(An Oldie… but a Goody! Wrote this when I started working with Soldiers w/PTSD)
I have to start out by saying that I am incredibly honored and humbled by what I have been asked to do. And you all get to be a part of it!
I was contacted a week ago by the United States Navy to assist them on a project. You know… because I scream soldier…. The Armed Forces of the United States must be taking a very different position on… I don’t know…. everything! I’m so proud of them… A Military with real guts!!!!! Now that’s brave! And Brave…well, brave is my specialty!
Since a lot of people will be joining this blog…I’m Tracey. Or, as my loved ones call me Tra (pronounced Tray). Since we are going to be talking about some very fascinating, tough, crappy, wonderful, scary and a word that you will soon know how much I hate…wait for it…”inspirational”. That’s it! I said it once and that was already too much for me. The people who will be reading this are really inspirational. I’m talking to all the wounded Veteran’s returning from their service, Sexual Assault Victims, First Responders, Fire Fighters, Policeman, National Security Agents, and so many more…again…there’s a lot of you…so bear with me….I’m still in a little, how do you call it…”shock and Awe” that you would all ask me to do this. But this is my chance to be brave…and I will try not to let any of you down!
Since most of you know very little about me…I’ll give you the abbreviated version. First off, my punctuation and grammar suck. Yes, I said suck. I love to write…but I would get a huge F on my blog by any English Professor.
I am a 43 year old Mother and Step Mother of 5 kids. Happily and Newly married to the Love of my life…that’s a whole other story! I live in Connecticut and 7 years ago, on September 3, I had a Grand Mal seizure in front of my 18-month and 4 year old children. I was alone and they were the only ones there to helplessly watch. After being taken to the hospital I was diagnosed with a Brain Tumor. After surgery to remove only part of the tumor…I was paralyzed. The prognosis…Brain Cancer with a 3-5 year Life Expectancy.
Next, October, 4 weeks later, divorce. and that’s all I care to say about that.
Next, November, another 4 weeks later, my loving Father was killed in a car accident after driving my kids and I home from a family meeting in which we discussed how we would all, as a family, band together and raise my kids and help me through the course of my disease.
90 days. 90 days of tragedy…trauma…call it what you will.
Today I’m running around! I am The President and Co-Founder of The CT Brain Tumor Alliance. I also sit on The Board of Directors of Vintage Foods, a medicinal marijuana research and development company. I am their “Patient Guardian.” What I do is make sure that patients get the best voice in a new and rising player in the Healthcare Industry…one that has kept my quality of life at its best.
I’ll go into more detail with you all in future posts…but for now let me say this. I don’t know what its like to be a soldier. I truly can’t imagine it. But I know what its like to have a bomb strapped to you…mine is in my brain. And every day I’m scared that it will go off. 7 years ago when they found it…I guess it would be like a soldier waking up with a bomb strapped to their chest. You’d wake up and not be able to move. Panicked it would go off at the slightest movement. Then after a few hours you have a itch and it really itches…so you scratch it. And the bomb doesn’t explode. So later you have to pee…and then you really have to pee…so you slowly get up and walk over to the bathroom and pee. You feel great relief at not only emptying your bladder…but that the bomb didn’t go off. Then you look in the mirror. You see the bomb. Its so scary. You cry. You look closer…how can I remove the bomb without blowing up my body? Shit…I can’t. Well, I guess I’ll go home and eat dinner. You carefully maneuver around the kitchen, cutting vegetables…trying not to bump the bomb. Then you carefully go to sleep…because you are absolutely exhausted from worrying that the bomb is going to go off. You barely sleep at all. You wake up exhausted…thinking today the bomb is going to go off. and it doesn’t. Every day you do a little more because that damn bomb is getting so heavy and your body aches from carrying it. Then you get really pissed at the bomb. You start to scream at it. You wrestle it and bang on it to get it off. But you can’t. Then you spend a lot of time crying…asking everyone how to get the bomb off. Then you scream at the top of your lungs…”GET THIS BOMB OFF ME!” and no one can get it off.
So one day, you wake up and you draw a smiley face on the bomb and go out to dinner. The next day you go to a movie. The next day you take a long walk and think about what you can do with a bomb. Its a great place to hold a drink. I can play it like a drum…make music with it.
So you start a band with other bomb wearing folks and all of a sudden you’ve formed an orchestra! You travel around the world and before you know it your putting out albums and you’ve started a new form of music. Grammy’s, money, fame…then you find yourself twerking somewhere…like the White House!
Let’s give new meaning to “You da BOMB!”