TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for August, 2015

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . “Concussion” Movie Based on True Story – (trailer)

“Concussion” Movie Based on True Story – (trailer)

starring Will Smith

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

newsboy-thAmerica loves football, but the National Football League (NFL) fears a new movie that will be released on December 25, 2015. Team owners in the NFL are already preparing their responses to the movie, “Concussion.”will-smith-concussion-01-600x350

There are a lot people who believe that football cannot survive, including George Visger, a former NFL defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers. His comments can be heard in my interview of him two weeks ago during my radio show, “Another Fork in the Road,” on the Brain Injury Radio Network. A rookie linebacker in the NFL resigned after one year of play over fear of brain injury. Already there is a 2.2% decline in participation in high school football, including an even higher rate of decline in Texas, which has led the nation in football players for two decades. One elementary school banned tackling and instituted flag football, to no objections. As more and more parents become aware of the risk of contact sports to the human brain (some will because of this movie), the rate of decline in youth football will increase, and the pool of talented NFL-bound athletes will get smaller. (Full story and trailer)

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury . . . . . . . . . Shanna Wolf Heart Powell

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Shanna Wolf Heart Powell

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.

Shanna Wolf Heart Powell (survivor)

Powell, Shanna Wolf Heart Survivor 062715 3This was me three years ago. I was in this truck when it flipped and rolled at 60 mph. I had a shattered face and a shattered shoulder. And, I spent some time in a coma. This was the final nail – the one that pushed my PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) into full mode and gave me a TBI (traumatic brain injury). I am not the same me. I am the “new” me. God chose me to still be here. I see it too many times – people are in wrecks and they don’t make it. Powell, Shanna Wolf Heart Survivor 062715 2My survival just makes me even more thankful. (I now make a horrible passenger, as every time the driver swerves, a car looks like it’s going to hit us, or it appears that it is not going to stop, I freak out.) I forget things a lot. I loose what I am saying in the middle of a conversation. I get flustered easily. I have many depressed days and cannot do all the things I used to. I panic for people when I see them getting flown by Care Flight (as I was a “passenger” once). All I can do is say, “God, please help them.”

One day, I had taken my boys to a hospital’s Emergency Room for something, and they wheeled a trauma patient past us. Covered in blood, she was badly hurt from an automobile accident. She was screaming, confused, and scared. They were taking her out to put her on Care Flight. I cried for her and panicked. That was one of the first-known PTSD triggers for me. I have no recollection of the wreck that almost killed me. But, I relived a horrible moment in my life through her. I could only imagine what it was like for me.

Those who care enough to read through my story will read this and then go on with life. But, I live this every day. My TBI (though not as bad as some, and for that I say, “Thank you, God”), my PTSD, and my bipolar disorder will never go away. So, I just have to live with them every day. I cannot do a simple task without issues. For example, I may not understand things when I go to places, like the cell phone store. I don’t understand how to put the airtime cards in my new phone. Instead of telling the clerk, “I have a TBI and don’t understand,” I just say, “Oh, OK.” 😦

Almost every day, something triggers my PTSD, and I fight to stay afloat. People say, “Get over it.” 😦 There is no getting over it! It’s not an easy battle, so please do not tell me to “get over it.” I have lost the memory of a lot of things in my life. I may forget things you just told me. I get confused to the point that I just say, “Forget it. If you try to explain any further, I will just get mad because I don’t get it.” And, I have no filter. I tend to say what I think. So, if I say something and it offends you, move along or unfriend me. It’s not personal.

Powell, Shanna Wolf Heart Survivor 062715 1So “Happy Three-Year Survival” to me! This is why I’m getting the “;” tattoo. And, my story is not over.

To those who think I am stupid and annoying, “Please don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.” And, to those who stayed by my side, stayed my friends, or have become my new friends – “Thank you! Love to all!”

(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.

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SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Guest Blogger: Sue Hannah “Different Path”

A Different Path

by

Sue Hannah

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Girl Blogger cartoon_picture_of_girl_writingMy traumatic-brain-injury story is different from some. I didn’t have a wonderful life that suddenly was transformed by tragedy. I had violence in my early life that forever changed me. Because no one spoke of my damage or the violence that caused it, decades passed until I was finally able to understand what had happened. In the meantime, I spent years painfully searching for an answer. I wanted to know why my handwriting was not only not neat, but how it seemed regressed to an age much earlier than my actual age. I sought to understand why spatial concepts were so difficult for me to comprehend. I yearned to know why colors and patterns made me sick to my stomach and why motion sickness affected me in vehicles, rides, and even something as gentle as a swing. After years of doctor visits, neuropsychological testing, therapists, alternative practitioners, and even nutritionists, I finally found an answer.

My first experience with vision therapy was helpful and did improve my handwriting, but it did not eliminate my issues. Syntonics (phototherapy) and prism glasses made huge differences in my life! My spatial orientation changed dramatically, my coordination improved, and even my tolerance for colors and patterns improved. I had no idea how powerful the visual system was or how Sue Hannahmuch of the brain was involved in causing my visual system to fully function. My traumatic brain injury (TBI) had done damage to areas of my visual system, which cascaded into my motor functioning as well as into my proprioception and tactile senses. Syntonics, or light therapy, gently and consistently shifted, and continues to shift, major obstacles for me. There are many optometrists in the US who do vision therapy, but I’d like to think mine is someone quite special. Her down-to-earth manner and genuine kindness radiate to her patients, as well as to her team of professionals in her office. Dr. Amy Thomas, located in Tucson, Arizona, has shown me amazing paths to my healing. She would never choose to take credit for healing anyone. She would, I believe, be willing to accept responsibility for helping patients heal themselves.

For the neuro-typical people of the world, let me say that few things are more annoying to lots of us with TBI than the following: “You don’t look like you’re brain damaged. You seem so normal. I know exactly how you feel.” Um, no you don’t! Everyone’s walk with TBI is a unique one, in my opinion. I had doctor after doctor tell me that my sensitivity was something I just needed to get over and deal with if I were to get along in life. My teeth still grate over that one! The reluctance of so much of our society to acknowledge sensitivity, neurological challenges, intensity, and deep emotions pains me. There are times for me when even sunlight can cause a round of irritability or other intense emotions. Medical professionals who discount the feelings and experiences of their patients are missing a huge amount of information that, if they allowed, could change their practices.

Hannah, Sue 2My life-path has not been easy, but it has caused me to not take little things for granted. I lost the ability to drive for a brief time, and, because of my new therapies, I am slowly getting my independence back. It’s interesting to note that as we get more reflective, we often begin to see what is most important to us. One of my strongest passions is to never give up. I was determined to find an answer to what happened to me and, even more so, to improve the quality of my day-to-day life. The second is one I continue to pursue. On days that seem filled with grief and loneliness, I remember that there are still wonderful people in the world. For me, these people have helped me to get up when I fall and to remember that tomorrow is another day.

To learn more about Sue, please visit her website/blog at Platypus Expressions.

Thank you, Sue Hannah.

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

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Sue Hannah)

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 is this week’s Itty-Bitty GIANT Step

Debbie M. Wilson (survivor)…I want you to know that there really is a pay-off for living, and I really did get there. I was able to go by myself and navigate public transportation alone for the first time in 24 years. I did not have a seizure-alert dog or a thcaregiver. I am more thrilled than anyone can possibly imagine! I had hoped, I had prayed, and I did dare to dream. My dream became a reality. I am not just seizure-free, but I now have the cognition to be safe, alone, for the first time. Miracles really do happen in this lifetime and in this world!

YOU did it!

Congratulations to contributor!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

As I say after each post:anim0014-1_e0-1

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! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury – Linda Wells

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Linda Wells

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.

Linda Wells (survivor)

2 565047_3919814115943_1697366413_nI am a brain-injury survivor of twenty-three years. I went through five years of intense speech and physical therapies. I could not walk or talk. Now I am a speaker for the Brain Injury Center of Ventura County, California. Our group started in a living room with me, my dear late husband, Rex, and six other people. I am very proud that last year there was an attendance of 300+ people. I work very hard to educate the community about traumatic brain injury. This year at our event, I will be receiving the Honoree Award for a Survivor. I often say, “One foot in front of the other.” I try very hard to do just that – to say, “I can, I will, I did.” I enjoy family, my friends, and my dog; and I have three great caregivers.

Also, I am now a watercolor artist.

4 Linda Wells 10960117_10203992863724065_7194897410358730162_o

10301184_10202793038249178_5470330639061493067_n5 Linda Wells6 Linda Wells 1604838_10201545679825997_791510895_n

(Artwork compliments of contributor. They are copyrighted and may only be used with express permission of Linda Wells. )

Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury Chelsea Rolph

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury

Chelsea Rolph

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.

Chelsea Rolph (survivor)

Chelsea Rolph 3 Survivor 061415Four summers ago, I did not know what I was going to do after leaving high school. I had suffered multiple concussions, and I spent my summer in concussion rehab. I was sent for a test or results at least once a week. I had a neuropsychological exam. It was a full, exhausting day of random tests. The results of this exam really gave me some answers. Essentially the doctors were telling me that I have a lot of problem areas. If I decided to go to school, I would need:
– a note-taker
– a private room for exams
– extra time for exams
– take-home, open-book exams, if possible
– formulas for any possible math classes
– extended time for assignments
– to be given assignments right away
– exam reviews from the profs
– the use of a computer

I had a lot of problems, and I needed a lot of help. The doctor told me that, because I was trying to choose between college and university, I should choose college. I was told that college is more hands-on, but it was suggested that I take time off and not even consider going to school. I decided that I would go to McMaster University and see if I can get the accommodations. When I sat down with one of the guidance counselors, I was told that they have had people with my problems before. The counselor suggested that I take one, maybe two, classes a semester. Basically I left that meeting feeling discouraged. I didn’t think I would be going to school at all.Chelsea Rolph 1 Survivor 061415

As the school year approached and I had to make a final decision on school, I decided that I was going to go to school. I decided that I wanted to prove everybody wrong.

Four years later, I GRADUATED! I did it without the help of any doctors and without any accommodations from Mac. It wasn’t easy, but I walked across that stage and became an official “Graduate of 2015.”

Chelsea Rolph 2 Survivor 061415I would like to thank everybody that made it possible, and I want to thank everybody I have met along the way to make these past four years some of the most memorable. Among the Vanier Cup win in first year, Homecoming, meeting the love of my life, beer pong Tuesday, and even a flash mob, I have made some unforgettable memories.

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! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury Erin Lea Beville & Evelyn Pumarejo-Justiniano

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury

Erin Lea Beville & Evelyn Pumarejo-Justiniano

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.

A special shout out to two special nurses.nurse_0515-0911-1420-0746_SMU

Breville, Erin LeaErin Lea Beville (survivor)

I’m a sixteen-year survivor. I got my bachelor’s degree in nursing from Florida State University in May (2014) and my RN license last October. Having a traumatic brain injury (TBI), I needed a bit of rest following the hell that is nursing school. I was fried!

I recently started a job as an Integrated Health Wellness Coach and Peer Support Specialist at Community Mental Health. It’s perfect because they want me to share my story and pay me for it. My brain injury is finally an asset rather than a liability. So, hooray for patience, Breville, Erin Lea & nieceperseverance, and determination! I’ve done it – not in spite of my TBI, but because of it. Together, we can be the difference, for each other and for others. Go out there and inspire people. Be the person only you can be – yourself. Then own it. You rock!

Evelyn Pumarejo-Justiniano 2 Survivor 082315Evelyn Pumarejo-Justiniano (survivor)

I suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) almost twenty years ago. I had to learn how to walk and talk and to relearn the basic things we take for granted in life. Yet, I feel I am blessed. I overcame all the obstacles and unforeseen Evelyn Pumarejo-Justiniano Survivor2 082431jpgcircumstances put in my life. I returned to school after my injury and had a GPA of 3.79 in nursing school. Today I am a nurse – going on a year now. I am planning to go for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing. And, I thank God for my good husband, who has been by my side the past 29 years.

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

Tag Cloud

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