Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Celebrate Our Differences, Cherish Your Individuality


"We don't need a melting pot in this country, folks. We need a salad bowl. In a salad bowl, you put in the different things. You want the vegetables - the lettuce, the cucumbers, the onions, the green peppers - to maintain their identity. You appreciate differences." - Jane Elliot



As a person in the United States we need to hold on to our individuality. Our society is made up of different people and different strengths. Everybody is different and everybody brings different strengths to the table. It is far easier said than done, but we need to try and celebrate our differences.

Jane Elliot makes an excellent comparison. As a child in school you always hear about the melting pot that is the United States. Perhaps Jane Elliot’s comparison is that much more applicable.

We all need to hold on to our own individuality. The differences among our people are what make our country so special. It is difficult to not fall victim into what we believe that society wants. In a perfect world we would celebrate our differences and not be concerned about being aside from the norm.

Things are not always as easily said as done. I heard another comparison that stuck out to me; “Why try to be white bread when you are nutritious multigrain?” We need to attempt to embrace what sets us aside from the norm. We need to remember Jane Elliot’s quotation and try to remember what makes our society unique.

People are celebrated for making the best of life situations. We are all different and we all have different strengths. That is what makes our country so great. I will include a graphic that represents individuality. It is my hope that with every day I will continue to become more and more okay with who I am following my brain injury. I do not think that I will ever wake up and not realize that my life is forever changed, yet I am hopeful that I will find my place in the world and that I will wake up more and more peaceful as the days go on.

Whenever I get frusterated about bein diferent I will try and remember Jane Elliot’s quote. Every one of us has to remember what about us makes us unique. Every person is different and we all bring different strengths to the table. I love that in this country we are celebrated for being different. All things considered this injury happening to me in the United States was the best case scenerio.

Life is about looking towards the positive.There is always a positive aspect to look towards. I thank you very much for reading and welcome any thoughts that you may have.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Contribute, Help and Make a Difference


“I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt nothing and succeed.”

- Robert H. Schuller

I attempted to volunteer at the A.S.P.C.A about a week ago. I went for both the informational training session and to hands on training session. I really loved seeing the dogs at the center but I realized that the volunteers were expected to do far more than to socialize with the dogs. I didn’t really fail rather I came to the conclusion that it was far more involved than I had thought.

I was attempting to find an outlet for me to spend some of my free time while doing something good by animals which have always been near and dear to my heart.
 
I realized that I love what service dogs do and the incredible responsibility that they assume.

In my heart I miss my cocker spaniel Andrew that I had years ago. I included a picture of the breed for your reference.

I realize that many people have service dogs and I would love to hear about that. I recently heard a heartwarming story about a service dog that saved the life of his owner by fetching an epi pen and delivering it while his owner was going into shock. I would love to somehow support service dogs because I think that they are incredible and can save lives.

I always inquire about how people who are survivors of brain injury spend their free time. I often find myself searching for something meaningful to do with my free time. I am a member of the Facebook group for TBI survivors and caregivers and many times the conversation amongst the group members goes to how to take up your leisure time.

I would love to hear some ideas of how the survivor that you know takes up his/her leisure time. Comradery is essential for us survivors and I think that the more frequently that we can hear responses from likeminded individuals the better all of our lives will be. Better decisions are made when several minds contribute varying ideas to them. I am always interested to hear who aids an injured party make decisions.

We all need help at one time or another. We can contribute and help one another as we each try to make ourselves a spot in the world. I think the internet has been fantastic at providing many different avenues for an individual to find a place to connect with certain communities. Sustaining a brain injury at this point in history is much better than if you had an injury many years ago. The internet is in full function and it is serving as a phenomenal way to connect people.

I thank you very much for reading and I would welcome any thoughts that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, August 14, 2017

Be Bold, Be Curious and Break New Ground

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
- Walt Disney
I decided to take Walt Disney’s quotation and make it a reality. On a summer day rather than doing more of the same, my friend suggested that we go crabbing. I had never done this before but I was open to a new experience. I was a bit fearful of holding a crab because I have no experience with it. Thankfully my friend knew precisely how to hold the crab to ensure that I would not become a victim to its claws. 
Life is about gathering and creating new experiences. The more often that you step outside of your ordinary typical leisure activities, the more often you allow yourself to experience new things the more often you open yourself up to new groundbreaking moments. 
I did not feel passionately about crabbing but it gave me an experience under my belt. I know many people who have crabbed and have greatly enjoyed it. For me, I greatly enjoyed being outside in the incredible summer weather, yet I do not feel a strong desire to go crabbing again in the near future. I much prefer going out fishing on a boat. I must go out fishing before this summer comes to an end.

It seems that the seasons go by faster and faster the older I get. I am of the mind frame now that I truly want to enjoy every day. I think that you enjoy a day by making it memorable and by taking part in new experiences. By taking part in new experiences we can expand our horizons. Each of our lives is made up of a sum of our experiences. I was proud that I tried a new activity that I had no experience with. I would love to hear from whoever is willing to share how they pass the free time in the summers. There are various bbq’s that may serve as fundraisers and also to raise awareness to various causes. I like to support fairs or picnics that are put into place to support a cause.

I think we as survivors should realize what we represent as we go about our days. The opportunities for survivors are certainly different from non survivors but they don’t have to be less so. I have always found that every survivor that I have met has numerous service providers contributing to his/her health. Volunteer and see what types of opportunities are available to support a cause that you take part in or believe in. I encourage all survivors to try and see what opportunities are available to them. Never be afraid to look outside the box.

I thank you very much for reading and I would love to read any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Thursday, August 10, 2017

12 Years Later …. Wow


“There's always a bittersweet kind of thing, but I feel like everything had to work out the way it is. Everything that had to happen, happened.”

Bruno Mars




A few days ago was the twelve year anniversary of my accident.

What is scary is that I am going to get to the point where I am going to be alive much longer as a survivor and subsequently as a person with a disability than I ever was prior. I am very fortunate that my family is incredibly supportive.

What was surprising to me was how many people reached out to me on Facebook regarding my anniversary. Both of my parents took me out to dinner to reflect and celebrate upon what has happened in my life over the last twelve years.

Much has changed in the last twelve years. My responsibilities have changed but I still and always will have to live my life in a healthy manner. By reading Bruno Mars’ quote I question slightly if things were supposed to work out the way that they did. The rational part of me does believe that accidents happen and that nobody was ever supposed to become a survivor. As our company tag line says, “A moment changes everything”.

That one moment twelve years ago forever changed the sequence of the rest of my life. I was very grateful that both of my parents (even though they are divorced) decided to come together and take me out to dinner on that incredibly poignant day for me. My parents and my friends were both incredibly supportive of me in my anniversary date.

I am going to include a graphic of  Pheonix Rising because it is much the way that I feel in relation to my injury most frequently. I will live the rest of my days tying to become more and more okay with who I am. August second will always hold a deep significance to me for what it represents. As I go forward I am hoping to become more okay with who I am and what my abilities are.

As always I thank you so much for reading and I welcome any thoughts or comments that you may have. I often reach out to support and get support from various online support groups that I am a member of. It is always fantastic when there are many different people sharing and supporting one another. Always remember that we are real life, Pheonix Rising.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Seasonal Sports

"Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday's success or put its failures behind and start over again. That's the way life is, with a new game every day, and that's the way baseball is." Bob Feller 

I recently attended a baseball game; it is one of my favorite things to do in the warm weather. Bob Feller’s quote is a very interesting way to consider a baseball game in relation to your life journey.

Every day is a new game and every game has its own challenges. I snapped a picture of myself in a baseball hat before I left for the game.

I truly love baseball games. The game that I attended was my little cousin’s traveling baseball game which had a tournament relatively near my hometown. My cousin is from far away so I jumped at the opportunity to see him play so near my house. I try to consider Bob Feller’s quote when I am watching a baseball game.

Sometimes watching a game is a nice reason to get your mind away from any difficulties that you are going through. No matter what you are battling back from, you can always be an enthusiastic fan. Sporting events are a fantastic chance to have old good fashioned fun. In regards to my family it has become an every year tradition. We attend a few games (some of which professional) and try and stay focused on the competition of the game. At the conclusion of the game I always try and remember how everyone can gain a life lesson from it.

The sun will come out tomorrow and a person has to focus on the new goals that are to be accomplished. There have been times throughout my recovery that I have gotten depressed regarding my current stature, baseball and other sports games have helped me to maintain prospective and to ensure that I remain in a good state of mind.

I enjoy the warm evenings and I love a good sporting event. One thing that is a challenge for me even this many years after my injury is walking down steps without a railing. Typically even at professional stadiums there is always a small section where there is no railing present. It serves as a bit of a reminder for me that it is okay to ask for help. Nobody wants to take a header down cement stairs in a stadium.

I would love to hear any experiences that you may have had at a sporting event. I thank you very much for reading and I look forward to reading any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Jumping Brook Gala: A Family Tradition

I recently attended a gala at the Jumping Brook Country Club. I was able to put on a dress and try and forget about any difficulties that I am going through. I snapped a selfie at my house before I left for the event and will include it with my post.

This is a yearly event that I attend every year with my father. Life passes by much easier when there are things to look forward to. I suggest that anyone who is going through a trying time tries his or her best to get out and attend events with family and friends. This event has become a yearly tradition for us and I look forward to seeing my friends that are always in attendance. It is always fantastic to spend time with my father. I do have some body image insecurity but it helps me to put my thoughts aside and put on a dress for an evening I am trying to be incredibly honest about the difficulties that I go through following my brain injury. Still go to the gym pretty constantly but I am not as able bodied as I was prior to the accident. While I was formally an avid runner, now I do the elliptical to burn calories.

I am sure that I am not alone and that there are many individuals who struggle with body image. Following a brain injury where you are nowhere near as mobile adds a new set of dynamics to the equation. It is my hope that survivors who are living with the same body image issues as I know that they are not alone. By surrounding myself with loved ones and those that support me is extremely important. My family and close friends know how much I struggle with my body image.

I know that there are definitely other survivors that struggle because I know that the world is a huge place and that the brain injury survivor world while much smaller is vast as well. It is my hope that people do not feel that they are alone.

I welcome any thoughts comments or questions that you may have.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Don't Let Your Past Define You

“Make a pact with yourself to not be defined by your past. Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your hard work isn’t what you get for it, but what you become for it.” 
- Steve Mirabelli


All of us who have sustained an injury need to realize that we are more than our injuries. Rehab is extensive and a great deal of hard work. The most difficult thing to explain to someone is that all of his/her hard work will have incredible benefits. The truest benefit is who you become after going through the rehab. There is an extensive amount of work to be done and you truly can see a glimpse of who you are by the incredible effort that you put forth. Moving forward in life you should always have confidence. No matter what life throws at you always know that you can handle it. Things may not always be easy but we are able to compare it to our history and realize that nothing will ever be as difficult as what we have endured. Allow yourself to become who you are going to become while knowing that you are capable of incredible things. You have to know internally. Ups and downs always will always occur and we have to know who we are and that we can accomplish incredible things. I can speak only for myself that for a long time I allowed myself to only be defined by my past. As the years have progressed I am trying desperately to make my life aside from my accident. It is not something that I will ever forget but hopefully I can move forward with it in the background and not so much the forefront. I choose to allow the positive aspects of this recovery to increase my state of mind. Day after day I am sure to remember what I have survived through. I am trying to not be defined by this injury; rather I will attempt to always move forward with this as a positive aspect of who I am. This week I visited one of our retirement homes and the residents had not heard of my story. I choose to revisit my past for an occasion when it would be applicable to inspire others. My position is unique because my injury is forefront at many of our facilities. As long as I have made an internal agreement with myself to not allow it to define who I am in entirety. Every day is a work in progress and I am trying to get myself to define myself by what goes into makeup who I am.