Begin Again… Am I still a dancer?

My life, my story, my timeline, my education, my career… Everything must begin again. 

Being hit by a semi hit the pause button on my life and career. During my recovery I’ve been able to press play again… but there’s a lag. Everything is in slow motion. 

I’ve been writing a lot about my feelings and such but there’s something else that is heavy on my heart and I need to spit it all out onto this keyboard. 

Post-accident I have experienced amnesia as well as short-term memory loss. Amnesia is a wild wild beast, y’all. I woke up in the hospital and my entire “dance world” was gone. 

Poof. 

I had to begin again. I didn’t know what “1st position” or “plié” was, let alone ANY of the content I had been teaching in the 22 dance classes every week. I knew I was a dance teacher and I knew I was a dancer but I had no idea how to access any of the information relating to those two things. I couldn’t remember the names or faces of my students who I always fondly referred to as “my kids,” I couldn’t recall lessons from my own dance teachers from high school and college… My world was rocked. Hard. 

{{ Strangely, I also lost all knowledge of how to cook… I’m still not allowed to use the stove or oven unassisted. #LOL }}

Luckily it did not matter to my students and their families that I couldn’t remember them or what I had been teaching. They came together and showed myself and my family support like none other. Dance families do exist and I had an outstanding one. 

My kids would visit with their parents and talk to me about what they were doing in dance class. I was soaking it all in. Sometimes I would feel a little click sensation in my brain and a memory would appear. These kids were helping me get my dance world back. 

Amnesia is not always like how you see it in the movies. I’ve not just woken up one day and been flooded with all of my dance memories again, “Wow! It’s all back!” Nope. Every single memory I’ve retrieved has been relearned or has been triggered by a familiar situation. 

It’s so frustrating, y’all… Feeling of self worth starts to deteriorate… Who am I now? What is my purpose?

Am I still a dancer?



I don’t know. Am I?

I won a portable ballet barre in a raffle and we set it up in my living room. It’s primary use was to assist with my in-home physical therapy sessions. The older brother of one of my students came over to help my husband put it together. My student started messing around on the Barre. All of a sudden I’m swatting her foot, “Gross. Please pointe your feet.” Her mom recorded just a few seconds of me swatting at her child’s foot and leg and correcting things I deemed to not be aesthetically pleasing. 

Did I know what I was doing? Nope. 

Did I know she was at the barre and something was incorrect? Yep. 

Could I pinpoint it? Nope. 

Then her mom tells me she’s texted that video to some dance parents with the following caption:

“Theresa is now available for private lessons. Please contact her to schedule.”

Uhm. What. I have no idea what I am doing. 

It’s the best thing anyone could have done for me. It forced me to get out of my comfort zone. It was time to learn how to teach. Begin again. 

I had 3 or 4 private lessons I taught weekly-ish (depending on my health) to start. Bless the parents of those kids because I was terrible, y’all. I mean… Real talk. But they trusted me with their kids and I was learning learning learning. 

A few months later I had 20 private lessons I taught weekly-ish. I would study like mad to prepare. I would teach what I had just learned. Looking back, the whole thing was kinda crazy. 

My living room is not large. Between the ballet barre, the TV and the couch… Something had to give. I was learning more so I was teaching more so I needed more room. 

I gave away our couch one day on Facebook. 

I texted Allen at work, “Just a heads up, I gave away our couch on FB and some guy and his girlfriend just picked it up. Love you!” 

He wasn’t phased at all. “Okay cool.”

And so I continued. I took breaks when my health required it, I studied, I began to relearn and I started teaching DANCE. 


These kids deserve more. A living room is not going to cut it. 

I deserve more. 

I’m stuck. 

Being housebound and a slave to my medical debt, I didn’t see any options of a brick and mortar dance studio — A true training facility. 

So we threw all the crap that was being stored in our basement away. We may have single handidly funded our local thrift shop for months with everything that was donated. Dance dads came together and built a sprung dance floor. #amazing Ballet barres were installed. A makeshift waiting room was put together right next to our washer and dryer. 

Willow Performing Arts Academy was born. It was born by the hands of the families that supported my recovery. They believed in me. 

What an honor. Truly. 

I didn’t know I would soon be headed towards a downward spiral. I didn’t know my quest in conquering my amnesia would set me back time and time again. I didn’t know I would bite off more than I could chew. 

“I’m doing the bare minimum. Why am I burned out?”

“I’m letting everyone down.”

“My kids deserve so much more.”

We have 8 wonderful individuals on staff at Willow. Each highly qualified within their own fields. Why 8?! I was setting myself up for success. Realistically, I would not be able to teach very many classes. I soon realized that some of the classes I thought I would be able to teach needed to be delegated to other teachers — I wasn’t ready to be teaching them yet. I hadn’t relearned quite enough and I didn’t have the physical or mental capacity to provide a quality learning environment. My faculty stepped up to the plate and took over. 

But I was still teaching. I began to co-teach. I brought in an assistant. 

It was still too much and I had no clue. 

I’m still in recovery. I still have very real and very scary setbacks with my health. My priority still has to be focused on my million and one different therapies. 

But I did not see it. I was doing the bare minimum for Willow. My bare minimum does not even come close to the true minimum a dance studio owner should be doing. Some days I don’t even feel like I’m a part of my own business… My own dance family. I’m on the outside looking in and I’m just wondering, “When will I be the one dancing and teaching again? When will I be able to give these kids everything they truly need to succeed?”

So I kept going at the rate I was and I crashed. And I crashed again. And then I crashed hard. 

And here I am today. Two and a half years after I was hit by that semi. Eight months after I created Willow. And it’s all I can do to just get through my therapies each day, let alone be the face of a business and a proper role model for X amount of children. 

I’m not present at the studio. When the kids see me they are super surprised. And that breaks my heart. What am I teaching them about reliability and trust? I’m an adult in their lives that washes in and out when I can but to them I’m unreliable. 

Or maybe it’s not perceived as that… Maybe I’m projecting. 

Either way there is a problem. The amount I bit off to chew was significantly less than what I actually wanted to bit off and chew… But even that was too much. 

It’s a major mistake and it has affected the studio negatively. I’ve dropped the ball and I’ve not shown up when I was needed and I am so incredibly sorry. 

I’ve learned from my mistakes. I know what I will do differently this summer and even into next fall when a new dance season starts. Begin again. 



“Will I ever be a true dance teacher again?”

“Will I ever be a dancer?”

“Will I ever be able to provide my students with more than a makeshift basement studio?”

“When will I get my dance world back?”

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. I don’t know if I ever will. But right now I can try to begin again and I can do the best I can in this moment. 

Mahal, Mrs. Cruz

We Shall See…

You know those charts in every doctor’s office and hospital? The 1-10 pain scale with the creepy smiley faces — I hate those. 

Pain is completely relative. The pain I experience and feel presents differently than the pain you feel. It’s not entirely quantifiable… for anyone. Your pain level of a 6 is going to present and feel differently than someone else’s pain level of a 6. 

And 10… good grief. That’s the impossible number. I have a snippet of a memory of being in the hospital after the accident and holy hell… THAT was a 10. 

So even within one person a pain-scale is relative. 

Every time I’m asked “On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your pain right now?” I just kind of sigh and shrug my shoulders. I also maybe roll my eyes. The pain in my body is not sitting up there at that 10 I experienced post-accident… But it’s still very real and very rough. So what do I say? Because if I compare the scale based solely on that, my answer will probably always be around a 2-5…

But damn. I am in pain. 

So, no. I can’t answer your 1-10 question. I know what a true 10 is and now everything else is skewed. 

Relativity. 

Say I chuck that specific 10 out the door. My pain scale completely changes. I don’t have that 10 experience to compare to any longer so now I’m sitting around a 6-9. 

“How do you function?!”

Mostly, I don’t. But when I do, I grin and bear it. I work through the pain as much as I am able. But there are times, days, weeks when I am not able to push through the pain. 

During those times, I let people down, I’m not able to focus as well during therapies, I cannot work, I cannot even get out of bed. 

“So are you on a pain management program?”

Nope. I have medications available to me to take sparingly, but I do not have a specific regimen of painkillers. I hate painkillers. They make you feel all crazy up in the clouds and lord knows I don’t need any more of that shenanigans. My brain can do that now all on it’s own, thank you. 

When I need to, I take the meds. When I can grin and bear it, I don’t. When staying in bed and resting is enough to keep the pain plateaued, I don’t. 

“What do you do when you stay in bed.”

I’m stuck. Literally. My legs and back are in so much pain that I don’t move. I don’t toss and turn. I’m still and I’m breathing through it. 

“You must be tough.”

That or a big fat baby. I miss more opportunities and obligations to socialize, to work, etc from pain than I do from the PTSD. The TBI is still the Queen B around here… But as far as affecting my ability to function, pain comes in at a close second. 

Work. For real y’all, I’d love to be able to work again. Real work. Hard work. Committed work. Reliable work. All the work. 

Interestingly enough, I hate shame and the shaming of people — But I shame myself every single moment I miss out on something work related. Every time I can’t show up. Every time I let people down. I just dump dump dump that shame alllll over myself. 

Don’t shame people for the things and experiences that they cannot control but, please, shame yourself. 

I’m totally a hypocrite. 

“So what triggers your pain?”

All of the things I work on to get better. All of the therapies. All of the homework I have to do along with my therapies. Trying to work while also managing my therapies. 

Therapy is a pretty broad term. In my world there are quite a few different types I do and they vary in frequency depending on a million different factors I don’t really want to list. 

  • Physical Therapy 
  • Occupational Therapy 
  • Psychology
  • Psychiatry
  • Music Therapy
  • Intensive Outpatient Therapy
  • Post Traumatic Stress Therapy
  • Speech Therapy

Five hours/day… And then I need to run a business too — More on that another day?

Yesterday I had Intensive Outpatient Therapy and Music Therapy.  

Eventually I’ll talk about all of my therapies in depth. I like to keep track of my progress. We take pictures. We take videos. I go back and study them…

“What hurts.”

Instinctively I want to shout, “EVERYTHING.” Buts that’s dramatic and very rarely true. My right shoulder – rotator cuff, my upper spine and shoulder blades, my neck, my lower lumbar, my right leg, my right arm, my feet, both of my shins, my forehead, my jaw…

Maybe someday those things will stop hurting. Maybe someday the frequency in which I’m in pain will decrease. Maybe someday I won’t be in pain any longer. Maybe. 

Maybe someday my pain will ease and I will become a contributing member of society again. We shall see. 

Mahal, Mrs. Cruz

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” –Lance Armstrong

Let’s Get Raw. 

People (including my therapists) will often say things like, “You are so strong.”

I never quite know how to respond or take statements like that in. 

“To survive everything you’ve gone through, you must have so much determination.”

“You are doing great things.”

…You get the point. 

None of it feels true. And part of me knows that to a certain extent, those statements must hold some truth. But it’s incredibly difficult to agree or see what is being said to me. 

“You’re only 29 and have gone through so much. And look how well you’re doing!”

Am I? Really…

“You’ve only been married a couple of years and you both have triumphed over so many obstacles and heartaches!”

Have we? Have we really and truly triumphed…

It’s interesting hearing what the outside sees. It sure as hell is not what I see and it’s far from what I feel. 

But then there are also people that are on the flip-side. Their viewpoint is complete opposite of what’s listed above. And then that makes me think, “Damn. I must be a complete shit-show. How am I even functioning? This must be way worse than it feels.”

My truth may be vastly different than how people perceive me as well as the situations myself and my husband have been through… But it’s still my truth. 

I am weak. I am incabable. I am worthless. I feel no hope. I have nothing to offer. 

I do have daily affirmations.

  1. Hope can’t wait. 
  2. I can. I must. I will. 
  3. Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. 

But the words in bold most always win. Why?

I think I may know… There are a lot of unknowns in my “journey to recovery.” There are a lot of unknowns within the diagnosis of a Traumatic Brain Injury. 

There must be more to it. Why do the bold words win? Why can I never answer the question, “What is something you’re good at or love about yourself?” when asked by doctors and therapists? I have never been able to answer their question. 

I’m most definitely mourning the “Theresa” I used to be. Before the accident. Before the infertility. I’m unrocognizable. Physically and emotionally. 

I miss her. 

I work my hardest to bring her back. I work so hard and I only ever catch a rare glimpse. She is so far from reach. She is unobtainable. I miss her. Does Allen miss her as much as I do?



So no… I am not strong. I am not powerful. I am not kicking ass and I certainly am not doing great things. The old Theresa would be doing a hell of a lot better at life and in her career than I currently am. I’m treading water. #allthewater

You see one thing. I see another. Which is the truth? Who’s perspective is skewed?

“You shouldn’t compare. That was then and this is now.”

Well yeah, that’s the problem! I’ve been living in a special kind of hell since that semi hit me. How does a person not compare? It’s completely unrealistic to ask someone in recovery to “look past that.” I can work through it, but I can’t just erase who I was and who I was becoming as a woman. 

My deficits haunt me. And you don’t see them. You’re not in my real day-to-day life. It’s terrible and it would terrify you. 

“But you’re doing so well in your recovery. It can’t be that bad.

The hard truth – It is. It’s really bad. 

When your speech therapist says she’s “just not able to help you any further.” That’s bad. 

When your neurologist says “The symptoms you’re experiencing now must be psychosomatic. We recommend therapy.” That’s bad. 

When you get a third opinion from a neurologist and he spends less than two minutes in the room with you before saying, “I can’t help you. See a psychiatrist.” Thats bad. 

Starts to make you feel like you must be going insane. You’re experiencing so many deficits and what… No answers. 

I am in therapy. I am on anti-depressants.

So… Is there no answer? Because I’m already doing the things you say must be the right thing for me. 

“Why does my right side and moreso my right leg still go numb?”

“It’s because you’ve gained too much weight. I will prescribe you an appetite suppressant.”

Wait, what? That’s your honest and true and thought out medical opinion of my neurological state? It has nothing to do with the severe nerve damage on the right side of my body? It’s because I’ve gained weight and am “too heavy” now? You’re my neurologist. 

Bye. 

I could probably write a separate and complete book on the absurd appointments that I’ve had with neurologists. I have to be my own advocate. And I have to advocate hard. 

But I did hit rock bottom. Or I think it was. I hope it was my rock bottom. 

There was a Friday I was home alone because I was doing better in my recovery and could be alone for short periods of time. 

  1. I tried to read a book my psychologist recommended. I opened it and could not read a single word. Everything was swirling wildly from right to left. I could not read. I’m 29 and I did not know how to read. 
  2. Okay… I’ll shut the book and try to do something else. How about pampering? I got out my hairbrush to work out the tangles before taking a bath. I did not know how to use it. I’m 29 and I did not know how to brush my own hair. 
  3. I feel myself starting to slow down. The world starts to become a little fuzzy and everything is in slow motion. I need to get outside for some fresh air. Let me get my shoes on and just walk around. I did not know how to tie my shoes. I’m 29 and I could not tie my own laces. 
  4. This is getting bad. Maybe my blood sugar is low. I should eat something. I go to the fridge and I don’t know what to do. I see a handle but how do I open it? I’m 29 and I did not know how to feed or fend for myself. 
  5. Shit. Shit. Shit. I’ll take my meds. 

And that’s when I overdosed and ended up in the hospital for over a week in the “psych ward.”

And guess what. It’s the best thing that could have ever happened to me. 

I don’t truly know if I was trying to commit suicide or if I was trying to take medication to help my state of mind. I’m not sure it really matters anymore. I only know what my friend has told me… and what she has said I told her on the phone. I called her after overdosing. I “was done.” And Lord, I mean… That so has some truth to it. Would you not be totally over all of this crap?

I gained access to so many resources and learned so much more about my TBI and PTSD that week in the “psych ward” than I have in the entire two and a half years of recovery. 

That. Is. Sad. 

Guess what else… It’s not psychosomatic. I’m not crazy. I have a mother f-ing brain injury that is still trying to heal. I don’t have any personality disorders… I suffer from a very real and scary Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

Answers! Good god I have been yearning for answers! And help… real help. Solid resources. 

So now that’s what I do. I go to a million different types of therapies. Hours and hours and hours every week. Therapies with doctors and people who are actually helping me and awknowledge the very real deficits that present in my life. 

“But I will learn to breathe this ugliness you see, so we can both be there and we can both share the dark. And in our honesty, together we will rise, out of our nightminds and into the light at the end of the fight.” —Missy Higgins

I’ll be strong someday. Maybe soon. Maybe not. I’ll eventually see the strength that others see. Someday I’ll be able to awknowledge it. 

For now I’m coping… And that’s enough. 

Mahal, Mrs. Cruz

On Sunday I…

I usually hear people hating on Monday with all of their heart. Beginning of the work week. End of the weekend. Boo. 

I’m not so much in the “I Hate Monday” club. Sunday. Sunday is the day I dislike. 

Monday mornings are actually my favorite time of the week — I get to spend time with a handful of two year olds and their mamas… More on that another day. 

So why do I hate Sunday? The simple answer:

There’s no mail service on Sunday. 

LOL — What?!

For real. It’s as simple as that. At least in my brain… Let me explain further…

I do not and am not able to drive. I never leave the house without supervision. If I need to go anywhere I have to ask someone to take me or to pick something up for me. I am completely reliant on another human to be able to leave my home. 

Except for the mail. I can go outside and walk down the driveway to get my mail every single day. Except on Sunday. 

I look forward to it. I usually try to walk barefoot or only with socks so I can feel the ground under my feet. I take my sweet time and drag in deep and long breaths. I put the mail in a tote if the box is bursting (usually the case) or stuff it under my armpit as I slowly walk back to the house and go inside. 

I have accomplished something. I am a contributing member to this household. I was able to leave the house and return on my own terms. 

Mail. 

Today is Sunday and the box is empty – Sometimes I take my mini-walk to the box “just in case” I missed something on Saturday. 

I didn’t. It’s empty and I am unfulfilled. There was no purpose to my tiny venture outside. I was not able to contribute anything to our household. I was able to breathe deep and feel the earth under my feet, but that isn’t enough. 

What’s the point? What am I really talking about? What’s really going on here? 

It obviously a lot more about Sunday and the need to retrieve our mail…

By definition, I am housebound. I don’t know how to drive nor do I know if I will ever be allowed the opportunity to learn again. If Allen and I were still in Chicago, the situation would be vastly different. But we are not. We are in an exact opposite environment. We live in a very small community that has no public transportation. You must have a car to get anywhere you please. You must be able to drive to run a “quick” errand. We are easily 20-30 miles or minutes away from any mainstream or even mildy “bustling” communities. 

Freedom. That is the true issue. The freedom to run to the bank has been taken from me. The freedom to pop over to the grocery store for a missing ingredient is no longer there. The freedom to treat myself with a small outing to a coffee shop has vanished. No longer can I casually meet up with friends. No longer can I be depended upon if someone somewhere needs help. I am the someone somewhere always needing help. 

My traumatic brain injury triumphs once more… That’s why I do not like Sunday. 

So what do I do about it? Nothing really… Reality is what it is. I do not drive. I can not drive. #fact

How do I make Sunday a little less painful and a little more productive? Well. I’m not really sure. To be honest I usually binge watch Hulu or Netflix, work on my planner, chill out on social media… Not really the most productive of tasks. 

But Sunday is a “day of rest!” You should do those things and just chill out. 

Don’t worry. It’s what I do best. But I want more. I’m struggling to find a bigger purpose on this planet as the new post-accident Theresa and each tiny thing adds up and is helpful in my recovery…

Maybe Sunday can be my Nature Sanctuary day? It’s a little area of peace and calm my brother helped to create in our back yard. 

The Nature Sanctuary even houses a Frog Motel. And the little suckers love it. 

It would be nice to plant some more blueberry bushes or native-to-Ohio plants, bee-friendly flowers… I could go on. Or maybe I should just go there and sit. Soak it all in. 

This is spiraling into a rabbit hole of wannabe projects that, yes, would require me to have access to a car… to drive to the nursery… to purchase the plants… It’s just so frustrating to not have that freedom. Knowing that I can’t just pop in the car for a quick trip…

I digress. 

Sundays could be my “weed the weeds” day. Or pick up the sticks our giant trees love to shed day. 

This planter has been sitting by our front door for over a week now. My husband works non-stop (he’s actually in Chicago with his band this weekend) and even when he is working from home he has time for very little besides the bare necessities. Mad respect. He’s a badass business owner and works harder than most men I’ve met. Basically — He’s too busy providing for our single income family for extras… And I am not mad about that. 

This planter needs flowers. I would love nothing more to drive to a local nursery and take my time picking out some pretty flowers to greet our guests. 

Let’s wrap this up. Sundays are hard. 

Mahal, Mrs. Cruz

P. S. Here’s a throwback to when I did work on our yard and our garden. Fond memories. I look at this picture longingly… 

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” –Gilbert K. Chesterton

I feel no shame in sharing. 

“You look like you’re okay.”

“You’re probably just stressed out.”

“Wow. But you look totally normal.”

“I had a concussion once.”

“At least you’re not dead.”

“Why do you still talk about this so much?”

“You really shouldn’t be posting that on social media.”

“Are you sure you’re not bipolar?”

“I can help you lose weight.”

“You were so pretty.”

“Some things need to stay private.”

“No one wants to hear about it.”

“Why do you post pictures when you’re in the hospital?”

“You’re narcissistic.”

“Oh, it’s just a migraine…”

“You need to focus more on your work.”

“You need to focus more on your recovery.”

“You’re doing too much.”

“You really should get help finding a balance.”

“You don’t still have a TBI, do you?”

“I saw you walk without your cane… Sooo… Why don’t you just stop using it?”

“I really doubt it’s PTSD. You’ve never served in the military.”

“Get help.”

STOP. All of these things and more have been said in one form or another to me during the last two and a half years. Most have good intentions behind them — Some are fueled by frustration — Some are just completely off-base. 

Post-Accident – Diagnosed with:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Nerve Damage
  • Torn Rotator Cuff
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Sensory Processing Disorder 
  • Sequencing Disorder 
  • Migraines 
  • Left Lung Damage
  • Vertigo
  • PNES Seizures
  • Blurred Vision and Right Peripheral Vision Impairment
  • Wheelchair to Walker to Loftstrand Crutches to Cane
  • …Much more

Pre-Accident – Diagnosed with:

  • Stage IV Endometriosis 
  • Interstitial Cystitis 
  • Vaginismus
  • Infertility 
  • Ovarian Cysts 
  • Failed IUIs
  • Failed IVF

It was only a couple of months after our IVF when I was hit by a semi. Three embryos. We lost them all. A couple of months is not nearly enough time to process and grieve that loss. 

We were using donor sperm because of Allen’s condition and sterility. We also found out I have the egg quality of that of a woman going through menopause. We were 25 years old. We were newlyweds and eager to become mom and dad. 

We both celebrated our birthdays that July. 

26 years old — New age. New beginnings?

October. The accident. 

Now an instant layer of grief has been added. Another layer of pain – Emotional – Physical. 

I grieve the life and the opportunities and the hope I had before. I am a changed woman. I’m 29 now — My life halted and rerouted in ways I would have never imagined. Our hope of starting a family has been squandered. Between my health problems making infertility treatments risky and my TBI disqualifying us from adoption, we don’t think we will ever have children. Grief. 

“You’re young. You’ll bounce back.”

If only blanket statements were as bold and effective as they are easy to say. 

“Be happy you’re alive.”

I am happy I’m alive. I’m grateful. But I am also grieving the woman I was prior to the accident. Strong, witty, fit, fun, a dancer, a dance teacher, independent, intelligent, sassy, career driven, lover, friend… Two and a half years may seem like a long time to still be grieving, but believe me when I say it feels like all of this life changing trauma was yesterday. 

Y’all. I used to be fun!

My response to all that has been said is short and full of truth, “You will never understand.”

It’s true and I don’t expect anyone to ever fully understand what it is like to live with a TBI every day. It’s an incredibly lonely and crippling diagnosis. 

…Even being surrounded by a small but loving support system. It’s a deep and dark and scary feeling of loneliness. Your closest loved ones will never truly know. 

“Why don’t you go to a support group or something.”

Believe it or not, Traumatic Brain Injury support groups pop up and disappear just as fast as you’re given a referral… The resources just aren’t available. 

I’m grieving a lot of different things at this point in my life and in my recovery. I don’t expect that to wash away soon or with ease and I don’t expect anyone to understand any longer. 

Friends. It must be so hard being friends with someone who is chronically ill and always in need of something. There are givers and there are takers in this world. I am a taker and that is the most difficult type of person to maintain a friendship with. And I get it. But my situation is what it is and right now I have to live day by day and hour by hour. There is no timeline for my recovery. There is no timeline for processing my grief and depression. 

It’s interesting… There were a flood of new and exciting friendships post-accident. The companionship was beautiful and helped in my healing. I am so grateful for that. As time has passed, that flood of friendships has slowly washed away – Along with it, some important friendships I thought would never cease to exist also washed away. 

But I get it. Right now I can only focus on myself in my recovery and the very little amount of energy that is left is saved for my husband. 

It’s hard to be friends with someone who is always sick and always needs something. 

It’s another layer of grief and makes the loneliness a little more suffocating. 

I’ve been seeing a psychologist who specializes in trauma for the last year… Maybe 18 months? She’s an incredible woman who is passionate about her work and is compassionate in all definitions of the word. She’s part of the reason I’ve reopened this blog. 

“Write it all down. All of it.”

And I plan on it. I have always been an open book and have always utilized social media as a therapeutic outlet… Starting back in middle school on MySpace to later becoming a vlogger on YouTube in my early 20s to then meeting my husband on Twitter. I share. So here I am. Raw — I feel no shame in discussing my personal stories and struggles with the world. 

Mahal, Mrs. Cruz

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” -Mahatma Ghandi

Good Morning

You wake up at 4:30am. 

You wince with such severity that you wake your partner up. 

“Are you okay?”

The physical pain that floods your body is there every single day. Some days you can hide it because your tolerance has gone up so much. Some days you can not move to get up out of bed when you wake up. 

You are eventually able to sit up in bed with the help of your partner. They help swing your legs to the side of the bed. 

You try to stand up. 

Your knees buckle and you fall back on to the bed. 

“It’s okay. I’ll help you get to the bathroom.”

You sigh. You sigh LOUD. You are frustrated. 

Your partner is supporting one side of your body while your cane is supporting the opposite. 

You make it to the bathroom. 

All you had to do was pee. 

You get back to bed and your partner helps to swing your legs back into a resting position. 

Your right side is tingly and numb. 

“Let me get you your medications and then I’ll massage that leg.”

You burst into tears. This is all wrong. 

It’s now 4:50am and your partner only got home from their job at 3:00am. They slept a total of 90 minutes. 

You and your partner are awake now. 

Good morning. 

Mahal, Mrs. Cruz

October 19, 2014

March 21, 2014 is the most recent post here on our blog. A lot has happened in the last three years. It’s going to take a lot more than one blog post to tell our story, so let’s start on October 19, 2014…


I was driving home from a dance teacher and studio owner convention in Chicago when I was struck by a Semi…


I had attended in preparation for opening my own dance studio the following summer. 

In order to tell you the story of my trauma and how it has affected our marriage, professional lives and emotions, I’ll be sharing snippets. Starting with this post that my husband wrote:

Hello, everyone. First of all, thank you for your kind words. Here’s the latest update:

Theresa is still in the ICU. She had additional testing today that revealed a slight setback and also met with a speech therapist. She will need to do both again tomorrow. We aren’t permitted to share the specifics of her condition at this time, but please know she is in very good hands here. 

When she woke up today she said, “I feel like I’ve been hit by a semi… Oh wait…” It’s nice to know she still has her humor. 

I’ve been reading all of your kind words to her throughout the day. It’s been very helpful in keeping her morale up. 

These are some pictures of her car. She is lucky to be alive. RIP Chevy Aveo. You saved my wife’s life. An additional photo can be seen here: https://secure.fox.com/proxy/www.fox19.com/story/26826247/multiple-car-accident-closes-turnpike-in-both-directions

Updates will continue to be given on our FB page. 

Mahal, Mr. Cruz

Neither of us had any idea how much this would impact our lives… Our plans and hopes of starting a family… We were clueless. 

It’s time to tell my story. The true story. The raw. The nitty gritty. The difficult to swallow. All of it. 

Mahal, Mrs. Cruz

Hurdle

Today’s word is HURDLE. Allen and I have dealt with many hurdles while on this journey. It’s par for the course. As soon as one situation is resolved, another appears.

This week has been the most difficult since beginning our infertility treatments. My body is tired. Emotionally. Physically. I’m absolutely exhausted. Four surgeries in a year? Good God. What kind of life am I living?

One part of me is too tired to go on. The other part of me says, “BRING IT ON, SUCKA!!” Luckily we have a strong enough support system that the latter is winning. We stay super positive. We try. This, however, does not mean that ANY of this is easy.

I received a phone call today from our IVF nurse. My blood tests came back and there is a problem with my thyroid. A new prescription needs to be started immediately… The hope is that the problem will be resolved in time for us to continue with our IVF protocol.

Hurdles.

It has come to our attention recently that there are more infertile couples following along with our journey. They like how we stay positive. We like it too… But the last thing I want to do is paint this perfect picture of an infertility journey with no real emotional struggles. This is hard. And we are bitter. We have some major anger. We cry. We throw pity parties. We shut down. We are allowed. And for those reading that are on their own journey… You’re allowed too. Positivity helps so much. But it’s okay to know that sometimes you can just be angry.

This week is our week to be angry and today’s word is hurdle.

Mahal, Mrs. Cruz

Today is awesome because…

Today is awesome because:

1. I walked outside to get the mail. Without falling over or getting dizzy. Major progress, people!

2. I made myself lunch. A can of soup. But still…

3. One of Allen’s awesome music friends, Hannah — from the band Kodachrome Babies, mailed me a little care package with a very lovely note. Allen really does have some amazing music friends. And now I do too. This totally brightened my day. Thank you, Hannah!

20140103-140514.jpg
I had a dream today while I was napping that someone rang our doorbell. Then I woke up and saw fresh footprints in the snow outside our door. If that was you… Hi! Sorry I missed you. It’s terribly difficult to wake me up.

I’d also like to add that a girl can only spend so much time on Pinterest. I cannot stand not doing anything. I’ve been restricted to lifting no more than 5lbs. WHAT?! I know. Last time I only had a 20lb. restriction. So even though I’m feeling a bit better and can stand firmly on two feet without my legs buckling like a fawn I still can’t really do much. I’m feeling very useless in this house! I’m itching to be productive again. Get me out of here! Diagnosis: Mild Cabin Fever

Mahal, Mrs. Cruz

Surgery!

We found out yesterday that our second round of IUIs was unsuccessful. Obviously, we’re very upset. Very sad. Frustrated. Disappointed. But we’re handling the news this time around much better. But where do we go from here? Surgery!

I had a baseline ultrasound appointment this morning. I’m very in tune with my body and I knew something was not right. Long story short, they are going to schedule me for surgery (hopefully this month). It has been 9 months since my last laparoscopy.

Image(Post surgery with my handsome husband- March 2013)

My doctor originally anticipated me having a 3-6 month window of time after surgery without being heavily affected by the endometriosis. So I’m pretty happy with making it for 9 months. But it’s time. I can feel that something is not right. It’s time to clean out all of this “bad tissue” and painful endometriosis again.

You know your life is something strange when you are excited to get surgery.

It will be a clean slate (so to speak) for my reproductive system. My first cycle after the surgery we will dive back in head first with another IUI. We will be changing it up a bit. It will be a little more intense. I don’t have specifics yet but I really am still excited. I’m trying my best to stay hopeful!

This will be my third surgery in the last 12 months. It’s almost comical. I’m getting pretty good at it.

Image

(Post surgery – December 2012)

It’ll be nice to have a month or so off (emotionally) from trying to get pregnant. I’m excited to let my body heal and start fresh. There are many things still up in the air and I don’t have many details but I trust my doctor 100% and Allen and I have an INCREDIBLE support system. Our family, friends and co-workers have been truly wonderful.

Mahal, Mrs. Cruz