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.

Scott M. Chapman (survivor)…I walked almost a mile without my walker or a cane.One Mile Sign th

Michele Dempsey (survivor)…Sometimes doctors tell you that you will never walk, talk, or do other things again. They told me that when I was first injured seven years ago. I think they don’t want to give anyone false hope or something. In my case, I believed what they said. I came home in a wheelchair, and I couldn’t speak well. They said that I wouldn’t walk or talk. Now I do both! Some days, I don’t do either well. If I am tired, it is worse, but I walk with a cane, and I can talk pretty well. When I was tested, I did poorly on everything four years in a row. They said I that I would not be able to handle my own money, have a checking account, or shop on my own. It took time, but I slowly got better at the things they said I couldn’t do.

I shop and pay my own bills, and I recently got a checking account! Checkbook2I was excited, but scared, to do it, but I finally did it. I wrote my first checks yesterday. This morning, my nurse went over everything, and I did it right! I know it is a small thing, but it feels good to be able to do this on my own. I guess what I am learning over all these years is that, if people – even doctors – and testing say you can’t, keep trying. Try again and again and don’t give up! I am proud of myself today over something that might be a little thing to others, and I like it.

Megan Erikson (survivor)…I found a support group! I had to put my pride aside and say, “I do need help and support.” 🙂

Sue R. Hannah (survivor)…I went back to physical therapy today. Not only did I have an awesome session, but I also learned a very valuable lesson. My most recent acupuncturists and my vision therapist assumed that they knew what was best for me. I believe their heart was in the right place, but not so much, their awareness. Emily, my physical therapist, recognized that I needed to work towards MY level of functioning – not anyone else’s. Giving me skills that I’ve never had is a pretty silly goal. I have been impaired since I was so young that I have adapted and developed lots of work-arounds. What the other practitioners didn’t realize is that I didn’t lose skills. I NEVER had them! I guess part of this occurred because I didn’t stress how early my trauma happened, and they assumed that I fit in a box, which I don’t. It’s hard for me to tell people how I got hurt because often they are traumatized by hearing my story. I’ve learned that I need to be careful about whose advice to take, regardless of what their training has been. Can anyone relate?

Michael Lee Savage (survivor)…My wife, Patty, “threw me under the bus” this morning by sayinTreadmill1-483-x-600g I would walk “cane-free” into my therapist’s office. Well, I’m never one to back down from a challenge, so I walked from the outside deck, over the threshold, and up and down the hallway in front of my physical therapist. He said, “Looks like we have a new starting point.” Back at home, I hit the treadmill for 35 minutes and then looped the downstairs hallway four times “cane-free.” For the first time in six years, I felt human again.

Susan Shacka (survivor)…My Itty-Bitty Giant Step is trying to be calmer.

Damian Sill (survivor)…I am a person who has overcome TBI. Almost eighteen years ago, I was nearly dead. Today I am fully alive. I am living a wonderful life. I have a great job as a nurse. I own my own home. I am in a beautiful relationship with a great future ahead of me. I look forward to life today. Initially, I was so confused. My life was difficult. But, I kept working away one day at a time, and today I reap the rewards. Thanks to all who helped me along my way.   – Feeling Blessed

if_you_need_someone_to_shovel_snow_flyer-r830f727a107247489fac6587395693ab_vgvyf_8byvr_324Laurinda A. Sousa (survivor)…I got my car out of a giant snowdrift in my parking lot. I did it all with my right arm because I have a frozen left shoulder right now.

Dana Wiedenmann (survivor)…I flew to San Diego at Christmas.

Sandra Williams (survivor)…I am able to maintain my job. Huge! Absolutely huge! I attended an early morning DAC (Disability Action Center) meeting, and I am helping my husband start a business. I am ditzy, but I will press on. I can’t find words; my ears ring; I am seeing double; and I cry a lot, but I will not stop. I will not be beaten!

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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Comments on: "SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps" (3)

  1. These are all so uplifting in their own ways! In regards to Michele Dempsey’s Itty Bitty GIANT step: this is something that we come across all the time. Parents (and children themselves) are often telling us that they were given news their child would definitely never walk or talk again following a brain injury. However although they may not regain the skill completely in the same way, they do indeed walk and talk and live their lives to the full. It makes you wonder do doctors and specialists give this news as the worst possible scenario so that all improvements gives a bigger sense of achievement. And I suppose the clinical team working with a patient can’t actually gauge the outcome. I think they are afraid of giving false hope but still think it’s important that hope is still present.

    Nevertheless, once again these are great snippets of recovery.

    Maria Coyle, information editor, The Brain Injury Hub http://www.braininjuryhub.co.uk

    Like

    • Maria Coyle, thank you so much for being a repeat reader. I really appreciate it. Sometimes it feels like I am writing in a vacuum, so it is always fun when someone acknowledges.
      I know exactly what you mean about doctors giving the worst case scenarios. I was told that my husband had only the slightest chance of living through his three brain surgeries in less than two weeks, yet I had to sign on the dotted line each time. Thankfully the physicians were wrong and David survived. He is 10+ years out now.
      I love doing the survivor and caregiver interviews because it provides a voice for those who cannot put their stories out on their own and as you mentioned – the stories are uplifting. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

      Did you see my story in Disabled Magazine? http://www.disabledmagazine.com/prisoner-without-bars/

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski
      survivingtraumaticbraininjury.com
      donnaodonnellfigurski.wordpress.com

      Like

      • Hi Donna

        I hadn’t read your story in Disabled Magazine before. Really helps to get a background actually. You have had one journey following David’s brain injury. You both seemed to have met many challenges since then but have obviously come through it winning! Such commitment and determination.

        Like

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