SPEAK OUT! – Tabbie
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
1. What is your name? (last name optional)
Tabitha! But my friends and family call me Tabbie!
2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email (optional)
In the U.S!
3. When did you have your TBI? At what age?
I got my TBI back in September 2012, and I was 14 years old!
4. How did your TBI occur?
My TBI occurred during the warm-ups at an away volleyball game. A girl from the opposing team purposely served a ball at my face to get me out of the game.
5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?
My mom realized the next day, but she couldn’t take me to the doctor because it was a Saturday.
6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have? (e.g., surgery,
I didn’t get any. The first doctor I saw said it wouldn’t be possible for me to get a concussion from a volleyball.
7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?
I don’t think so, but I don’t remember anything after I got hit until the next day.
8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., In-patient or Out-patient and Occupational, Physical, Speech, Other)? How long were you in rehab?
I saw a psychologist, but that’s it for any type of rehab!
9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your TBI? (e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)
Balance, dizziness, lightheadedness, constant severe headache/migraines, poor concentration and focus, noise/light sensitivity, tiredness, memory
10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?
It’s been a bit of both! It’s been mostly better right now, because I can do a bit more than I could since I got hit.
11. What do you miss the most from your pre-TBI life?
My way of exercising and learning/education
12. What do you enjoy most in your post-TBI life?
The people I’ve gotten to meet, the people I’ve gotten to help, and the fact they’ve allowed me into their life/journey!
13. What do you like least about your TBI?
The amount of extreme pain I’m always in
14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?
Yes! Prayer, acceptance of having a TBI, and forgiving the person who had caused all of this for me!
15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
Yes. It’s hard to relay how I’m feeling to family, and I’m constantly tired.
16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
It has in weird ways! My friends became distant when I was homebound, but I’ve also gained tons of support through social media.
17. Who is your main caregiver?
Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?
I think I do for the most part, but all I can say is “God bless them” because I know it’s hard on then too.
18. What are your future plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?
I just want to be able to reach out and inspire as many people as I can in awareness and happiness! I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in ten years honestly, but I know it’ll be something great!
19. What advice would you offer to other TBI survivors
Not to lose hope and to know that you’re not alone in this. It’s a bumpy journey, but what you’ll get from it and the people you’ll meet are worth it!
20. Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Thank you, Tabbie, 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.)
(Photo compliments of Tabbie.)
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.