Today, October 28, 2015 is the one year anniversary of me having a seizure in Tel Aviv hours before being part of the 2014 Tel Aviv 10k Night Run.
Looking back on the past year, this has been a different and at times challenging year. A year of change, a year of inspiration, a year of life and a year filled with love. A year I will never forget and one which I have an even deeper appreciation for my family and friends who helped me in my healing.
To date, no one really knows the cause of my seizure, just that there were no obvious markers or reasons for it. Since the event I had a battery of tests and I'm happy to say that still, no one knows why it happened. It is possible I was pushing myself a bit too hard, a bit too extreme. It is possible I was dehydrated and /or low in electrolytes but whatever the case, I am happy to be back.
I am forever grateful for having my seizure in front of two friends who cared for me. Grateful for the friends who were with me 24/7 at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and those who visited with me at the Sheraton in Tel Aviv before flying back to New York. I am grateful for the Hospital for Special Surgery for the work they did on the reconstruction of my shoulder. I am grateful to my mom for having me be a guest of her house until the end of May and living room where I lived for a few months recovering from my surgery. I had no idea that I would not be able to sleep comfortably without pain in a bed for a number of months after my surgery. I also want to thank my sisters and my friends who reached out and visited with me during my healing. While I was able to move back into my apartment at the beginning of June, I will never forget what it felt to be living at my mom's home again, after years of living on my own.
Life became surreal. I don't think I ever got used to pain management. But I did everything I could to not become dependent on the pain medicine. Which in turn meant I had to learn to tolerate pain better. However, one thing I missed the most was my ability to share a hug. I didn't get my hug back until the end of May. Seven months without being able to share a hug was hard for me. I am grateful for being able to hug again.
During this past year I learned about mindfulness. I learned how to give my body a chance to heal by turning off my connections on social channels, texting and on email. As someone who lived 24/7 on the Internet, time stopped. To this day I still haven't recaptured the moments and have not been able to reply to all the emails and messages that were sent to me. In order to sleep and to heal and to just get better, I had to make the attempt to relax, close my eyes and not do everything I want to do. Not because I didn't want to reply to all of the people who reached out to check up on me but rather because I couldn't scale and respond to everyone and deal with the pain I had. This proved both challenging and difficult. I am grateful I never knew pain before my accident and I have a great appreciation that I can forget how bad I was hurting along the way.
There is a balance between wanting to be independent and finding a way to accept your own limitations without giving up. I ended up choosing intense physical therapy for ten months and while I have been able to achieve close to 100 percent recovery of my shoulder, I know I have more work to do. I am grateful to my friends Zoltan, my trainer and Victoria, my physical therapist, who have had a serious positive impact on my physical recovery.
I had no idea a year after my seizure that I would no longer be obsessed with getting in 10k steps a day or else. I struggled a bit in the life / healing / being balance. Yes, I gained some weight. No, I am not back at my pre-accident weight. But I am at peace with my body and I am ok with where I am today. I accept me. While I hope to go down back to a 34 waist, I'm okay at 36 for now. And while pushing on being medium size shirt was great, being just a large and not a XXXL is fine with me. While I wanted to continue the life I had while giving my body a chance to rebuild and heal, I have reduced my training sessions to twice a week and I don't beat myself up in my head if I don't get in 10k steps.
So what helped in my recovery besides the love and support I got from so many people? My new passion / obsession with photography. I recently learned that I was first given a camera when I was four years old because my father wanted to see what life looked like from the perspective of a four year old. Seems I have been taking pictures ever since. And I used my passion for photography as an inspiration to take photos with my right arm. As a lefty, I am used to photographing with my left arm. But to help my recovery, I decided to take photos with my right arm. You can see samples of my photography here.
And then in September when I was able to fly long distance without pain and traveled to Israel for the first time this year, I am grateful for the chance to see and photograph the Galactic Center of the Milky Way for the first time in my life. I felt connected at a higher level when I was inside of the crater in Mitzpe Ramon. As if I had to walk into darkness in order to see the light. I am still processing that moment in my mind.
As of today I can drive a car again. I made a promise to myself to share every sunrise and sunset for those who don't have the time to look up and see it for themselves. I have made it a point to live in my now. To be more present in my moments and just be. I have tried to share these feelings with others in talks I have given. When we live in our now, we are alive. Letting go of the past and not worrying about the future allows us to flow in our present. And it isn't that if I don't think about the past or the future but I do try my best to be present when I am around others or just capturing a moment in time.
I am grateful to be alive and grateful for the friends and family who are around me, physically, spiritually and electronically. I thank everyone for his or her support.
This has been a hard year and a learning year for me. And I year I will never forget. Hugs and Love.