When I was first in the hospital and could barely pronounce words, I had a catchphrase…”tough stuff”. Now imagine a 17 year old girl saying it with a weird childish accent. Even funnier. But it’s a constant reminder of how strong I tried to get better originally. How much I tried to continue no matter how difficult it was. But the thing was, I wanted to get back into school. I thought my school life would not be affected at all, and boy was I wrong.
The courses changed. The content changed. The difficulty had to be lowered. An IEP had to be created.
Before I bore you with the list of changes, let’s just say there a lot of them. The number of courses had to be reduced and the difficulty had to be reduced. But it’s still not a walk in the park. My arms and legs aren’t reacting the same, my hands are harder to open into palms, my thinking and talking is slower, and the list goes on and on. Everything is just harder. Harder than write after my rehab. Harder to type, harder to concentrate, harder just to see, and the list goes on and on. It’s actually been getting harder after my rehab. I’m thinking and talking slower, my word fluency isn’t as good, my sensation on my right side is not as strong, and there’s probably more things that I forgot. Did I mention my memory is bad again? My vision is terrible, and I have difficulty focussing. Despite how hard I try, I can’t get my brain to adjust to this new lifestyle.
Recently, I noticed problems with my basic memory. Like in regular conversation I might have to think longer just to remember that person’s name. I still have difficulty remember the business course I ended up taking, and the title of the piece of Shakespeare I’m reading. (Before I forget again, it’s King Lear). I tried doing grade 11 math again, and couldn’t for the life of me remember how to do it. How to do factoring polynomials even though I learnt this last year?!!?! Originally, I had difficulty recognizing my emotions and dealing with it. Mainly because I was in such a sheltered area at Holland-Bloorview. I couldn’t be sad, everyone was so positive there! But here at school, I can find tons of other things to be sad about. How I only use about half of my school-day for learning and the rest of the time is used for myself trying to get caught up. How I have to stay back another year with all my friends graduating. And how even when I’m in school, I can’t do the things I love most like DECA, PSR, YWM, or band. It was supposed to be my best year. It’s ruined because of a tumour I can’t control.
I asked my parent’s this recently, “why do bad things happen to good people?”. And really, they don’t know. This was supposed to be my best year, but because of this tumour that I could’t control, it turns out that this is the hardest year. When all my friends graduate next year, who’s gonna be there for me any more? This is some depressing stuff, but it’s the truth that we don’t like. It’s really tempting to give up right now, but there’s something that keeps me trying. But that something is becoming more and more uncommon. This is really, really hard to deal with. I had such high expectations on myself, but having those all come crashing down and burning on me is not really part of my expectations for this year. Yes, this is depressing. Yes, this is hard to read, but the thing is that it’s even harder to deal with. Trying to accept your situation when it’s such a terrible one is not a simple task.
I know a lot of people are probably reading this (sorry for bumming you guys out), but I just want you to know that this isn’t easy for me either. This is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, and I’m already used to things being hard normally. Before I had the ability to realize what I was going through, I was less sad because I always had the distraction of being in the hospital. Now I’m outside the hospital and a whole lot of sad. Seeing my friends suffer because of my suffering is hard. Seeing how people are trying to be nicer to me to make up for this is hard too. Hearing people say “President Huang” and calling other people PSR executive, YWM executive, and jazz band member is hard to deal with too. I don’t even know what my position in DECA is any more, I wasn’t even listed in the agenda as a PSR executive and that was printed before I was in the hospital (be it a lot of the names were written wrong anyway, but at least they were included). My parents are thankful I’m alive, but I don’t really see any positives right now. Maybe being alive is a good thing, but with all these limitations, I only see the restrictions facing me.
Today I got the chance to wear my DECA medals for the lipdub, and that’s when it occurred to me that I won’t get any more of those medals this year, possibly ever. That realization really hurts me. The club I helped build up and train, I can’t even really be a active member in any more. I feel like an outsider at most of the meetings I’m at, and I don’t see that ending any time soon. I can’t even go to the gym like a regular person any more. If I tried to go then people would be waiting for my spot and being impatient with all the waiting they have to do.
This is not a rant. This is a taste of reality. It’s a little bit of reality that I will try to show you as best as I can. Head injuries suck. All of us at Holland-Bloorview who were struggling can tell you that.
Tough Stuff. That’s the best way to put it really.
One time when I was in early recovery the surgeon asked me what I want to be when I grew up. Inspired by what they did for me, I said neurosurgeon. Today, I realize that might be a little bit of a challenge. Now I’m even more not sure of what I want to be.
Right now I am still wearing my DECA blazer and DECA t-shirt because it may be the only time I get to wear it this year.
I like to end most of my posts on a positive note. but this time I really can’t find one. It’s really not fair that me of all people would get a tumour. It’s not really fair for anyone to get a tumour. It’s not really fair for my grandparents to get cancer. These things happen. Whether we like it or not, we have to just deal with it.
Chant the words “tough stuff” and move on. That’s the best we can do right now,