On Five Years, Post-Disaster

5th Anniversary — Part 1

Saturday, September 15, 2012 marked five years since the day I nearly lost my life.

I remember thinking to myself on that day, September 15, 2007, just after sustaining an incredibly powerful blow to the head and face,

“I must not fall.”

“If I fall, I will never get up.”

“If I fall, I will die right here, and no one will ever know what happened to me.”

These words are painful to write, and so, I will leave the story of that day for *another day* when perhaps they no longer feel so devastating.  The day I long for, the day I work every day so hard for–

*The day I will finally be healed.  Strong again.  Pain and symptom free!*

— That is the day this blog seeks.  This blog and every other effort I’ve made and will make.  This blog, in large measure, is about what we must do to save ourselves.

We all have a journey, some goal we long to reach.  My goal is doing the best I can to regain as much of my own health as I possibly can.  In order to do so, I must press forward.  “Word press,” if you will, can help me, I think.  I hope.  I want to believe.  I am willing to do whatever and as much as it takes, including write.  Including share.  Because to me, nothing replaces good health.  Nothing is worth more.  I must fight. And hard!  Every day.

Just as I did the day this happened to me.

Oh, I have longed for restored health for so long.

I have given up on that day which still eludes me.

I have started over–the long arduous stagger so many times toward that very day alone.

In large part, that is also what this blog is about.  Navigating these past five years of my life with post-concussive syndrome, recovering from traumatic brain injury, a smashed nose, cracked and chipped teeth, all kinds of pain.

Those words themselves put a lump in my throat.

Post-concussive syndrome.

Traumatic Brain Injury.

Chronic pain and fatigue.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

This has not been an easy ride.  In fact, it often seems that it has been the most miserable five years that anyone could ever possibly imagine.  Indeed, there might be worse things, but if there are, I surely wouldn’t want to think of them, let alone write about them.

But the truth is, on that brilliantly sunny September day–before I had ever even heard the term post-concussive syndrome–life as I knew it changed completely.

I am just now–five long, hard years later–able to begin to try to write about what it is like to stumble through those dark, dark depths, and to struggle one’s way back, not even knowing if tomorrow will arrive. Confused, and in chronic pain.  A little frustrated, and often crabby…

Excruciating physical pain.

Pain so great one’s spirit and emotions implode.

Did I say pain?!

There isn’t a quieter or a more raucous place in the human brain or body.  It is a place of the shallowest of breathing and the lowest of pulse rates.  It is like a dry, dark cave, where even bats can’t live.

But that was those days.

The dark, dark depths.

Most days.

For the past four and half years at the least.

This fifth anniversary brings a long-awaited new here and now.  I’m not where I am going, but I sure as hell am not where I have been…and that is cause for great celebration, indeed.

Thank you for celebrating with me by reading these words.

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© Debra Valentino, all rights reserved.

18 thoughts on “On Five Years, Post-Disaster

  1. Deb, what remarkable images your words paint. Spellbinding. I’m so sorry you went through this, and so glad you are sharing.

  2. Deb, reading your entries I am shaken how unfair life can be and how your every day is encompassed with this hard and painful struggle… you are just as beautiful as then – and more so. thank you for sharing your journey so your friends can pray and cheer you on, lift you up.

    • Dearest Jan, it was time I stopped shouldering the burden in isolation. People need to understand one another, and the world has such misinformed notions about closed head injuries. I am elated to see you here. Thank you, my life long friend. ~ xo

  3. please don’t delete. i am sure there are many who really need to hear your story to help clarify their own. much love and light to you during this healing process.

  4. Sweet Deb, thank you so much for sharing this post! I think this is what it’s all about; the sharing, the bravery, the opening and trust. We’re all here for you and want you to know it. You’re life has been changed and now you’re on a new path; let us walk it with you! xoxo

    • Tina, it does take courage, every day, and sharing takes its own type of courage. Thank you for walking alongside me, friend. ~ xo

  5. This is an incredibly moving post, so beautifully and bravely written. Thank you for sharing it. Celebrating it and cheering you on from this little corner. 🙂

  6. It’s an honor and privilege to read your words, a piece of your story and I’m grateful you’ve chosen to put this part of your life out here. You are a brave and courageous woman, writing from her own heart about the “dark, dark depths” that were are perhaps still are a part of your story, your life.

    Congratulations on your fight, long and arduous as it has been. Happy Anniversary, saying so in Celebration not of what you lost but of all that you’ve gained.

    Much love to you in your journey. Press on, Sweetie. “Because to {you}, nothing replaces good health. Nothing is worth more. {You} must fight. And hard!”

    And you’ve a cheering section just for you. xx

    • Oh, Emily, thank you so much for being my dear friend, and for understanding so well with your great intelligence. Let’s have cake! ~ xo

  7. “I’m not where I’m going but I’m sure as hell not where I have been”
    I am not taking the same path or felt your pain but I can appreciate your words.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Lorrie, that is as much as I could possibly hope for, that my story might resonate with your own path in some way. Be well!

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