Snowboarding

“No, I’ve never been snowboarding before!”

A conversation that I was having with a good friend over dinner lead to a nervous challenge that I of course accepted. We decided to make plans to go to Big Bear’s “Snow Summit” that following week. What started off just being a snowy adventure conversation lead me to having a great opportunity to live out an item on my “live list”, not to mention the amazing time I had with this family!

“You’ve never been?!… well we have to go!”

And just like that we began planning. Even the staff at the restaurant got involved! The server asked the busser if I can borrow her snowboarding boots, my friend then asked his sister in-law if I can borrow her board and snow gear and in a matter of minutes … it became real. Too real! I thought OMG! Am I really going to do this?!

What many people don’t visually see in my day to day is that I am constantly working on my balance after having my stroke, so even sometimes what would seem to be a normal situation would be a challenge for me, like stepping on to a moving walkway like the kind you find at a theme park before you hop on a ride or at an airport to take you to another terminal, getting up quickly from the floor, riding a bike, driving when its raining or even movies that move too quickly from scene to scene. There are many different scenarios that I can list that are still challenging for me, however it’s just that… “a challenge”, I always plan to accept and most of the time I win! 

But this time however, I was not expecting to be defeated. 

The night before I was to be picked up by my friend and his boys, I stayed up all night studying youtube videos on “snowboarding beginner tips” I wanted to be ready and I just knew I was going to get the hang of it! My alarm went off but there was really no need for it as I woke up early with excitement to apply all that I learned!

On the way up the mountain the boys shared their tips and experiences with me and my excitement grew. We all arrived ready for a amazing adventure! It was a beautiful day with freshly white covered mountains just ready and waiting for us. 

We are all ready so we head to the “bunny slope” so I can learn and they can warm up. The boys were naturals and made it look so easy! They went up and down this little slope with ease and occasionally meeting up with me and their dad to offer great tips and encouragement then they were off to the BIG mountain. (Diamond something or other) 

I wanted to meet up with them once I got the hang of this, but over and over I fell. Then I would get up, and just as long it would take me to get myself back up off the snow…it would be only moments after that, that I would be on the ground again. I was getting frustrated but my friend stayed calm and helped me to realize that this IS my first attempt and I need to be patient. So patience I practiced as I lost my balance and fell OVER AND OVER AGAIN!

I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet but I was ready for a drink! Maybe that will help loosen me up out there and not be so scared to fall. We headed to the lodge where he ordered me this delicious drink called “The McGriddle Breakfast Shot”. It is a shot of Jameson whiskey and a Orange Juice back. It tasted like pancakes, it’s weird… but ohh sooo good! I recommend!

We sat and enjoyed our drinks and reflected back on the first part of our morning adventures. Later the boys met up with us, we all ordered food as we each talked about our experiences so far. The boys still offered me great advice as they were happy that I was trying. They also had much faith in me as I was getting pumped to accomplish one of the BIG mountains with them.

Okay so this is it, the point of no return! The four of us hop on the snow lift to take us to the top of the mountain and the boys are showing me (on the map that’s in front of us) what exact mountain we were about to embark on. The four of us climbed higher and higher on the lift and it began to snow a little, you cant help but notice all this beautiful nature that surrounds us. It was simply breathtaking. Peaceful, gorgeous and my absolute favorite part of the day. 

So now to exit this contraption gracefully. lol YEAH RIGHT!!! There was nothing “graceful” about me in this entire day! haa haa!  I fell and fell …and fell some more. At one point  I had just exclaimed in frustration that “snowboarding is just simply not for me” …I wasn’t even a quarter of the way down when the boys met up with me and there dad again. 

The saw me on the ground exhausted and frustrated, one says to me “you just need to remember to let go when you fall, or you are going to hurt yourself more and you wont want to do it anymore”.  Well those words resinated strongly with me. 

In life I have failed may many times but I have learned to let it go. To not get too frustrated so that starts to hinder my growth, to just roll with it, as I have learned to stop focusing on negative and just move on…and before you know it I am back at it again! So why should this challenge be any different? In the beginning of my recovery I physically needed help with EVERYTHING until I didn’t anymore… 

So now, I stopped getting pissed at myself for the fact that I couldn’t get it down and just enjoyed my time learning. I was exhausted yes, but I was having a blast! Now I was holding on to my friend the whole way down the mountain. He faced backward as faced forward. He held me up as I learned how I should hold my feet and body to shift from right to left and from slow to stop.  He was so patient with me and stayed by my side the entire time.  At one point a few ladies said that it looked like we were dancing! Haa Haa!

As we slowly made our way down the mountain I kept imagining what it would feel like to be able to board down completely on my own. The feeling of accomplishment that I would get to feel! But just like with anything in life… the reward is always that much sweeter if it was a feat that we worked to achieve and conquer.  

I know that I’ll  be facing this particular challenge again in my lifetime, and I will expect bruises, soreness, falling and FAILING but I’ll also expect a little bit LESS of it next time around.

Now I’m not saying that I am eventually going to become a snowboarding world champion one day, but I will become better, and better is all I need. 

To the Trujillo family, thank you for taking me to experience this day. It was amazing, you all are amazing!

A beautiful family, I couldn't have asked for a better adventure. Thank you!    

~B



Finally after 4 years!

Today is the day that I've been waiting for, for almost four years now. This day seemed like it was never going to come. I filed for disability about six months after my stroke. (about 4 years ago)

My family was not too fond of this idea at first because they believed that they could all handle taking care of me financially throughout my recovery. Which they have done an excellent job and I love and appreciate them and everything they have done for me very very much, however I knew the day would come that I was going to need my own money and my guilt and pride would affect me tremendously. Every bit of my sense of feeling like an adult has been taken away from me and I found hope through the thought of receiving disability and paying for my own crap again. Whether its buying my own personal daily essentials or going to the movies with my friends or seriously investing on myself by going to inspirational seminars to help me develop into a great speaker or making T-shirts with my Logo. What ever I wanted to use my money for, I could do that guilt free if I was approved! I certainly never see this as being a life long disability but more like a long temporary thing to help me get back on my feet and eventually I wouldn’t need it any more!  

Back whenI first applied  I was still getting around in a wheelchair. After many visits to my lawyers and doctors 1st by wheelchair then by walker, later by cane then I was visiting with no physical assistance at all other then my mother driving me there. I would also call every 3 to 6 months to check on my case to see were it was and ask why am I constantly getting denied. I was told that this kept happening because of my age, then later the excuse was the courts are very backed up and even went as far as blaming the President. I dealt with my Attorney’s assistant more then my actual Attorney. I maybe got to speak with my actual Attorney about three times in the 4 years I worked with her. 

She was about the same age as my mother but looked about 10 years older then her. She was a thin lady with a slight hunch back, wrinkled skin and very very long strait grey hair. Every time my mother and I had personally saw her, she was out side the Lawyers offices smoking. She was very nice to me but I always had a hard time understanding her as she was a mumbler witch surprised me because I always thought that most lawyers were very clear and assertive and definataly not a mumblers. 

Well the day finally came that I would get to personally tell my story in court. but before this big day, I was told how I should dress, do my hair and act. All of which I was very against and fought it until the morning of my court date. “I have worked so hard to present myself in this positive light. I have worked so hard to be able get to the point where I could dress myself do my hair myself, my make up, smell good etc…and now you’re asking me to throw it all out of the window and pretend?!” 

You see I thought that with just my story alone and sharing what I believe are temporary limitations, this was enough to hold up in court. She explained to me that this is a disability case and I can’t be looking too put together, especially if Im seeing a judge. So after fighting this issue I appeared as she desired for my day in court. After all she should know what she’s talking about right? 

My mom and I arrived at the court house this morning with the hopes that I would finally get to receive some type of government assistance that I have previously and many times filed and been dynied .(They state that I’m “too young” to be approved for disability)

My Attorney pulled up around the same time that we did, she was driving an old burgundy truck with bad paint and a camper shell with the windows smashed in. She was smoking as she whipped into an empty parking stall with her cigarette dangling from her mouth. In many ways she reminded me of maybe Cruella De Ville’s cousin only not as poised. 

Meanwhile my stomach is in knots because I have so much resting on this day.  I leave my mom to find the closet restroom in this big court house and quickly reunite with her and my Attorney as I don’t want to miss a second. My Attorney then says to me “Today is the Big day!” -Yes!, Yes it is,  I responded. It only took FOUR years,  but today is the day! 

My Attorney showed up at our court with a stack papers in hand. I thought  wow! She is going kill it today!  She is super prepared for any document they may ask for. Judging by the many stuffed folders she was carrying that contained my numerous doctors notes and hospital records that help create my case. We enter the prep room and she went over so many things that she believed I should really focus on making clear to the judge. 

Now its time. My attorney and I walk in to the court room and my mother sits outside of the room until they call her in. I at this point had no idea what to expect. I take my seat I look up at the judge he was a young man with golden blonde hair, light skin, light eyes a beautiful smile and wearing his official black judge robe. In my opinion, he looked like Captain America that switched careers. In my nervousness I wanted to make a Marvel joke but I luckily kept my mouth shut. 

So Captain America swore me in and court was in session. He first started by requesting certain documents from my attorney and after fumbling through her paperwork she then claimed she couldn’t find them. She gave her very shaky opening statement which in my personal opinion did not clarify exactly what was her main point. She mumbled throughout and then judge just simply proceeded. He then swore me in and I was ready for any questions that came my way. He then asked my attorney a few questions and she vaguely responded between flipping through her paperwork never making eye contact with either one of us and always seemed as if she was trying to find a certain page in her pile.

The Captain…I mean Judge then started to ask me questions and  had me describe some of my limitations. I did it without becoming emotional or crying because I know that doesn’t always help situations like these, although I did feel as if I was on the very brink. Later he requested my mother to enter and asked her a few questions too.

Earlier I was told not to elaborate on my answers but something inside of me now wishes I had. Its sometimes hard for people to understand that I have a brain injury when I appear so “normal” to them. Without my explanation I feel as if that gets overlooked so much in my everyday life. I at times I have wished that my physical self matched my mental self even if that meant going back to a wheelchair or hospital bed, because only then people would understand a brain injury and no one would expect me to have the ability to remember certain things or preform certain tasks that I struggle with curently. 

Maybe its just that, this expectation that everyone holds of me. This might be helping me heal my brain. I am making new synaptic connections with my brain daily. I'm sure that difficult moments like these are actually helping me in the long run. However I am not afraid to state when I need help. This is the whole reason that I applied for disability in the first place. Help. Not forever. Just right now. I see this as a boost in life, Its nothing to be ashamed of, or embarrassed about. As sometimes we need a step stool to help us reach what we desire..not a whole latter or staircase, just a STEP to help us reach our destinies. 

My Attorney gave somewhat of a closing statement that I so badly wanted to interject but let her finish and just like that the court was ended. I felt so Incomplete, I wanted to share more, I wanted him to know my past and daily struggles. I wanted to know if he was ever referred to as “Captain America” … I wanted more of my day in court to really prove that I deserve it. But it ended. 

My Attorney then explained what to expect next. she felt good about it and yet I felt awful. We then parted ways and as soon as I got in my moms car I began to sob. I was crying because I was thinking that It was just not enough. I was crying because its finally over, crying because I hate that I even had to do this. Crying because I just wanted a “normal people” problem like I got laid off or a broken leg… I was crying because I had to down play my amazing physical recovery that I've worked so hard for and now had to focus on my limited mental capacity. Something that I work very hard to NEVER focus on.

After my very emotional day I decided to take my friends and family’s advise…and just LET GO AND LET GOD. I did what I could, she did what she could and at the end of the day… I AM ALIVE AND GREATER! This will not be the end of my story.  I KNOW IT!

#NoMoreBadDays

Dressed like a bum to go to court. :/

Dressed like a bum to go to court. :/

Sharing my story with Apple Valley High School students

I received a phone call early this month from a close friend of our family, Mrs. Ashlee Carpino. Mrs.Carpino teaches the M.A.H.S.T. academy at Apple Valley High School in Apple Valley CA. MAHST stands for Medical And Health Science Technology. This program at AVHS is for students who aspire to have a career as a professional in the medical field. I had the pleasure to share my story with the freshman class of future young professionals. These students may take the MAHST Academy all 4 years of high school if they desire. All students are members of HOSA-Future Health Professionals. The purpose of the HOSA organization is to develop leadership and technical skills in this industry through motivation, awareness and recognition. These skills are an integral part of the Health Science Education instructional program. 

Mrs. Carpino invited me to speak to her students in hopes to inspire these future “life savors”. What they are studying in her course can potentially be so rewarding to them and to so many others in their near future. Sharing my story with these inquiring students was greatly fulfilling and so much fun. They respectfully asked questions about my particular stroke and recovery. I believe my time resinated well with each of these young minds. Thank you Mrs. Carpino.

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What is EHT, And how it has helped me.

How Does Nerium EHT Work?

The EHT molecule is the primary ingredient in Nerium EHT. This molecule is derived from the coffee bean and works by strengthening your neurons to enhance the connections throughout your brain.

This can help many aging individuals who are experiencing a decline in their cognitive function, and start creating the new connections they need for improved memory retention. Weak neuronal connections throughout the brain can cause an unhealthy mind. This can result in slower reaction times, memory loss, and a dulling of your mental sharpness.

Nerium EHT improves several areas of cognitive function, including memory, reaction times, alertness and overall clarity. It reduces oxidative stress in the brain which is responsible for aging the brain cells and damaging the neural connections. While this mostly is a natural part of the aging process, there are certain steps that can be taken in order to slow the process, allowing the individual to enjoy mental focus and sharp memory for longer than they may have previously. Although there are a number of brain enhancement products on the market, Nerium EHT has helped me tremendously. As a Stroke survivor with many brain and memory deficits, I can honestly say that EHT has played a significant roll in improving my memory, cognitive functions, retention and reaction times. EHT is helping boost my immune system and raising my overall energy levels. Nerium EHT is to be taken on a daily basis, as opposed to only when an extra ‘boost*’ is needed, and has a cumulative effect, making it more powerful over time.

Specific Ingredients In Nerium EHT Include

Nerium EHT extract, Vitamins B6, B12, D, Folate, Magnesium, Selenium

If you are intrested in this product as well, you can read more about it or purchase with this link:

BrisaAlfaro.Nerium.com

 

 

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Life can be so Confusing...

I have been very lost for these past few years. For me it has been years of riding an emotional roller coaster. Every time something would go wrong, my attitude would become more and more negative. I would wonder...why me? Why does this have to happen? Why does it have to be so hard?

Well now I am starting to realize “Why”, and becoming grateful for my past years and the years that follow. I have learned so much in my recent past. These are all life lessons, you may not always be aware of in the moment, however over time it becomes clear. This is God’s plan for me.

Although there are hard times that we are forced to face with in life, and maybe not always prepared to handle, for example: The loss of loved ones, relationship battles, financial war, family drama or even personal health issues. All of these experiences do not define us, but I have learned that our reactions to them do.

 “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”. If this saying is true, I plan to start it the right way. With high hopes and dreams, and a new positive attitude. Sure, life can be confusing...

Have you ever wondered if you are really on the right path, with the right person, or on the right job? Or maybe even wonder if you are reaching your full potential in life.... I know that I have.

I also believe that sometimes we replace what is right, with what we really want. And sometimes what we really want may not be what is really right for us.

So this is where life gets confusing. How do we distinguish the two? Right and Want, and who makes that ultimate decision? Do you? Or, do you allow yourself to become influenced by the opinion of other people? I think we all have been there at one point or another.

So I go back…What is really right for you?

I believe that God can dream a bigger dream for me, than I could ever imagine. He has a plan for all of us. Has there ever been a point in your life where you wondered why God has not answered your prayer? Well sometimes God’s greatest gift to you is the prayer you think he never answered.

   -I remember a while back I was praying every night for something that I believed I really wanted. Something that I thought would finally bring me happiness. One day, as I sat outside taking in all that is my life, I couldn’t help but see what a mess I had created. I began to question the true meaning of happiness. I began to doubt that I would ever find such a thing. Worst of all, I thought that God never answered my prayer!

Here’s what I have learned… Everyone has their own definition of “Happiness”. Yours is as unique to you as your finger print and no one can tell you what it is. You just know inside! The answer to my prayer would have given me “Satisfaction” opposed to “Happiness”.

So you see, God did answer my prayer!

I look back on it now and I realize… That was not his dream for me. He has a much bigger plan! 

It is now my job to read the signs and find the clues that will ultimately lead me in the right path to pursue my dream and live a "Happy Life".

 

-To Be Continued…

~Brisa

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On TV show "The Doctors"!

I was honored to be a guest on the TV show "The Doctors"  to share my story along side with my family. #Bgreater with #NoMoreBadDays  #b>                              

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