Thank you to all my friends who’ve read my blog over the last four months about my recovery from brain inflammation. I’m touched that so many of you would take the time to join me on this journey.

Recovering from a serious injury and living with a chronic illness is life changing and traumatising. As you may have guessed, I am using the blog as a cathartic way to understand what I’ve been through, express my feelings about how my life has changed and record my progress.

Some people have mentioned my story seems disjointed to follow, my progress seems to go up and down, and they aren’t sure if I’m well or really unwell. In truth, recovery is often two steps forward, on step back, and my blog reflects that.

Overall, I believe I’m heading upwards yet I need to acknowledge the lows as I travel through them, because it’s in these times I often learn the most about what it means to keep going.

Some of my posts describe experiences that happened nearly a year ago, yet they are still fresh in my mind and need to be expressed, which is why I share them now. So bear with me as the story unfolds organically, lead with heart and soul.

The act of writing is a rehabilitation exercise in itself, an essential part of my cognitive training program. The left side of my brain was affected by brain inflammation, my language and memory skills mostly and these skills are now my greatest challenge to regain.

As the swelling subsides and I reconnect neural pathways, I am encouraged by the improvements I see in my writing each week and by your kind words of encouragement and love.

Brain injury and neural degenerative conditions are sadly common, yet difficult to articulate to those who haven’t experienced it.

To be honest, I’m surprised how interested you are in my story.

Perhaps the nature of the injury doesn’t matter, the process of being knocked down, picking oneself up again, following the path of recovery to find meaning in new circumstances is universal –  the never ending journey we call life.

I appreciate all who have kept me company on the journey, here online, while I’ve been unable to communicate in person or on the phone. Those of you who know me, I’m not a hermit by nature and I hope this changes in the near future.


A few friends asked for another cooking post, so I’m sharing a special – by demandpost about my latest adventures in the kitchen.


Why Cooking?

Besides the obvious reason of eating great food, being creative in the kitchen is a way for me to light up my spirit. Cooking keeps my soul alive during this long term illness and the reason I’m sharing this with you, even if you don’t have a brain injury, is you may also be looking for ways to spark your spirit.

Stuffed caesium
Recipe: Gemista – Stuffed Capsicum (brown rice, olives, almonds and feta)

When I became injured, I felt the light go out of me. I know now, my brain and body were literally clogged with inflammation and edemnic. I’d slowed to a snail pace, the swelling making me feel frozen in time. This scared me. I didn’t feel alive.

I needed to keep the feeling of ALIVE-NESS in my world.

My favourite meditation:

Each day, give yourself a live message. So your body is reminded to heal.

Dr Bernie Siegel

For twelve months, the swelling was serious, I’m was fighting for my life, I needed to give myself a strong live message.

What’s My LIVE Message?

In my last year at high school, I topped my state in Textiles and Design, aka sewing and Food Technology, aka home economics. My sewing project was displayed at Valclous House, one of a dozen students selected for exhibition in the state and I received the highest grade.

My roll call teacher, tells me that with these skills, Sarah, you’ll one day make an excellent housewife.

[Insert eye roll]

She wasn’t joking.

Ambitions for housewife skills aside, or perhaps lack of them, I have continued to cook, sew, draw, paint, photograph, play piano, whatever it is, for these things are a joy and light me up.

I thought, I’ve always loved cooking, maybe cooking can be my LIVE message. Cooking is an everyday activity that I could manage in my own time, slowly and with joy to encourage life into my world again. I felt encouraged by the process of food changing into something nourishing and substational for me.

During these creative moments, I find myself lost in the moment and feel most alive when I stand back, look at what I’ve made, something that didn’t exist a few minutes, hours, days ago, except in my imagination.

Creativity is life force asserting itself no matter what

Hiro Boga

Food Glorious Food

Of course, I’m folllowing anti inflammatory diet: that means, sugar, dairy, wheat, alcohol, caffeine are out and anything extra green and good oils are in.

I try to find the most delicious green, oily meals I can find to make eating well for my brain recovery easier and tastier.

I cook to know I’m still alive, to see something come to life is life affirming. Like these pea, mint and quinoa fritters, yummy:

My earlier post talks about the cognitive benefits of cooking and how it was an essential part of my rehabilitation.

Cooking meals each night, is a joy for me and a way to thank my parents for looking after me during this illness. It’s two fold, I enjoy the process and share these delicious meals with my family, I call it paying rent with love. 

For those with a sweet tooth, keep scrolling, you will be rewarded in due course.

Green
Recipe:  Pea, Spinach and Zucchini Pasta

If you’re wondering if these recipes are easy, consider I, a person with a brain injury made them and is making them everyday, you can manage it!

This salad is amazing, lemony, crunchy, gingery and incredibly easy to make.

I’m addicted to this breakfast: Chia and Raspberry Breakfast Bowl. I’m sharing this with you, it’s a nice change from cereal AND as it’s full of omega 3’s, magnesium and calcuim, all great nutrients for nervous system. We all have a brain and need to look after it in this lifetime.

At times, I stop and think, What an incredible opportunity this is – to create in the kitchen for what seems like an endless amount of time. ( I have no idea how long recovery will take.) I have a full kitchen in granny flat at my parents house and a happy lab cleaning up the crumbs. I take this abundance of time and enjoy myself, when will I ever have this chance to go crazy in the kitchen again?

After a few months, practising my skills, waking up my brain in the kitchen, baking becomes easier for me and I get on a roll.

One day my dad says to me, Sarah, there’s a problem. 

Oh, what’s wrong? I ask

There’s so many cakes, muffins and sweets in the fridge.

Yeh, I’ve been trying a few new recipes.

Well, I love them all, they are delicious, it’s just … Dad hesitates

…. I’ve been eating cakes for days, and there’s still SO MANY CAKES! It’s like they multiply in there or something. I can’t get through them all!

Oh

It’s like a BAKING BACKLOG.

I don’t want to cause my dad any more cake stress, I reply:

Ok I’ll slow down a little.

Then I sneak into the kitchen to make this glorious sesame goji berry slice:

One of my all time favourites, is Beetroot Chocolate Cake, it’s so good sometimes I gobble a slice for breakfast. It’s made with spelt flour, raw grated beetroot and olive oil. So a cake that’s wheat and dairy free with vegetables. I love it because it’s not sweet, which means it’s not the chocolate cake you’d expect and not exactly my sister’s idea of a chocolate cake, trying a slice, she says, I wish you hadn’t told me about the beetroot. 

As if she couldn’t taste it.

Delilah’s not worried about a little beetroot, she loves it!

Delilah and Chocolate Cake
Hopeful Delilah

I share this with you because whether you have a brain injury or not, we all have a life, and we need to keep our spirits lit up with whatever makes you happy, makes you feel alive.

What’s Your Live Message?


Thanks for listening

Mermaid tail

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