Kristie Montrois PORTRAITS
March 2, 2019
Have you ever looked at your child during a time of struggle and thought, “If I could only take your place.” It’s not always pretty. As I sat photographing my daughter, Aliya, in my kitchen testing lighting scenarios, I was taken back by how much the images showed the pain she has been enduring.
A few weeks ago, my sweet 17-year old suffered a severe concussion. She was attempting a juice diet that caused her blood sugar to drop to a dangerous low. As a result, she fainted and hit her head on the concrete of a movie theater parking garage. She was out with a friend at the time. She 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. My pretty girl finally told me what happened the following day. We went to the emergency room where was diagnosed with a severe concussion. With all of the discussion about concussions I was very surprised when we were sent home. We were given no referrals; however, we received a recommendation to follow up with “someone.”
Since visiting the emergency room, my girl has struggled to recover. Not a day has gone by where she has not had some kind of fall out. One day a week I get a call from her at school asking to come home due to her lack of comfort; headaches, 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; in April 2018 she sang on the Carnegie Hall Stage in New York with the National Honor’s Youth Honor’s Choir. Her whole education revolves around her ears and vocal chords. Right now her symptoms are causing her more pain than pleasure. My beautiful daughter is not feeling very pretty.
As I sat watching her expressions my heart was impacted by her pain. I told her I won’t keep these. “I am just testing the light.” She looked at the back of the camera. My girl said she wanted to keep them. Aliya wanted others to see the impact of her concussion through images. She wanted to create awareness. Her struggle was real, there to see on the back of the camera.
Not enough is discussed about the impact of concussions. It is something our kids are exposed to in gym class. Our girls read about fad diets in magazines. 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. Aliya has good days and bad days. The variety of symptoms depend on the trauma to the brain. Many athletes who have had concussions are known to have consequences to the brain for years after their injuries. Sometimes the symptoms have lead 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. Every image is a documentation of someone’s life. Right now, this is Aliya’s life. Like I said before, it’s not always pretty.
If you would like more information about concussions and the impact on the brain or CTE visit cyndyfeasel.com author of After the Cheering Stops.