TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘Cam Compton’

On The Air: . . . . . . . . . . . . . “Another Fork in the Road:” . . . . Substitute Hosts, Lisa Dryer & Cam Compton – M.S. Meets Stroke

On The Air: “Another Fork in the Road:” with substitute hosts, Lisa Dryer & Cam Compton “M.S. Meets Stroke”



Donna O’Donnell Figurski



Brain Injury Radio Network (BIRN) hosts, Lisa Dryer of “Mess with M.S.” (Multiple Sclerosis) and Cam Compton of “Cam’s Corner” step up to the mic on “Another Fork in the Road” while I, (Donna O’Donnell Figurski) traveled to Michigan for my nephew’s wedding. Party Time!

Lisa and Cam discussed the similarities and differences of each of their brain injuries and how they approach life from slightly different angles. Both hosts emphasized how each brain injury is different and how each survivor responds to the difficulties presented to him or her.

18 Lisa Dryer copy

Lisa Dryer – Survivor – Host of “Mess with M.S.”

03 Cam Compton Photo for Banner copy

Cam Compton – Survivor – Host of “Cam’s Corner”



See you “On the Air!”

On The Air: “Another Fork in the Road:” with substitute hosts, Lisa Dryer & Cam Compton “M.S. Meets Stroke”


(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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Another Fork in the Road Reasonable, Responsible, & Realistic Resolutions

“Another Fork in the Road”

Fork in the Road copyThis category is an extension of my radio show, “Another Fork in the Road,” which airs at 5:30 pm (Pacific Time) on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month on the Brain Injury Radio Network. (See the “On The Air Show Menu” category for a list – with links – of all my shows, which are archived and thus always available.)

On the 1st Sunday of each month, I host a panel of brain injury survivors, caregivers, and/or professionals in the field. On these shows, my panelists and I examine topics pertaining to brain injury.

On the 3rd Sunday of each month, I host guests – brain-injury survivors, caregivers, or professionals in the field.

Since I spend countless hours in preparation for each show, I decided to share the knowledge that I gather with my readers.


Reasonable, Responsible, & Realistic Resolutions


Donna O’Donnell Figurski


blank list of resolutions on blackboard

New Year’s Day has passed. A new year is always a time of renewal – a time to look back on the past year and make positive commitments for the upcoming year. As humans, we seem to strive to improve, to make life better. The new year is a good time to correct old mistakes and to look to the future and make new plans.

I think this topic is appropriate now, as we look back on the past two months to determine if we are honoring our New Year’s resolutions. Did we, in fact, make reasonable, responsible, and realistic resolutions?

 It feels like the whirlwind of the holidays happened eons ago, and yet it’s just been two months. If you are like most of the population, you probably made resolutions on New Year’s Day – promises to yourselves that you would do something in your life to better it. In the days after the New Year’s celebration, you will see more people in the gym or running through the streets – maybe decked out in new running clothes to increase their motivation. You might hear folks talking about the new diet they are going to try to lose those unwanted pounds. Some folks vow to stop smoking or drinking, or at least they intend to cut down. Folks promise to take more time for family or friends, save money, travel more. new-years-resolutionsThe list goes on and on. Usually these resolutions are good intentions for the year that last maybe a week or two – perhaps even a month – but for whatever reason or reasons – time, lack of interest or motivation – many of these good intentions fall by the wayside.

Each new year, I usually make the resolution to exercise more. I start off okay, but not long after New Year’s Day is past, the motivation walking_girlstarts to wane. Lack of time, or more like “inability to properly manage time,” is a big factor for me. I seem to be always too busy with tons of projects, most of them involving writing. I work daily on my blog. I spend hours preparing my radio show. I’m writing articles for publication, and, of course, I have to write a lot of query letters to agents and publishers as I try to sell my book, “Prisoners Without Bars: A Caregiver’s Story.” It seems that the only things that ever get any exercise are my brain … and my fingers as they fly over the keyboard. Uh, did I say “fly”? I meant more like “stumble.” Most of my projects have deadlines – if not actual ones, then at least self-imposed ones. So, due to my over-commitments, this year I chose not to make any resolutions that I know I will not keep. Not keeping my resolutions only makes me feel like a failure, and that is not productive. I bet a lot of people fall into this category.

Folks with a brain injury are continually working to improve their lives, and New Year’s resolutions may seem even more important. Brain-injured people are used to taking small steps, but the temptation for New Year’s resolutions may be to try to do too much.

I’m going to discuss how to keep interest up and to make it possible to reach the goal of a reasonable, responsible, and realistic resolution.


Don’t have a goal you will never want to do. That’s a recipe for disaster. Is your resolution such a chore that you can easily find any excuse to NOT do it? If you’d rather clean toilets than complete your resolution, then perhaps you should reassess your resolution. toilet1I can pretty much guarantee that you will not be successful and that lack of success is certainly going to instill feelings of failure. I think a big part of being successful in keeping a resolution is to give the goal some thought first.


If you want to get more sleep and go to bed earlier, then set an alarm for 30 minutes before your desired bedtime so you can start your sleep in bedbedtime preparations. If you want to always remember where your keys are, put a hook on the wall and ALWAYS hang your keys there. You will never have to search your home again for keys. Following a routine makes life easier. That goes for anything. Also, use available tools (calendar, Post-It notes, smart phone, etc.) to help you keep organized.


By keeping a record of your accomplishments, you are setting yourself up for success. You could keep a record in a journal-like notebook. journalSimply write the date at the top of the page, and write what you accomplished that day (e.g., Sit-ups – 5 minutes; Meditated – 10 minutes). You could also simply use a calendar dedicated just to your resolution and write your activity under each day that you do it. If you are computer savvy, you could keep a spreadsheet. Place the days in the left column; list the activities across the top. Then just put a checkmark in the box corresponding to day and activity. That would be the way I would do it.

I like to see my progress. It motivates me. I enjoy seeing how well I am doing – or NOT doing, so that I can readjust and improve. It may work for you too.


Your success will not happen overnight. It will take time. You may even become lax at times, but don’t worry. The record keeping that we spoke of above will help to get you back on track.

Before his brain injury in 2005, my husband, David, used to do a half hour of his version of Tai Chi every morning. He’d run twenty miles each week, and he’d regularly lift small weights to strengthen weight_lifting_13his arms. He was fit and healthy. He exercised not only for his health, but also to leave the stress of his laboratory behind. David’s disabilities are all physical, including severely compromised balance, which makes him unable to run. He regrets this, but he has turned his attention to the treadmill – with its handrails – for exercise. He has also recently acquired a recumbent trike, which allows him to pedal away on his own with no danger of falling. None of this was possible when David first arrived home from the hospital. He was confined to wheelchair and bed. He could not even stand unassisted. It was a slow process – one that he has worked on over the past eleven years, but with small steps and small increments of exercise, he is gaining his strength and his independence.

So, no matter what your goal is, BE PATIENT. Reach for the stars, but remember, it will take time.


If you choose a goal that you find is not appropriate – it’s too hard, it’s too easy, or you are not enjoying it – QUIT IT!


It’s your life, and you can make the choices. Because you are a brain-injury survivor, I am sure there are many goals you would like to accomplish. Make new resolutions. (It doesn’t have to be a new year.) And, mix it up.

If you are not seeing the progress you want – for whatever reason, choose something else to work on. You can always come back and try again later. That’s why I encourage you to make reasonable and realistic resolutions. You want success to be imminent.

Once David tried a form of therapy on the recommendation of a friend who insisted that it helped her greatly, and, in fact, it did help her. David tried it for quite a long time and dedicated himself to it, but found it tedious and boring. He soon quit and set his sights on something more enjoyable that was not going to make him miserable. That’s where the flexibility comes in. Do what works for you.


I mentioned earlier to “mix it up.” That’s not a bad idea for anyone. If boredom sets in, your chance of success will fall greatly. You won’t reach your proposed goal, and you will become disenchanted with the activity. The feelings of failure are right behind. So, don’t put yourself in that position. Make a new resolution, and try something different. It can be something different that is still familiar, or it can be something so different that you have never done it before.David on Recumbent Trike

I want to go back to the story of David’s recumbent trike. In his adult life, he never rode a bicycle. As I mentioned, his preferred method of exercise was to run. When that was no longer a viable exercise mode, he turned to a recumbent trike. That has changed his post-brain-injury life. Before the trike, David was unable to leave the house alone. Now he can leave whenever he wants to. He is able to go to the garage, get on his trike, ride for several hours, and return. (The only thing he cannot do is get off the trike anywhere else because his balance issues do not allow him to walk freely outdoors.) So, try something you have never done before. Maybe you always wanted to draw or paint. Do it.


You may want to exercise with a buddy. Exercise can be much easier with a friend. I much prefer walking and talking or treading water in the deep end of a pool and talking or rotating through the machines in the gym and talking. Are you seeing a pattern here? I find exercising with a friend much more enjoyable than exercising alone. No matter what your goal is, if you can do it with someone else, it makes the exercise easier. It also adds an element of accountability. If you have made plans with a friend, you are more likely to meet your goal.swimming

For most survivors with brain injury, life has drastically changed. The kinds of resolutions that you may have made before your brain injury are now more than likely impossible to attain. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t set goals that you can successfully achieve. The gym may be out of the question, but you can set aside some moments at home for leg lifts, small weights, push-ups, stepping-in-place, etc. You can do anything to keep your body fit.

Each brain injury is different. The disabilities that accompany each brain injury are wide and varied. For some folks, the injury entails only cognitive/learning disabilities or emotional issues. For others, the brain injury might include physical disabilities.

So basically, you want to assess what you can do to improve your life while not being miserable. You want to make resolutions that can fit into your lifestyle. You don’t want to set your goals so high that they cannot be achieved. But, if you set your goals too high, change them. Make your resolutions reasonable, responsible, and realistic. Most of all, make them FUN.



Click here to listen to my show:

“Responsible Resolutions” on “Another Fork in the Road,” on the Brain Injury Radio Network.”

(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 intact it with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

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

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 – one view at a time.


Cam Compton (survivor)

11056773_804796876222530_117254145_nOn March 21st, I celebrated my “strokaversary.” Three years ago, I suffered a stroke. It has changed my life dramatically. I am still “me” – still Cam – but at the same time, I am not. I have learned to live and to love this new me. I have had fun. Whatever I was before (like fun or nerdy), I am still that, but three times more so now. I have met many new friends. I have done things that I would never have done if I had not had my stroke: my billboards, the talks, facilitating a stroke support-group, the stroke walk (mark April 18th on your calendar), and my newest – Brain Injury Radio host. I will be hosting my own show on the second Friday of every month. I’m happy to be here alive and on this side of the dirt.


Lindsey Dunn (survivor)

Dumm, Lindsey Survivor 032015 10686800_10101531483831264_2468134818312325958_nYesterday was two years ago that I fell about sixty feet on a spiral staircase in Valencia, Spain. I hit my Dumm, Lindsey Survivor 032015 10407045_10101650526873054_7173077641176124389_nhead on the way down (on one of the metal spindles), causing me to get a traumatic brain injury. I am actually very happy that this happened to me. I’m lucky that people have Dumm, Lindsey Survivor 032015  11043033_10101641035463914_6164584326813463685_nstuck by my side through this trial. Maybe my story will give hope to people and God can use it to help others.


Marcel’s moms (caregivers)

10711_356648177855326_33065405394910668_nWhen our son, Marcel, was eleven months old, he suffered a severe TBI. The doctors told us that he would never eat, walk, see, or talk – basically that he would be a vegetable. It’s been eight months, and his vision is starting to come back, he’s smiling and laughing, and he’s getting neck strength back. His limbs are getting stronger and starting to move a lot. MarcelHe’s learning how to eat again. And he babbles like a baby. Marcel has come so far, but he still has a long way to go. Obviously, God has plans for Marcel because he is a fighter. He was so close to dying, but he fought to stay here. A lot of people, doctors, and nurses told us all the things that our son would never do. Our boy will continue to fight and prove to everyone that he can. He’s doing many of them already.


Daniel Wondercheck (survivor)

Wondercheck, Daniel Survivor 0311815On July 23, 1991, I was involved in a construction accident that was serious enough to smash my hardhat, crack my skull, and knock me out for six days. I spent 85 days in the hospital, 95 days as an inpatient in a rehabilitation hospital, and another 186 days in rehabilitation as an outpatient. Now – twenty-three years and nearly eight months later, I still use a wheelchair, I talk funny, I have involuntary movements in my extremities, my left eye moistens itself approximately half as much as it should, and my right eye does not moisten itself at all. For 26.5 hours per week, I have a personal assistant who helps me with daily-living activities. (My personal assistant is also my best friend and “guardian angel.”) But, I do have enough mental ability to be a top-rated Power Seller on eBay and to be an administrator for an online support-group for traumatic brain injury survivors (Traumatic Brain Injury – TBI – Terrific Beyond Injury).


(Clip art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributors.)

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