TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

putthis_on_calendar_clip_artYOU Are Invited!

When Jeannette Davidson-Mayer’s husband, DeWayne, had five brain injuries – the result of his active duty in Iraq – Jeannette became his caregiver. To combat this 24-hour job, Jeannette redesigned her kitchen to become the family’s ?Central Command Post.” Jeannette will discuss how she, DeWayne, and their daughter make this system work for them.

Come One! Come ALL!

What:        Interview with Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, caregiver to spouse, DeWayne Mayer

Why:        Jeannette will talk about how she and DeWayne and their daughter live on the TBI Trail.

Where:     Brain Injury Radio Network

When:       Sunday, April  19th, 2015

Time:         5:00p PT (6:00p MT, 7:00p CT, and 8:00p ET) 90 minute showjeannette davidson-Mayer 041715

How:         Click: Brain Injury Radio Network

Call In:    424-243-9540

Call In:     855-473-3711 toll free in USA

Call In:    202-559-7907 free outside USA

or SKYPE

If you miss the show, but would like to still hear the interview, you can access the archive on On Demand listening. The archived show will be available after the show both on the Brain Injury Radio Network site and on my blog in “On the Air.”

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photo compliments of Jeannette Davidson-Mayer.)

11136933_10155590257065643_153293147_nLisa Marie Cohen (survivor)…I hiked a mountain! It was Mount Beacon on the Hudson River.

Bonita Gibb (caregiver)…I was reflecting on how I came to be the person I am today. One of the moments in my life canstock5980362that showed me my true colors was sitting in the ICU (intensive care unit) and praying for a miracle. It was during that dark time that I realized just how strong I am. While I would do anything to give my husband, Brian, back his independence, I also am thankful for that moment and all it had to teach me.

Sarah Kingler (survivor)Graduate broomfield-orthodontics-graduation-cartoonI learned that I can do anything as long as I put my mind to it. I got my TBI when I was eight. I started having seizures the next week, and they haven’t stopped. As a result, I’ve never driven. But, I graduated from high school with honors, and I am two semesters from getting my Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education.

Pamela Miceli (caregiver)Welcome HomeMy son came home for good last week after fifteen months of rehab! Can we say that this is a Great Big Giant Step?

Tina Thorne (caregiver)…My son, Jordan, is a two-time brain-cancer survivor and has had an ABI (acquired brain injury) since the age of twelve. He is eighteen now. He received a very nice message from a lady representing the Brain Tumour Foundation of London, Ontario, Canada. The foundation wanted Jordan to attend a special dinner for an event on the foundation’s behalf. docs-on-ice-generic“Docs on Ice” is an annual event that travels from community to community. Nine hundred doctors from across Ontario come to a city and raise money for an individual charity every year. This year the city is London and the charity is the Brain Tumour Foundation. Darryl Sittler, a retired National Hockey League player who was elected to the Hall of Fame and who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, was the guest speaker. Jordan was an ideal choice. He is a brain-injury survivor and a hockey buff. He thanked Darryl Sittler for helping to raise funds for the Brain Tumour Foundation and for raising awareness of brain injury. Jordan also met Master of Ceremonies Joe Bowen, “The Voice of the Leafs.” The mayor of London was also in attendance. I am super proud of Jordan!

Kimberly June West (survivor)…I am a consultant for a therapeutic oils company! YAY! These oils are awesome. I was getting sad from all my pain. EssentialOilsThey have given me a love for life and a passion for living. These are products that people love – bath infusions for pain, migraines, eczema, difficulty sleeping, etc. The awesome thing is that I made the leadership team and VIP consultant two months in a row!

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

My Fight: The Reason to Advocate

by

Kristin Olliney

(presented by Donna O’Donnell Figurski)

Girl Blogger cartoon_picture_of_girl_writingIsabella’s Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is the result of sudden acute encephalitis. However, there was also medical error involved in her care. Given the many factors involved, it is difficult to prove which symptom caused what damage. Due to this, no one will ever be held accountable for what happened. As a result, there are four important reminders that everyone needs to know.

  1. It doesn’t matter where you live. Even in the best city, at the best hospital, with the best doctor, mistakes can happen. I am often told how lucky I am to live in the Boston area because we have access to so many medical facilities. While this is true, not all doctors and care are the same.
  1. Doctors are human. They are people who have studied medicine and, based on their knowledge, give you their opinion. It is not fact. It is opinion. Their opinion is their best guess. This is so important to remember, especially when given a prognosis. Isabella, like many other survivors, was not supposed to make it through the night, and yet she did.

    Kristin Olliney with Isabella 2014

    Kristin Olliney with Isabella 2014

  1. Always follow your gut instinct, especially if something doesn’t seem right. Ask questions. When Isabella first got sick, the Emergency Department wanted to discharge her with a stomach bug. I knew that there was something seriously wrong. I can’t explain how I felt – only that I just knew. I fought and advocated to get Isabella admitted into the hospital. One of Isabella’s specialists was on call, and he trusted my gut instinct. Later in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit), as I watched my child fighting for her life, I was told by him and other doctors that my fighting and advocating saved Isabella. If Isabella had been discharged, she would have died. Always fight and advocate for what you feel is right. You know your child/loved one better than anyone.
  1. Get another opinion. When you are in crisis, there isn’t always time. When things stabilize, seek out another opinion should you and the doctor have a difference of opinion. On this journey, things can change. Opinions differ, treatment options vary, and, if there are fundamental differences, another opinion can help.

    Kristin Olliney & daughter, Isabella  2015

    Kristin Olliney & daughter, Isabella
    2015

For me, it is hard knowing that the doctors who cared for my daughter made mistakes. Coming to terms with the fact that no one will ever be held accountable for what happened to Isabella is difficult. I know Isabella is here because I fought and advocated. It is still devastating to know that mistakes could have been prevented. I am sharing this part of our journey in hopes that it will encourage others to continue to fight and advocate for their child/loved one. Against all odds, my amazing miracle is here today, and, for that, I am forever grateful.

To learn more about Kristin and Isabella, please visit Kristin’s website/blog at In An Instant Your Life Can Change Forever – Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts Blog

Thank you, Kristin Olliney.

Disclaimer:
Any views and opinions of the Guest Blogger are purely his/her own.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Kristin Olliney.)

As I say after each post:

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Tracking Miles in Electric Blue and Shiny Mango

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Cat TrikeCatherine (Cat) Brubaker (TBI survivor) got a black Catrike 700. Dan Zimmerman (StrokeZimmerman, Dan survivor) got a black Catrike 700. They pedaled across America diagonally, 5,300 miles, and it changed each of their lives.

David Figurski (TBI survivor) got a trike, an electric blue Catrike 700, the same model as Cat and Dan’s, but a different color.040915 David 1st Ride Catrike 700

Donna O’Donnell Figurski (copycat) got a trike, too. Though to show her independence, she didn’t get a Catrike 700. She went for the Donna's Pocket 040915Shiny Mango Pocket Trike. It’s cute!

DonnaNow David and Donna want to match Cat and Dan’s GOAL! We want to trike 5,300 miles in the desert. I wonder how long it will take us.

LET’S GO!

NAME          DATE           HOURS          MILES

David           4/9/15              1.5                 7.5

David           4/10/15            1                    5.

David           4/11/15            1                    5.

David           4/12/15            1                    5.

NAME          DATE           HOURS          MILES

Donna          4/09/15            .5                  2.5

Donna          4/11/15             1                  5.

Donna          4/12/15            .75                3.5

As I say after each post:

Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.anim0014-1_e0-1

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the top right sidebar. (It’s nice to know there are readers out there.)

If you like my blog, share it with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it with your enemies. I don’t care!

Feel free to “Like” my post.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Me.)

FREEDOM and a Blue-Metallic Trike

(presented by Donna O’Donnell Figurski)

 

040915 David 1st Ride Catrike 700April 9, 2015 marks a pretty exciting day for us. It’s the first official day of David’s independence since his brain injury in 2005. David recently bought a Catrike 700 recumbent trike. This sleek, low-to-the-ground, metallic-blue machine will be his wheels and his freedom.

Because of severe balance issues due to his brain injury and the damage to his cerebellum, David has been unable to leave our home unattended for the past ten years. With his Catrike 700, he can hop on and and pedal away for hours and hours. (Well, not really hop on, but that sounded better than crawl or climb on.) Of course, his limitation of getting off the trike because he is unableFigurski, David Trike to walk anywhere on his own remains a problem. But, that won’t deter David.

David’s first excursion was a 5-mile trip around the winding, scenic roads in our neighborhood. Pedaling down streets lined with palm trees and a variety of cacti, many of which are in bloom right now, was liberating and fun, if the grin plastered on his face when he returned was any indication.

DonnaLater the same afternoon, David guided me on my first recumbent-trike trip. I have a yellow/mango Pocket Catrike, and I love it.

Today, David is riding with friends in a neighboring community. What fun! This is only the beginning.

Donna's Pocket 040915

As I say after each post:

Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.anim0014-1_e0-1

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the top right sidebar. (It’s nice to know there are readers out there.)

If you like my blog, share it with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it with your enemies. I don’t care!

Feel free to “Like” my post.

 

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Me.)

Michelle Lee Bonnenfant (survivor)…With hubby’s help, I made it through a busy grocery store. pix0138Ken, my hubby, got me in and out in one piece! He even stood three feet behind me in the check out so that I would not get crowded by people. It was the first time in months that I went through a check out. I was plagued by a lot of sweat and chest pain, but I still did it. I hate my TBI and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), but Ken gave me a big hug and told me that he was proud of me. I’m exhausted, but pleased with myself!

Cara Lauderdale Eberle (caregiver)…The one-year anniversary of my husband’s accident was April 1st. While I was at work sitting at a table of four-year-olds trying to get them to do a project with me, Eberle,  Cara Lauderdale  FlowersI saw them all stop and look up. Standing next to me was my husband holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I was in complete shock! He hasn’t shown any concern for the feelings of others since the accident. He told me he thought that he should do something to thank me for helping him get through the last year. This was definitely a breakthrough moment for us. :)

David Figurski (survivor)…I am excited! I took delivery of a Catrike 700 recumbent trike. It’s the same model that was used by Catherine Brubaker (a two-time TBI survivor) and Dan Zimmerman (a stroke Figurski, David Trikesurvivor) on their five-month, cross-country ride from Washington State to Florida. Cat and Dan espouse their new-found freedom, and their new physical capabilities are truly amazing. They both believe that riding a recumbent trike is great therapy. Also, my wife, Donna, just took delivery of the Catrike Pocket, a slightly smaller trike. Donna, Cat, Dan, and I plan to ride together.

Corina Mendoza (survivor)…I passed my teaching exam for Special Education! I passed both teaching exams I needed on the first try.

Mendoza, Corina Test Scores 033015

 

 

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

YOU ARE INVITED!

 

putthis_on_calendar_clip_artWhen Donna’s spouse, David, did one chin-up too many, he had a brain injury (BI), and Donna became a caregiver. David had three brain surgeries within two weeks. Donna signed on the dotted line for each of them – probably the hardest thing she has ever done in her life. Donna will share her story, “Prisoner Without Bars: A Caregiver’s Story” about David’s unexpected recovery and how she and David are making this “new normal” work for them. She will also share tips and offer David Figurski 2004 Pre-Brain Injurysuggestions from what she learned along the way.

It’s been a long, bumpy road for both David and Donna, but they travel that road together.

Come One! Come ALL!

Donna and David Post-Brain Injury  2010

Post-Brain Injury 2010

 

What:        Donna will share her experiences with caregiving and will offer tips based on what worked for her. Donna  will also share snippets of her book, “Prisoners Without Bars: A Caregiver’s Memoir,” which is searching for a publisher.

Why:        Hopefully, Donna’s experiences with caregiving will help others who might find themselves in this position

When:       Monday, April 6, 2015

Time:         1:00 to 2:30pm

Where:      Desert Palms Presbyterian Church
13459 W. Stardust Boulevard
Sun City West, Arizona 85375-2548

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Donna)

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