Welcome to our blog! I originally started this blog in November 2010 just prior to having a major brain surgery to remove a large bleeding cavernous angioma from a deep part of my brain. You can best understand the gravity of our experience by reading the first several entries.(Nov 2010-Dec 2010) I wrote the first one and my sweet, adoring husband, John, wrote the next several (while I was too sick to do much of anything) that documented surgery, immediate recovery, and our reaction to the surgery complication (stroke)that was revealed 2 days after surgery. This recovery process has been difficult but we are making it. We appreciate all the kind words of encouragement we have received and we would like to thank everyone that has participated in helping us along this difficult journey. Also, if you have any questions about my personal experience, please leave them as a comment or contact me directly at thankfulforeveryday@yahoo.com and I will respond although I am not a doctor and this is not a replacement for medical care or advise. Please ask a real professional, or probably several. :) I hope to be able to help at least one person along the challenging road of brain surgery and recovery.

Friday, August 5, 2011

On the road again

Well, sort of. Yesterday, I had my driver's evaluation and I PASSED!!! We're pretty excited as this is one of the last really big things that I wanted to do to return to my "former" life. This is also so huge to me because just 8 months ago, I wasn't even safe to walk alone much less drive. Amazing!! I have worked super hard in rehab trying to get all my deficits to disappear, and while there are still some things that are not right...if they are not limiting my life...I can accept that (and for the things that are limiting...I will continue to work on them for as long as it takes). Although I am still not able to drive according to the law, I am one giant step closer, and realize it's only a matter of time now. At least I am cognitively prepared to drive..that's the biggest issue. The process involves reporting myself to the DMV, since none of my doctors reported me, and hoping the DMV will not revoke my license at this point. Chances are less that they will take my licence away now that I have "proof" that I am a safe driver. I'm not sure how long it will be before I am legal to drive again, but I do know I am a lot closer to that goal now than I have been in the last 8 months.

The evaluation was very stressful and expensive so I am trilled it's over and I passed. It involved four hours with an occupational therapist that specializes in driver preparation after brain injury. The first 2 hours were in her office, testing. I was a bit nervous about the eye testing and I passed but some parts were rough. I still have no depth perception, but am completely functional without it. :) I guess I have adapted. Some of the other tests she had me do were timed and while my accuracy was very good, I am still processing information pretty slowly, but she said it was fast enough for driving. The second 2 hours were spent in the car driving with the OT and a driving instructor. I hadn't driven in 8 months so I was a little nervous and it was an unfamiliar car, but I did really well anyway. They said I was driving kinda slowly. I thought it was better to go slowly than make a mistake, and the area they had me driving in was very busy with cars, pedestrians, kids, construction, blind corners, etc. It required all my energy to be safe, but I did it!! Crazy thing is I used to drive all day for my job and now it's one of the hardest things to do. I wouldn't even think about it before and now I know it's a really high level cognitive process...involving so much of what I lost and have slowly regained: attention, multitasking, coordination, visual scanning/processing.

Driving is super important if you plan on doing much of anything in Los Angeles, especially while toting a 2 year old along. Sure you could try to take the bus, but who has all day to get where you need to go, much less carry around a giant car seat and all the stuff you need to care for a 2 year old away from home. When I first came home from the hospital, I tried to figure out how to read the bus schedule...turns out those things aren't designed with brain injured individuals in mind...heck John couldn't even figure it out. I did take the bus/train combo a few times going back and forth to rehab, but it just didn't work. The bus would run late and then I'd miss the train and end up waiting for hours in a bad area. Thankfully John agreed to be my personal chauffeur and brought me everywhere I needed to go...what a guy!! I'm sure John is just as thrilled to not have to be my personal driver for much longer. While I will miss our extra time together, I will relish in my reclaimed independence! As I finished up yesterday and was paying, I started to cry again. Happy tears!!! I'm doing it, getting better. The intensified appreciation that I feel is so overwhelming at times, I'm sure the cashier was thinking I must have failed or I was completely crazy, but I know...I have just taken another big step back into my life and I'm am so appreciative of every milestone. 


  1. Yayyyy, Elizabeth!!! :) I understand what a BIG step that was & the courage, hard work & efforts it took - Congratulations to you! :)

  2. Thanks Patti, yes...really big deal. Wasn't sure I'd ever get to drive again. Pretty happy about the whole thing!!!!