TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for Blog

 

 

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com.

If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

 

Here are this week’s Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

Roy Anthony (survivor)…I broke off a toxic relationship that has taken a good part of me. Now is the start of gaining my life back.

Wendy Coulter (survivor)…I went outside into my front yard without a cane! First time since the accident in March!

Sherrie Crusha (survivor)…I put in a back door with only hand tools.

10678844_389594007862776_6836148097400106876_nLaura Doughty (survivor)…Saved a dog. He is a stray. Really cut up. Scares really easily. No doubt he has been abused. He needs love and care. It was the right thing to do. He is a boxer – named after the boxer, Jack Dempsy. Dempsy is happy here.

Dunton IV, George FrederickGeorge Frederick Dunton IV (survivor)…My big accomplishment for the week was being able to babysit three very young kids for 3 hours.

John Hatten (survivor)…Well, Donna, I’ve been working with HOPE Beyond Trauma (www.HOPEBeyondTrauma.com) to build a new service for Survivors of Brain Injury, an online teleconference/teleseminar/support group. We plan on starting before February (the gods being willing). It’s a pretty big step for a survivor of a serious brain injury.

Kelley (survivor)…My big step is helping others. We all were snatched from death for a reason. My reason is to help others. My estranged, alone father needed to be put into a home and get care. I found him one of the best in our area that takes a couple of Medicaid patients. He gets the best care, and I can visit him almost every day, since I put him so close to me. He has dementia, and so do I (but not as bad as he does). I am able to give him cognitive exercises, since I had rehab for over a year and know them very well. His nurses say he’s getting better all the time. I forgave him and am his only guest and caregiver. What I’m accomplishing makes me feel good.

Carmen Gaarder Kumm (survivor)…Today’s test – I passed with flying colors. My car slipped into a ditch. I didn’t panic, couldn’t get out, didn’t panic. I called my husband. He got me out! I didn’t cry; I didn’t yell; I kept my head! Yay!

Susie Farrell Mayowski (caregiver)…My daughter actually wanted a hug and had a smile on her face tonight. I was almost in tears with that.

Grant Mealey (survivor)…Hi, Donna. OK, so I learned this week that when my voice escalates, it causes heck to break loose. So, it’s apparently up to me to keep things calm by leaving for a while before a problem happens. I’m a little nervous, since I am neither quiet nor mellow. I have been working on this for a few days and seem to be doing well. I have learned I can voice concerns over things, as long as I remain calm. OK, it’s a big step forward, and I can do this. No one deserves to be yelled at.

Michael Montepara (survivor)…My Itty-Bitty Giant Step for today was actually waking up, getting dressed, and having at least one cup of coffee. For me, that small accomplishment is a lot harder than one would imagine.

Michael Montepara (survivor)…My Itty-Bitty Giant Step accomplishment is getting outdoors in bitter 16-degree cold, starting and de-thawing my poor truck, and taking my friend to his uncle’s house a few towns away. For me, movement in cold mornings is extremely difficult! Stay warm, be well, and smile a little smile today.

Shanna Wolf Heart Powell (survivor)…Last week I went Christmas shopping – first time since my TBI (approximately two and a half years ago)!!! I forgot what I was doing once, but I didn’t panic, and I didn’t stress!! I dominated the situation!!! But, I do have to do a return/exchange tomorrow!!! I got one item wrong!!! Not bad, considering, I guess!!

Scott Sheehan (survivor)…Eighty-four hours of world peace. No hate or anger, and I will play any song for anyone in the world during my record-breaker. Ambitious? Thanks to you, even more so now. As support grows, so does the ambition. Got my first sponsor. The focus it takes makes me a blithering idiot. My speech and vision are affected. Learned to play blindfolded. Been called a retard thousands of times. And I open up to you now because “it’s time” (the name I always wanted to call a band). But it’s time, to make Ma and Dad proud. And save the world. And no better time than my 50th birthday. Hahaha. An old guy. Doing the impossible. With a traumatic brain injury, no less. I know this is long. Understand this is huge. And now, you are a part of it. Hour 85, I will probably die. But not until then. For Ma, Dad, Milo, and you and to save the world! A lot of work to do in the next 13 months.

Laurie Whyte (survivor)…I realize what depersonalization means! I’ve been a chameleon since my injury – just doing what everyone else does or asking for advice all the time. Or over-sharing. Not really knowing my own mind. It’s been 9 years, and I’m starting to think for myself.

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

  SPEAK OUT! – Ali Stretmater

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Ali Stretmater1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Ali Stretmater

2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email (optional)

Rockville, Maryland, USA     alicat012003@yahoo.com

3. When did you have your TBI? At what age?

I’ve had four TBIs: the first was at age 3; the second, at age 4; the third, at age 30; and the fourth, at age 37.

4. How did your TBI occur?

All four of my TBIs were due to blunt-force trauma. TBI #1 occurred when a friend went to hug me. I fell back against the hard wooden arm of a recliner and cracked my skull open. TBI #2 occurred when I fell from the monkey bars while playing on them. The details of TBI #3 are still sketchy to this day. Just before surgery, I fainted in the hospital from debilitating pain due to a spinal cord issue. I struck my head on the corner of a filing cabinet and then again on the floor. TBI #4 was due to an assault. I was unknowingly drugged in my own home. It’s believed that I passed out and struck my head on the bathroom sink. The details surrounding TBI #4 are still unclear. The only witness isn’t an especially reliable source, as that witness is also the assailant.

5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?

I was 32 years old and had sustained three TBIs by the time I was finally told I had a TBI!! My neurosurgeon and neuropsychologist were the ones who finally explained to me that I wasn’t crazy and that my behavior(s) was perfectly normal for a TBI survivor. Until then, I had no clue that I had a TBI. When I was growing up, it was common for doctors to “spare” the parents of a TBI-child by not telling them anything at all about it. I wish I knew I had a TBI when I was growing up. It could’ve saved me a lot of difficulties with school, work, life, etc.

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?

For the first two TBIs, I was taken to the hospital. For TBI #3, I was already in the hospital. For TBI #4, I had no treatment for at least a week. I wasn’t able to schedule a visit with my neurologist until then. That appointment was at the insistence of another doctor whom I ran into a few days after I had TBI #4. That doctor was alarmed by my behavior. (I was in a complete blackout from TBI #4 and unaware that I’d had yet another TBI.) The doctor called my neurologist and made an appointment for me.

7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?

Thankfully I never went into a coma from my TBIs. After TBI #3, I was in a medically induced coma for a few days. That was due to a spinal cord surgery. Because of the risk of paralysis, I had to stay completely immobilized. (The paralysis thankfully didn’t happen.)

8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient or outpatient and occupational and/or physical and/or speech and/or other)? How long were you in rehab?

I had physical, occupational, and speech therapies after TBI #3. I had rehab as an inpatient for a month and as an outpatient for the next 3–6 months. (It’s hard to remember exactly how long I was an outpatient.)

9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your TBI
(e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?

I have vertigo, depth-perception issues, impulse control issues, moodiness, word-searching issues, insomnia, severe short-term-memory issues, overstimulation, etc. TBI #4 made all the symptoms worse, and it wiped out my short-term memory as well. It’s even hard to remember all the symptoms and issues I have from the TBIs.

10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?

Being a 4-time survivor is my greatest blessing and also my biggest curse – all at the same time! I almost died twice. That and knowing that TBI is about “forever” really changes your perspective. Forever is a very long time!

11. What do you miss the most from your pre-TBI life?

That’s hard to answer. I can only vaguely recall a time when I didn’t have a TBI. I guess I miss my career. I loved my job and my colleagues. It was devastating for me when I was told that I would have to retire and that I wasn’t ever going to be medically cleared to return.

12. What do you enjoy most in your post-TBI life?

I appreciate being given a second chance at life and love. By rights, I’m not supposed to be alive to begin with.

13. What do you like least about your TBI?

I dislike being exhausted all the time, the insomnia, not being able to return to work, and the stigma that comes with having a TBI. I often tell people, “I have a TBI; I’m not simple. There’s a HUGE difference!!”

14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?

I have been helped by talking to other TBI survivors and by knowing that what we go through is normal – that I’m not alone in this.

15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?

Yes!! I can’t begin to explain how it’s changed everything!! Family members treat me very differently. They don’t understand, since they haven’t lived it.

16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?

Yes!! You name it. For a long time, I was very isolated. Old friends didn’t understand how much my world had changed. It was (still is) hard to get out sometimes because I’m always so tired. I’ve had romantic relationships break up. My current boyfriend is always harping on how it was before I had TBI #4.

17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?

As an adult, I’m my own caretaker. When I was a child, my main caregiver was my mother. But, she didn’t realize the lifelong impact that the first TBI had (and still has) on me.

18, What are your future plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?

Good question. I just want to live a peaceful life and help other TBI survivors when I can, especially new people. I’m in the process of realizing a lifelong dream of moving to Miami Beach, and I’m working (slowly, but that’s okay) on a new career path of fitness- and nutrition-coaching. I’d love to work with other TBI survivors, since we have a statistically higher risk of getting diseases like Alzheimer’s, etc. as a result of having a TBI. Studies seem to show that being healthy can lower this risk. I’d love to re-marry again too, but any future husband would have to understand (as best he can) that I have a TBI and that he is aware of what that entails.

19. Are you able to provide a helpful hint that may have taken you a long time to learn, but which you wished you had known earlier? If so, please state what it is to potentially help other TBI survivors with your specific kind of TBI.

I’ve had both front and back TBIs, as well as open-head and closed-head injuries. One thing I’ve learned is that, when it comes to remembering things, develop strategies to make it easier (like reminder apps on your phone or putting things like keys in the same place each time, so they’re readily visible and you’ll have a starting point to look for them when you need them).

20. What advice would you offer to other TBI survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! The biggest key – and the best therapy – is talking to other TBI survivors. Just knowing that someone else understands what it’s like without a lengthy explanation is priceless. Reach out to others, and remember that, by sharing your story, you’re also helping someone else who’s struggling.Ali

 

Thank you, Ali, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.

(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.)

If you would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please go to TBI Survivor Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.

(Photos compliments of Ali.)

 

The Future of Treatment for Brain Injuries – New Brain Tissue From Special Cells

Newsboy thResearch on synthesis and regeneration of brain tissue is advancing rapidly. Here are four recent news reports on current research (1, 2, 3, 4) that predict that the near future of medicine will seem like science fiction.

Why is there so much excitement? Neuroscientists have found that the answer to regenerating brain tissue lies in the enormous potential of “stem cells.” Each of your organs, including the brain, has a reservoir of special cells (“stem cells”) that can regenerate the tissue of that organ. Since all cells of the body have exactly the same DNA (or blueprint for the cell), the cells of different tissues are formed by activating different subsets of the DNA. (Think of the cells of different tissues as running different programs.) The reports discuss ways to make neural stem cells, how stem cells reproduce, and how implanting neural stem cells into the brain is already controlling or curing diseases of the brains of animals. When neural stem cells are implanted into the brain (a relatively simple surgical procedure), they become whichever cells are needed to replace old, missing, or damaged brain cells. In this way, the brain essentially heals itself. The additional (i.e., implanted) stem cells help a natural process. Some of the experiments have been done in mice (see my previous explanation of why the mouse is a good first model for humans), but soon the experiments will be done in humans. The current research predicts that repair of brain injury is not only possible, but is also likely to be done in the near future.

In paper #1, neuroscientists from the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University identified a molecule of neural stem cells (ganglioside GD3). GD3 is crucial for the ability of neural stem cells to reproduce and maintain a pool of healthy stem cells that can be used to replace old or damaged cells in the brain. Normally organ formation means that the cells are finished reproducing. They’re at a kind of “dead end” for cells. The ability to continuously reproduce is one of the amazing properties of stem cells. They’re part of the organ, yet they can reproduce and they can become any cell, so there is always a reservoir of stem cells ready to become any needed cell. In a major advance, the research team at the Medical College of Georgia showed in mice that the pool of neural stem cells in the part of the brain they examined was greatly reduced when the cells lacked ganglioside GD3, and the pool was restored when GD3 was present. The scientists want to figure out how to keep neural stem cells making abundant GD3. That way, there will always be plenty of neural stem cells to replace brain cells as needed.

Paper #2 describes groundbreaking research by neuroscientists at the Whitehead Institute of MIT. They were able to take the cells of fully developed tissue (cells that can no longer form new tissue and don’t reproduce) and turn them into neural stem cells that can reproduce and form new brain tissue. There are two exciting aspects of this research. First, the team was able to form “pluripotent” stem cells (i.e., cells able to form new tissue of any kind) directly from “mature” cells (i.e., cells of any fully developed organ) without requiring them to go through an undeveloped state normally seen only in the cells of early embryos before their development into our various tissues. Second, the necessary factors were introduced and turned on by a chemical. Once neural stem cells were formed, the chemical was removed, and the cells retained the properties of neural stem cells. This was the first time such a feat had been accomplished. It guarantees an abundance of neural stem cells that will be needed for transplantation therapy.

Paper #3 describes the research done at Lund University in Sweden. Parkinson’s Disease is a disease of the brain that causes movement problems. Millions of people worldwide have this affliction. It’s known that the Parkinson’s brain is deficient in the production of a chemical (dopamine) that is needed for proper movement. Neuroscientists derived dopamine-producing neurons from human stem cells. The dopamine-producing neurons were implanted into the brains of rats with a Parkinson’s-like disease. The synthetic neurons were specifically implanted into the region of the rat brain that controls movement. The implanted dopamine-producing neurons colonized the brain and led to normal levels of dopamine in the brain. As a result, the diseased rats had normal motor function.

Sixty-five million people worldwide are afflicted with epileptic seizures. About 1/3 are not helped by any medication. One highly regarded hypothesis is that the cause of seizures is due to a low number of seizure-inhibiting neurons (interneurons). Paper #4 tells of the research of neuroscientists at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. They implanted seizure-inhibiting neurons into the brains of mice bred to have epileptic-like seizures. The seizure-inhibiting neurons were human cells derived from human stem cells. Fifty percent of the mice with the implanted cells no longer had seizures. The other 50% had a severely reduced number of seizures. The scientists showed that the human neurons integrated into the mouse brains and dampened the signals from the highly excited mouse neurons that lead to epileptic seizures. The next step is to find a way to purify the interneurons, so only seizure-inhibiting neurons would be implanted.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for Blog

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com.

If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

Here are this week’s Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

Karen Hubbard Allen (survivor)…I have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step story. I just suffered another hard blow – to my forehead this time. This will be my third concussion. I fell backwards on ice in 2008, hitting my head. November 18th is when I had the most recent one. It proved to me that the brain controls different things. I just started up with a heel issue, called plantar fasciitis. Getting out of bed in the morning is when the pain hurts the most. I got out of bed, and my knee buckled, causing me to fall into the dresser and the wall and hitting my forehead. I have been a smoker since 2003. Well, whatever part of my brain I hit this time – I no longer smoke; it makes me sick. Sad that this is what made me quit smoking. Yet, it’s a big accomplishment for me.

Derrick Roy Clements (survivor)…I did a Snoopy dance today when I left the eye doctor. I was able to ditch the prism glasses and go to regular glasses. I was also told that they would not be doing any more surgery on my eye orbital and that the plate they put in for it was good. I have permanent nerve damage, such that when I look down, my vision will always be double. One step closer. What everyone, including me, will know is the “final” new me. I still can’t drive yet, but in time I hope to. I know I will never be able to drive an 18-wheeler again, but I am OK with this. I just want to ride my Harley-Davidson, for my heart longs for this. I feel free and alive when I ride. But, today was a victory, and the fight continues. Strength to all.

I live by my motto – Never give up, and never give in.

Natalie Elliott (survivor)…I watched a movie with subtitles. My brain was exhausted afterwards, but I watched the whole thing.

10805531_10152948796301834_531981836_nJo Emery (caregiver)…Luke built me some bookshelves for our lounge room. I designed what I 1502486_10152948796241834_3069128791965391225_nwanted, gave him all the measurements needed, and worked out the timber required. He bought the timber, cut the shelves, and put it together inside, as it was so big. It took about two weeks for him to make it. I love how it turned out, and Luke is very pleased (as he should be). He loves his woodworking and has great ideas, although the difficulty he has is going from his ideas to carrying them out.

Monica Rowe Foutz (family member)…My mother-in-law, Wanda McGuffin, is 5 months post TBI. Today she stood from a seated position without using her hands. It’s itty-bitty to some, but it’s huge to us.

Barb George (survivor) Alrighty! I have been working with an old friend to develop a “Different-Ability Walk, Roll and Stroll.” We have a date (May 16, 2015, in Hoquiam, WA)! I’m VERY excited. It was put together by Grays Harbor Brain Injury Support Group and ME, their insane leader (grin). We have had GREAT response already!

Orpha Harber-Blanchat (caregiver)…I’m happy to report my husband gets his G-tube out tomorrow. His accident was on June 25th. He was coming home from work and was hit by a semi that didn’t stop at a red light. David was in a self-induced coma for 30 days and in hospitals for 80. He is now at a rehab center doing well.

Richard Johnson (survivor)…Shoveling snow…I hate it, hate it, hate it. But I did it, did it, did it. Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Carmen Gaarder Kumm (survivor)…I spent a day at a craft retreat with friends this weekend, and then I came home. I worked three days, and then I cleaned the church the next day. I’m proud that I didn’t have a meltdown.

Michelle Casto Lyons (caregiver)…An Itty-Bitty Giant Step accomplishment: my hubby has been seizure-free for 7 days, AND he made dinner TWICE this week!

Sandra-Madden-Hearts-All-Around-us~~element78Sandy Smachetti Madden (survivor)…I am a published author. My book shipped from the publisher today!! Check it out. Hearts All Around Us. Thanks!!

Corina Mendoza (survivor)…My Itty-Bitty Giant Step is a major step in a positive direction for me. I started my teacher certification in Special Ed, with a focus on blind/visually impaired students and family/consumer sciences for my degree in Hospitality Management.

Scott Sheehan (survivor)…I am building a soundproof fort for my female rescue cat. I also bought a drum set after 6 years of pain, and I am going to train to break a record – 84 hours of play. Gotta take step one. That I’ve learned. Besides being hit by a car three times, having my head smashed into a pipe, and diving into a 4-ft. pool, I walk, talk, and basically defy death EVERY day. (The doctors said that the same injury took Christopher Reeve.) My 18-month rescue cat, Milo, dropped dead in front of me and Babie, his sister. That pain makes the rest nothing. I bought a drum set with his colors and dedicate this to him. Now it gets hard. I play like no other – in a way that “can’t be done.” I’m always underestimated because of my TBI. Now the impossible – 1600 songs with the focus to spin and flip a stick every beat. In front of millions, billions, I hope. The best show ever played! Ambitious? Ha! Easy! The training, choreography, and practice – that’s the hard part. Always said they will laugh and say you can’t do it. But, do the impossible. You are special. Here to change the world. For 84 hours.

Lc Sossaman (survivor)…Every day is a challenge. I went to the grocery store and got the two things on my list (LOL), cleaned the house, and fed the goats and animals. I woke up to snow, but I was still able to get these things done. Cold days are usually hard on me, due to arthritis in places after the wreck, but today went fine. I try to keep discouragement and negativity away.

Amanda Spencer (caregiver)…Ed and I are celebrating 1 year together today!

Danielle Virden (caregiver)…Mine is about my 2-year-old son. Nathan started saying “mommy” and laughing, and he’s learning to sit up.

Sandra Williams (survivor)…I just learned that my organization and memory increased from very low to 90th percentile. The therapies paid off! I still struggle with perception and cognition, but I am working on that too.

Next goal is to begin running again. I want to run a marathon.

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

  SPEAK OUT! – GeorgeAnna Bell

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

10570970_836853459658124_752128615_n1. What is your name? (last name optional)

GeorgeAnna

2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email (optional)

San Tan Valley, Arizona, USA

3. When did you have your TBI? At what age?

My first was at the age of 6 years old. I have had multiple concussions as a child. I had yet another head injury in 2001 and another concussion from another car accident on June 25, 2014. I am now 40 years old.

4. How did your TBI occur?

My first brain injury was from a bicycle accident – I lost control of my bike. I flipped over the handlebars and landed on the right side of my head, cracking my skull. The concussions were from falls; sports; an ATV (all terrain vehicle); motor vehicle accidents; rapes; abuse; falls; and being young, foolish, and idiotic.

5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?

My parents realized I was a different child the day they brought me home from the hospital.

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?

I’ve been treated by the ICU (intensive care unit). I’ve had eye/vision therapy and cognitive behavior therapy. I attended specialized schools – junior high school and senior high school – that were for children with mental, emotional, physical, and developmental disabilities.

7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?

Yes     72 hours

8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient or outpatient and occupational and/or physical and/or speech and/or other)? How long were you in rehab?

I did not go to a rehab center. I got everything from schools, specialized doctors, etc.

9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your TBI
(e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)?

I have a balance problem, dizziness, seizures, short- and long-term memory loss, mental illness (anxiety, depression, mood disorder, personality disorder), cognitive issues, social issues and social anxiety, headaches and migraines, numbness and tingling in my extremities, ringing in my ears (the ear, nose, and throat specialist calls it tinnitus), insomnia, vision and hearing issues (optic and audio nerve damage), and blurred vision (on and off). I am easily confused and distracted. (For example, I cannot multitask. I have to do one thing at a time. Otherwise, I get flustered and stressed out.) I am sensitive to lights, sounds, or distractions. I developed fibromyalgia, tremors, and speech issues, all of which the doctor thinks are the result of my head injury. I also have arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis). I have a developmental disability (due to the age at which I sustained my first head injury) and learning disabilities. I attended a special educational school from 7th grade until my senior year because I could not stay mainstream in a public school.

10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?

I honestly do not know because I was so young when my first head injury occurred. However, over the years, I have sustained multiple head injuries. (For example, because of a short-term coma and concussions, I have increased mental, emotional, and physical issues.)

11. What do you miss the most from your pre-TBI life?

I wouldn’t remember what it was like before because I was only 6 years old when I sustained my first head injury.

12. What do you enjoy most in your post-TBI life?

I am grateful for my Significant Other – the ONLY person I personally know who is supportive of me and tries to be understanding.

13. What do you like least about your TBI?

I dislike how people treat me. People act as if I am some kind of idiot because I am slower than others, and then they look at me as if I have serious issues. I hate being judged. I want people to treat me as I would treat them. I don’t want them to judge me and look at me and say, “Well, you look fine.”

14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?

People’s ignorant behaviors and idiosyncrasies

15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?

My parents did not want to deal with my issues. They did not allow me to speak of my issues to anyone because it embarrassed them that they had a child with a disability. They still do not like my talking about my disabilities and TBI. However, I tell them I am a full-grown adult now, and I say to them, “If you do not like it, do not listen.”

16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?

I have issues keeping friends. People tend to easily get annoyed with me. I tend to get frustrated easily, too. As for relationship with guys, I was always told I am a very taxing person – annoying, weird, and psychotic. I have had nicknames given to me by guys over the years: pain-in-my-ass, crack baby, wacko, weirdo, dumbass, stupid, idiot, retarded, sensitive bitch, nagging bitch, crazy, worthless.

17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?

My main caregiver is my boyfriend. No, I do not understand what it takes to be a caregiver.

18. What are your future plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?

I would love to open a 501c3 animal shelter and help unwanted animals – mainly dogs. I would like to extend the knowledge I currently have on animal studies and have better knowledge and understanding of the animal behavior.

19. Are you able to provide a helpful hint that may have taken you a long time to learn, but which you wished you had known earlier? If so, please state what it is to potentially help other TBI survivors with your specific kind of TBI.

Do not stop trying. Eventually it will work out.

20. What advice would you offer to other TBI survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

I encourage you to just try your best and keep trying. Do not give up. Once you give up, you lose everything, and it is not easy to get everything back again – even if you are able to get things back again.10695279_836854542991349_1216029697_n

 

Thank you, GeorgeAnna, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.

(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.)

If you would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please go to TBI Survivor Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.

(Photos compliments of GeorgeAnna.)

On the Air – Brain Injury Radio

Interview with Melissa Cronin, author of “Invisible Bruise”

in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering From Traumatic Brain Injuries”

Melissa CroninMelissa shares her life both before and after her TBI. She said she was an energetic child who loved to run and play. In college she became a serious student as she pursued her career as a pediatric and a neonatal nurse, a career she loved. But, Melissa’s nursing career ended on that fateful day when a car went rogue careening through 2 1/2 blocks of the Santa Monica, California Farmer’s Market leaving Melissa with not only broken bones and a ruptured spleen, but also with a Traumatic Brain Injury.Melissa playing fiddle

Melissa has picked up the pieces and has found new loves. Her Irish fiddle; her husband, John; and her new career as a writer are just some of her newly adopted loves (NOT in that order).

If you missed Melissa’s interview, don’t fret. You can always listen to the archived show. I’ve included the link below.9781611592399_p0_v3_s260x420

Please SHARE!

I hope you’ll tune in to my show, “Another Fork in the Road,” which airs the 1st and 3rd Sunday evenings of every month. The show starts at 5:00p Pacific Time and runs for 90 minutes. On the fifth Sunday in a month, Julie Kintz, Host of “Quantum Leap,” and I team up to cohost a show called “Another Quantum Leap in the Road.”

See you “On the Air!”

Interview with Melissa Cronin, Author of “Invisible Bruise”

YOU ARE INVITED!

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Melissa Cronin was strolling through the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market when an elderly man lost control of his car and barreled into the crowd. That changed her life forever. Now Melissa lives with an ‘invisible bruise.’ But Melissa picked up the pieces and is embarking on a new life. Hear how she copes and thrives after her Traumatic Brain Injury.

Come One! Come ALL!

(NOTE: New Day, Sunday – Same Time)

What:        Interview with Melissa Cronin, Author of “Invisible Bruise” in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering From Traumatic Brain Injuries”

Why:        Hear Melissa’s perspective of living with Traumatic Brain Injury

Where:     Brain Injury Radio Network

When:       Sunday, November 16, 2014

Time:         5:00p PT (6:00p MT, 7:00p CT, and 8:00p ET) 90 minute show

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 US

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.)

Tag Cloud

My Broken Brain

Putting the pieces back together again after encephalitis

The Visger Group

TBI - Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

melissacronin.com

TBI - Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Inside Danielle's mind

Striving for serenity...

In An Instant Your Life Can Change Forever

Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts Blog

Broken Brain - Brilliant Mind

Using the infinite mind to overcome the limits of the brain... Experience-Based Brain Injury (Concussion, TBI, ABI, Stroke) Survival Strategies and Tactics

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