Those are the words of Jill Bolte Taylor, a stroke survivor and brain scientist, and author of My Stroke of Insight. I do beam bright today! On August 6 last year, I went from kayaking to brain surgery. This year, I set out to prove myself that kayaking was not the cause of it by kayaking again. Despite my fears, I did it!!! But I didn’t do it alone: I had the support and cheers of well over a hundred people through a virtual brain aneurysm support network, and the cheers are still coming in. We are ONE. As survivors, each of us choosing, moment by moment, how we reengage with ourselves, with our communities, with our colleagues — with the world. Many brain aneurysm and brain injury survivors have little or no support in their struggle, because our society is not built to make it easy to be brave, to speak up, to make change happen. But inside the support groups, started by survivors themselves, the patients find their voice. There we learn about the real patient experience… and realize what is missing in healthcare, in government — and in day-to-day relationships. There even a strong Finnish woman like me, can admit their fear of kayaking — as silly as it was — and not be told that it’s irrationale (i already knew that!) but rather be told: “You’ve got this!”. A team of people,who never met, supporting each other. There alone is the gift of survivors to this world: their compassion is real, their intention is authentic, and they are not afraid to say that they’re scared while they find ways to redefine their lives. A lesson in leadership and change; not just a lesson in patient experience. Wishing you all a week or bravery and compassion — beam bright!
August 6, 2017