TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘Carmen Gaarder Kumm’

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . Itty-Bitty Giant Steps

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for BlogSPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at neelyf@aol.com.

If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

 

Here is this week’s Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

 

shaveBarbara Dan (caregiver)My husband came out of the bedroom with th-1his shaving kit and cell phone, and he gave me the biggest smile. He said, “My mind is getting better. Do you know why? I wanted to get my cell phone, but when I went into the bedroom, I couldn’t remember what I went in for. Then I started doing my shaving stuff, and when I saw your cell phone on the night stand, I remembered what I went into the room for – my cell phone.” He was so excited. The little stuff counts so much!
12674091_940851459283737_1880330839_nCarmen Gaarder Kumm (survivor)…Yesterday I left to go to the Mall of America, which is about a three-hour drive from my home, with a 16-year-old, a 15-year-old, and a 10-year-old. (My 15-year-old family+cardrove 80% of the way, and my 16-year-old was a Peruvian exchange student.) Halfway there I realized I forgot my pill for sleeping and my “happy” pill. I was concerned Mallbecause we were spending the night in a hotel, and then the next day would be spent shopping and driving home. Not only was I able to do it all with no anxiety, no bursts of anger, and no frantic rushing, but I also came home and attended my husband’s fire department banquet. (Note: I planned to sleep all the next day if I needed to.) Yay me!

 

Evan Joseph Powers (survivor)I just got incredible newcollege-student-studying-clipart-good-student-clipart-196s :), and I have to share the joy. College_Clip_ArtI got approval to go to a university – covered (thanks in part to my test scores ;). I get to fulfill my dream of working with TBI survivors. I’ve had this dream since my accident in August 2014. I am beyond happy right now!

 

YOU did it!

Congratulations to contributors!

 

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(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photo compliments of contributor.)

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SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for Blog

 

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com.

If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

 

Here are this week’s Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

Jodi Jizmejian (survivor)…This morning, I used my right hand without thinking about using it. I’m right-handed naturally, but this act was not planned. It seemed like “natural.” Mind you, I’m still experiencing numbness and heaviness in my right hand/arm, but I realized that I automatically started using my right hand to do something that I’ve been using my left hand to do. Oh, the silly, little things that excite me.

Carmen Gaarder Kumm (survivor)…Be proud of me. I didn’t call anyone, nor did I check the Internet until afterwards. I was making a salad, and I didn’t have sour cream. So, I substituted cottage cheese for it!!! Then I checked the Internet. Yep, I did it exactly right! Yay, me!

Sandra Williams (survivor)…I just finished my second round of speech therapy. Now I have coping strategies to help me keep my job. This confidence has allowed me to control flashbacks as I work. I can’t control the fatigue, but I do feel I have a much better shot at working from home. I will never be hired to work outside the home, so it is so important for me to keep this job. I feel like I have some hope.

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for Blog

 

 

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com.

If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

 

Here are this week’s Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

Roy Anthony (survivor)…I broke off a toxic relationship that has taken a good part of me. Now is the start of gaining my life back.

Wendy Coulter (survivor)…I went outside into my front yard without a cane! First time since the accident in March!

Sherrie Crusha (survivor)…I put in a back door with only hand tools.

10678844_389594007862776_6836148097400106876_nLaura Doughty (survivor)…Saved a dog. He is a stray. Really cut up. Scares really easily. No doubt he has been abused. He needs love and care. It was the right thing to do. He is a boxer – named after the boxer, Jack Dempsy. Dempsy is happy here.

Dunton IV, George FrederickGeorge Frederick Dunton IV (survivor)…My big accomplishment for the week was being able to babysit three very young kids for 3 hours.

John Hatten (survivor)…Well, Donna, I’ve been working with HOPE Beyond Trauma (www.HOPEBeyondTrauma.com) to build a new service for Survivors of Brain Injury, an online teleconference/teleseminar/support group. We plan on starting before February (the gods being willing). It’s a pretty big step for a survivor of a serious brain injury.

Kelley (survivor)…My big step is helping others. We all were snatched from death for a reason. My reason is to help others. My estranged, alone father needed to be put into a home and get care. I found him one of the best in our area that takes a couple of Medicaid patients. He gets the best care, and I can visit him almost every day, since I put him so close to me. He has dementia, and so do I (but not as bad as he does). I am able to give him cognitive exercises, since I had rehab for over a year and know them very well. His nurses say he’s getting better all the time. I forgave him and am his only guest and caregiver. What I’m accomplishing makes me feel good.

Carmen Gaarder Kumm (survivor)…Today’s test – I passed with flying colors. My car slipped into a ditch. I didn’t panic, couldn’t get out, didn’t panic. I called my husband. He got me out! I didn’t cry; I didn’t yell; I kept my head! Yay!

Susie Farrell Mayowski (caregiver)…My daughter actually wanted a hug and had a smile on her face tonight. I was almost in tears with that.

Grant Mealey (survivor)…Hi, Donna. OK, so I learned this week that when my voice escalates, it causes heck to break loose. So, it’s apparently up to me to keep things calm by leaving for a while before a problem happens. I’m a little nervous, since I am neither quiet nor mellow. I have been working on this for a few days and seem to be doing well. I have learned I can voice concerns over things, as long as I remain calm. OK, it’s a big step forward, and I can do this. No one deserves to be yelled at.

Michael Montepara (survivor)…My Itty-Bitty Giant Step for today was actually waking up, getting dressed, and having at least one cup of coffee. For me, that small accomplishment is a lot harder than one would imagine.

Michael Montepara (survivor)…My Itty-Bitty Giant Step accomplishment is getting outdoors in bitter 16-degree cold, starting and de-thawing my poor truck, and taking my friend to his uncle’s house a few towns away. For me, movement in cold mornings is extremely difficult! Stay warm, be well, and smile a little smile today.

Shanna Wolf Heart Powell (survivor)…Last week I went Christmas shopping – first time since my TBI (approximately two and a half years ago)!!! I forgot what I was doing once, but I didn’t panic, and I didn’t stress!! I dominated the situation!!! But, I do have to do a return/exchange tomorrow!!! I got one item wrong!!! Not bad, considering, I guess!!

Scott Sheehan (survivor)…Eighty-four hours of world peace. No hate or anger, and I will play any song for anyone in the world during my record-breaker. Ambitious? Thanks to you, even more so now. As support grows, so does the ambition. Got my first sponsor. The focus it takes makes me a blithering idiot. My speech and vision are affected. Learned to play blindfolded. Been called a retard thousands of times. And I open up to you now because “it’s time” (the name I always wanted to call a band). But it’s time, to make Ma and Dad proud. And save the world. And no better time than my 50th birthday. Hahaha. An old guy. Doing the impossible. With a traumatic brain injury, no less. I know this is long. Understand this is huge. And now, you are a part of it. Hour 85, I will probably die. But not until then. For Ma, Dad, Milo, and you and to save the world! A lot of work to do in the next 13 months.

Laurie Whyte (survivor)…I realize what depersonalization means! I’ve been a chameleon since my injury – just doing what everyone else does or asking for advice all the time. Or over-sharing. Not really knowing my own mind. It’s been 9 years, and I’m starting to think for myself.

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for Blog

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com.

If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

 

Here are this week’s Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

David Figurski…I assembled Donna’s new office chair. It came as 12 pieces with 13 screws. The Allen screws made it possible to use my non-ataxic left hand. Because the instructions were written with two good hands in mind, I sometimes had to devise my own way of assembling the parts. It took me twice as long, but I felt good about doing it.

Jodi Mannon…I was hit and thrown down stairs in January by my ex-roommate. I don’t remember a lot in the past 8 1/2 months. Yesterday I became friends with a lot of people who also have a TBI. I spoke with one on Facebook Messenger for a couple of hours. We chatted for a moment today, and he is going to call me tonight. I was shocked! He made me truly happy for once because we were able to talk the way we did and share our lives. I haven’t done that with anyone because I’ve never even thought about it before. I just had a lot of issues in dealing with getting better. It’s the greatest feeling to have people who have been through the same thing understand me!! Not that my parents and friends haven’t been nice, but they just don’t understand the things I go through. My new friends do. I feel so blessed to have them in my life, and I look forward to keeping these new friendships for the rest of my life!!!

Carmen Gaarder Kumm…I passed the test that allows me to keep my job!!! I needed a 70, and I got 73.7 – not much, but I PASSED! Better yet, I found my car after going out a different door than the one I went in. (Also, I was parked on the street in a college city that I’ve only been to once before.) I walked around for a half an hour looking for it – but I was still within 2 hours! LOL!

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for Blog

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com. If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

 

Here are this week’s Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

(Though we’ve only two contributors, their accomplishments are great.)

DuWayne Hall…I got a job! My baby step this week is working for a non-profit organization that works with TBI survivors.

Carmen Gaarder Kumm…A giant step. I taught high-school Spanish for 23 years, but I had to resign because I couldn’t do it post accident. Tuesday I taught 20 adults how to tell their name, age, and condition and how to count to 100. I can hardly wait until next week.

DuWayne Hall…I’ve just been offered another job! It provides a paid apartment, full salary, and profit sharing. And that is in addition to the job I was offered on Monday, in which I would be working with military survivors who have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)! Wow! Life is funny and God is Great!

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for Blog

SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com. If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

 

Here are this week’s Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

Tim Short…After four years, I started back in physical therapy to work on my balance. My condition was from a 42-foot fall from a roof on October 24, 2009. The fall led to a two-month coma, a shattered left wrist, a broken pelvis, and vision problems. I had two eye operations on my optical nerves to change a 45-degree world to one that was almost normal. After 4 ½ years, I was able to drive again. Now I volunteer at Mercy Hospital and get to help the TBI/MS/stroke people at the start of their journey. And the best part of my own long journey is now knowing Jesus is my personal savior. When I came off that roof, I knew him by words only. Now he lives in me. Though I often fail daily…I strive to do things that are pleasing to him.

DemItra Manna Dema…I can lose my temper without going into a full-blown seizure within two days or feeling a very serious migraine coming on. I still do have migraines, but they’re not as severe.

Cheri Hicks…My Itty-Bitty Giant Step is that every time I go to therapy night, I take the stairs up instead of taking the elevator. (I take the elevator to go down when I leave.) I figured it’s good practice and a good feeling of accomplishment.

Carmen Gaarder Kumm…I am visiting my parents, who live 10 hours from my house, for the second time this month. So far, I haven’t had any meltdowns. That’s my Itty-Bitty Giant Step.

Melinda Murphy…Okay, so for the very first time, I did all my own coupons and my grocery list without my wonderful mentor. I still managed to save 45%. I’m no Mandy yet, but I’m getting there. Love that my therapist is working with me to help me learn grocery shopping and meal planning and just being a huge blessing in this area. I love learning how to accomplish things on my own again and how to do them right. I love taking that load off of those who have become my caregivers as much as possible. (Love you, Manders!) And I love saving money. Win, win, win!

YOU did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

              SPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty GIANT Steps

Itty-Bitty GIant Steps for BlogSPEAK OUT! Itty-Bitty Giant Steps will provide a venue for brain-injury survivors and caregivers to shout out their accomplishments of the week.

If you have an Itty-Bitty Giant Step and you would like to share it, just send an email to me at donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com. If you are on Facebook, you can simply send a Private Message to me. It need only be a sentence or two. I’ll gather the accomplishments and post them with your name on my blog approximately once a week. (If you do not want your last name to be posted, please tell me in your email or Private Message.)

I hope we have millions of Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

 

Here are this week’s Itty-Bitty Giant Steps.

Cheri Richardson Hicks…My Itty-Bitty Giant Step is that I ventured away from outpatient therapy into a new program called Quest. It is a program that gets people back to work and back into the community. I really feel like this is what I need to get me to where I need to be, so it couldn’t have

Melinda's 100 piece puzzle

Melinda’s 100 piece puzzle

Melinda Murphy…Here is one for your Itty-Bitty Giant Steps. I used to be able to do 5000-piece puzzles in 2 or 3 days. I have not done any at all since the accident, until now. Four days, 2 tables, and only 100 pieces – but I did one, and I am thrilled (even if a piece was missing)!

Carmen Gaarder Kumm…Here is my Itty-Bitty Giant Step. I worked 4 1/5 hours today. I took three kids to town (20 minutes away), completed what needed to be done (I only forgot one thing, but my daughter will do that for me in the morning, as she is going anyway), picked up supper (knowing that I wouldn’t have much time once we got home), finished a Facebook page for our church, helped a bit with Vacation Bible School, picked green beans in the garden, and packed for the weekend away. I’m in bed before 10:00, and I don’t feel I overdid it…feeling good actually.

Donna O’Donnell Figurski (caregiver)…This week we have friends from Germany visiting us. They wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, which is about 4 hours from my home – too far for a day trip. Though David would have liked to go, he knew it would be too difficult for him, and he had seen it a few times before. He chose to remain home.

Caboose - haunted by ghost

Caboose – haunted by ghost

That’s where my dilemma came in. David is 9+ years out from his TBI and still deals with many issues, including balance deficits, and I have never left him alone at night. Though he is completely

able to stay at home during the day, I always worry about the night. David convinced me he would be just fine, and after much discussion and a ton of angst, I agreed to go with our friends to the canyon. I insisted that David and I be in constant cell-phone contact.

So off we went to Williams, Arizona, where I slept in a little red caboose, which is supposedly haunted. The ghost may or may not have made an appearance. The jury is still out on that one.

But the jury is in on my trip to the Grand Canyon and on David’s staying overnight by himself. He did it! I did it!

WE did it!

Congratulations to all contributors!

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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