Sharing Wisdom Through Experience
Some of you may know me as a creator, others may know me as a loving friend. Truth is, I am no expert. If you know me, you know that I did not go to college, I do not have a masters in Psychology. I simply have experiences. The experiences of my life have gained me wisdom and knowledge, and I want to touch base with you and share those experiences in hopes that you can gain some insight as well. Enter at your own risk, and see what things I can bring to light for you.
My name is Kahlia Chase. I am a 27 year old female entrepreneurial “artist” that is self employed, creative and passionate. I am good-natured and I am also stubborn(I would like to think that has gotten me to where I am today). I have fallen, I have risen, and I will do so many times over. It is a daily effort to live to my full potential. A motto I recently took up is “I strive to thrive”. I would like to think of myself as a health and wellness enthusiast with spiritual beliefs. Anyway, enough about me, and more about about me….
The beginning is quite interesting, so I hope I haven’t lost you yet. Trust me, I am getting to something. I consider the beginning of my life as the beginning of when I found myself. Like many people who actually find themselves, I was at what you could say “rock bottom”. My childhood was a mess, I lived with my father and my sister(I don’t speak to my father anymore, that story is for another time) and visited my mother on the weekends. After my father married my mentally abusive step mother, our relationship came to a head and I moved in with my mother(also another story). Anyway, my teenage years consisted of heavy drinking, getting stoned, smoking damn near a pack of cigarettes a day, barely graduating, and having way too lenient parents. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I figured out who I was as a human being.
At the age of 22, I took up the beginning of my creative journey, and I have struggled since. I was in a horrific auto accident April 10th, 2013. I remember the day like a hole in my head. I was driving home with a friend, less than a mile from home, actually, when a woman blindly pulled out in font of me from a stop sign while I was going roughly 45 miles per hour. I braked, however, that did nothing. I slammed into the side of her suburban, and my little Hyundai Accent was totaled. I remember going to the wrecking yard a few days later and my license plate was touching my windshield. I had hit my head on my steering wheel and on my head rest. I thought I had cracked my head open, and I honestly had the feeling of “Is this it?”. I remember I couldn’t open my door, someone had to open it for me. Luckily there was an EMT that witnessed the incident, and my friend was okay from what I could see. However, I sat down on the side rail with my hand cupped over the now growing bump on my head. I remembered it felt like a giant egg that just wouldn’t stop growing. I was severely concussed and all I could do was just sit there and be as patient as possible while the EMT held my neck in place. I couldn’t see out of my right eye, all I could see was a rainbow and darkness. We were finally rushed to Harrison Hospital where we were given CT scans and examined thoroughly. I was told that I had a severe head injury, however my CT scan looked normal. My friend had suffered minor back injury. The doctor sent me home with some prescription meds, and told me that I needed someone around at all times for the next few days.
The next few days were terrible. I was in endless agony. My whole body hurt, my head felt like it was going to explode, my face looked like I had been beaten very badly. I took five days off work, and before I even walked into work, I already knew that I wasn’t ready. I felt sick from the lights(I was working front desk of a hotel for about four years) and couldn’t stand the entire time. I ended up leaving half way through my shift and requested some more time off.
I spent what felt like years under the blankets of my bed with my blinds closed. Light was too much, I was in a lot of pain and I just felt… weird. I had never had such a bad concussion before. After a few attempts to go into work, I realized that I needed some serious time off. This brain injury was going to take a long time to heal. I quit my job(my boss had not been understand about the decision and was not going to ever understand), with no idea what to do other than rest. I was sleeping up to 16 hours a day, not socializing, and hiding in darkness. It was a very dark time in my life.
I moved in with my parents for a couple of months for the emotional and financial support. This was when I started seeing my boyfriend(my last relationship of 3 years). He was nice enough to be of financial help while I got better, however the better never happened. A year went by and still no sign of healing. The injuries from my accident had dissipated, like my seat belt rash and my sprained ankle, but my headaches, neck pain and shoulder pain persisted. This was a time when I honestly had the thought of “I don’t want to be me anymore”. It was a very depressing time in my life, and I still to this day wonder how I even managed to turn my life around. I believe we are capable of so much more than we think we are sometimes.
This is the vital information that I want to explain to you. When I moved in with my boyfriend at the time, I was so tired of not working. I was in pain and was unreliable to anyone, and I decided that maybe I should find a hobby. This was when I took up macrame. I started with a book, a book that I still have, and ever since, I have not put macrame down. After a few months of doing macrame, I started an Etsy shop, a move that would change my life completely. My craft has been an ongoing coping method and has grown into something that I just couldn’t live without. Okay, let’s continue the story.
Time went on and I still wasn’t getting better. I was referred to a neurologist who then ran an MRI on my head and neck. This was when I discovered my neurological disorder. I have something called a Chiari Malformation. Basically, my skull did not form correctly when I was an infant(from what they could tell) and my brain simply did not have enough room in the back of my head, putting pressure on it and resulting in headaches/pressure. When I got into my accident, I had onset symptoms. My neurologist recommended some things for me to try so I decided to move forward in hopes that I would heal. I tried massage, physical therapy and chiropractic. I could tell that when I was done with all that and my neurologist recommended excess b-vitamins, that he could not help me. I took it upon myself to look for a specialist.
I slowly started making my way back into work at this point. It had been probably about two years since I worked and I was so anxious to get out there and do something. I found a job at another hotel, which I hated, and I left that job and went to my seasonal plant job(which I still work from time to time) but I was still having issues with head aches and neck pain and I was just feeling like I was at the end of my rope.
This was when I found Dr. Ellenbogen. He is a children’s doctor and a neurosurgeon at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Wa. My first appointment was getting my MRIs done. My next appointment I was able to meet with him. He told me what was going on, and why I was having so much pain. The seasonal job that I had picked up(which I loved, I was working in a greenhouse setting with plants) was actually a big part of my pain. Lifting heavy items up was straining my muscles. He told me I was a good candidate for surgery and sent me home with a booklet to read over.
I was in shock. Not only did it seem like I had to quit my seasonal job, but surgery??? BRAIN surgery?! They would be removing part of my skull and brain and what??? When I got home I put the booklet away and just continued suffering for a year. That whole year that went by I was just frustrated, mad at the universe for cursing me with this horrible thing. Was I going to be disabled my whole life? Was there a way that I could somehow make things just a little bit better? Maybe if I went hiking and stayed active and just fought passed the headaches that I could manage to live an okay life.
No. I tried that. I tried to continue to do things that I loved. Macrame, hiking, mountain biking. All those things I hold so dearly. What was happening was that I was just suffering through those things, trying to pretend that everything was fine. As much as I wanted to live a free, loving lifestyle, I couldn’t cultivate that because pain blocked me from it. Side note, it is REALLY hard to meditate, be happy and feel all these good things when you are in constant pain. That is another blog post for another time.
After the year was up, I sat down with my now boyfriend(Ryan, he’s stellar) and said “I can’t take this anymore. I am so tired of being unhappy, I deserve to be happy and live a healthy life”. I opened myself up to possibility, contacted my neurologist and set up an appointment to talk about the surgery. We talked about what would happen, what could happen and really, that things would be a lot better for me. I could live the life I want to live. A few months later, I went under.
Surgery is for another time. I think that I would like to go in depth about my surgery so I can touch base with people and share my experience of before, during and after. Let’s just say that it was really scary. It’s been almost a whole year now since surgery and I still can’t believe I mustered the courage to do it. I still have my struggles, and I am still recovering. The good news is that I actually have to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle to feel good, and I have the motivation to do so because I am not in so much pain. If I stop exercising, however, I start to slip back into pain.
Through a traumatic experience, I discovered my creative abilities. If my horrific car accident hadn’t happened, I would have most likely continued to work a job just to make money and get by, and I highly doubt that I would have my own business. If I hadn’t had surgery, I would still be suffering. I am feeling much better now and as time goes on, I continue to get better.
So my life lesson here is… Hardships are required for growth. I believe that you cannot go through life without experiencing some sort of suffering to fully appreciate what this precious life has to offer. It is how you learn empathy, compassion, and wisdom. If you are in a tough situation, believe something good will come from it.
If you are still reading, thank you for staying with me. It’s a long story, and a beautiful one. My blog will consist of hardship, success, health and wellness, mental health, travel, deep thoughts, etc.
Stay tuned, my next blog will be about struggles and success of being self employed!