Ed: An update to a 2017 post ‘You Can’ by Ian
Well, a lot has changed in 4 years…
I thought Myoclonus cannot go away; perhaps, but the brain is one amazing organ!
Neural pathways can regenerate (neurogenesis) in ways that neurologists cannot readily understand.
Gradually throughout 2018 I pushed myself hard to walk whenever possible, the wheelchair was consigned to my mother-in-law’s garage and things became easier.
Exercise is a lot better for a damaged brain than alcohol it seems; so that went too.
It’s good to talk.
And I mean really talk.
So, I found a good psychiatrist that I found I could open up to and surprisingly, he didn’t think I was weak, useless or a shadow of my former self. Of course, my wife had been telling me that for the 2 years post-SCA.
It was a genuine revelation for this former RAF Fighter Pilot.
So, with aiding my brain by not bombarding my frontal lobes with alcohol, talking through my frustrations and walking, walking, walking, I started to feel like me again.
Actually, a better me than I had seen in a while.
Nothing was particularly easy, but with perseverance and determination, all things became easier.
I started to volunteer in Sydney, helping Seniors to grasp mobile telephony and avoid conmen. I coached disadvantaged adults with Mathematics and English & rejoiced in their successes; lifted them up through the setbacks. At the same time, my own self-confidence rose steadily and with it, my capacity for concentrated effort.
I was elected as Chairman of our Strata and set about improving the communal areas to the benefit of all. Using my Engineering brain which came back in fits & starts. In the end, I served in the role for 3 years.
Medication wise, I started to reduce the amount of Piracetam I took gradually, down to the lowest level that is clinically effective.
Will I ever stop taking it?
I can’t answer that, as even now if I’m dog tired, I can still sense an internal ‘twitch’ from Myoclonus. I haven’t had an attack for 3 years now.
Fast-forward to October 2020 and a recruiter came calling. It seemed that a Defence Company were interested! Cue excitement and panic in almost equal measures!
Could I be ‘me’ again?
Well, as this article is entitled “I still can“…
…and I am.
We moved to Canberra in Jan 2021 after signing a contract and thus opened another chapter. I was frankly amazed and somewhat shocked as to how my brain adapted and switched back into work mode.
I found that I have to utilise memory techniques that I never had to before, but I am performing at a very high level and now leading a team of 6 again.
I am travelling for work even during COVID and driving again; because I had to and needs must. Indeed, I now drive a sports car with probably more gusto than is strictly necessary, but hey, I got a second chance at life; make the most of it.
2021 was demanding in lots of ways, highs and lows and I’m glad to say I’m not unique anymore; my year was the same as most Australians. I became an Australian Citizen last year as well.
So, what’s ahead, more hard work no doubt; but I don’t have to concern myself too much with my brain anymore. It works well now, I am just a normal, sport obsessed, workaholic, who probably should listen to his wife more.
My summary is that, for me, it took 5 years and lots of effort to get actually a better version of me back; courtesy of the self-analysis techniques that my Psychiatrist taught me.
If I could and do.
You can too.
Dedicated to my lovely wife Kim, my soulmate and best friend.
2 thoughts on “I Still Can (and it gets easier!)”
Wonderful to hear the joy in your writing, Ian! There really is masses of life still to be squeezed out post SCA. In many ways, the reset can enhance life. I appreciate everyone’s experience isn’t the same but you just have to deal with what you’ve got, where you are, in the time you’re in. Positivity works. I know because negativity also works! Top man! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Inspiring! Well done!