Armed with “a bicycle, two sets of clothes, one eye and half a brain,” Megan Timothy is on a mission to spread a simple message of hope.
Ms. Timothy, a 63-year-old Californian who stopped in Annapolis on Monday, said she’s bicycling across the country and sharing her story of how she recovered from a brain injury – a story she painfully put down on paper and turned into a book.
“Suddenly, everything in your life disappeared and you don’t know why or how,” Ms. Timothy said.
Ms. Timothy’s brain injury is called an arteriovenous malformation, an abnormality in the arteries or veins in the brain that can cause bleeding.
She had no idea she had a problem until she awoke one night in 2003 feeling as if she had an intense hangover, though she doesn’t drink. Her vision was off, and when a friend called on the phone, she thought she was talking normally, but all that was coming out of her mouth was nonsense.
After weeks in the hospital, surgery and a stint in a rehab center, Ms. Timothy was on a slow road to recovery. Now, she said it’s as though her brain thinks at 95 mph, she speaks at 85 mph and she reads at 1 mph.
As her recovery progressed, Ms. Timothy said the beginnings of a book formed in her head. Writing it was difficult, she said, because she couldn’t write or reread or edit as fast as she wanted to. The result of her effort is “Let Me Die Laughing! Waking up From the Nightmare of a Brain Explosion.”
The title comes from when she prepared for brain surgery. She said she had “do not resuscitate” orders plastered everywhere. (“Dying is OK. Coming back half-baked is what scared me,” she said.)
She was laughing about it with others when a doctor interrupted that this was a serious matter.
Ms. Timothy said she told the doctor, “If I’m going to die, let me die laughing.”
She wants to inspire others overcoming brain injuries and help doctors get a better understanding of what their patients are going through.
Her message to patients?
“You have to be strong. People can help you, but they don’t know everything. They are not in your brain … You have to be patient and you can’t pussyfoot.”
For doctors: “You cannot forget, behind this broken piece is a person with a soul.”
Ms. Timothy said she started her journey Feb. 28 in her hometown of Hemet, S.C.
She biked across the South and up the Atlantic Coast. After a stop in Washington, D.C., for a publishing trade show, she’ll head north, go through the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest, and she plans to end up back home by Thanksgiving.
For more information, visit www.cronehousepublishing.com.