TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘PTSD’

On the Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” with Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, Caregiver – Military Spouse

On the Air: Brain Injury Radio

“Another Fork in the Road”

with Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, Caregiver – Military Spouse

presented by Donna O’Donnell Figurski


When Jeannette Davidson-Mayer’s husband, DeWayne, had five brain injuries – the result of his active duty in Iraq – Jeannette became his caregiver. To combat this 24-hour job, Jeannette redesigned her kitchen to become the family’s “Central Command Post.”  Jeannette will discuss how she, DeWayne, and their daughter make11023816_10204963754366844_8119135603280691384_n this system work for them.

If you missed her interview on “Another Fork in the Road” on April 19th, you are in luck. You can listen to the archived show here.

Click the link below to listen to Jeannette Davidson-Mayer and me.

See you “On the Air!”

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

with Jeannette Davidson-Mayer, Caregiver – Military Spouse

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 Joshua Puckett




Joshua Puckett was minding his own business in his own front yard when an unknown assailant attacked him. This attack resulted in a life-change for Joshua. Joshua, with his wife, Tatiana, will join me on my show, “Another Fork in the Road,” to share his story about how he … about how they … are adapting to life after TBI.

Come One! Come ALL!

What:        Interview with Joshua Puckett, brain injury survivor. Joshua’s wife, Tatiana, will join Joshua.

Why:        Joshua will talk about his brain injury and how his life is affected by it.

Where:     Brain Injury Radio Network

When:       Sunday, March  15th, 2015

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

How:         Click: Brain Injury Radio Network

Joshua Puckett - Survivor 2013

Joshua Puckett – Survivor 2013

Call In:    424-243-9540

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

Call In:    202-559-7907 free outside USA


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 Joshua Puckett.)

Survivors SPEAK OUT! DuWayne Hall

SPEAK OUT! – DuWayne Hall


Donna O’Donnell Figurski


Hall, DuWayne 1

DuWayne Hall

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

DuWayne Hall

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

Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA    Braindamagedguy@gmail.com

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

August 16, 1992 – I was 32 years old.

4. How did your TBI occur?

It was a single vehicle motorcycle accident. (For complete story see Guest Blog.)

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

As soon as I became aware in the hospital!

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

I was on total life support, so they did whatever was necessary for that. My arm was tied around my neck because they expected me to die.

I was not wearing my helmet at the time of the accident. I had my right ear torn off; they sewed it back on. My right cheek was crushed from my shoulder’s smacking my face as I face-planted the road. They put a titanium cheekbone in to fix my face. My right eye was hanging out of its socket; it had to be placed back into my skull. I sustained a closed-head injury. My right frontal lobe and the pons portion of my brain sustained what they refer to as a “contracoup” injury (that is, the brain is damaged exactly opposite to the impact point). They implanted a shunt on the top of my head. I’ve got a metal plate in the top of my head.

I had road rash from being dragged 100 or so feet before the motorcycle stopped sliding. My arm was shattered at the elbow. My collarbone was broken in two places. I had knee surgery.

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

I was in a coma 24 days. On the 25th day, my living will was going to become effective, and they were going to unplug me from life support.

8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., inpatient or outpatient and occupational, physical, speech, and/or other)?
How long were you in rehab?

I was in rehab three years. I relearned everything from how to go to the bathroom to how to eat again, talk again, and interact again. I was just like a child relearning how to do everything – dress myself, cook, shower, stand upright, etc.

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

As a result of my TBI, I became increasingly more isolated, until Facebook came into the picture about ten years ago. I walk with an uneven gait. I have problems seeing just one of something. I’m partially deaf. My face is partially paralyzed. Over the years, I’ve developed PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as a result of multiple TBI’s. I get frustrated very easily, but it is perceived as anger by others.

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

It became more burdensome and unfulfilled.

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

I miss friends, family, social relationships, and camping. Any exercise is burdensome. Personal relationships ended. I can’t defend myself. I lost my hospital job of 8 years.

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


13. What do you like least about your TBI?
It gave me PTSD. Anybody diagnosed with it understands what I am talking about! It is hell!

14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?

It is hard to define “accept.” I know that it has happened and that I can’t do anything about it. I believe all things happen for a reason, but I cannot find any good being returned because I am disabled. So, if I can help keep one soul from going through the hell I’ve been through these last 24 years, then that would be worth it to me!

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

I have been married two times since my TBI. No lady wants me because I’m broken, not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally.

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

I have no social life! At first, people seemed happy that I did not die. However, after time, I no longer had the number of friends that I had before my accident. The example would be that I receive a get-well card at the hospital with approximately 825 signatures of people wishing me well during recovery. If only 25 percent were sincere, I would have 207 friends. I have two – one who lives out-of-state and one who lives out-of-town. I am constantly lonely and feeling rejected!

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

I don’t have one. I am my own caregiver!

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

I don’t have any plans. I believe that life has ended for me! I am just waiting to die.

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’m too gullible. Most TBIers are.

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

Hall, DuWayne 2

DuWayne Hall

Be patient with yourself. Recovery takes a long time!


Thank you, DuWayne, 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 DuWayne.)

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.


SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . Changing a Negative Feeling About a Memory

Changing a Negative Feeling About a Memory

newsboy-thThis is exciting, but complicated, basic research. Here I simplify the main experiments. Neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have identified a neuronal circuit in mice that associates a positive or negative feeling with a memory. In a tour de force of molecular studies of the brain, the researchers conducted experiments that provide considerable hope for future therapy in humans with syndromes like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety, and depression. The scientists were able to turn a memory associated with a negative feeling into a memory that has a more positive feeling and vice versa.

(How relevant are studies done in mice? The mouse is an accepted animal model for humans. You might not expect it, but mice and humans are very similar genetically. The DNA sequences of the mouse and human chromosomes are known. Many mouse genes have sequences similar to human genes. They both code for proteins that have similar structures and do the same things. Because mouse and human genes are so similar, much of the underlying biology of mice and humans is also similar. Still there are differences. So until something has been shown to be true in humans, a scientist’s conclusions must be conservative. Most of the time, however, much is learned about humans from the mouse. It has become a convenient initial model for humans.)

The researchers at MIT engineered a virus that infects the mouse brain. They specifically infected either the hippocampus, the part of the brain that contains neurons that store contextual information about a memory (for example, the place), or the amygdala, the part of the brain that contains neurons that put a positive or negative emotional tag onto the memory. The engineered virus is essentially a dead-end. It doesn’t reproduce or harm the cell, but it does have an ability to cause infected neurons to make a light-sensitive protein – but only when the neuron is actively making a new memory. In this way, the researchers were able to make neurons involved in making a new memory sensitive to light. By implanting an optical fiber in the part of the brain that contained the light-sensitive neurons (i.e., in the hippocampus or in the amygdala), the scientists could use light to turn on these memory-making neurons at will. The general technique of using a light-sensitive protein to activate a cell is called “optogenetics.” When the light-sensitive neurons are activated by the researcher, the mice recall that memory with its associated positive or negative feeling. To make a memory with a positive feeling, male mice were allowed to mix with female mice. To make a memory having an associated negative feeling, mice were put into a special cage and given a mild electrical shock. For both kinds of memories, the neurons involved could be turned on by light.

The researchers then took the mice and put them into a cage with two compartments. When a mouse with a negative memory explored a particular compartment, the researchers turned on its bad-memory neurons by shining a laser into the optical fiber to activate those neurons. The mice “remembered” the bad feeling and avoided that compartment. When the experiment was done with the mice having a good memory, the mice preferred that compartment. These results were seen only when neurons of the hippocampus were activated. No change in mouse behavior was seen when amygdala neurons were activated. Whereas the amygdala is needed to add the positive or negative feeling to a memory, the researchers concluded that a memory with its associated feeling is stored in the hippocampus.

The researchers then asked if they could change a negative memory into a positive memory and vice versa. They took the male mice with the negative memory and mixed them with females to make a positive memory. When they used light to activate the bad-memory neurons, the positive feeling from mixing them with females dominated. Unexpectedly, those mice did not suddenly avoid the females when the researchers activated the bad-memory neurons. When the mice were put back into the cage with two compartments, they went randomly into both compartments, even when the researchers activated the bad-memory neurons with light. The bad memory was no longer causing them to avoid one of the compartments. The negative tag had been supplanted by the positive feeling. What happened to the first (negative) tag? Was it removed? Was it changed? This question is being investigated. When the experiment was reversed, the scientists found that the positive feeling became more negative.

This new research gives a molecular explanation for why emotion associated with a memory can be changed – the basis of current therapy. Dr. Susumu Tonegawa, who directed the research, believes that the amygdala has two kinds of neurons: neurons that can tag a memory with a positive feeling and other neurons that can tag a memory with a negative feeling. He wants to identify those two populations of cells and understand how they work at the molecular level. Such information will be valuable for the development of new therapies and drugs. (Full story)

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

Tag Cloud

Montclair Write Group

Writing Support Group

Brain Injury Support Group of Duluth-Extension

Brain Injury Information and SUPPORT

Women Worldwide

Women around the world share their incredible stories

Brain Aneurysm Global Insight

Brain Aneurysm, cerebral hemorrhaging, hemorrhage stroke

Maybe Crazy Help

Helping Others Overcome Darkness Within


Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, and the Brain

One TBI Wife's Journey

TBI Wife's Support

Wrath of Violets

A retrospective documentary of my most inner thoughts: A success in the making

Karen DeBonis

Memoir and creative nonfiction

Surviving TBI

Learning how to survive with spouse's TBI

BQB Publishing

Tomorrow's Best Sellers Today

Knit Neutrality

Knit (Verb) | 'nit : to join together

Ten Thousand Days

The long and winding journey after loss

Wordcrafter9's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog


It contains the world best places and things.


Discover - Empower - Thrive

%d bloggers like this: