TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for June, 2014

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . Michael Schumacher, F1 Champion, Leaves Hospital

Michael Schumacher, F1 Champion, Leaves Hospital

 

Record-setting seven-time Formula 1 racecar champion, Michael Schumacher, had a harrowing skiing accident in the French Alps in December. The accident was so severe that his helmet split. He was placed into a medically induced comanewsboy-th to protect his brain as much as possible. He took considerably longer than expected to awaken, causing much concern. The last news report was in April, and he was not fully awake then. He did eventually awaken and was recently discharged from the hospital. He faces what will certainly be a long period of rehabilitation, which his family hopes to keep private. (Full story)

 

 

 

Survivors SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . Ruby Taylor

Survivors SPEAK OUT! – Ruby Taylor

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Taylor, Ruby Survivor 061814

 

1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Ruby

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

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but I was born and raised in The Bronx, New York. Go GIANTS! (Yes, I am a football fan.)

3. When did you have your TBI?

I had my TBI in December 2012.

4. How did your TBI occur?

I was in car accident. (My car was totaled, and the airbags went off.)

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

When I returned to work, my supervisor was worried. She said I was not acting like myself, and she directed me to see my doctor. I went to my doctor, and I have not been able to return to work since.

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?
(e.g., surgery, tracheotomy, G-peg)

I went to the Emergency Room and was released the same day.

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

I did not have a coma, to my memory, but I do not remember the impact.

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 have Out-patient rehab, and I still see a neuropsychologist weekly.

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

My personality changed. My voice changed. I have a very short fuse. I am unable to deal with excessive noise and bright lights. I become confused easily. I have balance problems, attention and impulsivity issues, fatigue, and an inability to tolerate crowds.

Also, my TBI made me curse – every other word was a curse word. There are other things that I can’t think of now. The funny thing is that my stuttering stopped.

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

I am no longer able to drive long distances. I can’t work as a school social worker.

My family life is suffering because my TBI overwhelms me. I can’t spend time with my family, like I once did. My life is not worse or better. It’s just different, and I am learning to live with the differences.

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

I miss jumping in my car and going to visit my family or taking a trip for the weekend. I also miss having my dog live with me. My fatigue and short fuse made it impossible for me to care for my dog, so my dog is now living with my parents in another state.

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

It is giving me an opportunity to slow down, to think about me, and to consider how great and awesome God is.

13. What do you like least about your TBI?

It stopped my career, and I can’t drive wherever I want to anymore.

14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?

Yes. Therapy, medicine, prayer, faith, and God through Christ Jesus

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

Yes. Sometimes my family becomes upset because I go off, but they are trying to understand and work with me. No matter how tired I am, my nieces and nephew still think I am the same Aunt Ruby, but it’s hard to see their disappointment when I can’t do what they want me to do.

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

Dating is on hold for now. I realized who my true friends really are, and those relationships became stronger. Other relationships ended.

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

My mother would make my meals, freeze them for me, and bring them to me. My parents also took my dog off my hands. My caregivers were myself, my neighbors, my friends, and God. It takes a huge dose of love, patience, and compassion to care for a TBI survivor.

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

I plan to continue healing and to make films. I created Compassion Pictures (http://CompassionPictures.net) to help change the way brain-injury survivors are viewed and treated, one film at a time. Ten years from now, I hope to be an award-winning filmmaker and a brain-injury advocate.

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.

bookcover

Get Ruby’s free book here. http://compassionpictures.net/ourstory/

Grieve the old Ruby, and stop fighting to get her to return. It was very stressful not being who I used to be prior to my TBI and who I strived to go back to. If I could do things differently, I would have grieved earlier and released myself from being someone I was no more, and I would embrace who I am.

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

Ask for help. Keep asking until you receive the help you need.

Don’t be afraid of “NO.” A “NO” means you are one step closer to a “YES.”

Life gets better. It takes a very long time, but it will get better. You will be able to smile, laugh, and enjoy the simple things in life. Just keep living.

 

Thank you, Ruby, 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.)

(Photos compliments of Ruby.)

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.

 

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . . Kyle Turley Raises Awareness of Head Injuries

Former NFL Player, Now Country Singer, Raises Awareness of Head Injuries

 

Newsboy thFor 10 years, Kyle Turley was a first-string offensive lineman in the NFL and had several mild TBIs. Today he is retired and has a Country-Rock band. He is outspoken about head injuries in the NFL; he fights for retired players who are struggling because of head traumas; and he works passionately toward a reasonable NFL policy on concussions. In the video, he sings his hit song, “Fortune and Pain,” which is about the lives of former players. (Full story and video)

 

 

 

Speak Out! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . . . . New Helmet Saves Time in Stroke Diagnosis

Newsboy th

New Helmet Saves Time in Stroke Diagnosis

Scientists from Chalmers University of Technology, Sahlgrenska Academy, and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden have presented clinical evidence that a helmet able to generate and analyze microwaves can quickly distinguish the type of stroke. A stroke resulting from a ruptured blood vessel can be differentiated from a stroke caused by a blood vessel blocked by a loose clot. Since clots can be dissolved by therapeutic drugs, treatment of this class of strokes (85% of all strokes) can begin as soon as the diagnosis is made. The helmet has no effect on the other class of strokes. Time is important. Stroke-caused deaths and disabilities are fewer with earlier treatment. The clinical studies on the helmet were done in a hospital, but the helmet is designed for use in the ambulance. (Full story)

 

 

 

Brain Injury Resources . . . . . . . . . . Facts and Advice

TBI Resources: Facts and Advice

th

“When caregivers care so much that they neglect themselves, it can create a downward spiral of self-destruction known as Compassion Fatigue,” which can result in “feeling immune to the suffering of others,” “feeling hopeless,” “insomnia,” “excessive blaming,” “bottled up emotions,” “isolation,” “addiction,” “neglecting yourself,” “financial problems,” “chronic physical ailments,” “apathy,” “preoccupation…with your loved one’s health and well-being,” or “violent thoughts.”…”Unidentified compassion fatigue causes a decline in health for caregivers and diminished care for their loved ones.”

13 signs of compassion fatigue (lift)

“Currently, almost a third of strokes occur in people under the age of 65, and this figure is set to rise.”

‘My arm went numb and I had a headache – but I never dreamed it was a STROKE’: Healthy woman, 20, is left paralysed down one side (Mail Online)

“One reason behind this jump in brainpower may lie in how much of the human metabolism is devoted to the human brain — it consumes a whopping 20 percent of the body’s total energy.”

Brain Evolution Study Shows Humans Sacrificed Brawn For High Intelligence (The Huffington Post)

“Some 20-60% of people with a TBI experience depression soon after the injury or even years later.”

Why Is Depression the Number One Symptom After a Brain Injury? (brainline.org)

“Studies show that more than 50 percent of people suffer from chronic pain disorders in the years following a brain injury.”

Why Does Everything Hurt So Much After Brain Injury? (brainline.org)th-1

“Dealing with ambiguous loss (i.e., a TBI survivor who has changed) means:

  • Recognizing and accepting your own feelings; mourn whenever you feel the need;
  • Finding a safe and supportive connection to a therapist, counselor or church;
  • Getting to know the survivor as the person he or she is now;
  • Utilizing healthy coping skills of having fun and using humor whenever possible;
  • Finding hope and exploring new treatment options;
  • Accepting what you’ve lost, but refusing to give-up on recovery!”

More than One Victim: Recovering from a Loved One’s Traumatic Brain Injury (CoSozo)

“When communicating with a person who has a brain injury, it’s important to listen, listen, listen. It’s important to be positive and encouraging in your statements, to be empathetic and at times to use humor in a positive and supportive manner.”

Making a Difference #8: Communication (brainline.org)

“No one can know for certain what our potential is.”

Lost & Found: What Brain Injury Survivors Want You to Know (brainline.org)

 

As I say after each post:

Feel free to leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow Me Via eMail” on the right sidebar of your screen.anim0014-1_e0-1

If you like my blog, click the “Like” button under this post.

If you REALLY 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. That works for me too!

 

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . How Stem Cells Form Specific Tissues

How Stem Cells Form Specific Tissues

Stem cells have the potential to form any kind of tissue. But, they were only recently discovered, and research is in its early stages on this highly promising cell type. Exciting research at Case Western Reserve University has identified a type of genetic signal Newsboy ththat induces stem cells to form a specific tissue. The clinical implications are immense. It will eventually be possible to remove stem cells from an individual to avoid immune rejection and grow neural cells (for example) that can repair or replace damaged neurons. (Full story)

 

 

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . . Rats Paralyzed by Stroke Recover Almost Fully

Rats Paralyzed by Stroke Recover Almost Fully

 

Breakthrough research at the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich’s Neuroscience Center, and the University of Heidelberg has shown that well-timed treatment and therapy can lead to new nerve growth and allow rats to recover 85% of motor function after stroke. Newsboy thWhen nerves are damaged, certain proteins (Nogo proteins) block growth of those nerves. The researchers used antibodies against the Nogo proteins to block their inhibitory action. They then saw new and functional nerve fibers begin to sprout. Rehabilitation therapy that began immediately had little effect, but when time was allowed for nerve growth to occur, rehabilitation therapy had a dramatic effect: the paralyzed rats recovered almost fully. The scientists believe that rehabilitation at the right time helps solidify key neural circuits. First author Anna-Sophia Wahl said “This new rehabilitative approach at least triggered an astonishing recovery of the motor skills in rats, which may become important for the treatment of stroke patients in the future.” (Full story)

 

 

 

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . Brain Implant to Control Epilepsy

A Brain Implant to Control Epilepsy

Epileptic seizures can be caused by a TBI. The FDA recently approved a Michigan company’s experimental brain implant that has the potential to prevent seizures. Microprocessors were surgically inserted into the craniums of adult patients. The device monitors Newsboy thbrain activity and stops seizures. Once the brain activity that leads to a seizure is localized and identified, it can be interfered with by programming the implant to emit specific electrical signals. The result should be that the patient never has the seizure. (Full story)

 

SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger Danielle Karst

 SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger Danielle Karst

Balls of Yarn

Girl Blogger cartoon_picture_of_girl_writing

I was amazed when I finally got the first ball untangled from the mess of four different spools. First, I was surprised to see that I had two spools of the same color. After I had gotten the first two untangled, I was relieved to know that I was halfway there.

I had been a devoted crocheter a year and a half ago. Because I finally felt peace with my life, I decided to pick up crocheting again. But when I returned to crocheting, things were in a mess.

I don’t mean to dwell on the past, but the tangled yarn reminds me of my situation from long ago. After my accident, things were a mess. You can imagine how hard it was being a young athletic girl and suddenly finding out that I couldn’t walk.

Back to the yarn – once I found the end of one yarn untangled, I noticed it was the other end of the yarn that I was trying to separate! So, there I was, with only two different colors of yarn and four separate ends. I got one yarn unwound, only messily winding it on top its respective skein. The navy blue was all separated from the other colors, but it was still caught in a web of tangles. After that was finally taken care of (or I got too close to it with a pair of scissors), I vowed to sit there and wind them into balls.

Great balls of yarn – in a tangled mess

My difficulty with the yarn is a metaphor for my life after TBI. It took a while, but I eventually realized how my difficult situation was a blessing in disguise. If I had gotten the dark blue string totally unwound, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to wind it into a ball (the other end was in the shawl that I was making), so it actually turned out to be good that I needed to cut the yarn. I could then wind the other end into a ball! The same is true about my horrible car accident. If that didn’t happen, I would not have done a lot of things that I have accomplished. My life would be completely different. I would not have chosen the field of study that I did. Being in all of that rehab helped me see that I wanted to help others in the same type of situation. I attended Longwood College because they have the best Therapeutic Recreation major. It allowed me to pursue a career. Now I work at a nursing home. If the car accident had never happened, I wouldn’t have met my husband. (We met on MySpace, the big Internet social networking site from like 10 years ago, because he had seen that we had gone to the same high school and college.) Who knows? I might have been involved with someone else, probably someone who had not gone to Longwood College. I met wonderful friends at Longwood and at my place of employment. Of course, I also became close to the older adults that I care for.

Danielle Karst pondering the complexities of living life with a Traumatic Brain Injury

Danielle Karst – pondering the complexities of living life with a Traumatic Brain Injury

So, no matter how tangled life may get, keep your mind open to see the blessings coming from the storms.

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.”
Joseph Addison

 

Thank you, Danielle.

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

Survivors SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . Stuart ‘lucky’ White

 

Survivors SPEAK OUT! – Stuart ‘lucky’ White

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

White, Stuart "lucky"

Stuart with friend, Trevor.

1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Stuart White

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

England

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

August 9, 1996

4. How did your TBI occur?

I was riding my bike, and I was hit by a car.

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

My problem was apparent as soon as the accident happened. I went straight into a coma. I was fortunate enough that a First Aider wasn’t far from me.

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?
(e.g., surgery,

tracheotomy, G-peg)

I was in Emergency for nine days. I’m not sure what they did to me. Sorry.

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

Yes. 9 days.

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 was at the hospital for about a month and a half. Then I had a form of rehab at home, due to having a home tutor and the fact that I wasn’t able to do anything on my own. It took years for me to be back to normal.

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

Balance, personality, couldn’t read or write, speech problems, memory loss

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

My life was worse at first, but now I can finally say that, after accepting the past, I can look into the future with confidence.

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

I miss my teenage childhood as I had to regain a lot of things I had lost.

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

I realise how lucky I have been, and I enjoy that I am now able to give something back to other TBI survivors.

13. What do you like least about your TBI?

I dislike my fatigue. (It sucks.)

14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?

Mainly my family

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

My relationships have been affected a bit. It is hard to explain TBI to someone who doesn’t understand it and who thinks it has passed, so I should just get over it.

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

Yes, mainly planning things. I cannot plan many things due to being sleepy a lot.

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

I would say my parents, as they helped me a lot.

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

I hope to be helping other survivors.

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.

Yes. Realise that you cannot give up on yourself. TBI is very hard work, but NEVER give up. You never know what is going to happen in the future.

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

It is hard work, but accept the past. You can still look back at it, and then in the future you will realise how White, Stuart "lucky" Younger photofar you have come. Be proud of yourself no matter what others say, as you are a survivor who has fought against the odds!

 

Thank you, Stuart, 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.)

(Photos compliments of Stuart.)

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.

Tag Cloud

HOPE TBI

Help One Person Excel - To Be Independent

  WriteForKids - Writing Children's Books

Become a published children's book author via books, ebooks and apps.

For the Love of Books, Old and New

Katie Fischer, Writer and Reader of Stories

Charlie Bown

Children's Author

Jessica Hinrichs

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ― Anais Nin

VIVIAN KIRKFIELD - Writer for Children

Picture Books Help Kids Soar

Mindy’s Writing Wonderland

For authors, parents, teachers & everyone who loves children’s books.

Math is Everywhere

Where the magic of math and writing comes together!

Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury

TBI - Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

How Life Has Happened For Me

Grow Through What You Go Through

Claire Stibbe

Thriller Author and Blogger

The Care Factor

Loving someone with a Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain Injury Support Group of Duluth-Extension

Brain Injury Information and SUPPORT

Women Worldwide

Women around the world share their incredible stories

Brain Aneurysm Global Insight

Brain Aneurysm, cerebral hemorrhaging, hemorrhage stroke

catherinelanser.wordpress.com/

Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, and the Brain

%d bloggers like this: