SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Amy Zellmer
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to publish your story and raise awareness for Brain Injury.
Amy Zellmer (survivor)
They say a picture says a thousand words. It’s been nineteen months since I fell on a patch of ice and landed full-force on the back of my skull. I suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) plus whiplash, torn muscles in my neck, shoulder, and chest, and I also dislocated my sternum. What the photo doesn’t show is how I wasn’t able to do any exercise – even mild – for the first year. Just walking around the grocery store was enough to leave me spent for the rest of the day – let alone carrying in the bags of groceries. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I lived pretty much in my bed or on the couch for over a year. I would do photography sessions a few times a week (because that’s my only form of income, and I had bills to pay) and pay the price for two days – icing my body and popping ibuprofen like it was candy. Even just six months ago, I couldn’t properly stand up straight – let alone do strength training. And let’s not forget about the horrible vertigo and balance issues that came with the TBI. But I finally decided that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! It was time to DO SOMETHING – anything! So I started doing yoga for 10-15 minutes a day. At first it was hard – really hard. I could do only very basic, simple stretching poses. I would hold onto a chair for any pose that required standing so that I didn’t lose my balance. But you know what? IT HELPED! It started me on a path to gaining back my strength and endurance.
AND NOW LOOK AT ME! I am working with a fab trainer. We are using weights and resistance to get my body back to pre-injury status. It feels so good to be able to walk standing fully upright, and have the strength to carry my groceries into the house. I feel absolutely amazing, and my symptoms are subsiding (the physical ones; the neurological ones are still present). I know it seems impossible when you’re in the darkest days after a TBI. I’ve completely been there. But, man, you take back control of your life when you finally start to step out of it and say, “F… Y.., TBI!” If I can do this, I know you can too!
(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)
(Photos compliments of contributor.)
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