I have always walked with a different kind of spirit, embracing life and the people around me … daring to think the impossible as possibility.
On March 11, 2014, an unexpected accident changed my life—I became “Jane Doe,” someone I never thought I would be.
Due to a serious fall, I fractured my head from left center to right ear—perforated through my right ear.
While in the hospital I was in and out of consciousness for four days. During that time, when I could only remember my mom and dad’s phone number—which was a miracle as I could never seem to remember it before—the doctors discovered my real identity. I may never hear well again because of that fall, and people need to walk on my left when speaking to me, as the hearing in my right ear is gone. This throws my balance off and makes me dizzy. Being dizzy is now my reality—not just the blonde hair!
During my recovery, I couldn’t remember my time spent in the hospital or even the months that followed. Through all the doctor examinations, EEG and MRI scans I learned that my brain had scar tissue from previous falls, specifically a fall in 2012. The scan also showed there was a mass behind my right eye and I had a form of epilepsy, which had been present for a long time. Even though it was discovered two years ago I had chosen to ignore it, even after having a grand mal seizure. I was in denial and had refused to believe it. I kept telling myself, “not me!”
Well, guess what? It did happen to me. I do have epilepsy! For the first time in two years, my condition is being treated through regulated medications. I am finally sleeping well at night. I can’t look back, but without hesitation I know there is a bright future ahead of me. You may not realize that hitting your head can be dangerous even if you don’t lose consciousness. You shouldn’t take any bumps to the head lightly, because even a seemingly minor bump on the head can be life-threatening.
I don’t ever want to be Jane Doe again and put my family through that kind of peril. I have learned much in the past two years. The most important lesson I’ve learned is to live—“Live Like You Were Dying!” as sung by country music artist Tim McGraw. I will not ignore life’s simple gifts anymore—the gifts of family, friends and love ones. So much has changed in my life!
Life’s challenges now make me see things more clearly. Things are getting better. I’m walking straighter and laughing every day. I hope I never lose the simple joy of making other people laugh … that makes my heart sing!
People often say, “The last chapter of your life hasn’t been written yet.” Well, I’m right in the middle of the book and I am turning the page! I will no longer wait for things to be perfect! So many doors are opening for me, and I’m so excited. Last year, I launched the radio show The Nonprofit Journal LIVEwith Dee Suomala on Dave Pratt’s Doublewide Network.
My passion is to bridge the gap in communication between the nonprofit sector and the community. I know it will bring peace of mind and knowledge that will inspire those who want to give their time, talent or financial support to their charity of choice.
I get to interview some amazing people who touch the lives of those in need everyday. The show provides a sense of hope and safety—it’s more than featuring a nonprofit, it’s about the people with incredible passion behind their missions.
When you listen, you will hear my passion behind my mission as well. Epilepsy does not define me. I define life with what I call EPIC moments. I was able to rise up beyond my ‘disability’ and I know you can too. Don’t ever give up. Live your life with passion!
“Live Like You Were Dying!”
On Monday, March 9, 2015, the radio show will feature Hope Paige, a company that is saving lives through their innovative products. Find out how this company is making a difference by helping people with diabetes, allergies, epilepsy, heart disease and other medical conditions. I feel confident that I will never be Jane Doe again.
You can make a difference too! Listen on Monday at 1 p.m. MST on the Doublewide Network to find out how.
To listen to this show, click on the play button below.