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Life After A Brain Injury

July 15, 2014

This week marks the two-year anniversary since I suffered a brain injury from fainting during an X-ray. Who would have ever thought such a freak incident would lead to a brain injury? I remember lying on the floor, not able to motivate my body to move and not being able to see anything other than bright lights, thinking this would soon pass. After all, it was likely a concussion. And, concussions happen all the time. No big deal. Well, I was right that it was a severe concussion. But, I was wrong that it was no big deal. Concussions are brain injuries and need to be treated seriously. This one changed my life.

Anyone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury has likely heard from neurologists that healing can occur up to two years post injury and then you are where you will be for the rest of your life. I have heard this a few times and the closer I drew to my ‘Two Year Anniversary,’ I felt fear. Fear of spending my life with daily headaches. Fear of having to limit the time I spend around my children due to my sensitivity to noise and movement. Fear of not being able to spend enough time with my family as my Dad continues along his journey to fight for his life with extensive lung cancer.

But, I have learned through my own healing journey that fear is put in our way to teach us lessons. We can either let go and surrender and do the best we can, or we can choose to fight ourselves and dwell in the fear of the what-ifs while continuing to bang our heads against the wall…going no where.

The first thing anyone with a brain injury is prescribed to do is to go to bed. Stay in a dark room, with no screen time (TVs, computers, smart phones, even books!), no stress, no conversation, no exercise. Nothing. Just stay there until the headache goes away. For me, that was 11 days. When the headache stopped during this environment, I could then begin to venture out of my bedroom and into the downstairs main floor of my house. This felt like a major outing. My girls had been taken to my parents for several weeks. This was really tough. And at this point, it is important to stay cautious and don’t overdo it as the symptoms come back full force. I learned this the hard way too.

During the beginning stages of the brain injury recovery, my spirits were very positive. I viewed this as almost like a flea on me and I just needed to put up with it being there for a short while and it would go away. But, I was missing the lesson. I wasn’t accepting at that point that the brain injury wasn’t just something I could flick off or put up with for a while, I needed to accept it was part of me. I needed to accept there are a lot of things out of my control. I needed to feel the fear of the unknown and let others support and help me. I needed to take my foot off the accelerator at work for a while to feel who I would be without my job that I love so much. I needed to know that I was good enough without playing any roles or doing anything. I am perfect just as I am.

So, as I approach this two-year anniversary, I am not sad. I feel like the gains have been greater than the losses. This hasn’t been easy, and I know there will be many challenges ahead. I do believe there is more healing beyond the two-year mark. New neuroscience research shows that the neuroplasticity of the brain is ongoing. This is a good thing.

Recently, I got on my bike for the first time since the accident. I do feel like I am beginning to get back in-the-saddle in other areas of my life too. I know there is a lot of healing left, but I can’t help but feel like I have just earned a university degree for going through this process and learning so much. I am filled with a sense of gratitude and love. I am so thankful for my husband who has been my champion throughout this endeavour. I can never thank him enough for the way he has cared for me and our children during the past two years. I have learned that marriage is not 50-50. It is a long road that requires the load may shift from time to time. It is about living in the moment and supporting each other the best you can. I am thankful for my children who have taught me and also learned a lot about patience throughout this process. I am thankful for my Mom and Dad, the rest of my family, friends and clients. You have been my lifeline.

I have learned each day is a gift. It sounds like a cliché, but it really is true. If you can learn anything from my journey, please take away the importance of loving yourself and loving others with your whole heart and soul.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Gary & Marilyn Greenham permalink
    July 15, 2014 7:30 pm

    Great Job! We are so proud of you and your whole family!!!!! We love you Dad & Mom

  2. Stephanie permalink
    August 19, 2014 11:46 am

    This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing and passing on your lessons learned.

  3. February 10, 2017 8:04 pm

    TY for sharing your insights. I have also learned many things through the course of being post accident with a TBI HUGZ

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