I have been taking the past few weeks to answer some wonderful questions a group of college students sent to me. Last week I answered some. This is the second part to that post.
Does a bad hair day bother you?
You asked me this question after class because I said I do not remember my reflection in the mirror. I am lucky bad hair days do not bother me now as much as they had in the past. I don’t spend a lot of time looking in mirrors. I feel disconnected with the person staring back at me when I look at myself. I expect to see a twenty-seven year-old face, yet there is someone nearly a decade older! Anterograde prosopagnosia means my memory has forever locked the earlier image in my mind. While I am aware of my aging, it always causes some concern and confusion when I see the reflected face. This becomes my primary concern and focus each time I see myself. The lingering concern of my altered face provides little room for remembering details like which hair is not laying down right or where its curling too much.
In class you described how your worst nightmare sounded–how did your best dream sound?
My best dream consisted of me hearing happy sounds and feeling gentle touches. I remember the dream vividly. I ran! Running was still a completely unobtainable goal at the time. I had been in physical therapy for over a year still practicing on how I could walk correctly without the need of any assistive devices. If I tried to walk fast, I fell over nearly every time. I could only stand back and watch my children run and play in the yard at home. I wanted so badly to join them. I often asked physical therapists if they thought one day I might be able to run again. I had an EMG to see if it would be possible in the near future. The doctor’s results frustrated and saddened me. He said it appeared the muscle needed to allow me to run would probably never redevelop. I felt I had lost the possibility of running ever again.
In the morning, due to this dream, I was so happy and free when I opened my eyes. I laid there and laid there trying to find the thoughts that had left me when I woke. It came back slowly and beautifully. There had been flowers or something soft touching my legs – at this time my left leg still did not have enough sensation to feel soft touches. Yet, I felt this soft touch brush against me like in a soft, swaying wheat field. I had on a long skirt and laughed as it flowed behind me. I could feel the wind rush against my bare ankles. My children were there laughing and telling me, “Faster Mommy. Faster!” I ran and felt so free. I felt so lucky and happy and my children laughed along with me. We laughed and I ran. That was my happiest dream. That was my best dream. I felt as if my damaged leg was working. I believed my legs could again recognize soft feelings. I heard laughter, and I knew I would run again one day.
Have you ever considered turning your blog into a book?
I have thought about it. I would like to first further develop a paper I have been working on for a few years based upon questions a neuroscience research student asked. This paper continues to grow. It explains how my condition was acquired and the coping techniques I use for prosopagnosia.
It is thought 2% of the population has face blindness to some degree. There has been no treatment developed and no hope for a cure. Unfortunately, I’ve never found a book offering tips to patients on how they can better succeed in various social settings. My paper explains prosopagnosia and teaches the coping techniques I developed allowing me to better identify strangers. Once I have assisted this specific population, I may pursue integrating my blog into the paper to create a book. When that time comes, I have a query letter I would consider mailing potential agents. The example of this letter can be read in A Treasure for Today and Gift for Tomorrow.