Neuroplasticity. Hope.

Come with me on a journey. I suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2006. The TBI or stroke, was the result of an arteriovenous malformation where the network of blood vessels servicing the right hemisphere of brain ‘organ’ was entangled. The arterial network was incorrectly connected directly to the venous network in my right Temporal Lobe. I know. Details, right? Most people say they had a stroke and leave it at that! I tease out the specific areas of the brain affected to differentiate the person that is me, Monique, the version that is a collection of the experiences before and after the stroke, that I actually have some influence in shaping, from the more fixed version people think they are.
We tend to think of people as: “The person that is their brain”. A squidgy brick of playdoh encased in a skull with a word hole and two little globes with light receiving irises. Sexy huh? Every part that defines their personality or character is thus fixed by virtue of being somewhat unmalleable. You might challenge me on that. I think that’s what we unconsciously believe and are surprised when people show up differently.
Just keep this in mind if you follow me on this journey.

I have never fallen into the trap of thinking that the blunt force trauma of having a stroke has self-limited me to only taking on what was believed to be within my abilities as defined by the medical profession.
I have never let society tell me I should not take on this role, or that because I am the wrong sex, or too old, or too young.

My journey started when they told me I would never walk or run again.
Last Winter I skied at Tahoe. I’m working on running.
I just finished a Semester studying math and General Chemistry. I intend to study either parietal lobe dysfunction, or AI. I haven’t decided yet. I’m a writer, a volunteer and a mother. When I have down time I play around with Python as that is the programming language used by neuroscientists for data analysis. Or I game. Clearing out dungeons or Civilizatio,n if you’re wondering, waiting for the Overwatch release.
I eased back into my education by studying to be a vet tech.
After all these years after the stroke, I finally got a proper diagnosis for ADHD, a mood disorder and I did some treatments for drugs and alcohol. Liver is fine. Thanks for asking.
That’s my generation. We solve a lot with drugs or alcohol or hard work until it catches up.
The proper pharmacological treatment was essential to stabilize my brain so I could study but this was quite different from the holistic view I now have of myself. I was not my brain, I am my spirit but I was being hampered at every turn until I treated my physiological self.

They told my loved ones I would never talk again.

I may never play the piano again. (Never played it before.)
But there is so much else I can do. Being aware of the points of reflection around which I create my reality, I can take on many challenges and build my own actuality.
Which may eventuality differentiate us from machine anchored intelligence.
(As machines get smarter than us, will they assist us or will they go down their own period of self reflection in evolution?)
But that’s another line of thought. I merely meant to say. Hello world. In all the horror of this year. Throw on a little black dress or a suit and come see what marvels do exist in the world. Like a cute beaver.


Beavers return to London after 400 years. It’s impossible to be without hope when we wake in a universe in which beavers exist. 🙂

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