TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Archive for the ‘Faces of Brain Injury’ Category

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury . . . . . . Christine Durant (survivor)

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury

Christine Durant (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.

 

Christine Durant (survivor)

Christine Durant Survivor 040817

Christine Durant – Brain Injury Survivor

I had brain surgery in 1983, during the second semester of my senior year of college. As a result, I came home with no degree. I was forced into a full-time job by my mother in addition to going to school full time. I received my first graduate degree a year later, adapting for differences all by myself. I had a great 30-year career and finished three more graduate degrees while working full time.

However, a car accident 20 years ago derailed my career. I couldn’t work because of pain-management issues. But that worked out. car-accident-clipartApparently, the neurosurgeon hadn’t put things back together in an appropriate manner. So, I needed another brain surgery. It would have been hard to do if I were working full time. My wife and my friends saw me through it.

In April, I celebrated my “Sweet 16” – sixteen months post-op and seizure-free! My wife and I also celebrated 25 years in May. We travel a lot on the accident money. Life is good.

 

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributor.)

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SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury . . . . . . . . Jenni Palczynski (survivor)

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury

Jenni Palczynski (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.

 

Jenni Palczynski (survivor)

Jenni Palczyinski 2

Jenni Palczynski – Brain Injury Survivor

Before my stroke, I was a medical malpractice litigation defense paralegal, which I loved. After my stroke, my doctor was nice enough to “prescribe” my pets – a dog and a cat – as “therapy animals.” However, because of my living arrangements, I could not keep them with me for two years, and they had to go into foster care until I was able to get a place of my own. My dog was placed with a family-friend, and my cat took up residence at an animal clinic owned by a close friend of my cousin. They stayed in foster care for two years. During that time, my cat developed fatty-liver disease. Before Christmas two years ago, we thought we were going to have to put him down. But, like his mama, he is a fighter! Because of his being placed where he was, the vet there caught the disease early, and we were able to save him. He is back to being 100% healthy. But during the time he was sick, on the advice of the vet, I would spend several days a week visiting him. He improved so much more when I was there with him.

After all that time, I got to know the vet and the staff at the clinic so well that I started volunteering time – going in and visiting other clinic animals. The animals were placed there and were looking for homes, or the animals were sick, or they had been boarded there by their parents. We soon realized that, by having me around talking to them and loving them as my own, they would also improve.

So, rather than doing a job that I had learned to love over the years, I now volunteer at the clinic tending to their animals. I have gotten to see them get better, and I have even seen some get adopted into permanent homes. If you asked me while I was growing up what I wanted to do,

Jenni Palczyinski

Jenni Palczynski – Brain Injury Survivor

I said it was to become a veterinarian because of my love of animals. Now I have found that my purpose is to give love to those animals, to see them move on to the next chapter in their life, like I am. Other than to see my kids grow up, my new purpose in life is to give love and care to animals in need. It is definitely very rewarding, and it has given me new life-long friends in the process. I also have finally moved into my own apartment, where my dog and cat are spoiled rotten, but they give me all the unconditional love I could ever want or need. It has taken me five years, but I love my volunteer-work in addition to my still being a single-mom to my youngest son (age 16), who is now also back living with me. Life is good.dog_cat_dancing

 

 

(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.

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SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury . . . . . . . . Jason Holcomb (survivor)

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury

Jason Holcomb (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.

 

Jason Holcomb (survivor)

Jason Holcomb Survivor

Jason Holcomb – Survivor

In 2005, I was walking a dog (somebody else’s), and a woman’s dog ran out her front door and caused my dog to go nuts. I tripped over the leash and fell backward, and I hit my head on the sidewalk. My brain swelled, I had a craniotomy, and I was in an induced coma for about six weeks. (I don’t remember anything from that day.) I had a trach tube and a feeding tube, and the doctors couldn’t say how I would be if I lived.man Waalking Dog

I went through years of depression and back-pain, which was caused by PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) turning my muscles into knots. My back-pain also caused years of poor sleep. I took antidepressants for a couple years. When I stopped completely, I had what I call “racing-mind syndrome.” My back is finally good, I sleep well, and I pretty much feel everything is back to normal except this racing mind. I figured it would go away after enough time, but it has not.

Professor3I was told medication might help. I would rather avoid medication, but I am so tired of this. It has been years, and it gets worse when I have more stress. I am a college professor, and my job is very stressful at

Jason Holcomb 2

Jason Holcomb – Survivor

times. If anyone has experience with this and knows what medication might help, I would be very grateful for that information.

Cheers to all my fellow brain injury survivors!

 

(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 . . . . . . . . Shelley Taylor and her daughter, Taylor Trammell (survivors)

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury

Shelley Taylor and her daughter, Taylor Trammell (survivors)

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.

Shelley Taylor and her daughter, Taylor Trammell (survivors)

Taylor, Shelley survivorValentine’s Day 2010 would turn into a complete game-changer – a day we will never forget. It’s a day I’ve documented so, if the day comes when my memory is gone, I can always reflect back on God’s goodness and mercy. Following is my account of the night we were poisoned. God provided the most beautiful second chance.

We were experiencing a “Texas Winter” and had received about six inches of snow. We had been without power for three days. On day 3, we ran a generator in the driveway, near our garage. The garage door and windows were open. The Fire Chief later told us that, since it was so cold and there was no wind, the carbon monoxide gas probably just settled. Instead of blowing away, it just crept back into the house via the eaves.

Trammell, Taylor Survivor 050617

Taylor Trammell – Brain Injury Survivor

Taylor (my daughter; 13 at the time) and I had gone to bed. She told us that someone had called her name and she was trying to get up to see who it was. She got up, fell face-first into the wall, collapsed and crawled out of her bedroom, shimmied up the wall, and collapsed again. The thud of Taylor falling on the concrete floor is what woke me up. Charlie (her dad and my ex-husband) heard this as well from the living room. We went to the hallway and found Taylor passed out and lying on her face. We couldn’t get her to respond! Charlie sent me for the flashlight that was by my bed. On my way, I felt like I was not right either. I got the flashlight and ran back to the hall so I could get to Charlie to let him know I wasn’t OK. I knew that if I collapsed in the bedroom, he wouldn’t know to come for me.

Everything was spinning out of control, and I was experiencing the worst feelings I had ever had! When I turned the corner to the hallway, I collapsed face-first (without using my hands or arms to brace myself). I fell onto the metal flashlight and severely cut my forehead. I told Charlie I felt blood running down my face. He looked at me with the flashlight and said he had to get me to the hospital! My head began to pulse blood. Taylor, I, and the walls were covered in blood. Meanwhile, Taylor was in and out of consciousness. I was having convulsions and banging my face into the concrete floor. Charlie then called 9-1-1.

First to respond were the police. Charlie told them we had no power, so they used their flashlights. They immediately saw my blood and the bloody handprints in our hallway, and Charlie had my blood on him as well. Immediately they accused Charlie of a crime. Shortly thereafter, the fire department arrived, and luckily Charlie knew one of the firefighters who quickly came to Charlie’s defense. Charlie told the Fire Chief of the generator, and immediately the Chief went to the truck to get the carbon monoxide detector. Even at the entrance to our driveway, the readings on the detector began to rise quickly. The readings went higher as he got closer to the house. Upon reaching the door, he called for his crew to exit the house and got Charlie, Taylor, and our dogs out as well. Paramedics were left inside with me to get me stable enough for transport to the hospital. Eventually I left by ambulance, and Charlie and Taylor left in Charlie’s truck.ambulance6

At Mansfield Methodist Hospital, Taylor’s and my blood gases were checked. They were found to be “through the roof.” We were then transported to Dallas Methodist to use their hyperbaric chamber. First, my head injury was closed up with fifteen stitches, and I had to have a CT (computerized tomography) scan to make sure I was transportable. Off we went in the ambulance. Upon arriving at Dallas Methodist, a doctor explained the procedures for going into the hyperbaric chamber. (I was trying to comprehend all of this while the carbon monoxide was still doing damage to my brain!) We found out that the family that had just been in the chamber before us had all died, except the father – not comforting!

When we came home, my sister Kimberley moved in for approximately a month. Physically, my head was healing, but, mentally, I was left with a traumatic brain injury. I literally started over with kindergarten flashcards (I would look at an apple and say “library”), and my friends and family completed most of my sentences. My neurologist was a great comfort to me as I struggled with memory and cognitive skills.

My neurologist also told me that people don’t survive what we went through. He said they really don’t know how to treat me. He said carbon monoxide goes into your brain and destroys whatever it attaches to, and we have no control over what functions are affected.CO-Danger

Taylor and I struggle daily, but some recovery continues every day for both of us. Taylor is young, and healing has come differently for her. Memory and migraines are big battles she continues to face.

I’ve come a long way, but I continue to deal with balance, breathing, vision, and memory. It seems I have fallen more times than I’ve stood. By far, my greatest challenge is breathing. Every day, at some point I struggle to breathe. Coughing has become my norm.

Memory LossMy memory is horrible at times, and I’ve lost so many precious memories. Taylor and I have a routine when it comes to trying to remember things. We just look at each other and ask, “Did we have fun?” The one who remembers says to the other, “Yes, we had fun!” That’s all that matters.

What a Valentine’s Day! Taylor saved us by miraculously waking. We endured my bloody head injury which required fifteen stitches, a concussion, a CT scan, blood gas analyses, ambulance rides, and approximately three-hour “dives” in a hyperbaric chamber. (And, we’re both very claustrophobic!) Nothing says “I love you” like a brain injury.

To be alive is amazing, in whatever capacity! God is good – no, great!

 

Thank you, Shelley Taylor and Taylor Trammell, for sharing your story.

Surviving Brain Injury - Stories of Strength & InspirationNOTE 1:

Taylor Trammell and her mother, Shelley Taylor, are contributing authors in “Surviving Brain Injury: Stories of Strength & Inspiration,” edited by Amy Zellmer. Shelley and Taylor’s story is titled, “Our Story of Poisoning — and of Grace.” It can be found in Chapter 75 on page 299.

NOTE 2:

My story, “Nightmare in the Disability Lane,” can be found in Chapter 29 on page 114 of the same book, “Surviving Brain Injury: Stories of Strength & Inspiration,” edited by Amy Zellmer.

(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 . . . . . . . . Jennifer Stokley (survivor)

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury Jennifer Stokley (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.

Jennifer Stokley – Brain Injury Survivor

Jennifer Stokley (survivor)

On May 10, 2007, I fell out of a second story window of my home to the sidewalk below. I broke nine major bones (including my neck), I ruptured my bladder, I punctured my lung, I went into two cardiac arrests, and I had a severe TBI (traumatic brain injury) that sent me into a three-week coma. And yet I survived! They didn’t think I would. Then they didn’t think I would have any cognitive abilities at all. Then they thought I would be paralyzed from the neck down.

I now live independently on my own. I take care of everything except driving. I walk with a cane only when I leave the house. The rest of the time, I am mobile just fine. It’s been nine years of “Think I can’t? I know I can. Just watch me!” Don’t get me wrong -these have been the hardest years I’ve ever experienced. But, they were totally worth every moment!

Making MemoriesI did lose my pre-TBI long-term memory, but that’s all in the past anyway. I’m not going backward – I’m only going forward. I’m making new memories – I’m not worried about lost memories.

 

Thank you, Jennifer Stokley, 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 . . . . . . . . Blaine Stanziana (survivor)

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury – Blaine Stanziana (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.

Blaine Stanziana (survivor)

Blaine Stanziana – Brain Injury Survivor

My story begins after a brain injury in 1979 at age 21. I developed epilepsy that went undiagnosed for eleven years. I had over 60,000 complex partial seizures; then I had a grand mal seizure. Falling six feet to a cement floor in 1988, I had a subdural hematoma that caused my second brain injury.

Here is my neck, which was done in 2007.

13557847_10209433750178851_6480153340725477890_n   13532957_10209433749178826_7429747293014904664_n13559143_10209433746178751_4503340091034294199_o

That’s three inches of bone from my left leg in the center of the sixteen screws. There is hip bone (two inches) in there as well. I was on the table for fourteen hours. I spent five years sleeping in a chair and a year begging for death. I could not talk for over a year because they split my vocal cords. But, I am alive, married for 35 years, and doing great!

Blaine Stanziana & Wife

Brain Injury Survivor, Blaine Stanziana and his wife

I coined these two sayings over 35 years ago:

“A head injury comes with a life sentence, and the only treatment for a brain injury is … HOPE.” “You cannot be defeated by what happens TO you – only by what happens WITHIN you.”

“It’s All in Your Head” by survivor, Blaine Stanziana

Blaine is the author of “It’s All in Your Head.”

Thank you, Blaine Stanziana, 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 . . . . . . . . Shauna Farmer

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury Shauna Farmer (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.

Shauna Farmer (survivor)

Shauna Farmer 2 Survivor 032417I rolled a 4-wheeler. My head hit a tree (we think), and I was not wearing a helmet. I kept rolling, ensuing broken bones – ribs, clavicle, and three vertebrae in my back. The TBI (traumatic brain injury) I sustained is that of “shaken-baby syndrome,” aka “diffuse axonal injury” (damage to neuron connections over a widespread area). The prognosis was that I wouldn’t walk, talk, or even wake up. But, I walked out of the rehab hospital five weeks later. Unassisted, thank you very much! I am hoping to be able to drive soon. th

This journey of TBI is a long and arduous one. It’s a little bit easier if you have people who know firsthand what you are dealing with. So, keep on swimming, Gladiators! You got this.

 

Thank you Shauna Farmer 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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