Sometimes, I honestly like to think that I’m invincible. I was born with an extra vertebrae that was not fused, and from cheer it pretty much screwed it up to the point where it’s almost like a floating bone in my back. Sounds pretty gnarly, huh? But though there’s always some sort of pain in my body from my back, I’ve always pushed through the pain. And sometimes I almost like pain, because it makes me feel more alive.. Okay, now I’m just talking crazy. I swear I’m kind of crazy. I’ve always seen pain as a weakness that I kind of shake off, so with injuries, I try to shake them off the best that I can. However, when I hurt one of the most important organs in my body, I tried to shake it off, leading to some of the biggest regrets in my lifetime.
I got a concussion a little over two years ago <November 2012>. Here I am admitting my first concussion that I didn’t tell to a SOUL. Not even you mom, sorry mom. So now everyone reading my blog knows…. Yayyy… Haha. The point is, I didn’t tell anyone and I thought it was better that spring, but after every dance practice I literally would be so sick and dizzy that I would skip classes for the day and go sleep. I honestly didn’t think it was from my concussion, now that I look back, it totally was. That semester I received my first “C” ever. <Here I am admitting more horrible secrets> I had lost all ability to think. As stupid as it sounds, I seriously could not think. I made some pretty stupid mistakes that semester.
That following summer, I had more opportunities to rest, but with dance camps towards the end of the summer, I found myself falling back into things. That fall I started to feel much better, but stupid me.. I got another concussion. The next day I remember feeling funny, but thought maybe I was just exhausted because it was a U football game day and I had woken up at like 430 or 5 am for our practices. I pushed it off because I love to push things off like they are no big deal, when in reality, THEY ARE. I danced for an entire week after my concussion before I went and saw a dr. To my surprise, but not really, the dr. told me I had a severe concussion and that I needed to be on bed rest. So, as much as I hated to be on bed rest, I went and bought some lavender pillow mist and laid in bed all weekend. Let me just mention that with concussions you can’t even look at a computer or tv screen, so no Netflix or social media for me. PURE MISERY.
(Picture of me when I was about to go perform with my team, while I had a concussion.. Funny, but not funny.. hahah?)
It took me about two months before I started to get back into things. Eventually, I hopped back in with my dance team. I’ll tell you this right now, I am really good at making stupid mistakes, for the reason that I knew I still had symptoms but I kept dancing. For one, I didn’t want to let my team down and for two, because I didn’t want to miss out on our competition in California. That semester, I cannot describe the headaches, dizziness, focus issues that I had. That semester I took a math class for my major. I am really smart in math, and it happens to be my favorite subject. Told you I’m crazy. Any who, I had gotten about 6 assignments behind… I remember sitting down one day to work through all my missing assignments and it took me about an hour to do 2 problems. After those two problems, I had the most excruciating headaches and could not sleep that night because of a migraine. <This is not an exaggeration> I would also cry that semester for no reason and I became very emotional. Once it was about 2 weeks before finals I realized that I could not finish the semester, so I ended up withdrawing from every class I had. Complete waste of time and money.
This last summer I had enough time to rest and let my brain heal as much as it could. However, brains take a very very long time to heal. I auditioned for a dance team this summer and who knows what I did during that audition. Being a dancer, I like to stay very on top of my game, and I probably was not. We did a conditioning portion for our audition, and I had gotten to the point where I thought my brain was shutting down my whole body. I wasn’t capable of anything, still. Little to say, I did not make the audition, which could’ve been because they didn’t like my dancing, style, personality, look, or maybe it was because of my concussion. Either way, my concussion was holding me back, personally.
This past semester I had a hard time towards the beginning, but literally the week of finals I felt like a whole new person. I hadn’t danced or worked out that whole semester <YES, I gained SO much weight>. BUT, it gave me time to heal. Studying for finals was the best feeling. <“Still crazy”> I literally sat down for 5 or 6 hours one night and studied without a problem. I ended up getting an “A” on every single final I took! That was the brain that I had missed so dearly.
Last night, I felt the need to go dance and work through my turns and jumps because I have a couple auditions coming up soon. I literally surprised myself immensely. It hasn’t felt this easy to dance for such a long time. When you go through so much damage for two years straight, you really learn to appreciate your recovery state. These past two years have been some of the biggest struggles I have ever had to face, but in the end I am so knowledgable about concussions and I want to help other people realize how big of a deal they are. It affects every part of your body in the most complicated and confusing ways. You aren’t the same person, at all. It completely changes who you are and what you feel.
Advice to others about concussions: If you feel any type of concussion symptom after hitting your head, get your head checked ASAP. I promise, it is not worth it, especially if you are an active person. Take it easy. Literally, sit and meditate. I would sit at a park and stare at a stream because it was one of the only things I could do to keep away from symptoms. Ya, maybe you’ll lose your technique like I did. Maybe you’ll gain 15 pounds, also as I did. But I promise, with loss comes more gain. Your recovery is only as rewarding as you make it. You’ll have that time to gain back your technique or lose your weight. It’s not worth it to push it off. Your brain is a vital organ in your body. It controls you, your actions, your personality, your thoughts, EVERYTHING.
If you want to know more about concussions, read here.
Moral of the story, DO NOT HIT YOUR HEAD.
I know this is nothing great, but I could not do this combo, a few months ago, without falling apart afterwards. I’m just super happy that my brain finally decided to work haha! Thanks for reading y’all, xoxo.