TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for July, 2016

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 Steps

 

Janice Tindle - Survivor

Janice Tindle – Survivor

Janice Tindle (survivor)…My accomplishment is getting published after my TBI (traumatic brain injury). I have a blog (janicetindle.com), where you’ll find all my links. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I’ve been published in Caregiver magazine, Fearless Caregiver, and TBI Hope and Inspiration magazine. I’m also a contributor to TheMighty.com. I raise awareness about TBI and dystonia (a neurological movement disorder). I recently won the 1pg. Short Screenplay Contest. My entry, entitled Galicia’s Granite, was performed at the Novel Writing Festival. It’s on YouTube. I just fought two spam sites and got them to remove my article, 7 Ways to Support a Loved One with a Traumatic Brain Injury, off their sites. kids-hand-writing-clip-art-hand_with_pencil_5CAnnie Ricketts has it posted (with my permission) on her site, biglobalpicnic.org. I’m very proud of that article. I’m working on a several books and hope to become a PAID writer very soon!

 

 

Raine Turner - Caregiver & Author

Raine Turner – Caregiver & Author

Raine Turner (caregiver)…I am going to brag – big huge momma brag! My son [my brain-injured son, who was not supposed to survive, never mind thrive; my drug-dealing son, with a federal criminal record; my son, who is now at the University of Calgary studying a dual degree in Business and Actuarial Science (I said I was going to brag) and getting 80s (yes, on a reduced course load and with tutors)] is thriving against all odds. congrats-you-did-itThis same young man was actually the KEYNOTE speaker at the Brain Injury conference in Ottawa, which is supported by the federal government! So, if you think you cannot achieve, cannot fight, or cannot rise up to be at a higher level than the one on which you are at, you should put on your “big boy” or “big girl” underpants and work hard. You WILL rise up to be at a level higher than the one you are at now. It will not be easy; it will not be fun; but you will improve your life. If you need, I can always “kick your ass” to achieve more, as I did for my son! I am so excited; I am so proud of him! He has worked so hard for so long. My son is my HERO!

Raine Turner, the author of “Only Son… Only Child,” will be a guest on my show, “Another Fork in the Road” on Sunday, August 21, 2016, at 5:30pm Pacific Time, with her son, Ryan. I hope you will join us.

 

Matthew Vickers - Survivor

Matthew Vickers – Survivor

 

Matthew Vickers (survivor)…A huge feat for a traumatic brain injury survivor tubshower11who can’t walk or stand and only has the use of his right arm and hand … For consecutive weeks, I have independently showered, and that includes completing all necessary transfers.

 

 

YOU did it!

Congratulations to contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributors.)

 

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.

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SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger . . . David A. Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . . You Gave Me the Life I Was Destined to Have

You Gave Me the Life I Was Destined to Have

by

David A. Grant

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Boy Blogger thI’ve been thinking about you again and wondering how life has been treating you.

Last night, Sarah and I were at the high school. We went to watch fireworks.

Like we do most every year, we set up our blanket, then walked the oval track for a couple of laps. It’s a great place to people-watch.

The bleachers caught my eye as I looked up to one of the top rows – to where I was sitting when I saw you graduate.

David A. Grant - Brain Injury Survivor & Author

David A. Grant – Brain Injury Survivor & Author

You had no idea I was there at your graduation. How could you?

Except for the day we met shortly after the accident, we’ve not seen each other.

One of our own kids graduated the same day that you did. It was just another of those “chance meetings” that have too often come to pass.

I never expected to hear your name on the loudspeaker that graduation day.

Nor did I know how deeply my PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) ran as I fell into my seat, unable to even stand for the rest of the ceremony.

A while back, I wrote that if I had the chance, I might just thank you for changing the very course of my life.

Today, I would most likely not thank you.

fireworks-animatedBut I need to be very clear, I am not angry, nor do I hold any resentment. To hold bitterness in my heart is to allow myself to be run over again and again – every day that I breathe.

Life is just too short.

Sometimes things just happen.

Sometimes newly-licensed teenage drivers run over cyclists. We both know that better than most.

It’s a safe bet to say that you did not plan your day by saying, “By today’s end, I’ll have T-boned a local cyclist.”onbicycle

It’s weird and hard to put into words – even for a guy like me, but I am living the life I was destined to live.

You just played a small, rather impactful part.

Kind of like a long line of falling dominoes, you knocked over the first domino when you struck me that cold November day back in 2010.

And from there, that line of dominoes has continued to fall. It’s circled the globe a few times … and, one-by-one, the dominoes fall.Dominoes

While I can’t thank you for hitting me that fated day, I can now see that it was unavoidable. It was destined to happen.

Over the years, I have come to realize that I have lost my life. I spend a lot of time living for others.

A few years ago, I was able to find you on Facebook. You were in college then.

Lest we forget, you were only sixteen when we first met.

You looked like a typical college kid – happy, clean cut, smiling … ready to embrace your future and all the promise that it holds.

I looked for you again today. Not in a creepy kind of way – more so, just to see how you are.

After a few minutes, I gave up. You were nowhere to be found.

I suppose that’s best.

You most likely don’t wonder about “that guy” that you hit while you were still a kid, but occasionally he thinks about you.

I have no need to forgive you as I never condemned you. Funny how that works.

If Fate saw our paths cross again, I would most likely not let you know who I was. No greater good would be served by it.

But here, in the faux anonymity that comes with today’s world, I wish you well … and I wish you happiness.

Peace.

About David A. Grant

David A. Grant 2 101115

David A. Grant – Brain Injury Survivor & Author

David A. Grant is a freelance writer, keynote speaker and traumatic brain injury survivor based out of southern New Hampshire. He is the author of “Metamorphosis, Surviving Brain Injury,” a book that chronicles in exquisite detail the first year-and-a-half of his new life as a brain injury survivor. His newest title, “Slices of Life after Traumatic Brain Injury,” was released in 2015.

David is also a contributing author to “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries.” As a survivor of a cycling accident in 2010, he shares his experience and hope though advocacy work including a public speaking as well as his weekly brain injury blog.

David is a regular contributing writer to Brainline.org, a PBS sponsored website. He is also a BIANH board member as well as a columnist in HEADWAY, the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire’s periodic newsletter.

David is the founder of TBI Hope and Inspiration, a Facebook community with over 15,000 members including survivors, family members, caregivers as well as members of the medical and professional community as well as the publisher of “TBI Hope and Inspiration Magazine.”

 

Thank you, David A. Grant.

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

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of David A. Grant.)

 

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.

Caregivers SPEAK OUT! . . . . . Ian Lees

Caregivers  SPEAK OUT!  Ian Lees

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

 

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

Ian Lees

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

Tipp City, Ohio, USA

e99290a9147c6b8d6ef54bc0694e98853. 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 survivor is my wife. Her brain injury happened on July 5, 2005, the date of the accident. We were rear-ended in a motor vehicle accident.

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?

My care began on July 5, 2005. Yes, I am the main caregiver. I have been since the accident.

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

No

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

Yes, and I still work.

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

I had no help really from anyone who lives close by.

husband-and-wife-hi8. When did your support of the survivor begin (e.g., immediately – in the hospital; when the survivor returned home; etc.)?

My support began the day of the accident.

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

No

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?k20116138

Yes, my wife did rehab for a while. She did occupational, speech, and physical therapies. I took her to rehab twice a week.

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

I take her for everything. She hasn’t worked or driven a car since 2005, contrary to the doctor’s point of view.

12. How has your life changed since you became a caregiver? Is it better? Is it worse?

My life hasn’t gotten worse. My wife has no real social life outside of me or unless she visits her family. She has depression and other issues.

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

I miss lots of things. The list is long.check-list-hi

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

I am in school for neuroscience and psychology because the doctors don’t have answers or don’t have the honesty to tell the truth. I read lots. I have spent most of my time reading books and studying. I am always looking for answers. My wife and I do cook together and have outings.

15. What do you like least about brain injury?

I don’t like how the brain injury has left my wife mentally. She is not on most medications because they have side effects we don’t care for.

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

My reading and going to school have helped. It was either divorce or find ways to take care of my wife. So, why not make a life and career out of this – and take care of her?

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

Yes. In many ways

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

(No answer)

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

My plans are to get a degree and hopefully to help others get a better understanding of what to expect and what not to expect. There are dos and don’ts. I am a veteran and would like to help them, as well as others.

th-120. What advice would you offer other caregivers of brain-injury survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

Suggestions: educate yourself as much as you can, and don’t always believe what you hear or read without checking other resources. There is a long road ahead, and it will keep you busy. For me, the more I read, the better I understand. It has cut down on arguments and fights. When you live with TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), you see life from a whole different perspective.caring-for-the-caregiver

 

(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 SPEAK OUT! Caregiver Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.

(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!

Feel free to “Like” my post.

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 Steps

 

Brown, Rebekah Survivor

Rebekah Brown – Survivor

Rebekah Brown (survivor), as told by her caregiver mother…I am really excited! After over two years of not eating, Rebekah is interested in food. I have been able to feed her orally with a pouch of yogurt for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She opens her mouth for it and sucks it out. Previously, she would bat food away whenever we would put it into her mouth. Now she actually wants it and is participating in feeding!

My heart is exploding for her and what all this opens up for her. All this began the day BEFORE she started stem-cell therapy.

Rebekah Brown - Survivor - 1st time eating in 2-years

Rebekah Brown – Survivor – 1st time eating in 2-years

 

This is significant because it shows the benefits coming from HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy). (Why is this not covered by insurance?) Thank you to everyone who has supported Rebekah, prayed for her, and contributed to her rehabilitation. It is working!

 

YOU did it!

Congratulations to contributors!

(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 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.

Donna Writes – Author at Work

Never take my pen away!

kids-hand-writing-clip-art-writing10

Mar. 2017

To Support-group or NOT TO Support-group After Brain Injury
Differently Abled online magazine

Feb. 2017

Changes After Brain Injury
TBI Hope & Inspiration online magazine

Feb. 2017

Changes After Brain Injury Part 2 Caregivers
Blog on Brain Injury
Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc.

Jan. 2017

Changes After Brain Injury Part 1
Blog on Brain Injury
Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc.

Jan. 2017

Reaching Your New Year’s Goals
TBI Hope & Inspiration online magazine

Sep. 2016

Behavioral and Emotional Changes After Brain Injury
Differently Abled online magazine

Jul. 2016

Living Nightmare – TBI
in The Resilient Soul
David Grant Publishing

Jul. 2016

Coping – An Energizer-Ostrich
Blog on Brain Injury
Lash & Associates Publishing, Inc.

Jul. 2016  

An Energizer Ostrich
TBI Hope & Inspiration online magazine

Jul. 2016 

Coping – An Energizer-Ostrich
Differently Abled online magazine

Jun. 2016       

Montclair Write Group Sampler, 2016
“In Other Words” (Page 48)
Strange Worlds Publishing

Mar. 2016 

Reasonable, Responsible, and Realistic Resolutions After TBI
Blog on Brain Injury
Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc.

Mar. 2016 

Reasonable, Responsible, and Realistic Resolutions
Differently Abled online magazine

Dec. 2015  

Surviving Holiday Stress
TBI Hope & Inspiration online magazine

Dec. 2015 

Brain Injury: Surviving Holiday Stress
Differently Abled online magazine

Dec. 2015

Holiday Stress and Brain Injury
Blog on Brain Injury
Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc.

Aug. 2014

Montclair Write Group Sampler, 2014
Colorful Roommate” (Page 26)
Strange Worlds Publishing

Jun. 2014 

Prisoner Without Bars; Living With a Traumatic Brain Injury
Differently Abled online magazine

Mar. 2000 

Miss Emma Gets Her Way – Take-Home Practice Readers Book – 3rd Grade
Scholastic Literacy Place, Scholastic, Inc.

Mar. 2000

A Star Wish –Take-Home Practice Readers Book – 3rd Grade
Scholastic Literacy Place, Scholastic, Inc.

Mar. 2000

Never Going to Grow Up –Take-Home Practice Readers Book – 4th Grade
Scholastic Literacy Place, Scholastic, Inc.

Mar. 2000    

The Legend of the Silver Birch –Take-Home Practice Readers Book – 5th Grade
Scholastic Literacy Place, Scholastic, Inc.

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury . . . . . . . . Michael J. Kline – Survivor

SPEAK OUT!

Michael J. Kline – Survivor

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Kline, Michael Survivor

I am a traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor. On November 18th, 2011, I fell from a standing position. I had a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage, midline brain sheering, contusions, and a 3.5 cm skull fracture. I am happy and lucky to say that “I have made it.” I used many tools to help me focus on recovery, such as coin collecting, photography, metal detecting, and others. After eight months, I returned back to full-time duty as a firefighter. I also published a book, called “My Fall to Life,” that tells the story of my injury. My Fall to LifeMy injury resulted in 100% loss of taste and smell and other lingering effects. I don’t allow that to bring me down, and I am proud to say that, when all is said and done, my injury has helped me to become a better person by refocusing on life and never taking a day for granted. Recovery from brain injury has its challenges, but with motivation and a positive attitude, there is no path that I am afraid of.

 

To learn more about Michael J. Kline, please see his book, “My Fall To Life: Life After a Traumatic Brain Injury.”

Thank you Michael J. Kline for sharing your story.

 

(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 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.

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury . . . . . . . . Freya Perry – Survivor & Artist

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury

Freya Perry

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 Brain Injury is NOT Discriminating!

bigstock-cartoon-face-vector-people-25671746-e1348136261718It 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.

2 Perry, Freya

Freya Perry – Brain Injury Survivor & Artist

Freya Perry (survivor)

3 Perry, Freya

Ceramic Tiles by Freya Perry – Brain Injury Survivor & Artist

I thought my life as I knew it had ended five months after my TBI (traumatic brain injury). Ten months after my TBI, I got into painting as therapy. Now, eighteen months after my TBI, I have a small art studio and love painting. And people are loving my art!

Life is good.

I still have sensory-overload situations, but I am living with it – I am still recovering. Most importantly, I love me and my new life in a way I never thought could be possible.

 

To learn more about Freya Perry, please visit her website, Freya Perry.

Thank you Freya Perry for sharing your story.

 

(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 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.

 

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