Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Women, Health & Wellness, ROCK ON! Even if you have an Invisible Illness!

by Dr. Margaret Aranda, MD

Invisible Illnesses, we made National News!
Women, Health & Wellness, ROCK ON!

Well, this was a fascinating journey with an energetic comrade in time, fellow Baby Boomer Tom Matt. He has made one of his life's efforts to bring awareness, health, fitness, and energy to the Baby Boomers of today, and Hat's Off to him for such a grand accomplishment!

He asked me to be interviewed for his show, and honestly I can not recall how exactly it came about. That's the fuzziness about brain injuries...they make some memories hazy, but you know they happened. The week prior, we had a 'Pre-Interview' where we were introduced and received and exchanged background information. Tom is just the kind of guy that you don't want to stop talking to; he is charismatic, and his brain is filled with knowledge and justice.

The first thing I noticed about Mr. Matt is his energy. It is dynamic, compelling, and contagious. I could visualize him as a person who runs 10 miles/day, or multitasks effectively yet comes home to a wonderful wife and family. And still, he has time to pay attention to them, as they re-center and re-connect him to the world, to his own life, and to his own purposes. But on to my interview, some of which may have needed to be edited out because I talk too much sometimes. Just sometimes.

Mr. Matt was able to take me on a walk to my past. To age 13, where I made 35 sandwiches/day for 7 children, 5 days for the week. At 14, I picked garlic in the Gilroy fields with the migrant field workers, and Bill Withers' "Lean on Me" was blaring from a transistor radio. That song still takes me back to the fields, and to A & W Root Beer, where we went every Friday with our $0.35/bucket. Those root beer floats never tasted so good, before or since.

I think we mentioned when I ran away at 16, entering Junior College. I forgot to mention I got chicken pox and dropped out, only to go to Cosmetology and then Real Estate schools, gaining both licenses by the time I was 19. Graduated college in 1985, USC Medical School in 1990, Stanford anesthesiology in 1995, Stanford Critical Care in 1996. I forgot to mention that I also got Board Certified in Forensic Medicine and Certified in Age Management Medicine.

The big elephant in the room was that my daughter and I were in a car accident in 2006, leaving me bed-ridden for the better part of seven years now. I was getting better until January of 2013, when a doctor let me drop onto the hard wood floor, sustaining another traumatic brain injury and requiring crushed DDAVP or pituitary hormone now, and probably for the rest of my life. I'll probably always struggle with pulling nouns out of my head (expressive aphasia), and stuttering that will stay with me just like my long nails  ~ just a part of who I am. Some people even finish the end of my sentences for me, and you're not supposed to do that to a person with a brain injury. The patient needs the mental exercise. 

He asked me how I did it, how I survived seven years in bed. I said the answer was in Book 2, Stepping from the Edge. Soooo many people have asked, and basically, my answer is "one day at a time". But the book has lessons at nearly the end of every chapter, is individualized, can be used for Bible Study, and allows you to see the difference between 'believing' in God vs. 'acting like you believe'. Enough said.

The podcast came out today. At the end of the show, he asked me to summarize, in one word, my advice to others. If you know me for any length of time at all, you know what I said.

*** Click here for Podcast:   http://ow.ly/t1xi1    ***

Invisible Illnesses, we made National News!
Women, Health & Wellness, ROCK ON!
Thank you, Tom Matt!

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