My Broken Brain: A précis of 2014

Liz Oldershaw shares a new year’s reflection piece from her blog about life with a brain injury

The 25-year-old sustained her brain injury following a unusal form of Encephalitis....

As 2014 comes to an end, I have been sitting and mulling over the best way to sum up my year of ups, downs and all those bits in-between. Whilst I may no longer be the mathematician of the family (after my sister’s boyfriend became a fully fledged chartered accountant just last week, with my sister hot on his heels to become one too…), I have always been interested in numbers. For that reason, it seemed only appropriate to give you some statistics as a précis of the year 2014. This year, I have:
  • Had 1 relapse
  • Chopped off 4 inches of hair
  • Ran my 2nd half marathon (13.1 miles)
  • Been involved in 5 different volunteering opportunities
  • Seen 12 different medical professionals
  • Been to 64 Doctor/Hospital appointments (a 6th of the year!)
  • Walked 35miles around the Isle of Wight
  • Jumped 15,000ft out of an aeroplane
Even just reading that ludicrously long list is exhausting, let alone thinking about just how much I have managed to fit into one year. Amid a year filled with abundant activities it is easy to forget the progress I have made in myself. For me, this year has been a year of triumphs. There have been the small triumphs, such as spending my first night in the house on my own, or learning new skills such as knitting. Then there have been the larger triumphs, such as running a half marathon even after the rheumatologist said that he had never known anyone on such high doses of steroids run a mile, let alone thirteen. Taking a good look back over the year has made me realise something. It is important for me to have a goal, something to strive towards. Without it, I am lost. This year I challenged myself to raise £2014 in 2014 for The Eden Dora Trust. It made me force myself out of bed on days when I couldn’t see an end to this illness, it made me think about how what I was doing could help others, it gave me a purpose. I managed to reach this goal by taking part in several different challenges with the help and support of my loved ones. In some ways it appears that I have made little to no improvement over the year. My steroids are back up to the level that they were a year ago, I am starting chemotherapy in the New Year and I am still constantly seeing different medical professionals weekly. But, this year has shown me that I am strong enough to overcome pretty much anything, whatever life throws at me I will try my hardest to conquer it. So whilst this year finally draws to an end I will leave you with one last statistic. This year I have finally, one hundred percent, grown into the person that I always wanted to be, and there will be no stopping me in 2015. Read more about Liz here. You can read Liz's blog here and follow her on twitter @brokenbrainliz 
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