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A Letter to Myself on the Day I Had a Seizure

BY Heather Zollman
January 31, 2021

Heather, this is going to be hard.  You’ve been through hard, and this is on another level.  You know grief.  This is different.  I know right now you are scared.  You are scared for yourself and your family.  The moment when you lost vision and feeling on opposite sides of the body at the high school basketball game…that was your health, at 41 years old…crashing, screaming at you to finally listen.  Instead of worrying about what it meant, you worried about causing a scene or worse yet FEAR for your husband and son.  And yet, you continued on with all of your daily things the next week…work, kids, life and didn’t stop.  When you do finally go in and the insanity of figuring out what in the hell is going on with you starts and continues for what feels like forever…know that there is HOPE.  When you get the phone call 10 minutes before Johnny’s golden birthday party saying that the MRI showed something on your brain…they ruled out cancer, but you either had a stroke or you have MS…they think…breathe.  When the “specialists” call you a puzzle and say that there is something wrong on every scan they read and yet they still don’t know what to do with you, FEEL.  During the days, when you wait for the phone to ring with answers to the puzzle, you can’t teach, because of the pain, you can’t come out of your room, because you don’t want your children to see you this way, the zaps of electric current and light flashes in your brain never end, ALLOW yourself to feel.  Sit with it.  Don’t try to push it all away in fear.  You don’t have to know what it all means.  When you are sitting in the Subway restaurant across the street from the Mayo in Rochester, MN after the neurologist says at your first appointment…”You may as well go home, I have no idea what to tell you”…stay.  Make them hear you.  Be your own advocate.  You want to scream.  You want to scream in the restaurant out of frustration.  Bryan will look at you sadly, wanting so badly to help, but he doesn’t know how.  About to scream, you spot a little girl staring at you while you cry.  You won’t scream, because you don’t want to scare her.  Later on, when you realize that what transpired from the week stay at the Mayo only results in a load of medications that fry your brain and create more symptoms and you are worse off…KNOW that this is all part of the learning.  Let me say this…you are going to be okay.  You will be better than okay, you will be resilient.  This will not last forever, even though it feels like it will never end.  When they tell you that you will NOT do yoga again…know that you WILL.   When you are told that you will have to be on medication for the rest of your life, hear this…YOU WILL NOT.  The day that you sat in the yoga studio staring out the window, watching the snow fall, and 4 hours later you realized you hadn’t moved and didn’t know if you knew how to…you DO.  The nights, for months, that tortured you with no more than an hour of sleep, biting your pillow in order for your family not to hear you scream in pain, frustration and desperation…you WILL SLEEP, eventually.  Sleep meds, pain meds, seizure meds, anxiety meds, meds for symptoms from all the other meds meds…you are right when you trust your gut.  I am proud of you girl!  You did the med that felt like it was rewiring your brain.  You will do your own research that leads you to understand, know and trust that you YOU DO NOT NEED THESE MEDS.  You put yourself in therapy…hell yeah!  It was awesome!  We could all use therapy.  When they say that because of the brain damage, you will not be able to go on a walk by yourself, because you won’t know how to get home…you will, in the future…BE PATIENT.  When you go to bed and are scared to close your eyes, because you know that the flashes of light and zaps of electricity run through your body…try not to tense up and react in fear.  Just like in YIN yoga, allow your muscles to be and relax.  Try it with your mind also.  The night that you could not figure out if the flashing in your head was your brain or actual lightening outside, because they looked and felt the same will be extra scary…know that you will be okay.  When Johnny at 10 years old says…”mom, what if the thing you love is making you sick”…LISTEN.  This is an angel message letting you know that YOU CANNOT CONTINUE THE WAY YOU HAVE BEEN DOING THINGS.  IT IS TIME TO PAUSE, LISTEN, FEEL.  It is not yoga that isn’t good for you, it’s the mindset that you have to do and be everything for everybody that isn’t working.  The 2 weeks before this lifequake, when you attended the vision board at Victorias studio and your word of the year was HEALTH, it was about YOU, not your family’s health.  This didn’t just suddenly happen.  This was 41 years of life…all the wonderful things, plus…injury, overdoing it, grief, loss, stress, not stopping, hormone imbalance, surgeries and fascial restriction coming together.   You are a happy person.  You love life!  You think you are healthy.  You check all the boxes.  You pray.  You MAKE things happen.  People will ask you, how did this happen to you?  Well girlfriend, you are human.  This is a lesson in BALANCE.  You are a woman, and many women, you included, have the mentality that they have to be all and do all or they are not doing or being ENOUGH.  That is BULLSHIT.

Heather, I am so proud of how you are going to react to this.  You will not always respond to the situation the way you think you should…it’s okay.  You will learn and grow in countless ways.  You will come out the other end of this journey of healing with a deeper level of compassion and connection to others.  You will bring women together in circles to support, grow and uplift one another.  When you work with veterans, children, people with pain in different forms, mental struggles, those with injuries, women in different hormonal stages, people with anxiety…you will be able to help more than you thought possible, because of your experiences.  You will know how it feels to be “treated” with the western way of healing and follow your gut to find a different way that ACTUALLY helps you heal.  This is not a burden, this is one of the most important times in your life thus far and one of the best things that will ever happen to you.  You will look at life differently.  You will embrace nature and its healing capabilities.  You will lay under trees, walk among nature, travel, practice yoga in a healing way and help others empower themselves to create healing and inspired lives!  You will not do it alone.  God, the Universe, Mother Nature, your angels and guides…they will be right there with you, because you are connected just as every creature on the planet is.  These pieces of your life journey that you are about to experience, 2 years later, you are grateful for.  You wouldn’t trade any of it.  It is hard as hell and you not only survive, you THRIVE. 

P.S.  Those extra pounds your body gathered from being told you needed more fat for your brain to work with and to take a break from “working your core”…it’s okay!  Menopause and gravity chica!  Actually, you are healthier now than when you were in “better, skinnier shape” as our society sees health to be.  We both know that this is also bullshit

I love you, you are awesome,
2021 Heather

Dear friend reading this…if you are going through a lifequake, I encourage you to begin reading this again and replace Heather with your name.  Talk to yourself.  Picture yourself in a resilient, healing place in your life.  These things happening, they are not happening TO you, they are happening FOR you.  You will grow through them, even the hardest, most agonizing parts.  Be your own advocate.  Love yourself enough to feel, allow, breathe, trust, move and be in all of it.  You are here on purpose for a purpose.  HOPE is healing.  You are loved.

Love & Peace