Esther Lovett's PCS Blog

The worst is far behind me

Posted: September, 2017

By Esther Lovett

In March, I went on a two-week school service trip to Rwanda. I felt so much better symptom-wise, and I wanted to challenge myself. It was extremely hot, very sunny, and we had long days with intense physical service work. We spent a few days in Kigali before a daylong safari and ended with a long stay at Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, a boarding school for Rwanda’s most vulnerable youth. Two years ago, I don’t think I would have been able to go on such a strenuous trip.  This year I had an amazing time there and participated to the fullest. I took a 10 mile hike at midday where we were swarmed by kids from the local villages who walked with us and whom we taught the ABCs, I enjoyed long bus rides, and I formed amazing friendships with students I met in Rwanda and with my peers with whom I travelled. Taking that trip made me feel very confident that all the worst of my symptoms were gone and reassured me that my road to recovery was near complete -- I want to tell you that yours is, or will be, too.

Esther Lovett Rwanda

If you’ve read my previous blogs, and experienced them yourself, you know how rough concussion and PCS can be. I wanted to deliver you an update. I was out of school for the 2015-2016 academic year with some tough symptoms. Now, having had a great junior year, heading into my senior year, and looking forward to college, I can assure you that you can get so much better. It may not happen overnight, but looking back at my medical leave year and the blogs I wrote then, things have changed so much.

Through the Concussion Legacy Foundation and my website, Headstrong, I want to keep telling you my stories, the good and the bad. I think it’s important to keep in mind where you’ve been and how far you’ve come in your recovery, wherever you are, but I also don’t want you to feel that PCS is going to be forever.

It’s important to remember that thoughtful changes can make a world of difference: harnessing little memory tricks, opting for dinners with friends rather than parties with loud music, remembering your sunglasses. And having friends who understand makes a world of difference.

Now, I feel that the worst is far behind me, and that I am able to successfully manage a few residual symptoms. I am capable of anything academically and professionally; I’ve handled myself at a tough private school, and I undertook an intense internship this summer. At this point, other than contact sports, there isn’t really anything that I cannot do.

So if you feel that you’re in for the long haul, the load gets a little lighter each week, and at some point, you’ll barely notice the burden.   

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