The Gift of Hope

CFX Day 1: The Gift of Hope

My husband reached his hand over the arm of the chair and rested it on my thigh. He squeezed it, in hopes of getting a response from me, but I was tangled in my own self-deprecating thoughts to even acknowledge his simple, loving gesture. We were seated at an office table, with a chair across from us for Dr. Fong. My head hung low between my shoulders, as my shoulders curled inside my body, slouched over and disheartened. I was fragile, weak, in pain, and hopeless.

It was near day 142 of post-concussion-syndrome and I was still carrying this thick fog of unfamiliarity. My brain felt foreign in my own body and when my brain felt like me, my body felt foreign. I had daily headaches, pain ranging from a 6 or 8, on a scale from 1-10. I had social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and cognitive disorders. My cognitive disorders affected my thinking, remembering, and reasoning. I had trouble with verbal recall, concentration, loud noises, populated areas and affection.

I had been seeing a Neurologist and a Family Practice Doctor who both advised that my brain simply needed more time to heal. I had a “normal” MRI of my brain. It read something like this: The base of the skull is unremarkable. The sinuses are clear. The Ventricles are normal in size shape and position. The pituitary is normal. The cranial nerves are normal as visualized. The corpus callosum is normal. The cerebral parenchyma is normal. No abnormal signal is noted of the T2 flair images.

When you get a report back that reads; normal, normal, clear, unremarkable, no abnormal signs but you feel dreadful, all you hear is, “You’re crazy! What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you just get better now?” The urgency to be myself again was exhausting and with no tangible treatment to get me better, I felt frustrated and alone.

The worst part, of my laundry list of symptoms, was my alien brain telling me I didn’t want to live anymore.

“You don’t want to live like this anymore.”

“You’ll never get better.”

“You’ll never be the same.”

“You’ll always have this pain.”

“You should give up.”

I wrestled these corrupt, morbid thoughts in the wee hours of the night. My alarm went off with them echoing in my head every morning. I’d stumble into the shower and try to visualize the warm water washing them away from my body but they felt like hot tar webbed in every corner of my brain.

Sitting in that office chair, waiting for Dr. Fong, felt like my last stitch effort. Regardless of my MRI results, I was not “normal” this was not “normal” and I was desperate for some relief. Dr. Fong sat down across from my husband and me, as we discussed the accident and my symptoms. My husband did most of the talking unless she questioned me directly. I was hesitant, distant, and fearful that this would turn into a conversation of “waiting on time” to heal.

I wanted to scream out, “can you help me?” but I was too afraid the answer would not be what I wanted. The meeting was very emotional for me and admitting that I could no longer go on this way, felt defeating and weak, but I knew I was at my breaking point. I felt small in that room. I felt helpless and hopeless.

Until Dr. Fong laid out her arm, across the table in my direction and said to me,

“I can help you. We can help you,” she said.

I looked up from the web of insecurity as her eyes meet mine.

“You can?” I asked.

“Yes, I am confident we can,” she replied.

Dr. Fong walked into my life that day and offered the one thing I had been looking for from every other Doctor before her, HOPE.

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I believe there is no stronger gift than that of love and hope. Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

That what is wanted can be had.

Hope is what drives us to achieve, to dream, to love and be loved. Without hope, there is no encouragement to become. The thought that what we want can be had, pushes us to believe in things bigger than ourselves. The moments in my life where I have felt hopeless, are some of the darkest times in my life. I have been guided to those who have gifted me hope when I could not find it on my own, just as Dr. Fong did that day at Cognitive FX.

Have you ever felt hopeless before?

The beautiful thing about hope, it never goes away. Hope is always there. At times, it is difficult to see the light of hope, but it never truly leaves us. All we must do is find the strength to see it again, to grab hold of it and let it seep into the darkness, to bring light again. As a society, we should always seek to give others hope.

I am beyond grateful for the staff at CFX and Dr. Fong. When I needed hope, they were there for me. They not only gave me the gift of hope, they also helped me heal. I am striving daily to keep a healthy brain, with healthy eating habits, brain games, and exercise. I am happy to say, I am 90% recovered and feeling healthier every day.