TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for March, 2016

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit: . . . . . . Wanting A “Sound Mind,” 30-Year-Old Football Player Retires

Wanting A “Sound Mind,” 30-Year-Old Football Player Retires

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

husain_abdullah

Husain Abdullah – NFL Player

For seven years, Husain Abdullah played football in the National Football League (NFL), the premier professional football league in the United States. For four years, Abdullah, a safety, played with the Minnesota Vikings, and, for three years, he played with the Kansas City Chiefs. He graciously thanked both teams for allowing him to play. In the 2015 season, he had the fifth concussion of his career. While he was recovering, he thought about his many life-goals. Husain realized that he would need a “sound mind” to achieve his goals.

The research showing a link between the head trauma of football and the neurodegenerative disease CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is thought-provoking, and it has several players concerned. Even the NFL has admitted that there is a link between playing football and CTE, although the league later tried to downplay its comment. (CTE, originally known as “dementia pugilistica,” had only been seen in the brains of some boxers.

Dr. Bennet Omalu -

Dr. Bennet Omalu –

Dr. Bennet Omalu was the first to find the disease elsewhere – in a football player. Dr. Omalu renamed the disease “CTE.” Dr. Omalu’s discovery is the subject of the December 2015 movie Concussion, starring Will Smith. The real-life story is told in the PBS Frontline documentary, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis – available free online.)

Abdullah’s retirement follows other early retirements, most notably that of San Francisco 49er star rookie linebacker, Chris Borland, who cited the high risk of brain disease as his reason for retiring after playing only one year. Another rookie, Green Bay Packer wide receiver Adrian Coxson, retired after getting a severe concussion in practice and being told that the next hit might seriously affect his brain function or kill him.

Abdullah Husain - NFL Player

Abdullah Husain – NFL Player

It remains to be seen if Husain Abdullah’s retirement will be the last early retirement in the NFL due to football’s risk to the brain. (Full story)

 

(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 (intact) with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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

Feel free to “Like” my post.

 

So, Whaddya Think? . . . . . . . . . We Must All Be Advocates for Brain Injury Awareness

So, Whaddya Think?

We Must All Be Advocates for Brain Injury Awareness

by

Beth Kidd Koziol

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

so-whaddya-think-brain-th-4Having been a diehard NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) fan for 50+ years, I’ve seen fatal injuries, career-ending brain injuries, and loss of job, spouse, or self – just part of the damage a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause. Once NASCAR realized the need, it made major changes to the requirements of all safety gear used on the driver and to the inside and the outside of the car. Great strides have been made with “soft”

Hans Device

Hans Device for Racing

walls, the HANS (head and neck support) device, a five-point harness system, crush panels in the sides of the car, and so much more. Bobby Allison’s racing career was ended years ago due to a brain injury – before so many changes were made. It wasn’t until the sport lost Dale Earnhardt, Sr. in a horrific Daytona crash that NASCAR really took safety to a higher level. They are still working on safety.

Kidd Koziol, Beth Survivor 2

Beth Kidd Koziol – Brain Injury Survivor

The brain injury community also has a major need. I wish there were more people in schools talking to young children to make them more aware of TBI. (Most children now learn about TBI if they have it themselves.) We want the public to be exposed more to and to be more aware of TBI. The public needs to know how to best try to prevent TBI. The knowledge could also lessen the damage if something happens – a fall, an accident, or whatever might happen.

Racing Cars 1288639-nascar-002_06172006

Awareness is vital. I’m sure that, like me, many survivors have had much trouble getting family and friends to understand what TBI has done to the person. I’m so tired of hearing, “You look fine. You talk OK. It’s just an excuse.” (I’ve heard those very words so many times that I decided to withdraw contact with those who hurt me.) I want to socialize, to have fun, and to be who I am now (ten years later). Recently, a neurologist told me that, due to my brain injury, I’m very high risk for early dementia. This was the first time I’ve ever been told this! So, what are we doing about the problem?

We must all be advocates for brain injury awareness in whatever ways we can to try and make a difference.

Kidd Koziol, Beth Survivor 3

Beth Kidd Koziol – Brain Injury Survivor

So, Whaddya Think?

Let’s get a dialogue going. Post your comments in the Comment Section. Directions are below.

So . . . what do you think? Is there something you are passionate about in this Brain Injury (BI) world? Do you want to be heard? Your opinion matters! You can SPEAK OUT! on “So Whaddya Think?”

Simply send me your opinion, and I will format it for publication. Posts may be short, but please send no more than 500 words. Send to Neelyf@aol.com

I hope to HEAR from you soon.

As I say after each post:

Feel free to leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow Me Via eMail” on the right sidebar of your screen.anim0014-1_e0-1

If you like my blog, click the “Like” button under this post.

If you REALLY like my blog, share it intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it intact with your enemies. That works for me too!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor)

Brain Injury Resources . . . . . HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury

Happy Birthday to Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

happy-birthday.jpg

Happy Birthday to Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury Blog. We are two-years-old.

There are more than 400 articles published on Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury Blog, Happy-2nd-Birthdaywhich hopefully is helping brain injury survivors, their caregivers, families, and friends.

If you want to learn more “About Me and my Blog, click the link. Each category is described in a nutshell.

Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury Blog sends a million hugs to its participants, followers, and random readers. Everyone is invited to subscribe or drop in Million HUgs 184495anytime. Just click the “Follow Me” button in the right sidebar under the “Follow Me Via Email” category.

 

Contact me if:
You want to share an Itty-Bitty GIANT Step.
You want to share an Survivors SPEAK OUT! interview.
You want to share a Caregivers SPEAK OUT! interview.
You want to share a Faces of Brain Injury.

You want to share an “So, Whaddya Think?” opinion.
You want to write a Guest Blog article.
You want to share an ETC. ETC. etc. etc.

Please SHARE!

Survivingtraumaticbraininjury.com

 

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 intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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

Feel free to “Like” my post.

 

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photo compliments of contributor.)

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Ryan Stoltz

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Ryan Stoltz

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Stoltz, Ryan Survivor

Ryan Stoltz – Brain Injury Survivor

1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Ryan Stoltz

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

Eureka, California, USA     Ryan.Stoltz2014@gmail.com

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

My traumatic brain injury (TBI) happened on July 13, 1997. I was 17 years old.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

My TBI was caused by a car accident.

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

About six months

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

I was intubated at the scene. I was then given a trach (tracheostomy tube), a G-Tube (gastrostomy tube), and IVs.

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

I was in a coma for 23 days.

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 had occupational, speech, and physical therapies. The physical therapy was to relearn how to walk. I was in acute physical rehab for nine months.

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

I have problems with balance, memory, speech, and perception.

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

My life is dramatically much worse. I have no independence.

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

I miss being able to go out and about on my own – without assistance from anyone. I also miss having my own family.

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

I don’t enjoy anything because every day is a struggle.

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

I dislike not being able to accomplish the dreams and goals I had for myself.

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

I was helped by my support system at home (my family) and by my support systems at my job and my day program.

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

My relationships at home were not affected because my parents have been a great support for me.

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

Stoltz, Ryan 2 Survivor

Ryan Stoltz – Brain Injury Survivor

My social life was affected greatly because I can’t go anyplace or do anything on my own. All my friends have grown and were able to move on with their lives. I feel like I was left behind.

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

My parents have been my main caregivers. Yes, I do understand what it takes. They help me with all my needs and wants in my home life. I also have a respite worker who takes me out into the community to do the fun things I like to do.

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

I want to be a mentor to others by telling them my life-story from before my accident to my accident and then telling them how the accident has affected my life.

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 would like survivors to be more willing to hear both sides of the story.

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

Don’t get angry at your situation. Take life day by day.

If you’d like to learn more about Ryan, please check out his blog.

Didn’t Give Up: Your Life Can Change in a Minute

 

(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.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

 

As I say after each post:

Feel free to leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow Me Via eMail” on the right sidebar of your screen.anim0014-1_e0-1

If you like my blog, click the “Like” button under this post.

If you REALLY like my blog, share it intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it intact with your enemies. That works for me too!

 

blog: http://didntgiveup.wordpress.com

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” with Author, Jim Proebstle

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road”

with

Author, Jim Proebstle

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

images-1

 

Jim Proebstle, author of “Unintended Impact: One Athlete’s Journey From Concussions in Amateur Football to CTE Dementia,” tells the story of his older brother, Dick Proebstle, who didn’t get the fame and fortune of some NFL Football players, but did get the repercussions as he received countless head injuries while playing high school and college football.

Dick’s life went from the stars to an abyss over the course of 50 years. He lost so much without his knowing or understanding why. In fact, his children and family didn’t understand his decline either. Jim Proebstle 1It wasn’t until CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) came to the forefront when neuropathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu  discovered the disease in the autopsied brain of 50-year-old Mike Webster, a once-upon-a-time revered Pittsburgh Steeler whose life unexpectedly declined soon after retirement. This left Webster homeless and exhibiting abnormal behaviors. Soon after, the brains of many other deceased NFL players were examined and various degrees of (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) were also found. Dr. Omalu’s discovery began to open eyes of many other scientists and Boston University began a study. 89 of the 93 donated NFL player brains, were found to have CTE, which explained to the families the many bizarre behaviors their loved ones were exhibiting before they died.

Jim Proebstle Unintended Impact BookJim wrote his book, “Unintended Impact” to not only honor his brother, but also to  raise awareness of the dangers of all head injuries. Jim also authored two other books, “Fatal Incident” and “In the Absence of Honor.” You can find any of Jims’ books at amazon.com

If you missed this show with Jim Proebstle, author of “Unintended Impact: One Athlete’s Journey from Concussions in Amateur Football to CTE Dementia” on “Another Fork in the Road” on March 20th, 2016, don’t fret. You can listen to the archived show here. Click the link below.

To learn more about Jim Proebstle, please visit his website.

See you “On the Air!”

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” with author, Jim Proebstle

 

(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 intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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

Feel free to “Like” my post.

 

TBI Tales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Don’t Let What You Survived Bring You Down by Karen Bradley Williams

Don’t Let What You Survived Bring You Down

by

Karen Bradley Williams

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Williams, Karen Bradley SurvivorI am a three-time traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor (2007, 2010, and 2011). After my first one, I lost everything, including my husband, but I always had my mom. Now nine years post my first TBI, I am remarried to a wonderful man. He loves me, knows and understands my limitations, and treats me like a queen. I have gone back to college, and I am a nationwide certified pharmacy tech. I have real friends and a great life.

Don’t let what you have survived bring you down. Look at what you have made it through. Do not give up now. Your miracle is just around the corner.

 

(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:

Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.anim0014-1_e0-1

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the top right sidebar. (It’s nice to know there are readers out there.)

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.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

 

SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger . . . Ric Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Why You Should Tell Your Brain-Injury Story

Why You Should Tell Your Brain-Injury Story

by

Ric Johnson

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Boy Blogger thMarch is Brain Injury Awareness Month.  It’s said that brain injuries constitute an invisible and silent epidemic. Invisible? Yes, because most times we, “the walking wounded,” seem fine and because there isn’t a high-profile celebrity who is a spokesperson for brain injuries. Silent? Yes, again, because most of us prefer to blend in and don’t have a public forum to speak from.

Is it possible to stop having brain injuries called “silent” or “invisible”? Yes, it is. It’s all about educating the general public.

Let’s start first by explaining. What is the difference between a mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI)? According to my dictionary, “traumatic” means “shocking,” “devastating,” “alarming,” “distressing,” “terrifying,” “upsetting,” “wounding,” and even more adjectives. Which seems like there is no such thing as a “mild” or “moderate” traumatic brain injury. The only apparent difference is what caused the injury. A brain injury is a different kind of injury. We didn’t break our arm; we broke our brain. We didn’t remove a cast after eight weeks and get on with life; we needed to relearn, refocus, and re-navigate into our old lives if or when possible. There isn’t a 100% healing process – any person who had a brain injury still has a brain injury and is still recovering.

Concussion seems to be a brain injury that’s mentioned everywhere these days. That’s good – people are beginning to understand concussions. But, concussions are mainly (not always) from sports (football, skating, soccer, and skiing, to name a few). I probably had two concussions after getting hit by cars. I didn’t think I had a concussion at the time, but the more I think about it now, the more I believe I had a concussion from each. I didn’t have any major problems that I can think of, but the accidents happened many years ago.

Johnson, Richard la5-seQbctqTwXPuELQm7w3ZPSPra73-BTYsV2TzFrmHjlfsj8CAdfvj1wnfejETg2tSTJ4rfqDvOL9oMI_160CYm__3H82mWGki2QEVhZYz8ZLYhqad7IsWyOqj_li8nObQrOkqqzVt95fKknyW4oNd7A0fSkhYMnExzhzeBcwPbATtvzU5LI-TdmefuMcdZc7l959--u6H5aNYtBUCZmiCBS0BWSmt

Ric Johnson – Brain Injury Survivor

Traumatic brain injuries seem to be getting more attention as well. A TBI may seem as the most serious type of brain injury, but only because of the circumstance that caused the injury (a violent blow/jolt to the head or an object penetrating the skull). Most people think TBIs come from actions like bomb blasts, combat, violent shootings, or horrible car accidents. Well, falls are main causes of TBIs – falling down stairs, falling from a ladder, falling when attempting to cross the street, etc.

My injury happened when I fell from a ladder while cleaning the gutters on my house in October 2003. I spent one month in HCMC (Hennepin County Medical Center) in a medically induced coma. I needed craniotomy surgery to relieve swelling on my brain. I had many MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CAT (computerized tomography) scans, a feeding tube, a tracheotomy, a session in the hyperbaric chamber, etc.

After waking from my coma, I spent the next two months in two different hospitals to see what, if any, therapy would be necessary. I started with physical, occupational, and speech therapy sessions daily. In January 2004, I was released and was back at home. I wore a protective helmet until the bone flap was reinserted on my skull in February 2004. I continued with speech and occupational therapies at Courage Kenny (Center) from January to September 2004. I went back to my full-time job in October 2004.

Since then, I have become a member of the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance Speaker Bureau, and a facilitator for the Courage Kenny Brain Injury Support Group. It looks like I recovered nicely, but looks can be deceiving. It may seem like most survivors can go back to their pre-injury occupations. In fact, most survivors cannot.Typewriter 4C

So what can survivors do? They can become advocates for all survivors. Let the public know that a brain injury is perhaps the worst injury of all. It doesn’t just happen to one person; it happens to the entire family as well. Let the public know by telling your story.

 

Thank you, Ric Johnson.

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

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Ric Johnson)

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 (intact) with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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

Feel free to “Like” my post.

 

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Ventura Manzanares

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Ventura Manzanares

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Manzanares, Ventura Survivor 070515 1

Ventura Manzanares – Brain Injury Survivor

1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Ventura Manzanares

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

Denver, Colorado, USA     venzar2238@gmail.com

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

I was poisoned by carbon monoxide between the ages of 4 and 9. The poisoning was from low-level dosages over time (five winters in Colorado). The rest of the year, I often played in the basement – near the pile of coal. Coal dust has arsenic. Furthermore, the heat pipes were wrapped in asbestos paper. I remember that, when the furnace was hot, little silver specks would pop off into the air. So, I got a triple whammy – carbon monoxide gas, arsenic dust, and asbestos dust.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

When I was one month old, I was abandoned by my parents. I was raised by my step-grandmother. I was sometimes beaten and sent to the basement to shovel coal to warm the house.

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

All through school, I remember being on-edge, fighting, and having rage blackouts. My brain would “spin.” (When you drive down the road and look at the wheels of the car next to you, every once in awhile, you get a glimpse of the hubcap. That was how my brain functioned.) I didn’t know at the time that I had brain injury. After many years, I just ignored it and tried to fake it until it passed. My brain injury wasn’t diagnosed until 2010 – during a check-up when I was living in a homeless shelter in San Francisco. Then I found the carbonmonoxidesurvivor.com website.

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

I was never treated until 2011, fifty-nine years after I was poisoned. I was given an experimental drug – Depakote (a mood stabilizer) – for one year. It worked immediately and had a lasting effect. I still feel good to this day.

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

No, but at times I did fall asleep. I remember waking up on the dirt in the basement. I also had the most painful headaches – cluster headaches on the right side of my head. My headache would last for days and take days to go away. (Cluster headaches last for periods of time. They are among the most painful types of headache known. Typically, they occur on one side of the head.). The headaches lasted from my teens into my mid-30s. I lost my life – my wife and daughter and also jobs – from those days.

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 have gone to a psychologist for most of my adult life, but the carbon monoxide poisoning was never addressed. My therapy now is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) as well as binaural beats (non-musical sounds that can get your brain into a variety of desired states) and Hemi-Sync (an audio-guidance process that results in the left and right hemispheres working together) brain entertainment programs that I have installed on my smartphone. I can use them anytime I need throughout the day.

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

Tinnitus is a major issue in both ears – the ringing in each ear having a different frequency and volume. I suffer from throbbing and a sudden high-pitched ring that makes me deaf. I have to create a vacuum with my hands and pump out my ears to make it stop. I also experience nausea, dry heaves and a bubbling belly, and diarrhea – sometimes daily and several times a day. I get a feeling like I have an attached entity – like a heavy darkness – on the top of my head and on my face, throat, and chest. All these come in waves and last hours to days. I had always felt overwhelmed and stressed out. I could never keep a job for very long. Violence in my relationships and at work was my way of life.

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

As I’ve gotten older, I have eliminated as much stress as possible. But, my family (three ex-wives and two daughters) all hate me. In the 90s, I was a lot worse. I would wake up sick for hours at a time. It is not as bad now after the Depakote treatment.

Manzanares, Ventura Survivor 070515 3

Ventura Mazanares – Brain Injury Survivor

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

I missed out on everything. I don’t have many good memories of my childhood. I don’t remember Christmases, my birthdays, or Thanksgivings. School was a blur of time. I do remember getting beat up by bullies. My second marriage was horrible. I was out of control and violent. I was stressed to the maximum of my mind.

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

I like that I have gotten smarter and more calmed-down. I want to live now. Before, I just wanted to be dead. I’m happy for the first time in my life.

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

I dislike the tinnitus for sure. I get really tired of the throbbing and hearing the ringing. It wears me down. I also don’t like the nausea and the dry heaves, which have me gagging all the time.

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

Yes. It has helped to know what caused it – carbon monoxide gas. I’ve also been helped by the carbonmonoxidesurvivor.com website. I thought I was insane, and so did everyone else. I finally have a reason why I have had so many problems all my life. I was a bad person with a bad brain. But, I knew I was a good person. I just didn’t know how to do life, until now.

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

Yes. Everybody hates me. They won’t accept the truth about carbon monoxide poisoning. My family life is destroyed. I haven’t seen my youngest daughter for sixteen years.

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

I had no social life before because I was overwhelmed. I was like a leaf in the breeze – drifting and lost. Now I feel like getting out more. Also, I have met many wonderful, supportive people in the TBI (traumatic brain injury) networks on Facebook.

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

I have myself as a caregiver. I was employed as such when I was going to massage school in the early 90s. I did massage for twenty years. It gave some balance to my spinning brain.

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

I am in the process of writing a book about my life with TBI. I hope to enjoy my retirement and my pathetic social security money. Maybe I’ll be living on a friend’s ranch and be at peace.

Manzanares, Ventura Survivor 070515 2

Ventura Manzanares – Brain Injury Survivor

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.

Seek help immediately – no matter how little something may seem. Don’t take the “You’ll get over it” answer from anyone. You know what you need. Go get the answers, and save yourself.

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

Be gentle with yourself. Surround yourself with gentle, supportive people. It’s okay to do it alone sometimes. In not talking and dealing with others, we can hear ourselves. Go with your cravings – eat when you’re hungry and rest when you’re tired. Sometimes your body knows better than your mind.

 

(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.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

 

As I say after each post:

Feel free to leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Comment” below this post.

Please follow my blog. Click on “Follow Me Via eMail” on the right sidebar of your screen.anim0014-1_e0-1

If you like my blog, click the “Like” button under this post.

If you REALLY like my blog, share it intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it intact with your enemies. That works for me too!

Another Fork in the Road Reasonable, Responsible, & Realistic Resolutions

“Another Fork in the Road”

Fork in the Road copyThis category is an extension of my radio show, “Another Fork in the Road,” which airs at 5:30 pm (Pacific Time) on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month on the Brain Injury Radio Network. (See the “On The Air Show Menu” category for a list – with links – of all my shows, which are archived and thus always available.)

On the 1st Sunday of each month, I host a panel of brain injury survivors, caregivers, and/or professionals in the field. On these shows, my panelists and I examine topics pertaining to brain injury.

On the 3rd Sunday of each month, I host guests – brain-injury survivors, caregivers, or professionals in the field.

Since I spend countless hours in preparation for each show, I decided to share the knowledge that I gather with my readers.

 

Reasonable, Responsible, & Realistic Resolutions

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

blank list of resolutions on blackboard

New Year’s Day has passed. A new year is always a time of renewal – a time to look back on the past year and make positive commitments for the upcoming year. As humans, we seem to strive to improve, to make life better. The new year is a good time to correct old mistakes and to look to the future and make new plans.

I think this topic is appropriate now, as we look back on the past two months to determine if we are honoring our New Year’s resolutions. Did we, in fact, make reasonable, responsible, and realistic resolutions?

 It feels like the whirlwind of the holidays happened eons ago, and yet it’s just been two months. If you are like most of the population, you probably made resolutions on New Year’s Day – promises to yourselves that you would do something in your life to better it. In the days after the New Year’s celebration, you will see more people in the gym or running through the streets – maybe decked out in new running clothes to increase their motivation. You might hear folks talking about the new diet they are going to try to lose those unwanted pounds. Some folks vow to stop smoking or drinking, or at least they intend to cut down. Folks promise to take more time for family or friends, save money, travel more. new-years-resolutionsThe list goes on and on. Usually these resolutions are good intentions for the year that last maybe a week or two – perhaps even a month – but for whatever reason or reasons – time, lack of interest or motivation – many of these good intentions fall by the wayside.

Each new year, I usually make the resolution to exercise more. I start off okay, but not long after New Year’s Day is past, the motivation walking_girlstarts to wane. Lack of time, or more like “inability to properly manage time,” is a big factor for me. I seem to be always too busy with tons of projects, most of them involving writing. I work daily on my blog. I spend hours preparing my radio show. I’m writing articles for publication, and, of course, I have to write a lot of query letters to agents and publishers as I try to sell my book, “Prisoners Without Bars: A Caregiver’s Story.” It seems that the only things that ever get any exercise are my brain … and my fingers as they fly over the keyboard. Uh, did I say “fly”? I meant more like “stumble.” Most of my projects have deadlines – if not actual ones, then at least self-imposed ones. So, due to my over-commitments, this year I chose not to make any resolutions that I know I will not keep. Not keeping my resolutions only makes me feel like a failure, and that is not productive. I bet a lot of people fall into this category.

Folks with a brain injury are continually working to improve their lives, and New Year’s resolutions may seem even more important. Brain-injured people are used to taking small steps, but the temptation for New Year’s resolutions may be to try to do too much.

I’m going to discuss how to keep interest up and to make it possible to reach the goal of a reasonable, responsible, and realistic resolution.

DO YOU ENJOY YOUR GOAL?

Don’t have a goal you will never want to do. That’s a recipe for disaster. Is your resolution such a chore that you can easily find any excuse to NOT do it? If you’d rather clean toilets than complete your resolution, then perhaps you should reassess your resolution. toilet1I can pretty much guarantee that you will not be successful and that lack of success is certainly going to instill feelings of failure. I think a big part of being successful in keeping a resolution is to give the goal some thought first.

DECIDE HOW YOU WILL IMPLEMENT YOUR GOAL

If you want to get more sleep and go to bed earlier, then set an alarm for 30 minutes before your desired bedtime so you can start your sleep in bedbedtime preparations. If you want to always remember where your keys are, put a hook on the wall and ALWAYS hang your keys there. You will never have to search your home again for keys. Following a routine makes life easier. That goes for anything. Also, use available tools (calendar, Post-It notes, smart phone, etc.) to help you keep organized.

KEEP A TRACK RECORD

By keeping a record of your accomplishments, you are setting yourself up for success. You could keep a record in a journal-like notebook. journalSimply write the date at the top of the page, and write what you accomplished that day (e.g., Sit-ups – 5 minutes; Meditated – 10 minutes). You could also simply use a calendar dedicated just to your resolution and write your activity under each day that you do it. If you are computer savvy, you could keep a spreadsheet. Place the days in the left column; list the activities across the top. Then just put a checkmark in the box corresponding to day and activity. That would be the way I would do it.

I like to see my progress. It motivates me. I enjoy seeing how well I am doing – or NOT doing, so that I can readjust and improve. It may work for you too.

BE PATIENT – YOUR GOAL WILL NOT BE ACCOMPLISHED OVERNIGHT

Your success will not happen overnight. It will take time. You may even become lax at times, but don’t worry. The record keeping that we spoke of above will help to get you back on track.

Before his brain injury in 2005, my husband, David, used to do a half hour of his version of Tai Chi every morning. He’d run twenty miles each week, and he’d regularly lift small weights to strengthen weight_lifting_13his arms. He was fit and healthy. He exercised not only for his health, but also to leave the stress of his laboratory behind. David’s disabilities are all physical, including severely compromised balance, which makes him unable to run. He regrets this, but he has turned his attention to the treadmill – with its handrails – for exercise. He has also recently acquired a recumbent trike, which allows him to pedal away on his own with no danger of falling. None of this was possible when David first arrived home from the hospital. He was confined to wheelchair and bed. He could not even stand unassisted. It was a slow process – one that he has worked on over the past eleven years, but with small steps and small increments of exercise, he is gaining his strength and his independence.

So, no matter what your goal is, BE PATIENT. Reach for the stars, but remember, it will take time.

BE FLEXIBLE

If you choose a goal that you find is not appropriate – it’s too hard, it’s too easy, or you are not enjoying it – QUIT IT!

?????????????????????????????

It’s your life, and you can make the choices. Because you are a brain-injury survivor, I am sure there are many goals you would like to accomplish. Make new resolutions. (It doesn’t have to be a new year.) And, mix it up.

If you are not seeing the progress you want – for whatever reason, choose something else to work on. You can always come back and try again later. That’s why I encourage you to make reasonable and realistic resolutions. You want success to be imminent.

Once David tried a form of therapy on the recommendation of a friend who insisted that it helped her greatly, and, in fact, it did help her. David tried it for quite a long time and dedicated himself to it, but found it tedious and boring. He soon quit and set his sights on something more enjoyable that was not going to make him miserable. That’s where the flexibility comes in. Do what works for you.

TRY SOMETHING NEW

I mentioned earlier to “mix it up.” That’s not a bad idea for anyone. If boredom sets in, your chance of success will fall greatly. You won’t reach your proposed goal, and you will become disenchanted with the activity. The feelings of failure are right behind. So, don’t put yourself in that position. Make a new resolution, and try something different. It can be something different that is still familiar, or it can be something so different that you have never done it before.David on Recumbent Trike

I want to go back to the story of David’s recumbent trike. In his adult life, he never rode a bicycle. As I mentioned, his preferred method of exercise was to run. When that was no longer a viable exercise mode, he turned to a recumbent trike. That has changed his post-brain-injury life. Before the trike, David was unable to leave the house alone. Now he can leave whenever he wants to. He is able to go to the garage, get on his trike, ride for several hours, and return. (The only thing he cannot do is get off the trike anywhere else because his balance issues do not allow him to walk freely outdoors.) So, try something you have never done before. Maybe you always wanted to draw or paint. Do it.

HAVE A BUDDY FOR SUPPORT

You may want to exercise with a buddy. Exercise can be much easier with a friend. I much prefer walking and talking or treading water in the deep end of a pool and talking or rotating through the machines in the gym and talking. Are you seeing a pattern here? I find exercising with a friend much more enjoyable than exercising alone. No matter what your goal is, if you can do it with someone else, it makes the exercise easier. It also adds an element of accountability. If you have made plans with a friend, you are more likely to meet your goal.swimming

For most survivors with brain injury, life has drastically changed. The kinds of resolutions that you may have made before your brain injury are now more than likely impossible to attain. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t set goals that you can successfully achieve. The gym may be out of the question, but you can set aside some moments at home for leg lifts, small weights, push-ups, stepping-in-place, etc. You can do anything to keep your body fit.

Each brain injury is different. The disabilities that accompany each brain injury are wide and varied. For some folks, the injury entails only cognitive/learning disabilities or emotional issues. For others, the brain injury might include physical disabilities.

So basically, you want to assess what you can do to improve your life while not being miserable. You want to make resolutions that can fit into your lifestyle. You don’t want to set your goals so high that they cannot be achieved. But, if you set your goals too high, change them. Make your resolutions reasonable, responsible, and realistic. Most of all, make them FUN.

have_fun

 

Click here to listen to my show:

“Responsible Resolutions” on “Another Fork in the Road,” on the Brain Injury Radio Network.”

(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 intact it with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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

Feel free to “Like” my post

 

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” . . . . . Grief After Brain Injury

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road”

Grief After Brain Injury

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

images-1Grief is often an after effect of brain injury. It is experienced not only by the survivor, who may have lost his or her “old” self and is trying to adjust to his or her new world, but also by those who have frequent contact with the survivor. As we know, brain injury affects ALL members of the family, who are often the caregivers.

Lisabeth Mackall Book 061215

Lisabeth Mackall caregiver & author

Panelists, Sandra Williams (both survivor and caregiver), Dr. David Figurski (survivor), and Lisabeth Mackall (caregiver) joined me to discuss the topic of GRIEF. We examined the feelings of the family as they adjust to their loved one’s change, as well as discussed the stages of grief as outlined by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book entitled, “On Death and Dying.”

12200687_895719387130278_18176772_n

Sandra Williams survivor & caregiver

 

David

David Figurski survivor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you missed this show about “Grief After Brain Injury” with Lisabeth Mackall (caregiver), Sandra Williams (survivor and caregiver), and David Figurski (survivor) on March 6th, 2016, don’t fret. You can listen to the archived show here. Click the link below.

See you “On the Air!”

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” Grief After Brain Injury

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of guests.)

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 intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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

Feel free to “Like” my post.

Tag Cloud

The Care Factor

Loving someone with a Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain Injury Blog With Free TBI Information

Brain Injury Blog and Helpful Articles

Montclair Write Group

Writing Support Group

Brain Injury Support Group of Duluth-Extension

Brain Injury Information and SUPPORT

Women Worldwide Network

Women around the world share their incredible stories

Brain Aneurysm Global Insight

Brain Aneurysm, cerebral hemorrhaging, hemorrhage stroke

Motivational Coping & Healing

Rising Above the Hardships

catherinelanser.wordpress.com/

Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, and the Brain

Wrath of Violets

A retrospective documentary of my most inner thoughts: A success in the making

Karen DeBonis

Memoir and creative nonfiction

Surviving TBI

Learning how to survive with spouse's TBI

BQB Publishing

Tomorrow's Best Sellers Today

Knit Neutrality

Knit (Verb) | 'nit : to join together

Ten Thousand Days

The long and winding journey after loss

Wordcrafter9's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Tripambitions

It contains the world best places and things.

%d bloggers like this: