Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What a Week!

I started off the week nervous out of my wits. Honestly, it was completely warranted and completely justified. I went into CognitiveFX on Monday morning at 9:00 AM. They had a whole day scheduled for me consisting of Occupational Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, Neuromuscular Therapy (much of it is physical therapy), Dynavision, Brainwaves, and Brain Games (don't worry, they aren't fun) back to back to back. So I went from one, to the next, to the next, etc. Honestly, I didn't feel like it was doing anything. I just felt stressed, fatigued, frustrated, sad, tired, etc. There were a few times I just stopped doing whatever I should have been doing and started to cry. It was HARD. They aren't kidding when they tell you it's going to be like boot camp. It's crazy because it's nothing like physical boot camp, but it is a mental boot camp like nothing you've ever seen. Even better, is that I have a great big Physics test tomorrow that I feel like I know nothing about, so nearly every day after I'd come home, I'd go upstairs and study Physics. It didn't always last for very long before my brain would just turn off though.
Oh, and Austin Collie works at CognitiveFX. He was a big-time BYU football player, he went on to the NFL where he played for the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. So, I had him sign my football and we played catch.
By the time Friday came, I was anxious to get the results of the second fMRI. So I put on some scrubs, and went to the MRI room. The difference between an MRI and an fMRI is that an MRI they just take imaging of your brain. An fMRI on the other hand, they give you tasks to perform and while doing these tasks, they take images of your brain and see what is firing, how much it is firing, what is not working properly, and how everything is in sync. The fMRI has a scale of 0 to 6. 6 means that you are comatose and your brain is not working. A 0 means that your brain is as sharp as a tack, has not been injured, etc. The first fMRI I had was in December. Given my injury, the doctors thought I was going to be in the 4-5 range. I scored at a 2.32. After 3 1/2 months of hard, intensive work and various therapies including my CognitiveFX, my score dropped to 1.44. We talked to Dr. Fong for an hour longer than we were scheduled. She told me that she did that because she wants me to know that she cares about me. 
Not too long after we got back from visiting with Dr. Fong, we headed to Salt Lake to see Brian Regan. About 30 minutes before the show, I took my friends Kestley and Logan backstage with me. When we first saw Brian he just said, "Hi, Shannon!" -- 'cause we're friends. Just that first moment made me feel great. Then, I started talking to him about how I felt uncomfortable asking to see him backstage AGAIN when I got the email back from his agent. He was so stinking sweet! He told me not to think that way again, because even if everyone in his life changes, and emails sound mean and everything I am always welcome in his family. I loved that he used the word family instead of just his life! His 2 kids were there on Friday and I got to say hi to them again. And I love that he used the word family because if you know me at all, you know that I LOVE kids, I LOVE families. One of my favorite moments was when he told me that I'm always welcome and he hugged me - and we got a picture of it!!! The concert was great, he was funny, the opening act was funny, and I still love Brian, just maybe a little bit more! :)
I believe that the final accumulation of the healing from the week happened on Sunday. Sunday was the Provo City Center Temple Dedication. What made the temple dedication so powerful is all of the inspirations that I felt during the session. It started out when Elder Ringwood talked about the holy, magnificent temple that came from a beautiful, spiritual tabernacle. Before 2010, the tabernacle was a wonderful building, a building that was closer to heaven than 99% of the buildings on the Earth. Before 2010, I was a fabulous, kind and spiritual person. I've gotten so sick of people telling me to stop praising who I used to be, because I was a tabernacle! In 2010 a fire came and destroyed the tabernacle to the ground, to the point it was almost completely demolished. An architect noticed the foundations of the building and told a church member, "you cannot let the church destroy this building!" In 2010 I was destroyed to almost nothing, I could have gone home. But no, I think I might have said to my Father, "you can't let this accident destroy my life!" Now, the once tabernacle is a perfect building; a building more beautiful and magnificent than any other building (besides other temples of course). The once tabernacle is now the very closest thing we have to God's kingdom on this Earth. Likewise, I chose to stay so that I can become a chosen, divine, magnificent daughter of my Heavenly Father. Granted, it will take a LOT of construction time, so in this way I am not so much like the Provo City Temple, but rather like the Nauvoo temple, which was also burned to the ground. I have always LOVED the Nauvoo temple, but never understood why, until Sunday. Elder Clayton said that faith + patience = a masterpiece. He continued to say that it's more than just faith and patience, but it also requires work and planning. With these things, using the Savior's atonement, I can become a great masterpiece. I can become His Masterpiece. What greater honor to have than to be one of His own?
It is going to take more time, a lot more time, but I continue to get better everyday. I'm starting to be able to feel it. It is a great feeling. I am more comfortable in my own skin, something you cannot even begin to fathom. I am relaxing a little bit easier. I am at peace with life, with happy moments and with turmoils. I am not 100%. I never will be, heck no one ever will be, not until the Savior comes again. But I am slowly coming back. Slowly, but surely. :) It has been a hard, long week, but it has been a good week. A monumental and important week. I am so very, very blessed. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Key to Locke, once again

Wednesday was a big day for me this week. It took it out of me a lot more than I anticipated. There was a philosophy conference being hosted at my university. My teacher told us to submit a paper, any paper, to be considered. I love public speaking and I want to get my name out there (not in philosophy, but in the world) because I want to someday be a public speaker advocating Christ's existence, love, and atonement. I have the most AMAZING paper that I wrote - on John Locke - my junior year of high school. So I figured, what do I have to lose? They'll say no? They'll say it sounds like you wrote this in high school? Well I did, so...
I submitted the paper. Then I got accepted. Honestly, I was super surprised. I was speaking with other students who were philosophy majors - who wrote their paper in college! Lol. As the conference got closer however, I came to the realization that I did not know John Locke like I did when I wrote the paper. Not only had it been 6 years since I wrote the thing, but that was also before my accident. I lost SO much knowledge in my accident. So I felt screwed.
But what I did to prepare was this: First, I read my genius paper a few more times. Then I googled him and read all sorts of articles on Locke. I was still scared as crap though because I knew that I was going to go into a conference where there would be a Q&A session, with a whole bunch of philosophical people who knows a whole heck of a lot more than I do.
The day of the conference came. I got dressed up, at least kind of... I read more about Locke and my mommy and daddy came and picked me up. Then we went to the school together. We went up to the room where the conference was being held and I was sad because they didn't have a name tag for the speakers. :( My hour came and I went up to the front of the room to get ready to speak. A guy spoke before me and then I spoke. I practically read my paper, with a few breaks in between to say something that I learned while reading up on him.
Afterwards was Q&A and I was asked some of the most ridiculous questions. Questions I didn't even understand, so I didn't know how I was supposed to answer them. But, in the end, I had professors come up afterward and tell me that I did a good job on my speech and a good job handling the questions. Mom and dad also told me that I did a fabulous job. I don't know how I feel about how I did, but whatever.