When I got to the ICU, it was there that a Neurologist told me that I may be having seizures and set me up with my first neurologist appointment. I had never put two and two together this whole time and I felt really scared. I was also given an MRI, but it came back normal. I still remember the sound of my first MRI; It was pretty loud.My first neurologist was probably the best I’ve ever seen, but he had muscular dystrophy and had to leave his practice. From then on, I was put on different medications by different doctors and my night time seizure events only doubled and tripled. I was put in a position where I couldn’t practice my instrument and all the while it was making me severely depressed. At this point, I was also barely eating, but you couldn’t have convinced me of that. One neurologist in Atlanta told me that he thought there was a possibility that I was causing these seizures myself; that I might be faking and I should see a psychiatrist. I never saw him again.
Later, when I moved to Pittsburgh for graduate school, I told another neurologist that I started having my seizures from a vaccine, and she told me the same thing. I never saw her again either. Finally, in 2007, one day I just started crying and couldn’t stop. My step-aunt, who also lived in Atlanta, convinced me to put myself into a rehab facility. This meant I had to drop out of school. I just couldn’t function or take care of myself anymore. I had realized that I wasn’t going to be a musician, and that I wasn’t going to be anything if I couldn’t get my life under control again. Going to rehab and dropping out of school were the hardest decisions I have made, but they were the best decisions I could have made at that time.
In 2 weeks, I was eating regular meals, I was going to therapy, and I was thinking clearly enough to map out some sort of plan to get back into school, get healthy again, and continue with my life. I took myself off of the seizure medications and my seizures actually decreased over time to a point where I could function. While out of school that Spring semester, I wanted to focus on finding what I wanted to do with myself. I took to volunteering as a way to learn more about life. I signed up with Volunteer Solutions through GA State University and I volunteered for the March of Dimes, Walk for Autism, Aids Walk Atlanta, and the Enjoy Art and Design community cleanup and art projects. Later, I eventually ended up on the planning committee for the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Association (GOCA) Walk. It was there that I leveraged a tennis friendship to get a Coca Cola Fuze Corp Sponsorship for the GOCA walk. Also, without knowing it, my semester as a music school drop out was leading me down the road to a master’s degree in healthcare management.
Now as I have mentioned tennis, it is worth noting that, when I dropped out of music school, I hadn’t played tennis since I was 16/17 years old. However, there was this one little tennis court in my neighborhood that I started serving and working out on just to get back into shape. It was there that the former VP of Marketing for Serbian Tennis, now working for Coca-Cola, walked up to the fence and asked me if I wanted to hit. At that time, I lived in a rather old neighborhood close to Coca Cola’s headquarters, next to Georgia Tech, along with two other room-mates. I told Sreten that I might not be any good, but he told me it didn’t matter. On an interesting note, he kept going on about a Novak Djokovic (2007), whom I had never heard of before, and told me to follow him because he would be amazing. Good god, he was right. He also asked me if I wanted to make some money giving his son tennis lessons.