Doing something I loved ended so suddenly, but it has brought so much clarity and thankfulness for the gift of life and in everything I do. 

The afternoon of Feb. 5, 2019, was an odd-feeling, gloomy day of my sophomore year of high school. Nationals was a month away, and my dance team was laser focused on a victory to bring home a banner for our school and the recognition we had worked so hard for that season.

Our goal that day was to incorporate a wider variety of difficult moves and stunts. Since I was so small, I volunteered to do a backflip with spotters on each side. I didn’t think too much about it and really just went for it. Throwing my momentum backward, I immediately felt that my body was unsupported, and I quickly landed — but not how I was supposed to. 

I felt myself black out, not really knowing what was going on. I opened my eyes but felt extremely dizzy, and I had the worst headache. I tried to communicate and move my body, but I felt stuck. All I could say was, “mom.” Something was wrong, and I knew something had to be done immediately. I was rushed to the hospital in the back of an ambulance with my parents following behind me. 

When I arrived, multiple tests were ran on me including CT cans and MRIs. I was diagnosed with a severe concussion, and I was sent home with my bodily functions and speech starting to return, but slowly.

I pushed myself to recover in order to be on the floor with my team for nationals. 

A month went by, and as the days seemed to become easier, I felt well enough to return to school. Waking up that day, I felt sick and went to school late. My mom drove me, and I started feeling a little off. Not really thinking much into it, I walked into school and sat in the library, ready to be back. 

Out of nowhere, my legs started to go numb, and I became extremely dizzy. I asked my friend to take me to the office, and when she sat me down, I lost all bodily movements and my ability to speak. The administrator with me called my mom, and my dad was sent to pick me up; he describes seeing me with a “dead stare.”

 My dad carried me to the car since I wasn’t able to move. I had tears running down my face but no visual emotions. I was terrified. I kept telling myself to breathe and to stay alive. I felt myself going in and out of consciousness, but my dad didn’t notice because I wasn’t able to talk, move or express anything. 

Arriving at the hospital, I was quickly rushed to a room and tests were run over and over again. They couldn’t find the problem, but they knew it must have been related to my fall a month prior.

I was transferred by ambulance to a hospital in Anaheim where I met a neurosurgeon and a neurology specialist. I was in the hospital for about 3 days, doing physical therapy and being put through tests. 

Later, I was finally diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and a stress disorder. This means that if my body is put through too much or I become too stressed out, my body doesn’t know how to handle it and basically shuts down. 

I was discharged and continued to do physical therapy and speech therapy. I had to learn how to write, speak and walk all over again.

A full recovery took two months, and I was finally able to return to school, but I was extremely behind. My studies became extremely rushed and difficult and were not cooperated with, which caused me to come to my mom about transferring. 

I tried my absolute best to push myself to learn the material needed to pass my final year at the school I was attending at the time, and I did it. Although I didn’t receive the best grades, I did it.

My mom and I decided on a school that was best for me and my situation, and I transferred for my junior year and completely excelled. I was able to catch up on all of my missing credits and even surpass the required amount. 

The next two years were my prime. I took AP and honors classes, and I was able to acquire a 3.5 GPA. 

When the day of my senior year graduation came I was extremely emotional, thinking about everything I had gone through the past 4 years of my high school education and how it had ended in success. I made my mom proud, and continued on to attend Azusa Pacific University, where I am now pursuing a B.A. in journalism and a minor in psychology.