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.