TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘Deb Angus’

SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . Guest Blogger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Deb Angus – Just Blew Me Away

Just Blew Me Away …

by

Deb Angus

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Girl Blogger cartoon_picture_of_girl_writingMy husband and I used to be avid bicyclists all throughout the trail system here in Calgary (in Alberta, Canada). Sometimes we would be out and about for the whole day, putting on as much as 50 km (31 miles). Mostly this was back in ‘83 to ‘88. Then we bought a house. The trail system wasn’t as good in that neighbourhood. As a result, we only went sporadically over the following years.

Even that came to an end in 2001, when I sustained a TBI (traumatic brain injury) at the hands of a distracted driver who hit us while we were stopped at a red light. Because of ongoing balance issues, I no longer had the desire to ride my bike again. (So sad the things we lose because of TBI.)

Deb Angus - brain injury survivor and author of “Regaining Consciousness: My Encounter with Mild Brain Injury--the Silent Epidemic"

Deb Angus – brain injury survivor and author of “Regaining Consciousness: My Encounter with Mild Brain Injury–the Silent Epidemic”

Then in 2006, I had an idea about someday getting myself an adult tricycle. That way I would not have to worry about my lack of balancing skills – especially when you have to do a shoulder check (scanning over your shoulder without making the bike swerve). But because we were then living in apartments, storage was an issue. My dream of getting a trike never came to fruition … until this year!

My husband was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer in March 2015. He died April 1, 2016. It has been pretty rough. We had been together for 37 years. I have also been dealing with my own kidney failure since August 2013, and I do peritoneal dialysis every night for 8-9 hours. The waiting list for a transplant in our province is 6-8 years, so I have a ways to go yet. With my husband’s passing, I wanted to start doing things that would get me outside more often and be more active. I also wanted to do something to keep me busy for our wedding anniversary and my birthday, which were coming up on June 30. So I came up with a grand idea that if I could find a “folding” trike, I could then store it in the back of my car. And that is exactly what I’ve done. I wasn’t able to find such a trike locally, so I had to mail-order one and put it together.

Deb Angus - Brain Injury Survivor and her Trike

Deb Angus – Brain Injury Survivor and her Trike

On my very first ride, I drove down to the area of the city where my husband and I used to live back in ‘86 and ‘87. Talk about a trip down memory lane! Within seconds of riding my trike, I felt like I was 32 years old again – whizzing down the tails we used to ride with wind blowing through my helmet and hearing the birds singing and chirping along the way. The freedom I felt at being able to ride again … was fantastic! Then tears came to my eyes because my husband wasn’t here to enjoy this with me …. But as I was heading back to the car after about an hour of riding, I noticed in big letters written in chalk on the asphalt trails the words Love U. I knew then that my husband was there in spirit. I felt that he was so proud and happy that I had finally managed to get my trike and that I will enjoy many more great rides.

 

Thank you, Deb Angus.

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

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of Deb Angus.)

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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

 

Deb Angus Trike

Deb Angus – brain injury survivor

Deb Angus (survivor)…Well, look at what I’ve just done. I bought me a trike! And, I even assembled it. I’m hoping to take it out on its first ride tomorrow – it’s too late now. (I’ve been at it from 3:00 to 7:00 pm, including a jaunt to Canadian Tire to buy nuts and bolts for the front fender. Aaahhhh, quite the accomplishment! And, the best thing is that this is a folding trike. So, I’m hoping I’ll be able to store it and also transport it in my hatchback with no problem.
First ride

Deb Angus Trike 061616

Deb Angus – brain injury survivor

It was fantastic! I love my trike. I love being out on the trails again. I love the wind blowing through my helmet, hearing the birdies along the way, and stopping to photograph scenery and flowers. It was a great success all in all. I’m sure my legs will be killing me in the morning. It’s a good thing I have a hot stone massage booked soon. Here are the pics to show my efforts.

 

 

Michelle Markey

Michelle Markey – brain injury survivor

Michelle Markey (survivor)…Michelle says that she is trying to beautify her apartment with her creations. She crocheted this purple doily with crochet cotton, size 10.
Purple Doiley
Michelle says that she is so pleased that she finally finished a project. It took a long time, but it was worth it.

 

 

gofightygoldLee Staniland (survivor)…I fought like a bull to get my husband to see the surgeon for the nerves being pressed in his back. The office wanted us to see the surgeon on July 6. I fought until I got it scheduled for last week. It was with the surgeon’s partner, but it is done. I finally did it!

 

boy-driving-car

James Stroehlein (survivor)…I began driving again two years after my car accident and TBI. It’s been fourteen years, but I only drive in my small town. It still makes me nervous. But I do it!

 

(Clip art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of contributors.)

 

YOU did it!

Congratulations to contributors!

As I say after each post:

On the Air: Brain Injury Radio Another Fork in the Road . . . . . . Deb Angus – Survivor & Author

On the Air: Brain Injury Radio

Another Fork in the Road

with Mild Brain Injury Survivor & Author, Deb Angus

images-1Most rear-end collisions are caused by distracted drivers or drivers following too closely to the car ahead. In either case, it is the unsuspecting driver in the car ahead who may suffer whiplash, which may result in a variety of injuries such as problems with light sensitivity, depth-perception problems, tinnitus, memory problems, concentration, and balance.

The list goes on and on and on.Deb Angus

Deb Angus, brain injury survivor and author of “Regaining Consciousness: My Encounter with Mild Brain Injury–the Silent Epidemic,” will share her story about how she and her husband were sitting at a stoplight and how a distracted driver changed her life forever.

Deb Angus 2If you missed her interview on “Another Fork in the Road” on March 1st, you are in luck. You can listen to the archived show here.

Click the link below to listen to Deb Angus, and me.Book Cover-FINAL-6x9-web3

See you “On the Air!”

Survivor & Author of “Regaining Consciousness: My Encounter with Mild Brain Injury–the Silent Epidemic”

(Photos compliments of Deb Angus.)

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

“Another Fork in the Road” . . . Brain Injury Radio Network . . . Interview with Deb Angus

YOU ARE INVITED!

putthis_on_calendar_clip_art

 

Deb Angus, brain injury survivor and author of “Regaining Consciousness: My Encounter with Mild Brain Injury–the Silent Epidemic,” will share her story about how she and her husband were sitting at a stoplight and how a distracted driver changed her life forever.

Come One! Come ALL!

What:        Interview with Deb Angus, brain injury survivor and author

Why:        Deb will talk about her life with brain injury.

Where:     Brain Injury Radio Network

When:       Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Time:         5:00p PT (6:00p MT, 7:00p CT, and 8:00p ET) 90 minute show

How:         Click: Brain Injury Radio Network

Deb Angus BI Survivor  Author of Regaining Consciousness

Deb Angus
BI Survivor
Author of Regaining Consciousness

Call In:    424-243-9540

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

Call In:    202-559-7907 free outside US

or SKYPE

If 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 Deb Angus.)

Survivors SPEAK OUT! . . . . . . . Deb Angus

SPEAK OUT! – Deb Angus

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

 

Deb Angus & her book

Deb Angus with Regaining Consciousness

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

Deb Angus

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

Alberta, Canada

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

July 2001   Age 44

4. How did your TBI occur?

We were rear-ended at a red light by a distracted driver.

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

It was realized I had a brain injury about one week afterwards.

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., inpatient or outpatient and occupational and/or physical and/or speech and/or other)? How long were you in rehab?

My rehab was all outpatient: physical therapy, January-March 2002; vestibular therapy, March-April 2002; occupational therapy, April-May 2003; and speech therapy, May-June 2003.

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

I have light-sensitivity (pain from bright sunlight, photo flash, strobe lights, etc.), double vision, depth-perception problems, tinnitus, pain from loud noises, speaking problems (word-finding, stuttering, and stammering), memory problems, concentration and attention problems, a balance problem and dizziness, left-side weakness, sleeping problems, and spatial-coordination problems. I had constant debilitating head pain for the first three weeks and shooting head-pains from August 2001 until about 2010, which have dissipated quite a lot over the years. They still occur once in a while, but they’re much milder than earlier in my recovery. In 2005, I developed an extreme sensitivity to perfumes and colognes. It started as the result of olfactory and trigeminal nerve damage.

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

My life is worse. I cannot do many activities anymore (e.g., riding a bicycle or ice-skating). Parties, large crowds, and loud noises are difficult or impossible. Light-sensitivity is still an ongoing issue. It affects my driving, watching certain movies and TV programs, and attending certain events.

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

I miss the spontaneity – just going out and doing whatever whenever.

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

I have more compassion and understanding. I’m more aware of concussions and their impact on brain health.

13. What do you like least about your TBI?

I realize our fragility in life.

14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?

I have been helped by time, a lot of inner work on acceptance, and learning about TBI.

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

Many people have given up on me; good friends have stood by me; many more new friends have entered my life. Only I and my husband are here – I have no contact with my family back east. It wasn’t until halfway through my rehab that I realized what a brain injury was and how much it had affected me. I was then able to recognize the symptoms in my husband when he was rear-ended at red light by a drunk driver in ’92. He was never diagnosed. He hasn’t worked outside the home in 22 years. His injury is more depressive than mine, and he dislikes being around people now.

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

I don’t go out as much as I used to. A small circle of friends, who understand what I’ve gone through and what I still contend with, invite me out for lunches, etc. No more drinking; no more music events; no large-crowd events, like the Calgary Stampede or fireworks.

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

My caregiver is just me, my husband, and patience.

Book Cover-FINAL-6x9-web3

Regaining Consciousness: My Encounter with Mild Brain Injury — The Silent Epidemic

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

I still continue to work full-time. It took 10 years of writing and research, but I finally published my book on mild brain injury in 2014. I am now out delivering talks on concussions and brain injuries to raise awareness. I’m hoping to be able to retire in next 3-5 years and to concentrate more on promoting my book and delivering talks. I’m hoping that this work will help change the paradigms in the medical, legal, and insurance industries for recognition of these injuries, the recovery process involved, and the fact that many survivors need support for employment, housing, and medical issues that may crop up due to TBI – especially as we age.

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.

I wish I would have known how easily concussions occurred and that repeated concussions lead to permanent brain injury. And to deal more effectively with stress, which can wear the body and spirit down to dust. I am currently dealing with kidney failure due to a rare autoimmune response to a virus. My general practitioner is convinced that this occurred because of the stress I’ve endured working through brain injury, having a job that was uncertain from year to year, and having to move six times in four years, due to problem tenants, a rodent problem, and a job transition in 2012.

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

Deb Angus winter

Deb Angus

Be patient with yourself. Be gentle and nurturing with lots of self-care. Keep strong, be determined to improve, and be willing to explore all kinds of healing modalities. Keep trying to find the right doctors and the right therapists who will listen to you and help you.

 

Thank you, Deb, 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 Deb.)

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