Feeling Alone.

UPDATE ON THE THINGS I CAN DO THIS WEEK:

-WIND-SPRINTS (ONLY A FEW, 5?)

-HOP ON ONE LEG FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME/DISTANCE

-ADDED DIFFICULTY SQUATS

-SHOWER LIKE NORMAL AND ALONE

Being here is getting more and more depressing, and the realization that the effects of the surgery will be a permanent change is pretty traumatizing. I just feel like jumping out of my own body and running away from myself and my problems. They teach not to run away from your problems, and I’ve been pretty good about dealing with problems head-on, but this time I’m pretty terrified. How do I get on with my life? My goals seem more and more unreachable and my life seems a bit more bleak. Maybe this is a good wake-up call, and I shouldn’t have such high expectations on myself and I should take my time and learn to relax a bit. Relax. That’s a word I never really understood. I always have to be doing something, and even when I was relaxing or having fun, I always had a back-up plan like homework in my backpack or something else I had to do.

Not many people understand how competitive Bethune is, or how competitive I am. They just see me working hard and they think “that girl’s good.” They don’t know how most of the school is that good (or at least that’s my impression, I don’t know if that’s the truth). Bethune is a school of mostly asians, and so was my elementary school Milliken. So we all had a lot of parental encouragement (or forcing), to do well in all aspects. Sports, competitions in academics, track and field, and whatever else, we were supposed to be good at it. Even if we weren’t, we were a disgrace if we didn’t try. I, on the other hand was really good at self-motivation. I wasn’t a very nice kid when I was young, but always very determined. That determination first was a source of motivation, but by grade 8, it was an obsession. I developed great self-control, even greater self-management, and for a 13-year-old, it was pretty amazing the amount of clubs I was in and the amount of stuff I did. However, it was also when my teachers and parents started telling me to “relax” and hold off a bit. And so I did in grade 9; had a great year with a good amount of clubs and great marks, but as school got on, I started getting back to my old habits. My old bad habits.

So when I first got my tumour, I thought I could spring back pretty fast. I wasn’t educated on what could happen because truthfully, I was scared to find out. You can imagine my shock when I woke up being unable to move my right side at all. I don’t really remember the first few days I was up, but I knew I was always polite even when I could only say yes and no and barely move. I wasn’t really aware of what was happening and what I had to go through to get myself normal again and I definitely wasn’t aware that there will be permanent effects. When you’re first admitted, there’s assessments that you have to do in every type of therapy you can think of. I had to do tests for a neuropsych evaluation lately, and I realized how much dumber, slower  I’m struggling. My memory is bad, my speech is slow and choppy, and my writing is even uglier than it was before. It was never good, but at least it was mostly legible to everyone.

Overtime, I got less polite, less cheery, and less happy, more scared, more emotional, more nervous, more paranoid, and more of an urge to give up all together. The possibility of getting back to school and being reintegrated is keeping me together. Then I begin to think, what is there at my school that is mine? My friends? No. I neglected them when I was busy in my clubs and teams and not hanging out with them. I don’t even think I can talk them now, considering my best friends found new friends and are friends with each other more than me. They have each other to care for them and for the most part I’m out of the picture (at least that’s how I feel). Then there are the people I talk to on the computer and/or in band. I think these people know more about me/understand me better, but they can’t always be there unless I’m with them in band or can always go on the computer. I could before, but now not always. All these things together, I feeling pretty alone right now. To imagine what an extra year would be like when the few friends I have all graduated and off to university is a horrendous thought. I understand the importance of good relationships especially now, but it’s hard to keep them up when you’re stuck here with bad internet that doesn’t allow everything to work!

I was also put on an IEP (Individual Education Plan). When was younger, I understood that people have different needs, and some may need assistance, but I always had judgement on those with an IEP because they always had extra help and extra time. “How unfair,” I thought. But now I realized that we can’t always help it. We can’t always control how we learn and how we absorb–we just do. And a lot of times that’s the best one can do, try. I also talked to my doctor today, the doctor here at Bloorview. He made me realize how serious the surgery really was and the possible long-term effects it may have on how I learn. It was today I realized I’ll never be quite the same as I was before my surgery. I may always need extra help, I may always be more forgetful, and I may always be slower than everyone else. Compared to always being the one to provide help, always being the one to tell others what they forget, and always being faster than everyone else, I now have to try things on the other side of the wall. The huge wall that I have to try to jump and get out of.

The doctor also mentioned how my tumour was not cancerous and how that is a good thing. He was mentioning that bad things about cancers and I got slightly upset. He brought up pretty bad memories for me, and I started to miss my grandpa even more. Even typing this I’m getting teary. I can understand how alone he probably felt, and how he had to stay strong for everyone else because he knew he was probably going to die soon. I should have been a better granddaughter, and because of this incident, it’s going to be hard to be a good granddaughter for the ones that are still here. I’m not sure exactly how I can improve myself as a granddaughter, daughter, niece, or friend, but trust me, I’m trying to learn and figure it out as fast as I can.

I’m not sure why I’m so moody, maybe it’s due to it being that time of the month for me. But I think it’s all that’s happening in general. It could be because school started and everyone but me is busy with school work and planning activities if they are in a club/committee, but it just feels a bit more lonely now than before. Though true that everyone is busy doing their own thing, it’s nice to know that at least I’m not like a passing fad that people no longer care about and just toss off to the side. I’m not always good at responding to messages, but it’s always nice to see there’s at least messages awaiting you in your inbox sometimes. Reminds us we are not alone and that there are always people that care. I know this is true, but it’s sometimes nice to get a reminder. It’s probably impossible for others to imagine themselves in my shoes, but at least they can try. Try imagining if you had my surgery-ed brain. What would it be like? Maybe you’ll learn something too. I’ve certainly learnt lots.

When I get back, things won’t be the same any more. I know that. Maybe the same isn’t better and a change is what I needed to unlock something that I didn’t have before. My new version of me could be even better, who knows? We just have to try and find out.

Improvements.

I haven’t typed here in over a week because I have been sick and needed time to recover. Not sure what I have, but it’s something that involves probably a flu of some kind. Lately, I’ve been progressing pretty quickly (but still not as quick as I would hope;of course I’m not supposed to be thinking that but I am). Recently I got cleared for independence (AKA I can walk alone around the building now and spend time alone if I wanted some). I’ve been writing neater and faster, I can skip rope and jump (sort of+badly), I can do sit-ups, I can get ready by myself, and I’m comparatively not as emotional. That’s huge improvements, but I have a lot to go. I didn’t realize how much I wasn’t able to do before until I started doing them again.
Today, in physio I was challenged to squat. The first few was okay, but a lot harder compared to the old days when we would squat for 15 minutes straight in gym class. I did them one by one and by 20 or so it was too hard to do any more. Next, I jumped rope 50 times (not in a row). I had to jump and stop a lot because I spent time on the treadmill and bike too. My legs muscles were as tense as I used to be (lol). This morning was the morning I realized what this would mean. That I could take a long time before I would be normal again. What would I do in Math? What would I do in band or volleyball? What would I do about the clubs I lead? How can I return to regular life instead of this sheltered place?
That presented me with many questions to ask myself and made me realize once again how difficult it has been for me to adjust and how difficult it will be for me to adjust when I get back. I don’t know any of the answers yet, but  I know that I will try my hardest to get accustomed to the basics again. I’ll be good at hula hoops again (I used to go for like 20 minutes at a time) and I’ll be able to long jump again (I used to be 1st place at all the meets I went to). These meaningless things that I can’t do any more seem so trivial now, but they still hurt when you can’t do them.
So maybe next week I won’t be sick and  have the strength to do other things. I was just introduced to a new walking stick that makes it more challenging (more challenging than just walking and more challenging than a regular flat walking stick). It has a boot at the end of it. So I’ll “bootcamp” train myself to that goal, maybe I’ll even hulahoop too. Who knows? Anything is possible if you want it hard enough. I watched a movie (I didn’t finish it) where a gymnast hurt herself in a car accident and was told never to do gymnastics again. So instead she trained dancers for awhile and then I’m not sure if she returned to competition again, but I know she could have if she wanted to. That’s the type of perseverance that I need.
I may not be a Disney movie hero, but I can break the odds and smash expectations too. Who knew Disney movies actually taught good lessons? They actually teach bits of positivity midst their use of gender roles!

The Good.

Therapeutic Recreation is something I really enjoy every night. It’s when we get to do some fun things like games and such to hopefully make our evenings not suck as much. AKA: gimp, air hockey, pool, scavenger hunts, campfires, bananagrams (trust me, it’s fun if you’re me) and other board games, etc etc. Today, TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) had a workshop with us and showed us a few short films and had us try a few things out.

  1. The Disk Thingy That I Can’t Remember The Name Off: This contraption makes cool images from a spinning disk that combines the components you draw. Like a lighter and its flame, a pizza and it’s  toppings, or a fly and its pie.
  2. Old Toys: These devices has some miles on them. Oldies but goodies. There’s a thing that spins around to make a moving picture, or makes images look 3D. Classic. Simple.
  3. Projecting Your Own Film: You can draw with sharpie onto a clear piece of film and have your own movie projected with lots of designs and colours available, anything is possible. I drew a couple pieces of poo within my reel (it moves so fast no one can notice what it is, so it’s like an inside joke with myself).
  4. Stop Motion: Lastly, to end it all off they played the stop motion animation that we made together.

Things like this make this experience not as bad. Every night we get time to spend together playing games together from 6-8pm and get to know each other better. Even though the get to know each other better part is coming along quite slowly, I predict it will speed up when school starts here. It’s not really a regular schedule of school, it’s like a half day every day, but it’s better than nothing.

I guess my point of this post is that it’s not so bad here. If it really get’s down to it, the food is pretty good, the activities are fun, and there are some amazing people trying to help us get better and get out of here. I guess that’s my positivity speaking though. I can also be super negative and say that this is all bad. What a drag.

Between my sessions of occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech language pathology, social work, and psychology, it’s good to have some fun in them. Like today in physiotherapy I played some games on the Wii and some other machine I forgot the name off, in occupational therapy we did math (it’s a challenge right now, so I enjoy challenges), typing (had some quirky video with it), and then we played a memory board game , and in speech language pathology we played “Gibberish” and reviewed the notes I took last time. This all seems boring when I’m talking about it, but the people are the ones that make it fun. Even when it’s extremely difficult, slow down, relax, and look for the positives. It sounds hard now, but if you really try, it’s all possible.

For now, I’m just use to it here. I don’t love it yet, I don’t hate it yet. I can’t complain.

Always try to look on the bright side of things, it’s okay to be in the dark for a little bit; but always be ready to spring back. That’s how I try to think now; how I have to think.

To Start.

Before you read from this on, I want you all to start from the beginning. Right to the bottom.
And then you can skim through them (I expect you to to that).

Hopefully, that will help explain what I’ve been going through and why I won’t be back to normal. I’ll be in rehab for the next little while and they will have school there for me. I’ll be okay (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).

So to prevent further speculation of where I am, I opened this blog to share what I’m going through with you all and let you know what it’s like from my perspective. So venture to the bottom if you so dare.