Not Always Pretty

Have you ever looked at your child during a time of struggle and thought, “If I could only take your place.” As I sat photographing my daughter  in my kitchen testing lighting scenarios, I was taken back by how much the images showed the pain she has been enduring.

See, a few weeks ago my sweet 17-year old suffered a severe concussion after attempting a juice diet that caused her blood sugar to drop to a dangerous low.  She fainted and hit her head on the concrete of a movie theater parking garage. She was out with a friend at the time and did not tell me until the following day what happened. In her mind, she needed to come home and lay down. I am blessed she did not fall into a coma. She finally told me what happened and we went to the emergency room. She was diagnosed with a severe concussion and sent home. No referrals, but a recommendation to follow up with “someone.”

Since visiting the emergency room, my sweet girl has struggled to recover. Not a day has gone by where she has not had some kind of fall out. At least, one day a week I get a call from her at school asking to come home due to a headache, nausea, light sensitivity, noise or vibration from choir causing her dizziness.  My daughter is a vocalist in her senior year at a performing arts high school. Her whole education revolves around her ears and vocal chords. Which are right now causing her more pain than pleasure.

Anyway, as I sat watching her expressions my heart was impacted by her pain. I said, I won’t keep these. I am just testing the light. She looked at the back of the camera and said she wanted to keep them.  Her struggle was real and there to see on the back of the camera. At the time of the images she was dealing with a migraine and sound sensitivity.

Not enough is discussed about the impact of concussions.  But, it is something our kids are exposed to in gym class, fad diets or even falling off the bed in their sleep. One of my daughter’s classmates made a uneducated statement that she did not have a concussion anymore, because it had been a few weeks. The fact is concussion symptoms can last several years. There will be good days and bad days and a variety of symptoms depending on the trauma to the brain. Many athletes who have had concussions are known to impact to the brain for years after their injuries and even leading to their deaths.

I know I should probably end this on a positive note. But the fact is not every image we tells a story of paradise.  Not every image has a smile. But, every image is a documentation of someone’s life. Right now, this is hers.

If you would like more information about concussions and the impact on the brain or CTE visit author of After the Cheering Stops.

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