accident, so going over the details again and again are certainly not healthy is, it was a bad accident and I was hit by an inexperienced driver.

Unfortunately even though I was travelling at 80km/per hr, I was not taken to a trauma hospital.. me and my big mouth kept on saying something about endo pain, and I was taken to a non trauma hospital. So consequently, now 10 months after the accident we have just found out I have injuries to my shoulder, as well as a cyst to my spinal cord, bulging discs to my neck and back and I've had fairly major hip surgery (which were diagnosed at various stages after the accident).

In the midst of all of this I managed to marry the man of my dreams. I'm sure some people would have been thinking and said to me, (did say to me), to postpone the wedding but there was no way, if I had to hobble down the aisle I would! And I hobbled. I was in pain, but I was the least stressed bride in history, and the happiest. I had overcome so many odds just to get to walking down the aisle and we only knew what half of the injuries were! I just let everyone else stress in the lead up to the wedding and on the day. The video is priceless, I constantly smiled and he cried when he saw me and that was the most beautiful thing in the world.  So just instead of my mum chasing me around with lipstick to touch up my lips, she was chasing me with my walking stick!

And we went on our honeymoon. I contacted the airline and listed as a disability, and my gorgeous new husband, instead of being at all embarrassed, he was so impressed by the first class treatment that we got by Jet star. And I just smiled and looked at my rings, while all the people stared (I wonder why she is in a wheelchair!?). Both there and back we were the first on the plane with a seat in between us so I could put my leg up and we honestly got the best service. There were things that I couldn't do but there were things I could and the fact that I was able to be on my honeymoon with the man of my dreams was the best thing in the world, walking stick and pain killers. And we will go on a second honeymoon when I have healed a bit so the extra special fun part of a honeymoon isn't restricted (if you get my drift). Now I could have taken the diva approach and cancelled the wedding until I got better, which now I know, I will never completely be the same. This would have been crazy, instead I focused my energy on my wedding and my husband and my great support network.

From the first day back of my honeymoon, there were various challenges, and hurdles to overcome. For numerous reasons surgery wasn't directly approved. But I wasn't going to let that beat me down, we joined forces and we got surgery approved and a month after my honeymoon, my lovely husband brought me home in a walking frame! I needed help to get in and out of bed, to shower, to dress, to sit, like an old granny, certainly not like a young bride. My hip was so swollen that mum had to go and buy me these massive size 18 granny undies (I'm only a size 10) and then my hip swelled some more, so I cut them lol (certainly not the sexy post honeymoon underwear I thought I might be able to wear). But we took everything in our stride together, united, we have a great support network, who would come and help out, washing, cleaning, cooking etc. Or even just giving my lovely husband a few minutes time out. Just the look he gives me and when he tells me he loves me, makes it okay, I wipe the tears away and carry on. Sometimes I look at him and say "What if this test result is bad?", and he tells me "We will deal with it like we have dealt with everything else", and we do.

Now anyone who has had extensive surgery knows, that it generally means lots of physio, and I was unable to drive. So once again I called upon my amazing support network of family and friends, some who would drive 40+ minutes, some with very small reflux crying sleepless babies, just to take me and my walking frame, crutches, walking stick to physio on a regular basis because I couldn't drive. Instead of thinking how sad it was that I had surgery, I felt empowered that I had taken control of my life and I was on the mend, slowly but surely and each day I began to see little improvements. Everyday I thanked god (and I'm not an overly religious person) that I wasn't killed in the accident or my injuries weren't worse.

There were tears of pain, and frustration and one of the main emotions I felt, was unfairness... my entire life was now altered, because of the action of one person. To be honest I felt, and still feel robbed. And guilt... guilt at the affect an action that happened to me had upon everyone else's life. That emotion is a hard one to understand for those close to me, but I'm assured its a normal emotion.

As my hip healed we discovered my neck and back injuries and were told that the baby that we wanted to have so badly couldn't even begin to attempt to happen because of the potential risk of surgery. This perhaps was one of the hardest things, and I think still is that I find to deal with. It just seems so unfair, each time someone announces their pregnant, or you look at a baby, my stomach turns over. Unfortunately because of my injuries my weight limit is 5kg, so I can't even hold me nephew, my god daughter, my cousins children, my friends children. And I was always the one, if there was a baby around I had it in hand, giving it lots of cuddles. As my psychologist says, its like we are on the starting blocks and can't even get off. But on the positive I have a great gyno, there is IVF, and positive thoughts will get us there, when we eventually get the go ahead by the doctors. I guess I should briefly explain because of my endo, 30 was the big cut off and I was told to have a baby before that by the gyno, thus why it breaks my heart.

One of the things that perhaps my husband and family started noticing before me, was my anxiety in the car. I would hang onto doors, hand rails etc and my heart would skip a beat every time someone merged. And sleeping, was something that suddenly would become difficult, particularly after something regarding the accident had been brought up. I also started to talk alot (now I used to to do that anyway, its hereditary, so kind of like someone on ADHD). I had PTSD and didn't realise. Thankfully I sought the help of an amazing psychologist, who has helped me and she is constantly amazed at my positive attitude and how well I'm doing, which of course is positive things I need to hear, whilst we overcome, and we will overcome eventually this PTSD.

In the meantime the journey still rolls on. There will be surgeries in the future, we are just doing what we can to prolong them as long as we can. Its now the 9th week that I have had severe neck spasms each day, and we get through those, slowly but surely, once again calling on that support network. And sometimes in the midst of the most severe pain, I think that there is someone out their doing it worse than me and that gets me through the pain. I have learned that to try and get some control, even if the spasms knocks me out for a few hours, when the pain eventually stops and I can have a little sleep, I set my alarm and get up and go for a walk, have my bit of computer time, taking back some control for chronic pain sufferers is essential.

We are waiting on more tests from my shoulder and I can't work for the rest of the year. Remember the accident was already nearly a year ago. And I'm someone who would put my hand up for thousands of things at work, I would come home walk the dog, cook dinner, wash up, do school work, spend time with hubby, I was constantly on the go. Thinking about it, I don't think I had time to step back and appreciate the wonderful and amazing people who are in my life.

Also because I was on my way to work and the doctors have stated I am unfit to work, my pay drops to some crazy statutory rate! Yet another stress that we don't need. I think we have had more stress in our first year of marriage then most people do in a lifetime of marriage. But together and with our awesome support network, we will get through this!

On a final conclusion I would like to offer some advice for family and friends of loved ones who have been involved in a big trauma like a car accident; they won't be the same person again, the direct family and close friends also need some assistance because this massive change has affected them too. Talking about it is very important, just make sure you are in a safe and supportive environment, the last thing a caring family member or friend needs is someone else to hear something that was said and it be interpreted in a bad way and have a negative impact on the injured friend/family member, particularly someone with PTSD,  they can be very effected by these type of comments. Essentially if there is something that you are really concerned about with the person, go and see them, take around a coffee, call, make sure they are ok (its much nicer than hearing of peoples concerns 2nd or 3rd hand, than directly from the person). Just be there for them, they will need you more than they ever have, and asking for help is one of the hardest things to do, particularly if you are usually the one giving it. And one last point, I know that there may be major things going on in your life, but if your friend has just been involved in a big car accident, be mindful of when you talk about your problems, because that person would love to have problems that were so easily fixable again. Be there to offer a hug, a shoulder to cry on, don't tell someone to stop crying, its really important to let it out. And I know its draining being there, but the best thing is you get to go home and forget about it but this is their life. The nicest things that my family and friends have done for me is cried with me at the pain and unjustness I feel. Positive thoughts are so important but acknowledgement of how major and permanent what has happened is, is massive and more important than positive thoughts. Just to come over and see me and bring me a coffee, my husband put our wedding photo up and I cried, just to have something to look at. It's not massive things, its just being there and taking the time, even if its only 30 minutes out of your life to be there for your friend or family, because it will mean so much to them,

For car accident victims out there, I know its hard, and at times it just seems unfair, but it is so very important to focus on the positive things you have in your life, and you will have them. Your family, friends, your support network. Because the sad reality is so many people are killed pointlessly on roads every day, and be so grateful you aren't one of those people. The road along the way will be a bumpy one, there may be decisions made by people or things happen that you aren't happy with, stand up for yourself, have a voice and don't put up with it. Try and stay positive and keep that support network going as much as you can. Don't become the victim, who blames everyone else, workers comp, the other driver etc. It's hard, believe me I know, and even if it means a change of career do it on your own terms. I find having some control over a situation which I am very powerless helps alot.

Tell the people around you that you love them everyday, stop and spend time doing the important things because know matter how much you have a perfect plan, unfortunately life just doesn't work that way.

And a side note if your are a younger or inexperienced driver, please, I beg you to be careful when your driving, one split decision can totally change or destroy someone's life forever.

I would also like to add that I am an asthmatic (I'm talking hospitalisations on numerous occassions), I suffer of endometrosis and a coeliac, oh and I also had an anaphylactic reaction to a spray of imitation gucci perfume (we are talking rushed to hospital aderaline, you wouldn't have made it if you didn't get the ambulance). But I don't define myself by these things, they are what make me who I am and the coeliac I have embraced and only recently started blogging about it, its actually been my saviour. I write about funny stories, about where to buy gluten free food, where to eat, and I put recipes that I have made up, because the gluten free market is really poor. Don't let your injuries or illness define who you are.

I hope this has helped some people. Keep on riding that lovely rollercoaster we call life, cause you never know when a turn or an up or down may happen.

p.s if you want to contact me at all my email is

1 comment:

Tess young said...

Hello There,
I just wanted to see if you were currently interested in additional guest bloggers for your blog site.
I see that you've accepted some guest posters in the past - are there any specific guidelines you need me to follow while making submissions?
If you're open to submissions, whom would I need to send them to?
I'm eager to send some contributions to your blog and think that I can cover some interesting topics.
Thanks for your time,