Hola a tod@s, my dear friends.
Today we want to share a summary of the experience of Juan Pablo, patron of the DACER – damage brain Foundation whom I met via LinkedIn. We add to make visible a terrible disease, that can happen to anyone, and where the attitude of self-improvement and received support are keys to recovery.
“My name is Juan Pablo and I am 49 years old.
My life had gone quiet, large smoothly, as the many Spaniards of middle class, until July 5th, 2013. An unforeseen event changed it completely, both mine as those who were and are still surrounding me, especially my wife, Laura.
That morning of the beggining of the Summer that we all had put our thoughts on the next vacation; while I was preparing to go to my job, three factors together caused a tsunami in my life, a tremendous wave that passed over me and put it all upside down.
An aneurysm in one of the veins of the brain, some smoking and cholesterol, high tension and the stress of recent times in my work, provoked a massive cerebral hemorrhage
After the worst predictions about my critical situation, forty five days later I left the hospital, having gone through the ICU experience, for a few days in induced coma and a second surgery.
The last days in the hospital, I went to physical rehabilitation, because of the left side of my body had lost its skill. I had also lost the balance, I was not the same and I could not stay in that way. I had to regain my fitness and my life.
In those forty-five days, I noticed the love of my family, which was next to me, to support me, give me all their love and help me in my rehabilitation. They came from all over Spain: Irun, Córdoba, Asturias, Ávila or Madrid. My friends came to visit me, all with the pain of seeing me thus, prostrate in an hospital bed almost without moving and so diminished in my physical and cognitive conditions.
In those moments, aspects of my carácter surfaced, making myself keep forward. As Antonio, my friend, said to my daughters Aida and Eve: “Your father is a fighter, and he is going to recover”. And for sure I did it. The story of my life has always been overcoming and it could not be less now. My parents instilled in me the idea that we should fight until the end without fail, and I have done so with faith.
In that situation, the warrior Laura appeared. In the words of the neurosurgeon, I had to get to return to be as I was before, and the cognitive rehabilitation was so important as the physical one.
The months have been passing, and the lack of initial balance, there is no trail, just a vague memory. I move the left hand perfectly, and somehow, I can be considered as fully autonomous in the physical aspect. So, I have finished the physical rehabilitation.
I am still with the cognitive rehabilitation, aided by Sara, my Neuropsychologist and every day I appreciate my progress, what is motivating me to go forward, to overcome myself, to get back to that person I was before that July 5th.
I know that there are things to improve, but I also know that I am going to get it. It make me laugh and somehow it fills me with pride when, in DACER, patients as Mari, Eleanor and Joseph ask why I’m there, or when I hear others, Felisa, says I’m her idol, as well to see me move, speak or reason. And I have been appointed the chef, because even before I knew that I liked to cook, nowadays I do it quite often, that with my cookers team.
On this trip, I’ve seen that “Men is not a wolf for men” as the philosopher said. Even when things are bad, in the middle of the crisis, the human being has something which make us special. At the hospital all the staff who treated me, in Ward or both UCI did it selflessly, as if he were a family member. And my DACER´s girls have for flag treating all their patients as special persons. As once said to me my friend Pablo: Medicine do not always cure, but it should give comfort.
A new exciting era for all will start soon. I’ll be back to work and the team that makes possible t DACER is launching a great project: a foundation that helps all families who meet subsequent brain damage and need to afford assistance, including economics. They know that they have my support and my family, although I still have a personal path to go.
At this time the words most I have heard to define me are: survivor, fighter, optimistic, perseverant, cheerful and loving. All this, plus the deep love that I feel for mine, and especially my daughters and Laura will motivate me keep fighting.
Every day I am better, almost 100%. I move by public transport alone, I can stay at home, and that gives me more enthusiasm and strength and motivation to follow.
In the tsunami, after the wave that sweeps everything when the world returns to its routine, reconstruction starts and land becomes again what it was.
When you have an acquired brain damage, at the beginning you despair, why has happen this to you?. But then the reconstruction of your being starts. If you have beside you really good people, your loved ones on the one hand, and professionals on the other, you’ll come back with renewed strength.
I want to give a message of hope to those who have suffered a brain injury or have a family member who has suffered it. Let¨s take advantage from the obstacles and make them steps to continue. Subsequent brain damage is not the end, but it may be a slight pause, a break that will allow us to recover the enthusiasm for learning and that we will be strong and excited by life.
This is not the end of the person who has acquired brain damage. He/she can become to integrate into society with all its consequences. It can be done.”
Thanks to everybody and all those that have stay here, next to me”.
Thank you, Juan Pablo, for sharing your experience that surely will help other people and educate us.
Soon, we’ll tell you the story of Julio, President of the Brake to Stroke Association, who I was fortunate to meet in the Collaborative laboratory at Impact Hub Madrid.