TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for July, 2015

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . . Gel Helps Stem Cells Heal the Brain

Gel Helps Stem Cells Heal the Brain

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Newsboy thIn previous posts, I have highlighted new research that shows the amazing potential of stem cells to repair organs, including the brain. Exciting new research at the University of Toronto is bringing stem cell therapy closer to reality. Dr. Molly Shoichet and her colleagues showed that a gel, which they originally designed to support stem cells and help them grow, also enhances the ability of stem cells to heal an organ after transplantation. The gel then dissolves and is absorbed by the body. The experiment was conducted in mice (which is a good first model for humans). Specifically Dr. Shoichet’s team transplanted stem cell-gel complexes into the brains of mice with stroke. Within weeks, the treated mice began to improve their motor skills. (Full story)

[This post also directs the reader to several NewsBits.]

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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TBI Tales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . “Surprise” by Miki Mashburn-Bailey

“Surprise!”

by

Miki Mashburn-Bailey

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

072715 Mashburn-Bailey Miki CaregiverA couple of years after my husband’s accident, I bought flowers for myself and gave them to him to “surprise” me with. I told him that I was going to walk out of the room and come back in and that he needed to say, “Surprise!” and hand them to me.

My husband thought I was weird. Pre TBI, I really couldn’t have cared less about the flowers, but my husband lost his knack for surprising me every once in a while with kisses and hugs, knick-knacks and treats, or flowers. I needed him to see that it was important to me.

I went out of the room and came back in. My husband yelled so loud that it scared my son in the other room. He was very sarcastic, and he gave me the flowers without a smile. But, I smiled and told him, “Thank you!” I said that I loved the flowers.8iAEyGerT

I placed the flowers on the table. Every time I knew that my husband would notice, I would deliberately stop, smell them, and smile. He would always say, “You really like those flowers.” I would correct him and say, “I just like that they’re from you.” My husband became convinced that he bought those flowers for me.

Thus began my husband’s new “routine.” He has done things like this ever since. He likes the idea that he can make me smile. He used to all the time before his TBI, but he doesn’t have it in him post TBI. The thought that my husband can do it had to be placed back into his mind.

(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the author.)

If you have a story to share and would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please submit your TBI Tale to me at neelyf@aol.com. I will publish as many stories as I can.

As I say after each post:

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(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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

Gina Morin (caregiver for her ex-husband)

11698961_10200691336041375_5502012322701595071_oMy ex-husband’s accident was August 8, 2014. I am celebrating his first time to go out to eat at a restaurant. My prayer was answered that he could put the silverware to his mouth. Even picking up his food with his fork was amazing! He has come so far. 11141217_10200691335281356_1974107260734323069_nThe goal now is for us to get comfortable when transferring him from car to wheelchair and vice versa, so that his time in the nursing home is limited. It’s a taste of freedom for him. At some point, I want to bring him to my house for a weekend visit. But, he is two hours away, and he gets carsick. I’m going to talk to the doctor about that. For now, it has to be short rides in the car.

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

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Survivors SPEAK OUT! Hayley Nichols

Survivors  SPEAK OUT!  Hayley Nichols

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Hayley Nichols Survivor 0727151. What is your name? (last name optional)

Hayley Nichols

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

I live in Valparaiso, Indiana, USA. My accident occurred in Lafayette, Indiana.

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

I had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on November 16, 2014. I am 23 years old.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

Some background: I went home to Lafayette, Indiana, for my brother’s birthday dinner with my family on November 16. My brother does motocross as a hobby, and I had never been on a dirt bike before. So, that day I went for my first ride. We made it down the road, and then we wrecked. An eyewitness of our accident said that we were not speeding at all, but the bike started to teeter back and forth. My brother was able to dodge a mailbox. The bike then hit a drainpipe head in a ditch. The eyewitness said that the force propelled my brother and me ten to fifteen feet into the air. We were so high that we were in the tree branches before we landed on the ground.

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

As a result of our possible head traumas, my brother and I were rushed to two different hospitals. My mom told me that it was horrible to have us separated but that one hospital wouldn’t be able to handle us if we both needed emergency surgery for head trauma.

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

I did not have any emergency surgery the day of the accident. I did have surgery to repair my nose. I hit my face so hard that my nose was completely flattened.

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

I was not in a coma, but my mom told me I could only respond by moaning whenever a doctor or nurse performed a sternum rub. My mom told me that, after a few days went by, I was able to wiggle my toes and fingers. I was in the Intensive Care Unit for almost a week.

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 did rehab as an inpatient for about four weeks. I had occupational, physical, and speech therapies Monday through Friday. Once released from rehab, I had to continue therapy as an outpatient.

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

When we had our accident, I landed on the left side of my body, so my left knee is always painful. I am able to walk on my own, and I am even driving. But, I only drive down the road – I haven’t been on the interstate yet. When I was first released from rehab, I had trouble with depth perception. I still have trouble with balance. One of the biggest problems that have resulted from my TBI would be dealing with personality changes. (I become upset easily. I could be crying my eyes out over something someone said to me, then five minutes later, be completely happy.)

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

My life has changed tremendously. A good thing that has resulted from the accident is that my family is much closer. The worst thing that has happened to me is that my entire memory of my life has been erased. I am now able to remember things if someone triggers the memory by a song or by giving pieces of the event. It is honestly scary not to recognize people whom I have known my whole life and who have known me. It is frustrating not to recognize people from school. I hate not remembering things that have occurred in my own life. The only way for me to learn about my life is through pictures. Sometimes, I feel like a stranger in my own life.

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

I miss being able to run outside. I love to do activities outside – like playing kickball with my family or walking my dog. I also used to be a cheerleader and a ballroom dancer. I don’t see myself being able to do those things anytime soon.

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

I appreciate life. I do not allow little things to bother me or make me upset. I pay attention to the tone I use when I say things and to the words I choose. I have had people in a joking manner say, “Your accident was months ago. Isn’t that memory-excuse getting old?” They say it in a joking way, and, in the context of the situation, it was not a direct attack. But, it was hurtful. My TBI is a silent disorder, just like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), Alzheimer’s, depression, and so many others. I never want to offend anyone, so I have learned to be compassionate of anyone with any disorder.

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

Memory loss is the worst outcome of my TBI. Some days, I look through pictures and feel like I’m looking at a stranger – and the girl in the picture is me. It’s an odd feeling to have everyone around you know more about you than you do.

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

Honestly, what works for me is to have a positive attitude and to be able to rise above the negative things people say. I am also helped by reading blogs online to learn how other TBI survivors live everyday life. My family has been my motivation to keep going.

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

I live with my boyfriend, Travis, now that my family has allowed me to return to Valparaiso. He is my primary caregiver. He does everything for me. He is my whole world. He drives me to my doctors’ appointments, to therapy, and to school, and he even helps me with my homework. I would not be able to go back to school or even try to get back to a normal life without him. My mother and I are very close, and my accident brought us even closer. She helps me calm down when I get upset and frustrated. She is a great listener, even when I call to tell her the same story for the third time in the same day. My mother is a hospice nurse. Her background and experience working with patients who need her to do everything have helped her to help me. My mother has a positive attitude, even when I say I can’t do something. She says, “Not yet, but you can do….” She will then list all the things that I have learned to do again.

16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?Screenshot_2015-04-29-22-30-34-1-1

My friends are wonderful. But, I would love for them not to be so protective of me nor to change plans because they think that I can’t do something. I want to try and be normal like them. If I can’t do it, I just think, “I know they mean well. I think they need more time to get used to it all.”

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

My main caregiver is my boyfriend. I live with him, so he helps me get to school and to doctors’ appointments. Travis is my everything. He has made possible going back to living my old life. My mom is also my caregiver. She helps me with all of my doctors’ appointments and life-decisions. She and Travis work as a team to help me.

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

My future plans began with graduating in May from Purdue North Central with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. Ten years from now, I plan to attend veterinary school.

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.

Don’t become overwhelmed with your current state. Don’t be afraid of the future. No doctor has all the answers, so don’t become discouraged if he or she can’t understand your TBI. No TBI is the same. Have faith.

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

Talk to those around you. Education about TBI to those who don’t understand will help spread the knowledge. Also, not being afraid to explain your TBI will help those around you understand and help you.

(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 Hayley Nichols.)

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! On the Air with . . . Brain Injury Radio Show Menu “Another Fork in the Road”

On the Air

“Another Fork in the Road” Menu of Radio Shows

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

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Finding the show you are looking for is easy. Just scroll through the list of shows below. There are interviews with brain injury survivors and caregivers. There are shows with therapists and authors. Discussions of pertinent topics relating to brain injury are also included. I hope you find something that interests you.

If there is a topic that you would like me to address on my show, please send me an email at neelyf@aol.com. In the subject area, please write “On the Air” Topic.

                                                 

See you “On the Air”

October 6, 2019

Panelists: Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (caregiver) and David Figurski (survivor)
Topic: Coping with Physical Disabilities after Brain Injury

September 15, 2019

Guest: Alisa Marie (survivor)
Topic: How a Newfound Creativity in Art after Brain Injury Is Helping Her to Accept Her “New Normal”

September 1, 2019

Panelists: Deb Brandon (survivor) and Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (caregiver)
Topic: Self-Perception after Brain Injury

August 5, 2018

Panelist: Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (caregiver for her husband)
Topic: Avoid Caregiver Burnout – Caregivers Need Care Too

July 21, 2019

Guest: Lynn McLaughlin (survivor)
Topic: Her book (Steering Through It: Navigating Life, Threatening Illness Acceptance Survival and Healing) and Living with a Brain Injury

July 7, 2019

Panelist: Deb Brandon (survivor)
Topic: Cognitive Dysfunction after Brain Injury (Part 1 of 2)

June 16, 2019 

Panelist: Deb Brandon (survivor)
Topic: Fatigue after Brain Injury

June 2, 2019

Guest: Kayce Stevens Hughlett (psychotherapist and life coach)
Topic: Her new book, SoulStroller, and brain injury

NOTE: There is an interruption from minute 7 to minute 9 as I became aware that the live feed was not being heard. I continued the show, and it became available as an archived show. The link gives the show in full.

May 19, 2019

Guest: Carrie Collins-Fadell (Executive Director of the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona – BIAAZ)
Topic: Carrie Collins-Fadell discusses BIAAZ

May 5, 2019

Panelists: Deb Brandon (survivor) and Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (caregiver)


Topic: How to Handle Special Days after Brain Injury

April 21, 2019

(a repeat show originally broadcast on Sept. 16, 2018 – see below)

April 7, 2019  

Panelists: Deb Brandon (survivor) and Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (caregiver)
Topic: Support Groups After Brain Injury

March 17, 2019

Guest: Courtney Clark (survivor, motivational speaker, author)
Topic: Courtney Clark discusses her brain injury and her career as a motivational speaker

March 9, 2019

Interview of Donna: Brain Injury Radio Network host Lisa Dryer interviews Donna O’Donnell Figurski about her recently published book, Prisoners without Bars: A Caregiver’s Tale, which was released on November 1, 2018

March 3, 2019

(a repeat show originally broadcast on May 7, 2017 – see below)

February 17, 2019

Guest: Malissa Mallett (former caregiver for her son, Program Director of BIAAZ)
Topic: Malissa Mallett, Program Director of Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ), on Opioids

February 3, 2019

Panelist: Lisa Dryer (survivor)
Topic: What NOT to Say to a Brain Injury Survivor

January 20, 2019

Guest: Deb Brandon (survivor/author)
Topic: Brain Injury Survivor and Author – “But My Brain Had Other Ideas”

December 16, 2018

Guest: Robb Anthony Filippes (survivor)
Topic: Life after Brain Injury

December 2, 2018 (a repeat show originally broadcast on September 3, 2017)

Panel:
Cyndy Feasel (wife of NFL Center Grant Feasel, who died at 52 from the effects of CTE)
Mary Seau (sister of Hall of Fame NFL linebacker, Junior Seau, who had CTE and committed suicide at age 43)
Debra Pyka (mother of Joseph, who played football through high school, had CTE, and committed suicide at 24)
Topic: Youth Football and the Brain Disease CTE

November 18, 2018

Guest: Kuna Williams (survivor)
Topic: Life after Brain Injury

November 7, 2018

Radio interview (110718): Brain Injury Radio Network host Kim Jefferson Justus interviews Donna O’Donnell Figurski about her book, Prisoners without Bars: A Caregiver’s Tale, which was released on November 1, 2018

November 4, 2018

Panelists: Deb Brandon (survivor), Lisa Dryer (survivor), and Bob Millsap (caregiver)
Topic: Sensory Overload after Brain Injury

October 21, 2018

Guest: Julie Rake (meditation advocate, former fellow at Dr. Andrew Weil’s University
of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine)
Topic: Physician Assistant Speaking on Meditation

October 7, 2018

Panelist: Bob Millsap (caregiver)
Topic: What Is “New Normal” after Brain Injury?

 September 16, 2018

Guest: Su Meck (survivor)
Topic: Author of I Forgot to Remember: A Memoir of Amnesia

September 2, 2018    

Panelist: Lisa Dryer (survivor)
Topic: Survivor Needs – Caregiver Needs (from Each Other)

August 19, 2018

Guest: Carole Starr (survivor – author and speaker)
Topic: Living with a Brain Injury – Part 2/2 (Note: Part 1 was on May 20, 2018.)

August 5, 2018 

Panelist: Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (caregiver for her husband)
Topic: Avoid Caregiver Burnout – Caregivers Need Care Too  

July 15, 2018 

Guest: Jim Ledgewood (survivor)
Topic: Genesis of and Living with My Brain Injury

July 1, 2018

Panelist: Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (caregiver for her husband)
Topic: Dealing with Anger and Denial post Brain Injury (Part 4)
(Part 1 was the 030418 show.)

June 17, 2018

Guest: Grace (Fruit) Mauzy (former caregiver for her daughter)
Topic: Natural Paths Towards Healing

June 3, 2018 

Panelists: Lisa Dryer (survivor) and Bob Millsap (caregiver for his wife)
Topic: Dealing with Anger and Denial post Brain Injury (Part 3)
(Part 1 was the 030418 show.)

May 27, 2018

Interview of Donna O’Donnell Figurski by Jamie Crane-Mauzy of Life Gets Mo-Crazy on the Brain Injury Radio Network

May 20, 2018 

Guest: Carole Starr (survivor – author and speaker)

Topic: Living with a Brain Injury

May 6, 2018

Panelists: Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (caregiver for her husband)
Lisa Dryer (survivor)
Bob Millsap (caregiver for his wife)
Topic: Dealing with Anger and Denial post Brain Injury (Part 2)
(Part 1 was the 030418 show.)

April 15, 2018

Guest: Michelle Bartlett (survivor)
Topic: Living with a Brain Injury

March 4, 2018

Panelists: Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (caregiver for her husband),
Lisa Dryer (survivor), and Bob Millsap (caregiver for his wife)
Topic: Dealing with Anger and Denial post Brain Injury

February 18, 2018   

Guest: Heather Sivori Floyd (caregiver for her son)
Topic: Caring for TJ

February 4, 2018

Panelists: Lisabeth Mackall (caregiver for her husband) and
Grace (Fruit) Mauzy (caregiver for her daughter)
Topic: How to Help Your Hospitalized Survivor

January 21, 2018

Guest: Pattie Welek Hall (former caregiver for her son, author)
Topic: Her experience and her memoir, A Mother’s Dance: One Step Back, Two Steps Forward, Full Circle

January 7, 2018

Panelists: Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (caregiver for her husband) and Bob Millsap (caregiver for his wife)
Topic: Flooding and Brain Injury

December 17, 2017

Guests: Jason Westhoff (survivor) and his parents, Sheria and Darryl Eubanks
Topic: Survivor Jason Westhoff and His Parents Share Their Story

December 3, 2017

Panelist: Grace (Fruit) Mauzy (caregiver for her daughter)
Topic: Can Massage, Meditation, or Oils Help Brain Injury?

 Disclaimer: Neither the host or guest are medical practioners. The information shared in the show is what has worked for us. Please consult your physician.

(Time ran out before we could discuss Meditation. A new show with Fruit Mauzy is scheduled for May 6th, 2018. Hope to see you there.)

November 19, 2017

Guest: Jeff Sebell (survivor/author/speaker)
Topic: Jeff Sebell – Brain Injury Survivor & Author – “Learning to Live With Yourself After Brain Injury”

November 5, 2017

Panel: Juliet Madsen (survivor) with daughter Erin and Bob Millsap (caregiver for his wife) 
                                                                                                                                                Topic: How Do Children Deal with the Brain Injury of a Parent?

October 1, 2017

Panel:
Barbara Asby (survivor)
Lisabeth Mackall (caregiver for her husband)
Grace (Fruit) Mauzy (caregiver for her daughter)
Topic: Role Changes After Brain Injury

September 17, 2017

Guests: Richard Schooping (survivor/musician/author) and Cal Kalaf (caregiver)
Topic: Brain Injury from an HIV Infection

September 3, 2017    
 
Panel:
Cyndy Feasel (wife of NFL Center Grant Feasel, who died at 52 from the effects of CTE)
Mary Seau (sister of Hall of Fame NFL linebacker, Junior Seau, who had CTE and committed suicide at age 43)
Debra Pyka (mother of Joseph, who played football through high school, had CTE, and committed suicide at 24)
Topic: Youth Football and the Brain Disease CTE

August 20, 2017

Guest: Bonnie Nish (survivor/author)
Topic: Concussion and Mild Brain Injury

August 6, 2017   

Panel: Karen Dickerson and Juliet Madsen (survivors)
Topic: College After Brain Injury

July 16, 2017

Panel: GeorgeAnna Bell, Frank Mackall, Daniel Mollino (survivors), and Bob Millsap (caregiver)
Topic: Free-for-all Discussion on Brain Injury

July 2, 2017   

Panel: Dan Zimmerman (stroke survivor) and his partner, Lise Neer
Topic: Recumbent Trikes for Brain-injury Survivors – The Benefits of Adaptive Cycling

June 18, 2017 

Guest: Karen Leavitt (survivor/author)
Topic: Living with Brain Injury; her book, The Resilient Soul – stories by survivors of brain injury and caregivers

June 4, 2017   

Panel: Jamie Crane-Mauzy (professional skier/survivor) and her sister, Jænee
Topic: Recovering from Brain Injury

May 21, 2017

Guest: Cyndy Feasel (caregiver/NFL wife/author)
Topic: CTE: An Exorbitant Price to Pay

May 7, 2017   

Panel: Barbara Asby, Shelley Taylor, Taylor Trammell (survivors)
Topic: Anoxic Brain Injury

April 16, 2017 (repeat of December 18, 2016 show)

Guest: Freya Perry (survivor/artist)
Topic:  Art after Brain Injury

April 2, 2017          

Panel: Frank Mackall (survivor); Jeannette Davidson-Mayer and Bob Millsap (caregivers)
Topic: Roles of Caregivers After Brain Injury

March 19, 2017         (repeat of August 16, 2015 show)

Guest: George Visger (survivor and ex-NFL player)
Guest: Kendra Brittain (caregiver for her son who acquired a TBI at age 13 from football)
Topic:  Football and Brain Injury

March 5, 2017   

Panel: Cam Compton and Lisa Dryer (survivors)
Topic: Finding Purpose After Brain Injury

February 19, 2017  

Guest: Amy Zellmer (survivor/author)
Topic: Living with a Brain Injury

February 5, 2017        

Panel: Cam Compton and Frank Mackall (survivors)
Topic: Employment-related Challenges After Brain Injury

January 15, 2017    

Guest: Daniel (survivor and cross-country bicyclist) & Amber (wife and caregiver) Mollino
Topic: Living with Brain Injury and Advocacy for the Brain Injured

January 1, 2017

Guest: Craig Sicillia (survivor/owner and head of the Brain Injury Radio Network)
Topic: Expectations for the New Year

December 18, 2016

Guest: Freya Perry (Survivor/Artist)
Topic: Art after Brain Injury

December 4, 2016

Another Fork in the Road – It’s All About David – That’s Why I’m Here

November 20, 2016
Guest: Jamie Crane-Mauzy (champion freeskier and survivor)
Topic: Life after TBI
November 6, 2016
Panel: Lisa Dryer (survivor) and Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (caregiver)
Topic: Cognitive Disabilities After Brain Injury

October 16, 2016

Guests: Shelly Millsap (survivor, writer) and Bob Millsap (caregiver)
Topic: Meet the Millsaps

October 2, 2016

Panel: GeorgeAnna Bell (survivor), Lisa Dryer (survivor), and Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (caregiver)
Topic: Do Support-Groups Help After Brain Injury?

September 18, 2016   

Guests: David Grant (survivor, author, publisher) and Sarah Grant (caregiver, publisher) – Topic: TBI Hope and Inspiration

September 4, 2016

Panel: GeorgeAnna Bell (survivor), Lisa Dryer (survivor), and Daniel Mollino (survivor) Topic: Impulse vs. Logic After Brain Injury

August 21, 2016        

Guests: Raine Turner (caregiver) and her son, Ryan Pohle (survivor) – Topic: Mother and Son Talk About Brain Injury

August 7, 2016       

Panel: GeorgeAnna Bell (survivor), Juliet Madsen (survivor), and Mike Dalton (service-dog trainer) – Topic: Benefit of Service Animals After Brain Injury

July 27, 2016

Substitute host, Cam Compton Interviews Avi – Another Stroke Survivor

July 3, 2016  

Panel: Cam Compton, Juliet Madsen, and Chris Morris (survivors)
Topic: Recovery and Rehabilitation After Brain Injury

June 19, 2016      

Guests: Joel (caregiver) and Bart (survivor) Goldstein – Topic: Father and Son Tackle Brain Injury

June 5, 2016  

Panel: GeorgeAnna Bell (survivor) and Lisabeth Mackall (caregiver) – Topic: Cognitive and Memory Deficits

May 15, 2016 

Substitute hosts: Cam Compton and Lisa Dryer – Topic: MS Meets Stroke

May 1, 2016   

Panel: GeorgeAnna Bell (survivor) and Lisa Dryer (survivor) -Topic: Behavioral and Emotional Changes and Brain Injury

April 17, 2016  

Guest: Julie Kintz on Clubhouses for the Brain-Injured with Fly-By with Zachary Stilwell

April 3, 2016 

Panel: Lisa Dryer (survivor) and Julie Kintz (survivor) – Topic: Living and coping with PTSD

March 20, 2016    

Guest: Jim Proebstle, author of “Unintended Impact: One Athlete’s Journey from Concussions in Amateur Football to CTE Dementia” discusses his brother and CTE

March 6, 2016   

Panel: Lisabeth Mackall (caregiver), Sandra Williams (survivor and caregiver), and David Figurski (survivor) – Topic: Grief After Brain Injury

February 21, 2016

Guest: Jessica E. Taylor – Brain Injury Survivor & Author of “From Tragedy to Triumph: Journey Back from the Edge”

February 7, 2016 

Panel: Cam Compton and Lisa Dryer – Topic: Reasonable, Responsible, and Realistic Resolutions

January 17, 2016 

Guest: Ann Boriskie, survivor and award-winning director of the Brain Injury Peer Visitor Association

January 3, 2016

Show canceled due to illness – to be rescheduled

December 20, 2015    

Party Night with caregiver, Lisabeth Mackall and survivor, Daniel Mollino

December 6, 2015     

Panel: Lisa Dryer and Lisabeth Mackall – Topic: Holidays – Less Stress – More Fun

November 15, 2015  

Guest: Sandra Williams, survivor and caregiver for her sons, special education teacher and advocate for brain-injured students

November 1, 2015

Panel: Jeannette Davidson-Mayer and Lisa Dryer – Topic: Daily Living, Organization, and Brain Injury

October 18, 2015  

Guest: Kyle Turley, retired NFL player and musician talks about his life with brain disease
(postponed due to technical difficulties)
(Instead, I explained each category of my blog, survivingtraumaticbraininjury.com.)

October 4, 2015 

Panel: Melissa Cronin and Juliet Madsen – Topic: Depression

September 20, 2015 

Guest: Janiece Naber Martindale, a two-time caregiver – first for her husband, James, who eventually succumbed to MSA (multiple system atrophy), and then for an elderly friend

September 6, 2015

Panel: Lisabeth Mackall and Juliet Madsen – Topic: Where Have All My Friends Gone?

August 16, 2015

Guests:

George Visger, advocate for former and current football players, a San Francisco 49er who had to quit after two years in the NFL because of a brain injury (1st 40 minutes of show)

Kendra Brittain, mother of a son who had to quit sports because, at age 13, he sustained a brain injury from football (2nd 40 minutes of show)

August 2, 2015

Panel: Melissa Cronin and Juliet Madsen – Topic: Learning Accommodations After Brain Injury

July 19, 2015

Guest: Tatiana Puckett, young mother of three boys and caregiver for her husband, Joshua

July 5, 2015

Panel: Catherine Brubaker, Julie Kintz, and Juliet Madsen – Topic: All Disabilities Are Not Visible

June 21, 2015

Guest: Daniel Mollino, survivor and cross-country bicyclist

June 7, 2015

Guest: Lisa Dryer, survivor of brain injury, multiple sclerosis, lupus, epilepsy, and Sjögren’s syndrome

May 17, 2015

Guest: Juliet Madsen, survivor, troop, quilter, author

May 3, 2015

Guest: Lisabeth Mackall, caregiver, therapist, author

April 19, 2015

Guest: Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, caregiver and military spouse

April 11, 2015

Interview of Donna O’Donnell Figurski by Shannon Marie of the Brain Injury Radio Network

March 15, 2015

Guests: Joshua Puckett, survivor, and his wife, Tatiana

March 1, 2015

Guest: Deb Angus, survivor and author

February 15, 2015

Guests: Jamie and Crystal Fairles, survivors

February 1, 2015

Guests: Bob Calvert (radio host for US troops), Jeannette Davidson-Mayer (spouse of a brain-injured troop), and Juliet Madsen (brain-injured troop)

January 18, 2015 

Guest: Rosemary Rawlins, caregiver for her husband and author

January 4, 2015

Guest: Allan Bateman – Preventive and Rehabilitative Therapist

December 21, 2014

Guests: Catherine (Cat) Brubaker, TBI survivor, and Dan Zimmerman, stroke survivor Reflections on Triking Across America

December 7, 2014

Guest: Christian Jungersen, author of You Disappear

November 30, 2014

Co-host: Julie Kintz – Holiday Stressors

November 16, 2014

Guest: Melissa Cronin, survivor – author of Invisible Bruise in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering From Traumatic Brain Injuries

November 2, 2014

Guest: Dr. David Figurski, survivor – Segment 4 of Prisoners Without Bars: A Caregiver’s Story

October 5, 2014

Guest: Catherine (Cat) Brubaker, survivor – Triking Across America – diagonally

September 21, 2014

Segment 3 and Epilogue of Prisoners Without Bars: A Caregiver’s Story

September 7, 2014

Segment 2 of Prisoners Without Bars: A Caregiver’s Story

August 31, 2014

Co-host: Julie Kintz – Life Changes After TBI

August 4, 2014

Segment 1 of Prisoners Without Bars: A Caregiver’s Story

July 9, 2014

Interview of Donna O’Donnell Figurski by Kim Jefferson Justus of the Brain Injury Radio Network

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury Sissy Smith and Alan Gammon

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Sissy Smith and Alan Gammon

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!

bigstock-cartoon-face-vector-people-25671746-e1348136261718

It can happen to anyone, anytime, . . . and anywhere.

The Brain Trauma Foundation states that there are 5.3 million people in the United States living with some form of brain injury.

On “Faces of Brain Injury,” you will meet survivors living with brain injury. I hope that their stories will help you to understand the serious implications and complications of brain injury.

The stories on SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury are published with the permission of the survivor or designated caregiver.

If you would like your story to be published, please send a short account and two photos to me at neelyf@aol.com. I’d love to publish your story and raise awareness for Brain Injury.

11195554_823391991029685_760869837_nSissy Smith (survivor)

I had a wreck in October 2014. It was caused by a stroke, and I wasn’t responding when they cut me out. I was airlifted to a hospital. They stitched my head in four Smith, Sissy Survivor Hospital 072015places and gave me a trach (a tube inserted into a hole made in the trachea to ease breathing).Smith, Sissy Survivor Pre-Tbi 072015 I was in a coma. I had facial fractures and broken ribs. I also broke my shoulder. I was in the Intensive Care Unit for a month and in rehab two weeks. But, I am a survivor – a miracle. I am blessed!

Alan Gammon (survivor)


Gammon, Alan Survivor 1 072015
I was coming home when I came upon a 1991 Ford Ranger that was going off the road. The truck over-corrected, came across the road, and hit my pick-up truck head on.Gammon, Alan Survivor Vehicle 072015attachment-4

It took the emergency crew over 45 minutes to cut me out of my truck. The guy’s Ranger had hit me so hard that the dashboard pushed my feet through the floorboard, pinning me in. If I had had my seat belt on, the steering wheel would have crushed my chest. I was cut out of the car, and during this process, I died. My heart stopped three times between the accident and the Med-Flight to the hospital. My injuries included a leg broken in two places, a broken jaw, a broken arm, two ruptured lungs, and a grade-3 brain trauma. The doctors said I was in the deepest “survivable” coma. I was not expected to make it through the night or to wake at all. So, they ushered my family into my room with a chaplain. Due to a lot of hope, faith, and prayers, I woke up a week later in the Medical College of Virginia Neurological Intensive Care Unit and recovered to the best of my ability.

The driver of the Ford Ranger later admitted to an officer of having drunk twelve-fourteen beers that day while fishing on the river. The man was given a reckless-driving ticket, which was later reduced to “improper driving.” Because of his decision to drink and drive, I had to be cut out of my car by the jaws-of-life.Gammon, Alan, Survivor Hospital 072015 attachment-2-1

On that July 5th, I died, and ever since that day, I have woken as someone else. I am unable to work, and I have no short-term memory. Every day that I wake up is a totally different day – but all still a blessing.

To read the original article about Alan and see additional photos, go to Disabled Magazine.

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Disclaimer: Any views and opinions of the Contributors 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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Caregivers SPEAK OUT! Tatiana Puckett

Caregivers SPEAK OUT! – Tatiana Puckett

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Puckett, Tatiana Caregiver 1 0713151. What is your name? (last name optional)

Tatiana Puckett

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

Palmdale, California, USA     tatianamdiaz@yahoo.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?

The traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor is my spouse (Joshua). He was 31. Josh was assaulted late at night outside our apartment building.

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?

I began care on April 10, 2013, the day Josh left the hospital. I have always been his main caregiver. I was 30.Puckett, Tatiana & Josh 071315

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

I was caring for my two sons, and I was pregnant with the third.

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

I was employed but gradually had to go from full-time to part-time, which got me laid off from that position. My mother-in-law moved in with us, which allowed me to continue working and accept a new job.

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

My mother-in-law takes care of the boys almost around the clock since the date of the injury to now.

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

I began care as soon as Josh got home from the hospital.

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

No. Josh wasn’t in a coma, but he was given a lot of sedatives. Josh is very rebellious and antsy. You can’t tell him to sit still because, even prior to his TBI, he wouldn’t. Josh constantly tried to flee the hospital and the rehab center. I even had to go to the hospital one night in the middle of the night to convince him to stay. I drove between home and the hospital a lot, especially since the hospital didn’t allow children under 12 to visit. My mother-in-law and I had to take turns.

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?

Yes, Josh had inpatient rehab – occupational, speech, and physical therapies. It should have been a lot longer, but Josh managed to talk his way out of it in two days time. When Josh had rehab, I was right there with him.

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

I try to keep Josh calm, which can be difficult. It changes daily and can get really frustrating, but I do my best to keep aggression at bay.

Puckett, Tatiana & Josh 2 07131512. How has your life changed since you became a caregiver? Is it better? Is it worse?

It’s difficult. I feel guilty because I feel torn between work, the kids, and Josh. Josh requires a lot of my time. I feel like my kids are missing out on time with me because, when I’m not at work, I’m with Josh. And, sometimes when Josh needs me, I can’t help him because I need to spend time with my boys.

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

I miss being able to depend on my husband for everyday things. I have to parent with my mother-in-law instead of with my husband, which isn’t bad, but it’s not ideal. Josh can’t be around the kids too long because they overwhelm him. It’s hard.

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

I like watching Josh discover new aspects of his creativity. He has a newfound excitement for writing and painting, both of which have bloomed since his TBI.

15. What do you like least about brain injury?

I find Josh’s new personality to be overwhelming at times. He wants to share every poem, every drawing, and every thought with me, even when I just want a quiet moment.

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

Time. As time goes on, it gets easier, but some days are still really hard.

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

Like I mentioned above for question 12, I feel stretched in every direction. I did before as a working mom, but even more so now. I feel like, in a day, I end up with maybe two minutes to myself, but, once I get those minutes of silence, Josh needs me to listen to a song, a poem, etc. I’m happy for him, but, between work, handling home finances, kids, and him, it’s so tiring.

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

A little. I mean, maybe Josh and I go out a bit more. With his mom home, we get to go to open mics, so Josh can play music and read his poetry.

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

I’d like to say that we will own a home in ten years. We all need space, so this two-bedroom apartment isn’t cutting it.

Puckett, Tatiana Caregiver 2 07131520. What advice would you offer other caregivers of brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add? 

Give yourself and your TBIer some space. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. If you feel an argument starting, stay calm and, as calmly as possible, explain that you should both step away before emotions escalate out of control. Remember not to take things personally. It’s not you your survivor’s mad at. It’s a frustrating world, and it’s scary, and your survivor’s lashing out. Just keep calm and step away.

 

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.

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