TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for March, 2018

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Christine Durant

Survivors SPEAK OUT!  Christine Durant



Donna O’Donnell Figurski



28722393_1570405716328305_1310268133_n1. What is your name? (last name optional)

Christine Durant

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

Connecticut, USA

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

I was 21.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

Medical neglect

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

I did when I was 13.


Christine Durant – Brain Injury Survivor

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

Brain surgery

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

No coma

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 went to inpatient rehab for a week or so.


Christine Durant – Brain Injury Survivor

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

I have balance and visual memory issues and some difficulty with visual identification. I had a LARGE personality change that included explosive issues and lack of impulse control. I also had double vision.

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

The medical neglect caused excruciating neurological pain, but it stopped with my first brain surgery. I was a diagnostic educator. My issues made me better at what I dith-2d because I finished my undergraduate work like this and did all four of my graduate degrees with strategies I developed for myself. I believe I am better off.

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


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

My ability to see things differently than most folks

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

Lack of energy and visual memory issues

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


Christine Durant – Brain Injury Survivor and partner.

Meeting my wife and having a 25-year relationship … all post TBI

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

I am more sensitive to other people’s moods now. I can become what they are feeling.

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

Everyone who was my friend at that point is not a friend now. However, I chose better after my recent brain surgery because they all helped us through it.

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

I don’t really have a caregiver. I have a “care-partner.” We had an accident together twenty years ago. Someone was late for lunch and went over the yellow line – into us head-on. We help each other as life necessitates.

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

I would like to travel on the money from the accident while we still can. In ten years, I will be retirement age!Travel

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.

Know that you will adjust to your new personality. Find life-giving, happy people to get you there. I went home to my mother at 21. She was always an angry woman. I didn’t realize what a toll that was taking on me until I met my sweet, wonderful, happy wife.


Christine Durant – Brain Injury Survivor & partner

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

Give it time. Don’t be hard on yourself. Find a passion that you are able to do within the confines of your new body. My wife has a broken foot from the accident that can’t be fixed. She used to paint theatrical scenery for Broadway. She can’t do that from a wheelchair. So, she discovered she has a passion for pottery.


If you would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please go to TBI SPEAK OUT! Survivors Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury . . . . . . Gabee Snarr Wilcox (survivor)

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury

Gabee Snarr Wilcox (survivor)

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.


Gabee Snarr Wilcox (survivor)


Gabee Snarr Wilcox – brain injury survivor

When I was 16, I went through a windshield. Before that, I was the lead in every musical and captain of the dance team. My whole life changed in an instant. I ripped my liver in half; broke my leg, nose, ribs, and arm; suffered some minor flesh wounds; etc. But, nothing could compare to or prepare me for the TBI (traumatic brain injury) I also suffered.


Gabee Snarr Wilcox – brain injury survivor

I woke up a different person. My personality was completely different than the one I had before. I was having rage fits for no reason. The next two years would come with some new-found crippling anxiety and depression. I had no balance, and my memory was awful. (Still kinda is … Do not trust me with your keys, people!) I was confined to a wheelchair for about a year. I felt nothing but hopeless.

It seemed like I had lost everybody. The people who did stick around, I treated terribly. I was wallowing in my own self-pity … and I wanted to die. I felt like I would never live up to the person I had been. I didn’t think I would ever be able to go to college or find love. I thought suicide was the best solution. I planned my death, and I looked forward to it every day.

Then one day, I saw a dear friend of mine, who also had a TBI. Later, news broke that she had killed herself. My world changed that day. I started living for Hannah. I saw the potential she had, and I wanted to show her that I wasn’t going to let a stupid TBI take both of us down.

LaughingI started really trying at physical therapy. Instead of hating myself for my memory, my anxiety, my insomnia, and my depression, I learned to laugh at it. I stopped hating people because they didn’t understand, and I realized they were lucky they didn’t. I went to college, and I failed. So, I tried again, and I failed. I tried again, and I found joy and love in working hard in school. I passed a whole year. I proved every doctor, friend, and family-member wrong – they said I was too damaged. But, I did it!I Did It!


Gabee Snarr Wilcox – brain injury survivor

I took the jump and married the love of my life. I stopped putting my TBI first and started putting my happiness first. Today, I still have problems – headaches every day, anxiety, depression, insomnia, exhaustion … you name it! But, I push through and find myself every day.

It’s been a hard five years, but I wouldn’t change them. I’ve learned to be glad this happened to me – it’s made me stronger than I ever thought I could be. I commend everyone going through this – it’s hard! But, you can do anything. I truly believe that.


(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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