Cover of Roseanne Carenza's poem 'Please Don't Judge Me'

15 years ago I had a brain tumour, the size of a baseball, removed.

Shortly after the tumour was removed, I was diagnosed with an Acquired Brain Injury. Two Neuro-Psychological assessments indicated I had suffered some cognitive brain damage and an ophthalmologist had diagnosed me as being partially visually impaired due to the removal of the tumour. My optic nerves were torn. Optic nerves cannot regenerate, I was told by my ophthalmologist.

After the testing indicating the brain damage, and the visual impairment, I was deemed unable to return to work. This is part of my story as well as my poem. I hope you enjoy reading. My poem is called, “Please, don’t judge me.”

Roseanne’s poem is on display at Pro Accessibility Ltd at 24 Steinway Drive, Unit 48, Toronto & Neurocore Physiotherapy & Pilates, at 9140 Leslie Street, Unit 107, Richmond Hill.

Image Description: Written in large, white bold letters and circle white against a black background “Please Don’t Judge Me” Underneath the circle the words: “A Poem”.

Roseanne Carenza Poetry

Please, Don’t Judge Me

If I start from the very beginning, my story will be hard for me to say.

Even though so much time has passed, I still find myself frustrated, overwhelmed, and crying on any given day.

So, here is my story as far back as I can go.

I knew, I felt, my brain had changed somehow.

Then, came the knock on my door, and the answers had arrived now.

As explained to me by an Occupational Therapist, an Acquired Brain Injury Therapist, and a Social Worker, sat down, and informed me how my brain will now function and how my life will now be.  I got up from my chair, and said to them upon leaving I refuse all their help, and, said, “Please, don’t judge me.”

I sit on my own with no memory of things that I do.

I can’t read a book because I have no memory of that too.

I go to the grocery store.  My vision is poor due to the acquired brain injury.  The people in the aisles just stare at me.  All I asked of them was “Please, don’t judge me.

I have a hard time talking on the phone, and the man starts yelling at me.  

All I asked of him was “Please, don’t judge me.”

My former co-workers visit with me and speak with me loudly as if I could not hear what they had to say.

What kind of foolishness is this?

Why this way?

They looked into my eyes.  So close to my face.

They saw what they wanted to see.

All I asked of them as they were leaving, was, “Please, don’t judge me.”

I try to put together something to eat.

It’s so hard for me to do because my ingredients are so incomplete.

I must let this go.

Please let this be.

I must remember, “Please, don’t judge me.”

Being alone and afraid, I feel there is nothing I can do.

“Oh yes there is!!  Get up off your butt, and make that phone call to the ABI team so they can begin to help you!”

The team came back to my home, and sat with me.

All they asked at the conclusion of their discussions, (with smiles on their faces), in unison, “Please, don’t judge me.”

After they left, I began making some changes in my life you see.

Please, not worry; all for the good.

“Please, don’t judge me.”