In his book, The Code of The Extraordinary Mind Vishen Lakhiani writes, “There is beauty in the dips.” And when you can see the beauty, miracles will follow.
In 2018 I faced many dips. Maybe more accurately described as periods of plummeting into deep ravines that seemed to have no end or bottom to speak of.
January 24, 2018 started off like most days. Getting the kids up and out the door for school, planning their after-school activities with my husband, figuring out who would drive each of them where they needed to go, and hopping on various conference calls and running my business.
I had left the hustle lifestyle behind roughly two years before and finally been able to live fully present each day despite the seemingly hectic schedule. Busy? Yes. Frantic? Not any more.
But as the morning progressed, I noticed something strange happening. As I was engaging in various conversations, I kept losing my train of thought. My mind would go blank for a moment and I had little recollection of what was previously said. This was unlike me. I remember feeling embarrassed about it. I kept having to ask my team and even clients on my calls if they could please remind me what I was saying so I could pick up the conversation where it had left off.
I chalked it up to a lack of sleep the night before, maybe not enough food. I was in the middle of a three-day green smoothie cleanse, and thought it could be low blood sugar. So I muscled my way through the day, like any sane person in total denial.
Standard family logistics were at play: my husband Mike was going to grab our older daughter from school while I was finishing up a call, we’d meet at the commuter parking lot in town for the handoff, as per usual. I would then drive her 45 minutes to her dance class down the busy interstate while Mike went home to get our younger daughter off the bus from Kindergarten.
I remember gathering my things and grabbing my daughter's black nylon dance bag. I remember climbing in the car and driving down the back roads through our small town towards the commuter lot. I remember looking at the cup holder to make sure I had both my green smoothie and my daughter's water bottle. That’s the last thing I remember before everything went dark.
When I finally came to, I was laying in the back of an ambulance. The EMT’s began asking me all sorts of questions: Did I know my name? What day was it? In my mind, I had all the answers. But speaking them was an impossibility. When I moved my lips, nothing but gibberish came out. Something was lost or broken. Why couldn’t I talk? What the hell had happened to me?
The paramedics began to unravel the mystery. They told me I’d been unconscious for nearly 30 minutes. A half an hour. They’d been called to the scene when a passerby dialed 911, only to find me unresponsive in the driver's seat, after crashing my car head first into an oak tree. I had so many questions: How did this happen? Why did this happen? And again, nothing came out of my mouth but disjointed letters and sounds, all of which bounced off the inside of the ambulance.
My husband had called my phone, which was politely answered by one of the paramedics. He and my daughter soon raced to the scene. I vaguely remember them climbing into the back of the ambulance to hug me and kiss me, though I was still not able to speak coherently. Soon after, I was taken away to Yale New Haven Hospital where I would stay for the next four days undergoing intensive testing to uncover the mystery of what happened.
One test I remember quite vividly. The team of neurologists placed EEG nodules on my brain and hooked me up to something that resembled a small time machine. The team huddled as the machine started spitting out brain wave activity. Finally, one of them calmly said that they needed me to remain hooked up to the EEG overnight, but couldn’t say why. Why is this happening to me? What is happening to me?
Exhausted and still in recovery mode, I slept most of the day and through the night, despite the frequent visits from the nursing staff. Finally, the next day, I was told the team of neurologists would be coming to discuss their findings. And so later that morning roughly seven neurologists formed a half circle around my bed. I knew what was to come next would not be good news.
“We’re sorry, Megan. You have been diagnosed with epilepsy. On the day of your car crash, you suffered a major seizure which caused you to lose consciousness and resulted in subsequent confusion and your temporary inability to speak. We know this is a lot to handle right now so we will let you digest this news and will be back to create a plan.”
An adult diagnosis of epilepsy is quite uncommon. Most often, epilepsy is diagnosed in children and young adults and they learn how to manage their seizures from a young age and adapt accordingly. As a 41-year-old otherwise healthy female, the news of a severe epileptic seizure and the implications of the diagnosis threw everyone for a loop. Though the real truth is that my diagnosis was just the beginning of my journey.
First, my license was immediately suspended. Understandable. That said, as a mother of two busy kiddos with a demanding work/life schedule darting all around, not being able to drive had incredible consequences. Luckily for us at the time, my husband worked mostly from home and was able to do the majority of the driving. But eventually, we enlisted the help of friends, family, and even hired a private driver to help. I was initially told that it would take between three and six months before my license would be reinstated. Okay, not bad I thought. I’ll be driving again by Spring.
Then Spring came and went, and so did Summer. Fall arrived and turned into Winter, and the calendar then changed years.
I have had several more EEG tests during the past 12 months. It turns out that choosing the right epilepsy medicine to treat each patient’s seizures is very unique to each individual and often takes many tries before doctors can get it right. This has been the case with me.
In the fall of 2018 I was placed on a new kind of medicine and after a few weeks of letting my body adjust, another EEG test was performed. And a few days later, my neurologist called to deliver the news: I was finally seizure free—the new medicine was working beautifully! After I hung up the phone, I wept quietly by myself. I sat and reflected on the past year.
Rather than focusing on the couldn’ts and didn’ts and unable to’s, of which there were plenty, a flood of appreciation began to flow through me. Immense feelings of gratitude for what the past year has meant enveloped me. And the tidal wave of love for family and friends, and their unwavering support filled every cell of my being. Miracle after miracle began to show itself to me.
At the time of this accident and subsequent diagnoses, my father, who had been ill with cancer for quite some time, took a turn for the worse. Unable to drive myself, friends and family hauled me to my father’s bedside, one hour each way, so I could sit with him until his last breath, almost one month to the day after my accident.
My doctor visits were plentiful and my kids had their usual business of activities and play dates with friends. Again, friends and family were there to help us every day. Neighbors, parents of our children’s friends, my husband, my newly widowed mother, the faces of each and every person who quite literally lifted us up each day to be sure everyone got to and from where we needed to be flashed on the screen of my consciousness as I wept in a flow of gratitude for each of them.
And in classic fashion, I decided to end the year with a bang! As a family, we’ve decided to relocate and press the reset button. My husband has reclaimed his freedom and taken advantage of an incredible career opportunity that was presented to him nearly 1500 miles away. This windfall of goodness also came with a handful of challenges: namely single parenting without a license, with a husband who is 1500 miles away.
Once again, friends and family have risen to the occasion.
My children have been resilient and patient. Their inner spirits and light shining so bright that it leaves me breathless. They witnessed their mom’s car crash and endured the impact of my epilepsy. They lost their beloved “Pa,” with whom they have unbreakable bonds. They watched from behind isolation glass as I was again hospitalized for two weeks in April due to a near-fatal bacterial infection that took over my intestines and caused sepsis. Then their dad moves to a new state while they finish out the school year. They have handled these challenges with grace and elegance and have become such an inspiration to me in so many ways, as has my devoted husband, who has literally been the glue holding our family together through all of this.
And though I am still not able to drive, I can see the light. My neurologist has cleared me to get my license and submitted my records to the medical board at DMV for review. Now it is no longer a matter of if, but when.
In reflecting on the dips of this past year three things are crystal clear to me:
- Meditation is like magic. Had I not been a regular meditator prior to these experiences, these dips would have turned disastrous and completely derailed me.
- Being grateful for the present while simultaneously having massive visions for the future is one of the secrets of true and lasting happiness. Most people are good at one. Few are great at both.
- Children are more resilient than most of us realize. They are so much closer to God, Source, and the Universe than we know. Often our biggest life lessons come by being silent, joyful witnesses to children.
Vishen is so right. There really is beauty in the dips. Dips are a part of life. But knowing what to do when the shift hits the fan is what matters most. Miracles will follow. You just have to be willing to look for them…