TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for June, 2015

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury Lesley Ann Graham

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Lesley Ann Graham (survivor)

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!

 

bigstock-cartoon-face-vector-people-25671746-e1348136261718April 14th was the ten-year anniversary of the accident that should have killed me. It’s a miracle that I’m still alive and doing as well as I am. I had a base-of-skull fracture and bilateral frontal lobe damage. I was in a coma for three days. I had four brain operations. The doctors didn’t think that I would have anything like a “normal” life. I showed them. (Ha ha!) I went back to university, Graham, Lesley Ann Survivor2  061115got my degree, and worked part-time. (I will never be able to work full-time.) I then moved into my own flat. I got married, and we have an eight-month-old son. I hope my story can help others and make people realize that there is life after a brain injury. I believe it’s by the grace of God that we are all alive anLesley Ann Graham Survivor 061115d in this group.

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

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

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SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury Alicia Theroux Williams

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Alicia Theroux Williams  (caregiver)

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!

 

bigstock-cartoon-face-vector-people-25671746-e1348136261718I want to introduce myself with a short story about my experience with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Last Christmas was the first Christmas in six years that my husband and I spent together. (He is a firefighter/paramedic. Therefore, he is on duty most holidays.) It was the best Christmas yet. I felt complete and whole. I never imagined that in just a couple of weeks my husband would be in a coma and sadly would not remember this glorious holiday. Williams, Eric Survivor 2 061215On the morning of January 6th, my husband was out running, and he was struck from behind by a cyclist. My husband’s first responders were his friends, since we live in the city that he works in. Williams, Alica Theroux Caregiver 061215They (I believe) were the reason that my husband survived. My husband spent fourteen days in a coma, seven days on the medical-surgical floor, and twenty-six days in an acute rehab facility. In a little more than three moWilliams, Eric Survivor 061215nths, he had three surgeries on his brain, plus many moreWilliams, Alicia Theroux Caregiver for & Husband Eric 061215 procedures for other issues. Even though we have just started on this journey, I am thankful to have a support-group to vent to and to get tips from. I feel like I am not in this alone.

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.

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

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Caregivers SPEAK OUT! . . . . . Lisabeth Mackall

Caregivers SPEAK OUT! – Lisabeth Mackall

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Lisabeth Mackall Caregiver 06112151. What is your name? (last name optional)

Lisabeth Mackall

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

Cottage Grove, Minnesota, USA  info@lisabethmackall.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, Frank, was 39 when he had his car crash and suffered his TBI. He was a police officer responding to a call for assistance for another officer, and he lost control of his car on black ice and crashed.

4. On what date did you begin care for your brain-injury survivor? Were you the main caregiver? Are you now? How old were you when you began care?

Frank’s accident was on January 2, 2012. I brought him home on March 27, 84 days after he went to the hospital. He required Lisabeth Mackall Caregiver 06121524-hour supervision due to his cognition and safety needs. They suggested to take him to a rehab center, but I decided that it was time for him to come home.

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

At that time, we had three children – ages 6, 9, and 15. We now have a fourth child – my husband’s half-brother’s child whom we took custody of one and a half years ago.

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

I was employed full-time. I was working as Rehab Director for nine buildings here in Minnesota. I worked the shift opposite to Frank’s, so we had very little time together. When he was allowed to come home from the hospital, I quit my job. I attempted to go back about a year after he was injured and had to quit. I just recently (November) went back to work full-time, but we had to hire a nanny for the morning to help get the kids to school after I leave for work.

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

I had no help with Frank, although my mom did move in with us immediately after the crash and stayed for four months. We did not allow caregivers into the house since Frank was a police officer – we had family and friend support.

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

Our support started the minute Frank was injured and continued for about two years. If we needed help now, we could call on law enforcement, but it is not in my nature to ask for help.

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

Frank was in a true coma (minimally responsive) for about two weeks. He started to respond with a thumbs-up sign and by fighting against his restraint. He continued to improve from there. I spent that time talking with Frank, and talking with the cops and visitors as well. We were usually swamped with visitors, so I did not get a lot of time without people there. But, when I did speak with Frank, I told him over and over what had happened and that he was safe.

10. Did your survivor have rehab? If so, what kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient and/or outpatient and occupational, physical, speech, and/or other)? How long was the rehab? Where were you when your survivor was getting therapy?

Frank was in the hospital for 84 days. Once he left the medical unit and went to rehab, he was in for the full time until he was discharged. He then started outpatient rehab three times a week. That continued for a month. Frank had all three disciplines, although he was eventually weaned off occupational therapy. He continued to have physical therapy and speech therapy on and off for a long time. Right now, Frank can still go back to speech therapy if he wants, but he is taking a break. I would attend some of his sessions, but I tried to stay out of the speech therapy sessions. (They were too hard for me to watch, since I am a speech therapist, and I knew Frank thought the sessions were irritating.)

Lisabeth and Frank

Lisabeth and Frank

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

Frank has a hard time learning new things about technology. He has a problem with short-term memory. He also has a very short fuse, so kids arguing or chaos in the house is very difficult for him. We do finances together. Otherwise, he manages his own schedule about 75% of the time. I manage most of the other aspects of the house and the kids, with help from Frank if I leave lists and tasks.

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

Life is different. I have to work very hard to be a wife and not a caregiver. Caregiving is easier and not sad. When I step into the wife role on some days, it is heartbreaking to know what we have lost.

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

I miss having a highly intelligent partner in life who would debate with me and who is solid in his understanding of the world around him.

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

Frank and I have more time together. Our family is more important now that we know how precious life is and how fast it can change.

15. What do you like least about brain injury?

I dislike Frank’s irritability and his lack of trust in the decisions that are made.

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

Being a speech therapist has given me a huge advantage with this recovery, although sometimes I wish I didn’t know so much.

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

Frank’s brain injury has changed many things. In fact, we are moving. Our wood floors bother him when the dog walks across it. Frank also needs to have more space for himself, so we are trying to find a bigger house for all of us.

18. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?Lisabeth Mackall Book 061215

We have very little social life at this point. Most of our friends from before the accident have drifted away. The people we are closest with are those we met after the crash. We have busy kid schedules, and with Frank’s fatigue, it is often just easier to hang out at home.

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

We have a child with behavior struggles. That doesn’t mix well with a TBI. Puberty and life-changes are going to be challenging. My goal is to hold our family together by thinking ahead, finding the right space for all of us, and consciously talking about the problems that we have together as a family.

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

We are all in the same ocean, but in separate sinking ships. We can help one another stay afloat if we ask for help. I truly feel that trying to navigate this world without help is too hard. Even knowing what I know about brain injuries as a professional, I was in no way prepared to deal with things that I live through each day. No one is. We all just have to find a way to make the best decisions we can for ourselves and for our loved ones. That doesn’t mean that we all stay together as a family – sometimes families break apart. That is the devastating part of this journey. A brain injury can destroy a family. Sometimes there is no choice but to separate a survivor from the family due to the injury. Being a therapist, my goal is to help people navigate the world as best as they can and to hopefully keep the family together.

Learn more about Lisabeth Mackall:

On the Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” with Lisabeth Mackall, Caregiver, Therapist, Author

Lisabeth Mackall Website

27 Miles: The Tank’s Journey Home

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.

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Survivors SPEAK OUT! Katey Ratz

Survivors  SPEAK OUT!  Katey Ratz

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

10887811_768025126566372_1831835211_n1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Katey Ratz

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

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA     KateyKat626@yahoo.com

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

I had my first traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2002 at age 22 and my second TBI in 2007 at age 28 (if I remember correctly).

4. How did your brain injury occur?

My first TBI occurred because I was getting electroconvulsive shock therapy. During my fifth treatment, I had a fifteen-minute seizure. I lost a lot of short-term memory. I have great long-term memory. My second TBI occurred when I thought I had epilepsy. I went to a neurologist. They did an EEG (electroencephalogram). They discovered left temporal lobe epilepsy and an aneurysm.

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

My fifteen-minute seizure happened January 21, 2002 – the day before my mom’s 50th birthday. As far as the second, I’m not sure.

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

I’m not sure about my treatment for the emergency during electroconvulsive therapy. With the aneurysm, they removed a portion of my brain on the left side. Because they had to go through my skull, I now have a dent on my head.

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

I don’t think so.

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 don’t think I officially did rehab. I am in a kind of rehab now. I go to the Milwaukee Center for Independence. It is for people with a brain injury. I go there three days a week. They have two groups a day and different groups every day.

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

I have a LOT of short-term memory loss. Like, I would call my mom and have a good conversation, hang up, and call her right back – forgetting that I had just spoken to her. And, my personality has been affected. I’m short-tempered – both with myself and with others.

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

My life is both better and worse. I definitely don’t have the life I wanted. I have to rely on other people, which I hate. But, I am so lucky to be alive. My life is better because I am able to ask for help. I know I need it. Also, I am determined. And, my creative gift is outstanding. It’s my greatest strength. My life is worse because I can’t get the education I wanted. I cannot be a nurse or an occupational therapist. I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse or a pediatric/adolescent occupational therapist specializing in psych.

11. What do you miss the most from your pre-brain-injury life?10872431_768025869899631_857990768_n

I miss that I had so many friends. I was very outgoing. I still am somewhat outgoing – I will talk to strangers in coffee shops. But, now my friendship is way down. I get emails, but like I call once a week, if that.

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

My creativity is strengthened. My poetry is awesome. I combine sonnets with acrostics, and away I go. Right now, I have over 1,250 fourteen-letter phrases for the acrostic part. I have them all in ABC order. I can go to a coffee shop for four hours and write several poems. It keeps me out of trouble. I listen to the church message and “take notes” by listening for a fourteen-letter phrase. Today it was “The Great Reward.”

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

I miss the old Katey. I hate relying on others. I hate not being able to live on my own.

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

Knowing that I am not alone has helped me accept my brain injuries. There are different levels of TBI. I mean, looking at me, you wouldn’t think I have a TBI. There are probably many more out there like me. I just have to accept that and know I am not alone.

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

I live in an apartment where there are caretakers, although they aren’t doing that great of a job. The caretakers are supposed to cook and help me clean, but they aren’t. They give me my allowance – I get my laundry money and $10 twice a week. As for relationships, my family is great. I love them so much! As for friends, I have a few, but only a couple really understand.

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

My social life has changed. I go out, but I can’t be the old Katey. I can’t go to new places because I am afraid of getting lost. I have gotten lost a few times and had to call people for support. I want to join a bible study group, but I haven’t because of my fear of getting lost!

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

Like I said before, I live in an apartment where there are caretakers. There are a couple of them who pass out meds. At times, it frustrates me. They lay my meds out on a table at like 4 pm for bedtime, but I will forget to take them at bedtime. They need to give better care.

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

I would so love to be back in school. If I only had all my brain! I would love to have a job helping people. I would love to be happily married and have kids.

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.

I had an aneurysm. Yes, part of my brain is missing. But, I am still here and deserve to be. I deserve the help I need. And, I will gladly give back any help I can!

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

TBIs do take time. At times, there are great days. They may not last, but that does not equal failure. That is the TBI. The “T” in TBI stands for “traumatic” – but we still survived!Katey Ratz Survivor 061015

 

Thank you, Katey, 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 Katey.)

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!

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SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . . . Comedian Tracy Morgan: Exclusive Interview One Year After Accident

Comedian Tracy Morgan: Exclusive Interview One Year After Accident

tracy-morgan-crashJune 7th was the one-year anniversary of the horrific motor vehicle accident that gave comedian Tracy Morgan broken bones and a serious brain injury and also claimed the life of Morgan’s close friend, James “Jimmy Mac” McNair. Matt Lauer Shot_3-10863spoke with Morgan in a two-part exclusive interview on the Today show and on the set of Saturday Night Live (part 1 with video, part 2 with video).

Morgan, who at times was tearful, said, “I love comedy, and I wonder how I’m going to be funny again.”

(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.

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.

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Lisa Dryer

Survivors  SPEAK OUT!  Lisa Dryer

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

11 Lisa Dryer Survivor 1 060115 281536_2048711670666_4659924_n1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Lisa Robin Dryer

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

Scottsdale, Arizona, USA     lisadryer@cox.net

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

At birth

4. How did your brain injury occur?

I was born twelve weeks too early. The NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) nurse who was in charge of me was also taking care of another baby, whom she deemed sicker. Our emergency calls often had false alarms. In this case, the nurse only had to tap me on the foot so that I would start breathing again. But, I went into cardiac arrest, and I lost oxygen to my brain. It was this incident that caused my TBI (traumatic brain injury). As a child, I never knew it as such, but instead as a “learning disability.” When I was seven, we found out that I was having a seizure a minute, which also most assuredly inhibited my learning. I’ve always had motor-skill and spatial relationship issues as well. In college, I realized something else was wrong. In 2004, it grew worse. I was searching for a diagnosis, but I was degraded and shoulder-shrugged for years.05 Lisa Dryer Survivor 5 060115 1238881_10200476055050272_1657456156_n

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

Last year, a friend, Hanna, dragged me to a hospital. At the time, we were both living on the East Coast. We were nannying between acting jobs and reveling in the history of the Potomac River. It was just a fun spa weekend for two best friends. But, half of my body failed to function. I was stubborn and tried to walk it out. I had a complete distrust of doctors at this point, but Hanna dragged me to the Emergency Room. They thought I might be having a stroke. My symptoms on the CAT scan (computerized axial tomography; also called a “CT” scan for “computerized tomography”) showed an abnormal brain. When they told me that, I laughed and said, “I know that already! Tell me something I don’t know.” So, they sent me to Washington, D.C., for an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and faster than you can say “MS,” it was said!

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

I don’t believe I had any treatments, but they certainly did some interesting testing on me!

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

No. However, I have since been concussed several times.

19 Lisa Dryer Survivor 7 060115 10154056_10202572349343208_1951490992_n8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient or outpatient and occupational and/or physical and/or speech and/or other)?

I have done inpatient rehab now twice, and I am currently doing outpatient rehab for the second time. I like to take pictures at rehab, so you can see some of my rehab and hospital journeys on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I do physical, occupational, and speech therapies, and I’m supposed to be doing shoulder therapies.

How long were you in rehab?

Each visit was a month long, and I’ve had about three.

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

I have several issues: balance, sight, auditory, emotional, tactile, and sensory. I also have a problem with perception.

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

This is a very hard question for me. I am the kind of person who likes to roll with the punches that life brings me. Right now, I think this must be where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing. I have met so many wonderful people who are really grateful that I am in their lives – being just the way that I am and wholly accepting me. That is a really beautiful thing. I really love that I can write about positivity in the face of adversity, that I have such a great response, and that I see that so many other beautiful communities are forming.

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

I miss my dog, and I miss my trailer. I miss acting.

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

I have to say I really like my friends – both online and those who have come out to meet me. I have a special place in my heart for them. I met my current boyfriend online. We started talking more in one of my groups. He asked if he could send me flowers. He then sent me cards. Then he flew from Cleveland, Ohio, to Arizona to take me on a date! I think the rest will be romance history in the TBI community!

13. What do you like least about your brain injury?08 Lisa Dryer Survivor 8 060115 10527549_10205510907245319_3908859801295010883_n

My back spasticity

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

Learning to put a smile on and taking some deep belly-breaths have helped me.

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

Living with my mother again at 33 has been interesting. We have a very strong bond, but we are almost too close. We clash more than a bit. But, we have a lot of laughter and smiles too.

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

I really don’t have a social life anymore.

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

My mother is my main caregiver. Until last year, I was sometimes a primary caregiver as a live-in nanny for children with disabilities. It was a job I loved. I also worked as a teacher at the Head Start program for the Los Angeles Unified School District and for needy children in other school districts.

1150365_10201334798525285_296956465_n18. What are your plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?

As John Lennon said, I’d like to be happy.

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.

I have three recommendations:

  1. Try to continually be finding the beautiful around you.
  2. Find your center, and try to stay calm.
  3. If things seem off, they usually are. Talk to someone.

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

No matter what you think, know that you are a powerful, beautiful person and that you can bring so much joy to this world. I have seen so many people in pain who just needed a smile, a word of kindness, or a hand-squeeze. No one in life is that different – we all need love. People also need education. Don’t be afraid to raise your voice and tell your story. And, remember that you are beautiful.

Thank you, Lisa, 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 Lisa.)

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.

“Another Fork in the Road” . . . Brain Injury Radio Network . . . Interview: Lisa Dryer

YOU ARE INVITED!

Lisa Dryer Survivor of Brain Injury, MS – Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Epilepsy, and Sjögren’s syndrome

Meet Lisa Dryer

putthis_on_calendar_clip_artIt took Lisa Dryer nearly three decades to put a label on what she knew was wrong all her life. As a child, Lisa, endured learning difficulties and experienced many seizures. She didn’t realize then that they were probably caused by the cardiac arrest and the lack of oxygen to her brain as a premature infant in the Neonatal Care Unit.

When recently Lisa had a computerized tomography (CT) scan that showed an abnormal brain, she laughed and said, “I know that already! Tell me something I don’t know!”

Lisa approaches her life with these thoughts. “Find the beautiful around you and stay calm.”

Come One! Come ALL! 

What:        Interview with Lisa Dryer, BI Survivor

Why:        Lisa will share her story of living with Brain Injury, MS – Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Epilepsy, and Sjögren’s syndrome and how she keeps a happy face.

Where:     Brain Injury Radio Network11 Lisa Dryer Survivor 1 060115 281536_2048711670666_4659924_n

When:       Sunday, June  7th, 2015

Time:         5:30p PT (6:30p MT, 7:30p CT, and 8:30p 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 USA

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.)

(Photo compliments of Lisa Dryer.)

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury Tony Giglio

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Tony Giglio

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!

 

bigstock-cartoon-face-vector-people-25671746-e1348136261718I suffered my traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a near-fatal car accident back in 2004. I live in the eastern Pennsylvania region. I have come a long way throughout the course of my recovery. (I’ve always been in healthy-athletic shape; I played sports up until my second year of college in Florida; I had a few serious relationships in the past; I graduated high school, Prep school, and college on time; I picked up driving fast again, etc.) Giglio, Tony

I still find myself facing the following challenges: balancing money in the best way every so often and seeking romance relationships with women. I’m a truly caring gentleman, and I live independently – in my own apartment. In the coming years, I’m looking to get married, while living a great life. I have recovered well, but I have also made mistakes in the past where I lost certain friends. But, the fact is that I learn and always move forward in a positive direction. I’m always happy and carefree. I learn better from my mistakes, even with my having a brain injury, than do non-brain-injured people.

Giglio, Tony 2Disclaimer: Any views and opinions of the Contributor are purely his/her own.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

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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

teacher-writing-clip-art-di6ap47i9

Michelle Lawson (survivor)…I just found out that I now have enough credits to substitute-teach. Woo Hoo! (I am so done with cafeteria work! Only two more days left.)

grad_6_28Hayley Nichols (survivor)…Hello! I wanted to let you know that I graduated this semester. After having my traumatic brain injury occur in November, I returned to school for my final semester. I had to finish my fall and spring classes at the same time. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Chemistry. I want you to know that a Facebook support-group helped me stay focused on my goals. I’m so happy to be done!

Cindy McFaden Samartino (caregiver)…I love the happiness when my salad_fullhusband is pleased with something he made in the kitchen. His TBI stole both his careers: chef and Marine. Tonight he created a veggie bean salad from his imagination. I just heard him hum to himself.

thTimothy Vanderhoef (survivor)…I had a great weekend. I fished most of the time, and I wasn’t around others much. I didn’t have to fake anything that way.

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.

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.

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SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . . . Domestic Violence in Women May Result in Brain Injury

Domestic Violence in Women May Result in Brain Injury

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Estimate: Every year, domestic violence gives 20 million women a TBI

Maria Garay Sojourner Center 060315

Maria Garay, CEO Sojourner Center Phoenix, Az

Newsboy thThe news media have made people aware of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in soldiers returning from war and in sports, especially football. But, no one has been tracking TBIs in domestic violence cases. Maria Garay, CEO of the Sojourner Center in Phoenix, Arizona, which is responsible for a new program to identify TBIs in victims of domestic violence, said of the failure to identify TBIs in abuse cases, “The fact that no one is tracking this is, to me, a crime.”

The number of victims of domestic violence with a TBI will dwarf military and sports-related TBIs combined. One estimate says 20 million abused women a year in the US will get a TBI. The Sojourner Center is initiating a program to identify TBIs in women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

Sojourner Center Maria Garay 060315

Sojourner Center Phoenix, Az

One issue is that shelters do not routinely test for a TBI, so one objective is to develop tools that allow shelter workers to routinely screen for TBIs. Another objective is to provide every victim who has a TBI with a treatment plan. Soldiers and athletes are often directed to a rehab center. Victims of domestic abuse with a TBI are not currently helped. The TBI may actually make it more difficult for a woman to leave because it may be difficult to find a job. Kim Gandy, president of the National Network To End Domestic Violence, warns that women who are known to have a TBI may be at a disadvantage in child custody cases. But, Kerri Walker, a coordinator for a women’s shelter and herself a victim of domestic violence said, “The one thing that abusers tell us over and over is that we are stupid. The relief factor for so many women is going to be unmeasurable.” (Full story)stop-domestic-violence

(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.

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.

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