For all of you out there that don’t live in the Westcountry, this one is for you.
A fortnight ago I started to write a weekly column for the brand spanking new Sunday edition of the Western Morning News. I read as many of Caitlin’s columns as I could get my hands on, delved deep into the depths of my brain and finally put pen to paper – this is what the outcome was:
Living Life with a Brain Injury
by Liz Oldershaw
If you had asked me at any point from the age when I said my first words (interesting story this…didn’t speak until 20 months and when I did I said an expletive word – funny how things change) anyway; I would have told you that by the time I reached a quarter century I would be living in a lovely detached house, married to a lovely loyal husband, expecting a lovely little baby…
There’s no way anyone could have guessed what the outcome was going to be.
Instead I’m a 25 year old, single girl, living at home, with her parents.
Haven’t the Gods been unkind –“The Old Gods and the New” in Game of Thrones terms.
But how did this happen?
How did a girl that had everything end up here??
I have one word for you:
Anti NMDA-r Encephalitis
Ok, I lied, three words.
Not the three words that everyone wants to hear – “I love you” but the three words I hope you never have to hear.
I’ve had to get used to these long, complex, complicated words but understand that other people have not yet had to grasp this medical terminology and jargon; therefore you deserve an explanation.
On June 20th 2011 I became the 517th person in the world to be diagnosed with anti NMDA-r Encephalitis.
This turned my World upside down, back to front and inside out.
After completing my degree in Psychology I went on holiday with my boyfriend at the time to celebrate in style in the Caribbean. I had everything I ever wanted, a devoted boyfriend, loving family, caring friends and the rest of my life ahead of me.
Once home I displayed “odd” behaviours and ended up having a seizure and landing myself in hospital. My brain was inflamed and the parts of the brain that were affected meant that I was fitting, having hallucinations and delusions and eventually stopped breathing. After weeks of deterioration I was placed into ITU where I lay unconscious for 14 weeks.
The hell my family was put through I cannot even start to imagine.
But that’s not where it ends.
I woke up.
But I couldn’t talk, walk, eat, write, speak…I had to learn absolutely EVERYTHING from scratch.
Months of rehab and I was finally allowed home. And that is when the real hard work started.
People often ask me why this happened to me. If I knew the answer to this question the Queen would probably knight me, for medical excellence (then I could be a Dame like my Great Aunt!).
All I know (and it seems the medical experts know about the same) is that my body started to produce antibodies, which attacked my brain and lead to swelling and therefore made me very poorly.
I am now left with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).
I live in a lovely semi-detached house, I am married to my love of volunteering and I am expecting to help raise as much awareness about Encephalitis as possible.
On top of that, I will be writing a weekly column to tell you about living life with a brain injury.
So there it is, my first real proper column in a real proper newspaper.
And for all of youse whose lives in the Westcountry you now have no excuse not to buy the WMN Sunday edition EVERY WEEK! 🙂