TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for May, 2015

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Guest Blogger: Brandy Hunter . . . . I Am Blessed

I Am Blessed

by

Brandy Hunter

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Girl Blogger cartoon_picture_of_girl_writingI am blessed to be truly loved by a man who may not always understand my emotional outbursts. He is a true blessing in my life for even trying to deal with the behavior that is now instilled in me forever. This same man understands how stressful everyday things are to someone like me (a traumatic brain injury – TBI – survivor). He insists that I stay home and work as a housewife because I cannot deal with simple jobs outside of the home. But, if I choose to pursue other opportunities, he fully supports that decision.

I am blessed to have obtained my BA in Communication Studies after my injury and also to have graduated from a university and with a 3.79 GPA. It helped that the TBI made my stubbornness more intense!

I am blessed to have my mom and dad bring me back to life by refusing to accept the surgeon’s saying that I will have to live in a group-home for the remainder of my life. (I was 24 years old at the time the injury occurred. I am 35 now.) My parents put their own lives on hold so I could have one myself.Brandy Hunter Survivor 050515

I am blessed to have two loving canines to help me through the difficult days by simply “listening” or offering a much-needed cuddle.

I am blessed to have the ability to express myself verbally, even if the injury left my once radio-worthy voice with a slurred way of speaking, which makes me have to repeat myself numerous times a day.

I am blessed to still be able to write well. Now, due to the injury, I am focusing on my writing abilities, not my speaking ones.

I am blessed to have an excuse for wanting to nap almost daily.

I am blessed to be able to live on my own – one and a half and two hours away from my parents.

I am blessed to have no visible scars from the car accident in which I sustained my brain injury.

I am blessed not to have lost memories. (I only needed to be reminded of the three years before the accident.)

Eleven years after my TBI, I’m very blessed that things are not as “foggy” as they once were.

I am blessed to still be able to physically write (pen to paper), cumbersome as it may be for me at times. I am grateful for the availability of Post-It Notes.

I am blessed to have both of my grandparents (with whom I grew up) still alive and willing to help me in any way that they’re able to (even though it is my turn to do for them).

I am blessed to have loved ones try to understand the difficulties I encounter daily and for their assistance (and for not doing whatever I’m trying to do). I appreciate that they accept how things may take a bit longer for me to accomplish.

I am blessed to have traveled to New York, lived on Long Island, traveled to California and Nevada (Vegas, baby!), lived in England for three months, and to currently reside in my home state of Alabama (finally back in the “one red light, one locally owned supermarket” town in which I graduated junior high and high schools).

Life is good…no…Life is BETTER for me now than it was prior to the TBI that changed my life.

Brandy Hunter 2 Survivor 050515Thank you, Brandy Hunter.

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

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Brandy Hunter.)

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Survivors SPEAK OUT! Susan Shacka

Survivors  SPEAK OUT!  Susan Shacka

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Shacka, Susan1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Susan Shacka

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

Sioux City, Iowa, USA

3. On what date did you have your brain injury? At what age?

I acquired a brain injury in 2009 at age 51.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

My brain injury occurred after the removal of a lap-band procedure that caused complications. I couldn’t keep anything down – not even food or water.

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

My stomach felt numb for a few days after the removal. I couldn’t eat for two months, and I lost 80 pounds in that period. I was so weak. The first angel in my life was Suzanne. We just met.

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

Within fourteen days, I couldn’t walk. I went to the hospital via ambulance, not knowing that I would never come home; lose my apartment, car, and cat of ten years; and lose a lot memories and collectibles. I had double vision within two weeks of the lap-band removal. Prior to removing the band, my potassium was so low that I had to take it straight (three times a day in the hospital – Ugh!). They immediately ordered a CT (computerized tomography) scan, a spinal tap, Xrays, etc. First, I was given cortisone shots and IVs because I was dehydrated. I requested “Ensure” to bump up my vitamin levels, but it made my blood sugar high. Then they realized the cortisone was making it high, so they stopped. Just to let everyone know, I never went back to that surgeon or that hospital ever again. I was treated at another hospital. I was all alone and scared. All the tests were done during the first week. Doctor after doctor came, and they still didn’t know what the cause was. They thought it might have been Multiple Sclerosis at some point. I was given IVIg (intravenous immunoglobulin), and I had insurance people and neurologists coming in and out. The head neurologist – bless Dr. Shen! – found out that I had Guillain-Barré syndrome (named after two French doctors). It is both a neurological and an autoimmune disease. One can be paralyzed, which I was from waist down. (That numbness on my waist and the tripping were clues.) Dr. Shen immediately ordered eight hours a day of IVIg to neutralize the antibodies attacking my system.

7.Were you in a coma? If so, how long?Shacka, Susan Survivor 053015

No

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 was in rehab for eight months. While in the hospital, I had to do baby steps and learn how to sit, move, and touch hands with the occupational therapist. It was hard, as I had to take Benadryl during each session to help with symptoms. The medication worked so well that it sometimes knocked me out. The ultimate indignity occurred before I left the hospital. It is clear in my mind to this day. I had to use the sliding-board to get into the wheelchair. Eventually I went to an acute rehab facility. I am still getting occupational and physical therapies twice a week through a government program called PACE (Programs for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly). Everything is paid for through them: a bath aide who cleans while I shower, meals at home, occupational and physical therapies, my learning how to write, glasses, etc.

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

My personality toward my family has changed – I just want to be part of them. I use my “Cadillac” a lot – my walker! But, I risk my safety when I walk the dog. I have residuals from Guillain-Barré syndrome – neuropathy pain and pins and needles in my hands. I have a special type of shoes, as I don’t have flexibility in my feet. And, I have use of only my left hand. After being a secretary for top doctors, a marketing director, vice presidents, etc., I now type with one finger. To top things off, and there is no connection, I acquired another neurological/autoimmune disease (ataxia) in 2013. There are over 60 types. I guess I have Cerebellum Ataxia. This is a movement disorder similar to Parkinson’s Disease. (It’s Michael J. Fox who will help find a cure!) I knew something else was wrong – I was dropping things, I had a problem with balance, I was slurring my words, and my fine-motor skills deteriorated. By this time, I had moved back to my hometown, where my aunt and cousins live. But, it turned out they rejected me – it was hurtful knowing that something was wrong with me. The local contact at Brain Alliance knew I needed to see neurophysicist. I was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). My neurologist did blood test after blood test (over 15 vials one time). He wasn’t about to give up. Luckily, my neurologist knows the neurophysicist, and they conferred about me. I did have to go in for emergency IVIg treatments for my ataxia. My anti-GAD (glutamic acid decarboxylase, an enzyme) antibody titer (a marker for cerebellar ataxia) was high. It was over 250; normal is 0.10.

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

I moved closer to my sister and her brother-in-law, which helps so much. I am going to church and meeting new people. I changed my Medical Power of Attorney to someone who gets me and my problems; goes to my church; understands about depression and, more importantly, disability, as her husband had a stroke. Bless both!

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

I miss driving and working.

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

I would still be living in California.

13. What do you like least about your brain injury?

I’m homebound a lot!

14. Has anything helped you to accept your brain injury?

I spend time at MPOA once a month and do bible study. I live in a place with older people (80s), but I want to spend more time with people my age. I am 57.

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

I find it hard to meet people.

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

Meeting people is difficult, as it costs money for the handicap bus.

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

I have a bath aide twice a week – no other caregiver. My family says they’ll take me grocery shopping.

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

I hope to pay off my bills and move to another place.

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 survivors with your specific kind of brain injury.

Get involved; find a church. For me, getting a pet has been wonderful for my mood. Medication has been important. Don’t be embarrassed about seeing a counselor. It has helped me so much.

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

Understand that it’s not your fault. For me, I did the lap-band upon the suggestion of a doctor. I also did it because I didn’t want to be like my mother, who was extremely overweight. I eventually lost 150 pounds – half of me!

You can still find your passion. I am administrator for my disease support-group on Facebook, called “Ataxians Helping Other Ataxians,” which in about eight months has over 860 members. This is my passion. I still have the need to help people. I was in the local newspaper and on TV and radio. Now I am working on a petition to get a spokesperson. It is listed “Spokesperson needed….” Please vote!

Bless you all for reading this! Love each other more. Say it more, as life is short!

 

Susan Shacka Survivor 053015Thank you, Susan, 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 Susan.)

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SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . . . Joe Namath – Football – Brain Injury

Joe Namath Speaks OUT About Brain Injury and Football

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Newsboy thJoe Namath, former star quarterback for the New York Jets and football legend, said that, now knowing the sport’s likely danger to the brain, he wouldn’t have played football.joe namath large

Namath’s wake up call happened when he saw a problem with his brain in a brain scan. It revealed that the right side was not getting enough oxygen, whereas the left side was normal. He was worried about the several concussions he had had, but he thought his growing forgetfulness was caused by old age.

Fortunately, after several months of rigorous treatment alg-joe-namath-jpg(1-hour sessions, 5 days a week) in a hyperbaric chamber, in which he was subjected to a high pressure of oxygen, a new scan indicated that both sides of Namath’s brain were normal. (Full story 1 and Full story 2 – with video)

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

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SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury Michael A. Flusche (part 2)

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Michael A. Flusche (part 2) (survivor)

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!

bigstock-cartoon-face-vector-people-25671746-e1348136261718On April 13, 1996, I had a near-fatal car accident before my junior prom. Many people thought that I wouldn’t make it to see my seventeenth birthday. I fooled them. The doctors and nurses thought that I had taken my last breath. I fooled them. I pulled through and graduated from high school in May of 1997.

1929208_64747227966_7702304_nThen I attended college directly that following August. I was there five years, and I earned my BS Natural Science. I may have overcome high hurdles in my life, but they were put there so I could prove to myself that I am here until I die. Nothing is going to destroy me. If you knock me down, I promise you that I will get back up swinging.

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

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

As I say after each post: Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Commentanim0014-1_e0-1 below this post.

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

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.

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for BlogSPEAK 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 neelyf@aol.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

Robyn Hietala Bilyeu (survivor)…My Itty-Bitty Giant Step: I had a brain tumor removed Man & Woman Sleeping in BedMarch 17, 2015. I have been sleeping in our recliner since then because sleeping flat has resulted in severe head-pressure. I know my brain is still recovering, but I just wanted to sleep next to my husband again. Last night, I tried our bed. I slept through the night and didn’t have an ounce of pain when I woke up.

Krysta Harris GraduationKrysta Harris‎ (survivor)…Tonight, I graduated! I didn’t let my accident stop me. I told my family that my TBI counts as my honorary honor-tassel (Haha). My diploma wasn’t given to me – I worked for it! I’m lucky to have graduated with my class. I’m proud to have been able to strut across the field, knowing that I was in a hospital bed almost two years ago. Resilience is a great thing.

Man Planting seeds 3524898345_a5a3327405Stephen Mayfield, Jr. (survivor)…Hey. I got my garden. I finally finished sowing seeds. Now, let’s see what pops up.

Shelly Travis Owens (caregiver)…My husband and I went to dinner tonight with some friends. It was our first social situation since his TBI – and it went well. The guy is a coworker, so my husband got to catch up on what he’sDinner with Friends food-and-drinks-restaurant-dining-055638 missing at work, job news, and gossip. He forgot a few names, etc., but no one made a big deal of it, and the conversation went right on. My husband filled them in on his injury and his progress in therapy. I’m very encouraged, and my husband is thrilled. Baby steps.

Ballet Class  dexters-lab-dee-dee-dance-116

Diane Rasch (survivor)…I am so excited! I made it through ballet class without any problems two weeks in a row. Tonight, I even twirled across the floor.

Al Stavole (survivor)…So, I started my Sunday feeling overwhelmed. I felt an anxiety attack cropping up. Someone from a Facebook forum rescued me. I was already in a conversation with the individual, and I decided to come clean and tell Man Looking in MIrror How-You-See-Yourselfhim that I was having an anxiety attack. He asked me what my trigger was. I briefed him. He gave me a few words of wisdom passed down to him. I looked in the mirror, made myself feel strong, and said to myself, “Dude, you got this” and “Anxiety, screw you!”
So, the outcome? Had a great Sunday. Thank you, whoever you are….

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.

As I say after each post:

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

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Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

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

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SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Guest Blogger: Ermira Mitre . . . Dream of an Earthquake

The Dream of an Earthquake

by

Ermira Mitre

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Girl Blogger cartoon_picture_of_girl_writingOne night, after I came home from a long day of work, I noticed that my friend Eileen had called me twice during the day. I love talking to Eileen. Although it was 9:30, I decided to call her back and chit-chat a little bit to update each other on our everyday lives.

During our conversation, Eileen said, “Mira, you know what? I dreamed about an earthquake last night. The shaking was so hard that I got up and went to the computer to see if any earthquake had happened nearby. I didn’t find anything. So, I realized that the earthquake was a dream. And what a dream!”

Her dream instantly brought up the experience of my having had a similar dream while I was living in Albania with my family. I said, “You know, Eileen, years ago, I had a dream of an earthquake too.” I continued, “I dreamed an earthquake was happening, and it threw me from the balcony of my third-floor apartment. I fell onto the ground – but standing up.”

Eileen’s dream was frightening, but I told her about my positive symbol of “standing up” after “falling down.” So, I said, “The dream is telling you that, whatever happens, you will be fine.” My own experiences have shown that this indeed can be true.

My earthquake dream first occurred in March 1991 – a time of turmoil in Albania. Many young people had Ermira Mitre 2left the country. Two days after I had the dream, I got a phone call from my uncle. He said that my brother (who lived with my parents and my stepbrother) got onto a ship and escaped to Italy. He left behind my paralyzed mom, my dad, who was still recovering from a stroke, and my stepbrother, who had been diagnosed with a severe disease.

The news was a total shock. I felt divided. One part of me cared about my immediate family, and another part worried about my parents and my brothers. Psychologically, I was struggling to find a solution to the situation, while in my heart, I remained calm and at peace. My heart didn’t allow me to hurt myself with feelings of anger, anguish, or bitterness toward the decision of my twenty-two-year-old brother.

Although I was still picking up the pieces of the shattered glass I had become after the accidental death of my almost three-year-old son and having two little kids, a paralyzed mom, a half-paralyzed dad, and a brother with an incurable disease and also working as a teacher, I didn’t think of myself. The positive symbol of my earthquake-dream supported my actions. I was “standing up” when I needed it most.

Situations like these made me grow as a person and reach the deeper core of myself as a human being. By acknowledging peace within terrible storms, I have been able to extend my heart and actions to those who needed me.

Ermira Mitre copyMy peace allowed me to place my thoughts into a higher level of understanding. I can accept life as it comes by using exuberant, and often hidden, strength, courage, love, care, generosity, kindness, gentleness, and loyalty.

After I got off the phone with Eileen, I went to sleep. The next morning I had this poem within myself. It is about our existence and our strength. I hope you enjoy it.

THE EXISTENCE

Opening the eyelids and waking up by touching the dawn,
While the eyeballs kissing the vastness of the light,
Waking and feeling the joy of being alive,
Living through the day and experience,
The joy of living, the thunders, the storms,
And earthquakes that bring shakiness,
And awakens as much as the labor of a new baby born,
Still standing up and building up being grabbed,
And infused by the strength that lies beneath and beyond,
Sleeping is falling in quietness and stillness,
And darkness of the other side of our existence,
Being born thus waking up,
Living through the experience,
And dying thus sleeping in stillness,
Are the matching pieces of a puzzle,
Named as “our known but unknown existence.

Thank you, Ermira Mitre.

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

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Ermira Mitre.)

anim0014-1_e0-1

As I say after each post:

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

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the lower right corner of your screen.

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.

Caregivers SPEAK OUT! . . . . . Jeannette Davidson-Mayer

Caregivers SPEAK OUT! – Jeannette Davidson-Mayer

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

jeannette davidson-Mayer 0417151. What is your name? (last name optional)

Jeannette Davidson-Mayer

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

New Plymouth, Idaho, USA     2004djmjdm@gmail.com

3. What is the brain-injury survivor’s relationship to you? How old was the survivor when he/she had the brain injury? What caused your survivor’s brain injury?

My husband, DeWayne, has a traumatic brain injury (TBI). He was 38 when it happened. While serving in Iraq, DeWayne survived one Humvee rollover, two close-range IEDs (improvised explosive devices), one helicopter explosion (They were guarding a downed helicopter when the remains were blown-up for disposal), and lastly an IED that went off right under the command seat, where DeWayne was sitting. All this happened in 2005 between May 23rd and October 3rd.

4. On what date did you begin care for your brain-injury survivor?

At the end of October 2004, DeWayne was flown to Madigan Air Force Base in Washington State on the advance plane from Iraq. I made a few trips there to see him. He was allowed occasional trips home. By February 2006, DeWayne was home for good. We didn’t know DeWayne had a TBI until mid-2007. We just knew something wasn’t connecting right in his daily mental functions.

Were you the main caregiver?

Yes. Our daughter as well has learned to be a caregiver over the years.486770_10200560183360321_1086965832_n

Are you now?

Yes

How old were you when you began care?

33

5. Were you caring for anyone else at that time (e.g., children, parents, etc.)?

No

6. Were you employed at the time of your survivor’s brain injury? If so, were you able to continue working?

Yes, I was employed. My employer helped above the call of duty. In mid-October 2014, I did have to quit working because DeWayne’s medical needs had increased. Also, I had gone to one of our smaller companies, which is a 10-minute drive vs. a 5-minute walk. DeWayne couldn’t comprehend this change, which created hardships for our daughter and for DeWayne and me as a couple.

7. Did you have any help? If so, what kind and for how long?

I couldn’t make it without the love and support of our family, friends, and church family. Help is from driving DeWayne to assisting with happenings at home. Most of all, help is providing an ear to listen.

8. When did your support of the survivor begin (e.g., immediately – in the hospital; when the survivor returned home; etc.)?

My quality of care has grown over the years. It took a while because I didn’t know how to ask for help. I was embarrassed to ask, and I didn’t understand how to ask either. I felt that if I couldn’t do it myself, I was failing my family.

9. Was your survivor in a coma? If so, what did you do during that time?

No, but DeWayne was knocked out several times.

10. Did your survivor have rehab?

Yes

If so, what kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient and/or outpatient and occupational, physical, speech, and/or other)?

DeWayne had occupational, physical, speech, and recreational therapies as an outpatient. He also had behavioral health therapy.

How long was the rehab?

Rehab started out three days a week, eight hours a day, for three months at Idaho Elks Rehab. DeWayne was then moved to the Boise VA (Veterans Administration) facility, where he went several days a week. DeWayne still has recreational therapy, physical therapy, and occasionally occupational therapy. And, monthly behavioral health therapy.

Where were you when your survivor was getting therapy?

Idaho Elk’s Rehab, Boise VA Medical Center, Tri-Cities Physical Therapy, St. Luke’s Spinal Care

11. What problems or disabilities of your brain-injury survivor required your care, if any?

DeWayne has many difficulties. He has fixations. He’s easily lost, confused, and disoriented. He tires easily. His short-term memory is a problem. DeWayne doesn’t always understand what is happening around him or what is being said to him. Also we don’t always understand what he is trying to say to us. He suffers from migraines/headaches. He has silent seizures, bi-lateral hearing loss, tremors, and sensitivity to light.

12. How has your life changed since you became a caregiver? Is it better? Is it worse?

I can’t really say if life is better or worse because of the TBI. We are both different from the deployment alone. I am the lucky wife because he came home alive, which is a celebration in itself.

13. What do you miss the most from pre-brain-injury life?

There is a lot I miss (for example, long hiking trips and long conversations). But, the trade-off is worth it.

14. What do you enjoy most in post-brain-injury life?Jeannette Davidson-Mayer & DeWayne

We have learned to depend on each other completely – as spouses and as a family. We tend to stand up for what we believe in. We hold on tighter. We often show each other how important we are. We travel off-season, which is nice because the crowds are less. Nicer indeed!

15. What do you like least about brain injury?

We never know what to expect from day to day, yet it is also a positive, for we never have a dull moment.

16. Has anything helped you to accept your survivor’s brain injury?

Through many trials and errors, we have finally discovered our saving grace. Our kitchen has become our “Central Command Post.” Our lives center around our kitchen. We were able to set up an atmosphere that can adapt to DeWayne’s ever-changing daily new normal. Post-it Notes and whiteboard markers saved our family.

17. Has your survivor’s injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?

Of course, DeWayne’s TBI has affected home life, relationships, and so on. We have lost.

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

Our social life has been cut. We don’t go out as much. We avoid crowds, noisy situations, and places that make DeWayne uncomfortable. I also have become uneasy about the same things that make DeWayne uneasy.

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

Our plans for the future are to continue to live in joy and love together, to share our lives with our children as they continue to grow, to travel the world in an RV, and to reach out to others to show them that they have the inner strength needed to move forward. (How they move forward is unique to each family.)

20. What advice would you offer other caregivers of brain-injury survivors?

Never give up. Give in from time to time. Let it out – cry or scream. Then look back on what is happening to find ways to make adjustments or to find solutions to the challenges. Know that you are not alone. You yourself, along with your family, have so much to offer.

Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

Military families are not alone in living with TBIs and/or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and in being caregivers. We didn’t sign up for this life, but we have it. Now let’s figure out how to keep moving forward, so we can reach higher, dream bigger, and hold on tighter.

To learn more about Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, you can listen to her interview with me on “Another Fork in the Road” on blogtalkradio.com or at R4 Alliance.

 

Jeannette Davidson-MayerThank you, Jeannette, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.

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

(Photo compliments of Jeannette.)

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

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