TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘balance issues’

“Another Fork in the Road” . . . Brain Injury Radio Network . . . Interview: Daniel Mollino

YOU ARE INVITED!

Daniel Mollino – TBI Survivor & Cross-Country Cyclist

Meet Daniel Mollino

putthis_on_calendar_clip_art

When Daniel fell from the top of a telephone pole while running cable for a New Jersey cable company, his life changed forever. His fall resulted in a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Daniel now deals with fatigue, memory loss, balance issues, and daily pain, but he won’t let these health problems get in his way of his living life to its fullest.

Daniel plans to make a difference in this TBI world for all survivors. At the end of March 2015, Daniel set out to cycle solo across the USA from New Jersey to California to raise awareness of Brain Injury.

Come One! Come ALL! 

What:        Interview with Daniel Mollino – TBI Survivor & Cross-Country Cyclist

Daniel Mollino - TBI Survivor & Cyclist

Daniel Mollino – TBI Survivor & Cyclist

Why:        Daniel will share his story of Brain Injury and how he plans to make a difference in the Brain Injury world.

Where:     Brain Injury Radio Network

When:       Sunday, June  21st, 2015

Time:         5:30p PT (6:30p MT, 7:30p CT, and 8:30p ET) 90 minute show

How:         Click: Brain Injury Radio Network

Call In:    424-243-9540

Call In:     855-473-3711 toll free in USA

Call In:    202-559-7907 free outside USA

or SKYPE

11427224_10153095515624215_7323889775533761154_nIf you miss the show, but would like to still hear the interview, you can access the archive on On Demand listening. The archived show will be available after the show both on the Brain Injury Radio Network site and on my blog in “On the Air.”

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photo compliments of Daniel Mollino.)

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” with Juliet Madsen, TBI Survivor, US Troop, Quilter, Author

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

with

Juliet Madsen, TBI Survivor, US Troop, Quilter, Author

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Juliet Madsen UniformJuliet Madsen has served in the US Army since she was 17-years old. She was involved in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. While serving her country, Juliet suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, at least one stroke, and numerous other medical issues, which changed her life #7 10610754_10203491518354714_4796635925244510505_nforever. On “Another Fork in the Road,” Juliet talked about how she copes with her new life and how she and her family make this new life work for them. I hope you won’t miss her show.

You can learn more about Juliet and read her book at Veterans Book Project. Scroll down the page to find Juliet’s book.

You can also see her collections of more than 50 quilts at Stroke of Luck Quilting.

Here are two of my favorites.

6Madsen092011

If you missed her interview on “Another Fork in the Road” on May 17th, you are in luck. You can listen to the archived show here.

Click the link below to listen to Juliet Madsen and me.

See you “On the Air!”

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

with Juliet Madsen – TBI Survivor, US Troop, Quilter, Author

Click here for a list of all “Another Fork in the Road” shows on the Brain Injury Radio Network.

Trike Treks

April 9, 2015 to June 6, 2015

040915 David 1st Ride Catrike 700

David

Cumulative mileage for David                          616.2 mi

Donna

Donna

Cumulative mileage for Donna                         79.9 mi

Combined miles for Donna and David           696.1 mi

Miles to reach 5390* miles                             4693.9 mi

*done by both Catherine Brubaker and Dan Zimmerman in their cross-country rides

Cat TrikeZimmerman, Dan

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Survivors SPEAK OUT! – GeorgeAnna Bell

  SPEAK OUT! – GeorgeAnna Bell

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

10570970_836853459658124_752128615_n1. What is your name? (last name optional)

GeorgeAnna

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

San Tan Valley, Arizona, USA

3. When did you have your TBI? At what age?

My first was at the age of 6 years old. I have had multiple concussions as a child. I had yet another head injury in 2001 and another concussion from another car accident on June 25, 2014. I am now 40 years old.

4. How did your TBI occur?

My first brain injury was from a bicycle accident – I lost control of my bike. I flipped over the handlebars and landed on the right side of my head, cracking my skull. The concussions were from falls; sports; an ATV (all terrain vehicle); motor vehicle accidents; rapes; abuse; falls; and being young, foolish, and idiotic.

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

My parents realized I was a different child the day they brought me home from the hospital.

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

I’ve been treated by the ICU (intensive care unit). I’ve had eye/vision therapy and cognitive behavior therapy. I attended specialized schools – junior high school and senior high school – that were for children with mental, emotional, physical, and developmental disabilities.

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

Yes     72 hours

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 did not go to a rehab center. I got everything from schools, specialized doctors, etc.

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

I have a balance problem, dizziness, seizures, short- and long-term memory loss, mental illness (anxiety, depression, mood disorder, personality disorder), cognitive issues, social issues and social anxiety, headaches and migraines, numbness and tingling in my extremities, ringing in my ears (the ear, nose, and throat specialist calls it tinnitus), insomnia, vision and hearing issues (optic and audio nerve damage), and blurred vision (on and off). I am easily confused and distracted. (For example, I cannot multitask. I have to do one thing at a time. Otherwise, I get flustered and stressed out.) I am sensitive to lights, sounds, or distractions. I developed fibromyalgia, tremors, and speech issues, all of which the doctor thinks are the result of my head injury. I also have arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis). I have a developmental disability (due to the age at which I sustained my first head injury) and learning disabilities. I attended a special educational school from 7th grade until my senior year because I could not stay mainstream in a public school.

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

I honestly do not know because I was so young when my first head injury occurred. However, over the years, I have sustained multiple head injuries. (For example, because of a short-term coma and concussions, I have increased mental, emotional, and physical issues.)

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

I wouldn’t remember what it was like before because I was only 6 years old when I sustained my first head injury.

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

I am grateful for my Significant Other – the ONLY person I personally know who is supportive of me and tries to be understanding.

13. What do you like least about your TBI?

I dislike how people treat me. People act as if I am some kind of idiot because I am slower than others, and then they look at me as if I have serious issues. I hate being judged. I want people to treat me as I would treat them. I don’t want them to judge me and look at me and say, “Well, you look fine.”

14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?

People’s ignorant behaviors and idiosyncrasies

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

My parents did not want to deal with my issues. They did not allow me to speak of my issues to anyone because it embarrassed them that they had a child with a disability. They still do not like my talking about my disabilities and TBI. However, I tell them I am a full-grown adult now, and I say to them, “If you do not like it, do not listen.”

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

I have issues keeping friends. People tend to easily get annoyed with me. I tend to get frustrated easily, too. As for relationship with guys, I was always told I am a very taxing person – annoying, weird, and psychotic. I have had nicknames given to me by guys over the years: pain-in-my-ass, crack baby, wacko, weirdo, dumbass, stupid, idiot, retarded, sensitive bitch, nagging bitch, crazy, worthless.

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

My main caregiver is my boyfriend. No, I do not understand what it takes to be a caregiver.

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

I would love to open a 501c3 animal shelter and help unwanted animals – mainly dogs. I would like to extend the knowledge I currently have on animal studies and have better knowledge and understanding of the animal behavior.

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 TBI survivors with your specific kind of TBI.

Do not stop trying. Eventually it will work out.

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

I encourage you to just try your best and keep trying. Do not give up. Once you give up, you lose everything, and it is not easy to get everything back again – even if you are able to get things back again.10695279_836854542991349_1216029697_n

 

Thank you, GeorgeAnna, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.

(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.

(Photos compliments of GeorgeAnna.)

Survivors SPEAK OUT! . . . Daisy Lou

SPEAK OUT! – Daisy Lou

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Daisy Lou

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

Daisy Lou

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

Boyertown, Pennsylvania, USA

3. When did you have your TBI? At what age?

The first one was on July 6, 2012. I was 30 years old. The second one was in February 2014. I was 32 years old.

4. How did your TBI occur?

Someone ran a stop sign and T-boned my car for the first one. I don’t remember the accident, but my car was totaled. For the second one, I fell in the street on six inches of ice.

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

In August 2012, I started having back problems. I realized in November that I was having other problems, like nausea, dizziness, balance being off, sleeping all the time, noise sensitivity, and headaches, among a multitude of other problems. But I waited until December (5 months after my accident) to talk to the doctor. For the second one, I realized I had a problem a few days after I fell, when my nose started dripping and I started sleeping a lot. I wasn’t sick at the time.

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

None

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

No

8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., In-patient or Out-patient and Occupational, Physical, Speech, Other)?
How long were you in rehab?

For the first TBI, I did physical therapy for a month and a half as an Out-patient. I did biofeedback with a neuropsychologist for four months. For the second one, I took a week off of work. That’s all.

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

I sometimes have balance problems. If I try to get up too quickly, I get dizzy. I have lots of memory problems, anxiety, impulsiveness, and trouble concentrating. I tend to tell people things three or four times because I forget whether or not I’ve told them whatever that thing happens to be. I get frustrated very easily. I have trouble talking and finding words. I don’t handle stress very well, and sometimes I can’t handle it at all. I get tired very easily, and sometimes I have to take a nap in the middle of the day.

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

It’s better in the fact that I don’t remember things. So, if something happens that is upsetting, I soon forget it. But that’s also worse because I forget things I want to remember. I’ve learned to become more patient with myself and with other people.

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

I miss being able to explain something to someone and have them understand what I’m saying. Now I can’t seem to find the right words.

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

When my brain is functioning on a capable level, I enjoy explaining to people what a TBI is like and how it affects you. To some people who seem interested, I give the address of an interesting blog to look at, so they can understand TBI even better.

13. What do you like least about your TBI?

I dislike forgetting things and feeling stupid all the time. I feel like a part of my brain has gone missing, and no matter how much I search for it, it continues to hide from me.

14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?

Time and talking about it with friends

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

Not really. It’s more that I forget where I put things more often, so I’m continually asking someone if they’ve seen the items I’m looking for. But my relationships haven’t really changed, and my home life hasn’t changed.

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

I always was a loner, but I’m more of a hermit than before. I tend to stay in more often or go places by myself, instead of asking someone to go with me. Even if the person is on the way to wherever it is I’m going, I don’t call them because it seems like too much work to have to drive to their house and then talk to them until I drop them back off at their house.

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

Myself – I don’t have a caregiver. Although, I live with my mom, and she’s the one I’m always asking where things are.

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

Right now, I’m just concentrating on making it through the day. I have no future plans, except to take things one day at a time.

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 TBI survivors with your specific kind of TBI.

Write everything down! If you have memory problems, it makes your life so much easier when you can look at a piece of paper and say, “Oh yeah, that’s what I wanted to do!”

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

Rome wasn’t built in a day…. It’s frustrating to suddenly have some part of your body go berserk on you, but don’t beat yourself up. A very important part of your anatomy was bruised and battered, and it takes time for it to heal. Everyone recovers at a different rate, so don’t expect the same results as someone else with a TBI.

Daisy Lou

Daisy Lou

 

Thank you, Daisy Lou, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.

(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.)

(Photos compliments of Daisy Lou.)

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

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Jodi Jizmejian

SPEAK OUT! – Jodi Jizmejian

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Jizmejian, Jodi Pre- Accident 2

Jodi Jezmejian – Pre-TBI

 

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

Jodi Jizmejian

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

Fresno, California, USA

3. When did you have your TBI? At what age?

September 8, 2011   I was 47, almost 48.

4. How did your TBI occur?

Roof crush due to a single vehicle roll-over

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

A woman in a house by the road heard the accident. My 16-year-old daughter was in the accident also, but she was ejected from the vehicle and landed in the dirt on the side of the road. She was coherent and gave the lady my husband’s cell-phone number. He was called after a 9-1-1 call.

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have (e.g., surgery,

tracheotomy, G-peg)?

I was told (because I don’t remember anything) that I had a craniotomy. I did have a tracheotomy and a g-tube (gastrostomy tube). I’m sure I had multiple surgeries because I have scars that I didn’t have before. I was told that I had multiple facial breaks and other broken bones. My husband told me that the doctors were happy that they could say – after 7 days – that they saved my life.

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

Yes, I was in a coma. I was told it was for 30 days, but my current memory starts December 1, so I think I was in some sort of coma from September 8 to December 1.

8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., In-patient or Out-patient and Occupational, Physical, Speech, Other)?
How long were you in rehab?

I’m still doing physical therapy. I did physical, occupational, speech, and recreational therapy when I was in Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. I was there from December 1, 2011, until I came home on December 29. I did physical, occupational, and speech therapy as an Out-patient for a few months after I returned home.

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

My balance was affected for sure. I also have several other issues: vision, hearing, fine-motor skills, slower (speed), reasoning, and personality.

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

I think my life is better. Pre-accident, I worked all the time. My husband and I owned our own business, so I worked all the time. After my accident, he said he “fired” me because I didn’t show up for work. I abandoned my “job.” He is being funny, but I really don’t work anymore because there is no way I could have returned to what I was doing.

Jizmejian, Jodi Accident

Jodi Jezmejian – 2011 Accident

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

I miss being able to play tennis.

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

I have more time to do things that I’m physically capable of doing.

13. What do you like least about your TBI?

I don’t like my balance issues. I also dislike that my head feels “big/heavy/muffled,” and there is a “numbness/heavy/big” feeling of my right arm and leg.

14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?

Jesus. I’m a positive person, so having the mentality of “It is what it is” helps me accept that “_ _ _ _” happens.

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

Yes.

Home life – I’m now home most of the time.

Relationships – I now have time to develop friendships.

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

I don’t drive right now and don’t know if I’ll ever be ready to drive. My social life is pretty much reliant on my husband to drive me around, so if I want to do something and he doesn’t or he is busy, I don’t/can’t do it. I’m also reliant on friends to take me places.

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

My husband is my main caregiver. I do understand what it takes to be a caregiver, but there’s nothing that I or he can do to change that. Hence the marriage commitment, “Until death do us part.”

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

I hope someday to be able to drive again and to play tennis. I want to write and speak to help other TBI survivors.

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 TBI survivors with your specific kind of TBI.

Accept that you have a “new” normal and that you will never be the person you were pre-TBI. Learn to like the new you and make friends with the new you. Realize you weren’t “picked” out to have a TBI. There is always someone else who has it “worse.” Research Nick Vujicic, Life Without Limbs. When I started to have a pity party or a “woe is me” or a “life isn’t fair” attitude, I think of Nick.  I also tell myself that we all have a cross to bear, meaning an unpleasant situation or responsibility that you must accept because you cannot change it.

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

Never give up, but never expect things or you to get back to “normal,” i.e., the way they were pre-TBI. Learn to like yourself in your “new” normal. Realize you survived for a purpose. Do that purpose. If you don’t believe in Jesus, then start there and do whatever research you need to. Publicly and verbally accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Then I’ll see you in Eternity. God bless. Thank you for letting me participate.

Jodi Jezmejian - Post-accident

Jodi Jezmejian – Post-accident

 

Thank you, Jodi, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.

(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.)

(Photos compliments of Jodi.)

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

 

Tag Cloud

No memory of the day that changed my life

My name is Michelle Munt and this is my story about surviving a brain injury and what I continue to learn about it. This is for other survivors and their loved ones, but also to raise awareness of what can happen to those in an accident. This invisible injury too often goes undiagnosed and it can be difficult to find information about it. I will talk about things that have helped me as I continue to recover and invite others to see if it works for them too.

Everything and nothing. GM1123 😊

Bienvenue. I’m thinking this is the spot where I am to write a witty, flowery personal section that pulls you in......I got nuthin’

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