TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘brain injury survivor’

Survivors SPEAK OUT! Jordan Emerson

Survivors SPEAK OUT!  Jordan Emerson

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

jordan-emerson-2

Jordan Emerson – Brain Injury Survivor – Race Car Driver

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

Jordan Emerson

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

Windham, Maine, USA

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

I had my brain injury at 13 years young.

4. How did your brain injury occur?dan Emerson

Jordan Emerson - Brain Injury Survivor - Race Car Driver

Jordan Emerson – Brain Injury Survivor – Race Car Driver

I was driving a fully-safety-equipped racecar.

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

When I was unconscious

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

I was given a trach. I had emergency procedures for a cracked left hip, brain stem, seizures, a crushed left arm, paralyzed vocal chords, and paralyzed stomach.

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

Jordan Emerson - Brain Injury Survivor

Jordan Emerson – Brain Injury Survivor

Yes. Almost 3 months

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)?

I have occupational and physical therapies as an outpatient. I was also helped by a speech-language pathologist.

How long were you in rehab?

I’m still attending OT and PT as an outpatient.

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

I still have awful trouble going to the bathroom. Being in crowded areas makes me tired. (It’s “overstimulation,” but instead of overstimulation, it feels like a “draining of my energy.”)

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

My life is neither better nor worse. It’s just different.

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

I miss being able to run around outside with my dogs.

th-112. What do you enjoy most in your post-brain-injury life?

I like that everybody seems to offer to help more often.

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

I dislike that I’ll be thinking so hard about something, and then, *poof* it’s gone.

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

Talking with other survivors has helped.

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

Before I developed a filter, I said things to friends, and over time, those friends disappeared.

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

Yes. I have lost friends.friends

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

My mom is my main caregiver. I’m thankful for her every day.

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

I plan to be driving, living in my own apartment, married, etc.

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.

Hard work really does pay off.

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

Jordan Emerson and Mom & Dad

Jordan Emerson – Brain Injury Survivor and Mom & Dad

I owe a lot of my journey to my loving parents – I couldn’t have done this without them. I ♡ them!
Please feel free to reach out to me (#Believe). I enjoy helping whenever I am able. Believe!

 

 

 

(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! Survivors 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.

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Survivors SPEAK OUT! Richard Schooping

Survivors SPEAK OUT!    Richard Schooping

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Richard Schooping - Brain Injury Survivor

Richard Schooping – Brain Injury Survivor

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

Richard Schooping

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

Orlando, Florida, USA     apebblethrown@gmail.com

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

I was 44.

4. How did your brain injury occur?

A mysterious brain infection from AIDS attacked my entire brain and spinal cord.

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

My functions in my mind and body began to slow down. Typing and talking slowed to zero over the period of a month. I watched it happen from a shattering mirror of identity.

6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have?patient-in-hospital

I was put in the hospital on liquid experimental medications to slow the attack of the mysterious virus. Also, I was on oxygen therapies to raise my blood-oxygen level. Doctors had never seen anything like this. I was also informed I had aphasia.

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

No. I was awake and asleep intermittently for 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 was in a nursing home for three weeks of intense rehabilitative therapy. Then I had occupational therapy for as long as insurance would cover it – about three months.

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

Richard Schooping - Brain Injury Survivor

Richard Schooping – Brain Injury Survivor

I seemed to lose everything. I had no idea who I was during the infection. I lost my ability to swallow, my speech functions, and all motor functions. I atrophied so quickly over a few weeks that I became immobile and rail thin. Bladder control also became an issue, as well as balance and perceptions. But, I am blessed – most of everything has returned. I also worked incredibly hard to survive and shine for others.

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

My life is truly hard, but it’s also amazing. I am not able to work. I take care of my mother, which could not have happened without this stroke. My days are unpredictable – my energy can wane quickly without warning. Arthritis and neuropathy and HIV dementia fill my days, as well as domestic duties while my husband works. I am creative daily in some aspect. I add inspirations to Facebook. I am grateful. I know I am more than this body. I am an eternal spirit. I feel aware and know that I am more.

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

I miss writing music, freedom of body and mind, fluidity of speech, my handwriting, and self-reliance.

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

My compassion has deepened and expanded in my life in ways unimagined. I embrace and deepen into being a source of inspiration and hope for others. I enjoy volunteering; creating digital pieces of heART; having quality time for my sister, Laurie; and having time with my cat, Autumn. I also enjoy singing.

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

I dislike feeling caged in my body, not being able to do what I once could do effortlessly, and my speech and motor functions being so affected, but I have faith.

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

Several things have helped me: meditation, Qi Gong, chanting, forgiveness, singing, playing, and serving others.

Richard Schooping - Brain Injury Survivor

Richard Schooping – Brain Injury Survivor

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

Yes. I feel it confused and bewildered all of my friends. Many fell away, and I do not blame them. This is my journey. My marriage to my amazing husband is withstanding the strain this stroke has brought into our lives. My family is very supportive. We have all become stronger and more caring people.

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

Yes. My social life is only what I make happen now. It still takes effort to talk and think, but many new friends have opened their hearts to me and accept me as I AM.

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

My husband, Cal Kalaf, is my main caregiver. I do know what caregiving means. I understand in that I helped three previous husbands pass over from AIDS.

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

"From Suffering to Soaring" by Richard Schooping

“From Suffering to Soaring” by Richard Schooping

I will share my story of hope through my first book, “From Suffering to Soaring.” I will offer insights and strength to as many souls as possible. I plan to tour and to write more books. I will finish my second book, which shares both my and my husband’s perspectives of the stroke. I hope to write more albums as well. I want to make the most of my time while I am still here.

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.

Don’t judge the stroke or disease. Things happen. There are huge patterns at play. Respond with caring and self-love. Nutrition is important. We are what we eat. This is good advice for all of our senses.

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

Richard Schooping - Brain Injury Survivor

Richard Schooping – Brain Injury Survivor

Find a creative outlet.

Get out in nature more.

Simplify your life.

Honor the entire process.

When emotions rise and attempt to capsize you, become aware of your breath and breathe through them.

Emotions are only energy.

Energy is neutral.

Look into mindfulness meditation.

Keep the faith.

Don’t blame.

Do whatever calms you.

This too shall pass.

Share your story.

 

(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! . . . . . . . . . . . . . Guest Blogger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ed Steeves – Standing Still

Standing Still

by

Ed Steeves

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Boy Blogger thNo matter how great it sounds, we can’t go back. No matter how much we may want to, that bridge has burned. The past has passed for a reason. We need to accept that it is over. We can only take the lessons we’ve learned.

Now we have a choice, since we can’t change the past or return to it. We can’t get the past back and never will. So, the decision that we have to make is Will we move on into the future, or will we simply stand still?k20874676

I, for one, will go forward with my life. I have decided that, somewhere ahead, there is something better to find. Because, if we just stand there and stare at what’s dead and gone, we will surely lose our mind.

The thing we fail to notice at times is that, no matter how amazing the past was, the future is better. The past, sadly, is occupied only with our memories, and it’s our prison. Only in the future can we all be free.

Ed Steeves - Survivor

Ed Steeves – Survivor

It’s OK to take some time to reflect – to forgive and move on. I’ve finally given up on all that’s there in the past.

But remember that life is still alive in the future, and we are never certain how long it will last.

Thank you, Ed Steeves.

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

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Ed Steeves.)

 

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!

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SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury Charles Ross

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury Charles Ross  (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.

 

Charles Ross (survivor)

Ross Jr., Charles Survivor 112415 copy

Charles Ross Jr. – Brain Injury Survivor

It has been just over thirty years since I had my traumatic brain injury (TBI) in November 1985. I remember nothing of the accident at all. What I say of the accident is what I learned after the fact. I had the paddles put on me before I got on the helicopter to fly to the larger hospital in St. Louis. The doctors even told my parents they were removing me from Intensive Care to make room for someone who might live. I was in a coma for fifty days. I spent over ten months in the hospital. I was in a wheelchair for one and a half years. And, I had seven summers of surgery to make it to where I can now walk with a cane.

I have severe memory problems. My short-term memory was, and still is, bad. I had been having what I called “spells,” during which I would get a feeling like a chill in my spine. My parents noticed the staring while I was in the hospital. The doctors took me off seizure medicine because they did not believe I was having seizures. I know those spells increased in frequency after that. I could go days with no spells, but other days, I could have hundreds. They usually seemed to last a few seconds, but Mom thought they sometimes lasted longer.

As the spells increased, the feelings I had changed too. I began to notice a feeling like I needed to have a bowel movement, but I never did that, I remember. I would get extremely hot, and sometimes the sweat would just pour out of me for a few seconds. Mainly at night, I would wake with a spell and have a horrible taste in my mouth. After I got my license back, I sometimes had these spells while I was driving. I could have them in class or while I was watching TV or walking or sleeping – it did not matter. I never noticed anything that triggered them. Four years after the accident, in my sleep on New Year’s Eve night 1989, I had a tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizure. It was determined that the “spells” were petit mal seizures. Treatments finally began for traumatically incurred epilepsy, which the doctor finally said I had.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After I started on medication, the spells decreased dramatically. I would still have one, and my neurologist would increase my dose. That helped for some time, but the spells never stopped completely. Even though I had severe memory and physical problems along with the seizures, I managed to get two Associate Degrees over nine years. However, because of my memory problems, I failed to get my Bachelor’s Degree. I started working with my last degree, but the stress was too powerful to maintain the job. I had many jobs though, mainly contract jobs without benefits.

I began to have blank spells. Maybe I had them before, but I never remembered them or realized it. Why I knew I had them was because I was driving again and I would have an accident in which I hit someone in the back end. I would come out of any blank spell immediately, but I never remembered what had happened, other than that I hit someone. I figured that they hit the brakes quickly in rush-hour traffic and I could not stop.

Over the years, I would have an accident every year or two. Finally, I realized that, before each accident, I had that strange feeling also. So, then I knew what the real cause of the accidents was. After fifteen years of work, I lost my job. I moved in with my parents again. The new neurologist started me on a second medication, and that helped. It did not stop the spells though.

Ross, Charles Survivor

Charles Ross Jr. – Brain Injury Survivor

I moved again and got another neurologist. She put me on two more medicines. One was the same brand, just a different strength. That medicine with such a heavy dosage made me have mood swings sometimes. Altogether, it was over twenty-two years after treatment began and twenty-seven years after the accident before the right mixture was found and I felt in control again. I moved back in with my parents again in late 2014. I helped my parents the best I could with my three hospital stays and two operations. I drove my dad for cancer treatments before his death in September 2015. I am with my mom now. We help each other during the grieving process.

I hope my story serves as a source of strength, encouragement, and determination for others with TBIs to never give up. I was never supposed to live! If I did, they said I would be no more than a being in a chair, unable to do anything for myself.

Never Give UpI am writing my story, I drive, I went to college, I got two Associate degrees, and I worked for fifteen years. There is so much more, but anyone who reads this story should know that anything is possible. You may not accomplish as much as I did, or you may accomplish more. Just know that you should never give up on yourself. Feel proud of your body. If they had been in your shoes, they could never have done what you did, and that is to survive! Be proud!

 

(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.

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SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faces of Brain Injury . . . . . . . . . . James Thomas (survivor)

SPEAK OUT! Faces of Brain Injury James Thomas  (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.

Thomas, James survivor 111115James Thomas  (survivor)…I’m a traumatic-brain-injury (TBI) success story. I had three brain surgeries to remove three blood clots in my head. After the third surgery, I fell into a coma for three days. When I woke up, I lost the ability to walk and talk, and I wasn’t able to take care of myself. I had to learn every life-skill again, including how to write. I had to wear a diaper for seven months.

I was in the hospital for a month. When I was released, I went to one of best rehab centers in the state of New Jersey. There I had occupational, physical, and speech therapies twice a week. I was able to go home after three months, and my ex-girlfriend nursed me back to good health. I improved 150% in two years. I work now as a teacher assistant with Special Needs students.

 

(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.

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! NewsBit . . . . . Jonathan Swiatocha – TBI Survivor Training for Olympic Marathon

Jonathan Swiatocha – TBI Survivor Training for Olympic Marathon

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Newsboy thIn 2002, the vehicle Jonathan Swiotocha was driving was broadsided by a drunk driver. One of Jonathan’s injuries was a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which put him into a coma and left him paralyzed from the waist down. He maintains that his “greatest athletic achievement” was taking his first step. Now he is a marathon runner and is training for the 2020 Olympics.Swaitosha, Jonathan Survivor 092915 12071738_1188221344525066_1019010021_n Jonathan hopes to be the first TBI survivor to participate in the Olympics. He is bringing awareness to brain injury, and he is an inspiration to survivors. In addition to his rigorous training, Jonathan gave a TED Talk Thursday night, January 14, 2016. Jonathan’s SPEAK OUT! interview for this blog will be published shortly. (Video and story)

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Jonathan Swiatocha.)

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.

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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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