TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

I Love the Person I’ve Become


Karen Dickerson



Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Girl Blogger cartoon_picture_of_girl_writingI had a somber moment yesterday as I, for the first time, heard my 9-1-1 call and saw photos of the scene of my accident. I didn’t know that on March 2nd, 2014, my life would be changed forever.

As all my friends are aware, I have a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a brain injury that will affect my life forever. I’ll never be the same person I once was. I still struggle daily with cognitive deficits and problems with memory, lights, sounds, fatigue, and headaches. I wrestle with irritability. Also, the left side of my body is weak. I spent the last year angry for what has happened to me. The struggles were so huge that I didn’t know how I’d ever survive daily life as a woman and single mother.

Next week, I have the opportunity to face the driver who caused this injury to my body and my life. I get the chance to tell that person everything I’ve gone through to get to where I am today. In writing my statement, I found it hard to look back and relive the hell I’ve been through and am still going through today.

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Karen Dickerson – TBI Survivor

However, in many ways, the accident also brought some positivity – the growth that I’ve had as a person, the strength it has given me, my faith to be stronger, and the opportunities to share my story with so many. Through the use of social media alone, I have shared my triumphs and failures all over the country.

I am trying to bring a voice to the small community in which I live, where there isn’t much help or support for this invisible injury. My brain injury has helped me to choose wisely whom I bring into my life and to let go of negative people, including those in my immediate family who did not understand or did not desire to educate themselves to help me.

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Karen Dickerson – TBI Survivor

I’ve asked why this had to happen to me. I thought that life was already difficult enough. It was hard to get on my feet after a tough childhood and an abusive marriage. Today, I know why. I am thankful for what I have – as little as it may be. I am especially grateful for all who I’ve worked for and fought for – my children and the loved ones close to my heart.

My accident could have been worse. My children might not have had a mother to take care of them; I would never have made new friendships and grown stronger relationships with the ones I had; and I would never have met my Okie.

I’m blessed to be here today. TBI or not, I love the person I’ve become because I’ve fought to become her.


Thank you, Karen Dickerson.

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

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Karen Dickerson)

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Comments on: "SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger Karen Dickerson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I Love the Person I’ve Become" (12)

  1. You must be so proud of yourself! What a journey but your spirit really shines through!


  2. happyfamilynymi said:

    You have always been a fighter! Proud of you and love you. LaRissa


    • LaRissa, what a lovely sentiment! I am sure that Karen will appreciate it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski


  3. Beautifully said and I totally felt every word Sis! WOW!!!


  4. lee staniland said:

    I love hearing these kinds of stories. To many of us fall into the POOR ME thing and you get NO WHERE! When it come to this injury, if you are not positive and strong you get run over and life is not pleasant. You are going to be fine in this NEW life. I am, and it has been 37 years. If you would ever like to talk my email is leechar101@gmail.com. Good wishing on our BI journey. We are survivors!


    • Lee, thanks for your “always” positive words. I am so grateful for my husband’s positive outlook on life. Though it stripped him of much of his former life, he is rebuilding and taking “Another Fork in the Road.” You’ve got to make lemonade.

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski


  5. Barbara Asby said:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Karen. Stay strong. Hugs.


    • Hi Barbara, thanks for reading and commenting on Karen’s guest blog post. I’m sure she will appreciate your words.

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski


  6. Karen Dickerson said:

    Thank you to those that have taken the time to read this blog. I have not had the easiest of a life suffering from anxiety and depression due to very difficult circumstances in my life as a child, teenager and wife to a very abusive man. When my accident happened I got through the speech difficulties, learned how to write my name again, walk straight etc, however, there were still issues lingering. I tried to push through it and go back to work only failing. My personality became rigid, outbursts, extremely sensitive to lights, sounds and smells. I almost began to think I was losing it after so many in my immediate circle thought I was just faking this. Why was it that lights were so bright, I could hear and smell things others couldn’t. Why wasn’t I remembering things to only hear jokes of “you’re just getting old”. I am 38 years old. I held down 2 jobs and a mother of 3 before this accident. I couldn’t even take care of myself and still struggle with executive functioning 2 years later. This past year I decided to prove others and myself wrong. It was time to take this negative and turn into a positive. I wasn’t going to be a quitter. I wasn’t going to let this take over my life. I decided to let go of those that had any doubt in me as a person. I decided to focus on every therapy session as dimeaning as it felt. I went from a medical background performing surgical measurements and a licensed realtor to matching shapes, sounds and objects and every day skills and functions we all take for granted as adults. Once I started forgetting what others said or how they made me feel and realizing that I better learn how to accept the new me after this TBI I began to make progress. I felt whole again. I still have my days of feeling not so smart and have learned coping skills to get through difficult situations. This is what being a Survivor is all about. I took control and learned how to embrace the new me.


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