Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Take the Challenge


The aftermath of any sort of a disability creates new and challenging obstacles. I am preparing to fly for the first time myself when I return from Florida. I am almost thirty and I have much insecurity regarding the fact that I have never flown myself. I am positive that there are many individuals who are far younger than I am who have routinely have flown by themselves. A part of me feels as though I have fallen back into
I was actually very hesitant to put this in writing as I am embarrassed to admit my anxiety regarding a typical method of travel. I have flown many a time; this will be the first time that I will take the journey myself. People at work have told me of relatives who have dementia or Alzheimer’s who the airlines have made special arrangements for to insure that those passengers are able to fly regardless of their anxiety or mental status. My mental status is excellent; my nerves cause me to not function at my full potential. I would love to hear who else shares this anxiety post brain injury.  I was pleased to hear that I am not alone. There are many people who do not enjoy traveling themselves. It is bizarre to have achieved much independence yet always have a bit of insecurity regarding my dependence on my parents. I would greatly enjoy reading which individuals have been injured and have conquered traveling by his/her self.

I recall the same sort of feeling the first time I drove down the parkway to a facility that I was not familiar with. Now I am able to drive pretty routinely on the parkway to the various facilities. I am positive that once I get one flight myself under my belt I will be okay. I am not sure that I will choose to fly myself often even after I have mastered the task. It will be good for my confidence to achieve this seemingly routine mode of transportation. The airports I know will be fully prepared to help me. I understand that there are many times that people are willing to assist those in need; the individual has to be willing to accept the assistance. It is always a challenge to swallow your pride and acknowledge that indeed (even though I am just shy of 30) this will be the first time that I am attempting to fly myself. I am sure that once I return from my first flight by myself I will feel so much better to have my initial voyage under my belt. Most people that I know do not typically choose to fly by themselves unless it is for business travel. Thankfully I do not travel for work, so I am hoping that I will not have to travel singularly very often. I hope you all have an excellent New Year. I will write more in 2015!

~Noelle

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Another Year Ending

Another year is about to come to a close. The New Year will be quickly among us. The holidays are a time of togetherness. Another year is approaching and thus a renewal of our wants and desires. It is very important to have a desire for the focus of the New Year. As this year comes to a close it is important to take notice of all that you have accomplished. Have you stepped outside of yourself and taken on a responsibility greater than yourself? If working is not an option, one can always volunteer. Develop your network and always seek to belong to a cause greater than yourself. I would love to hear who has taken advantage of volunteer opportunities.

Despite the chill in the air, warmth can be felt within. I would love to hear who has taken advantage of any volunteer opportunities. Every one of us belongs to a network. The network among survivors is extremely deep rooted. I have attempted to make myself available to many of the survivors that I know. This has allowed me to feel a worth that I would have otherwise missed out on. Every one of us needs to know that there is a network of individuals. The purpose of this blog is to create a forum of ideas. Once a survivor is given several ideas there are always methods to aid and lend a helping hand. The inner warmth can counteract the chill in the air.

The hustle and the bustle that is the holidays is a cyclical reminder to us that the life that we are living goes through differing seasons. We as survivors have to hold ourselves in form of Thanksgiving all year long. We will be challenged as we are every year when the snow starts falling. The ice creates potentially hazardous conditions for those of us with balance issues. I certainly have balance issues, yet I now know what risks I have to avoid making to progress through the winter with minimal risk. The December holidays are a jubilation of sorts of all that we have managed throughout the year to progress seamlessly forward in another year. As always thank you for reading.

~Noelle

Monday, December 22, 2014

Peace and Appreciation


Recently I was invited to a lovely interaction by a former patient to her house. I have become very familiar with her family as I met them while the patient was still only semiconscious. The welcoming warmth that I felt upon entrance to their house was fantastic. If ever I wonder if I am doing a meaningful job, interactions such as the one I had are certainly reassuring. The family says that they consider me part of the family and they can’t thank me enough. It was great for me to be able to go somewhere very meaningful. At times, when there are not many commitments it is easy to feel yourself slipping away from the enthusiasm which is the hallmark that you bring to your position.

As I am getting older, it is enlightening to witness your values and desires change form. No longer do I feel a desire to go out on the town with people. At times certainly there is a time and a place to do just that but I am at true peace by entering a families’ circle and sharing a meal and conversation. I can only desire that such opportunities will continue to show themselves. Social media has allowed me to stay in touch with many of the former patients who I have served as an ambassador to. I follow the patients and stay in contact as I desire to always be a helpful resource. I am still the same person as I always have been, yet I am maturing. The former patients and their families enjoy greatly that I am a resource who always wants to be available to comfort and aid as a brain injury is a fully encompassing injury for the entire family. As an individual improves and adjusts to the “new normal” there is always a bit of discomfort with the inevitable changes that have taken place.

Resiliency and adaptation are key components to a peaceful and sound recovery. One needs to take ownership over his/her changes to function and learn to truly appreciate those who have stood by. I have thankfully witnessed many incredibly supportive families. To witness how entire families flock to embrace a member who has been injured makes me realize how my family must have been viewed by the rehab staff. I am forever thankful to them for how they have supported me as I have ventured through on this recovery. I would love to hear any comments that you may have in regards to family involvement.
I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle


Friday, December 19, 2014

Be What You Are....


Education is an excellent way to create the initial motivation toward improvement. August W. Hare reminds us to not try and disguise who we are. He explains that the first step in trying to improve is trying to understand what we are. Having a disability is certainly difficult to swallow, yet owning that you do indeed have a disability is the only way to truly improve your state of mind and thus being. Your mind is who we are and is not defined by what we can do.

The abilities that each one of us has are what we need to focus on that will keep us motivated. Owning where you are in life as well as any challenges that you may have help us to create a baseline of where we want to be. For me it is a very important notion to also remember that “who you are” is not completely defined by your abilities or disabilities. The mind is forever the control center of who we are. Regardless of your level of ability, engaging a positive and proactive mind can be the secret to unleashing a new sense of enthusiasm.

Considering all of the people in your life who have made an influential impact, can help us to have a goal as to how we want to be remembered and the influence that we hope to pass forth to the people that we meet. My injury, my recovery and my state of mind have allowed me to develop into my role as an ambassador. A boss of mine has eloquently shared his positive influence towards the patients that he cares for and also the rest of the patients whom he encounters. I forever consider myself a student as I believe that we learn from each and every person that we encounter. I thank you very much for reading and welcome any comments that you may have.


~Noelle

Monday, December 1, 2014

Give Thanks and Get Thanks

This previous weekend was a beautiful experience. It was further driven home by the incredible message that a former patient had left. It is important to never lose sight of the positive things that you encounter throughout your occupation. Sometimes we are not aware of the impact that we have in regards to other people. I was pleasantly surprised by a former pant’s message. It is wonderful to know that during somebody’s holiday, they were very thankful for the inspiration that they had received from my visits during the exceedingly difficult time that they had in the rehabilitation center. A simple thank you is may not truly appreciated.

I was able to enjoy a spectacular Disney production over the weekend with my Goddaughter. Her eyes lit up as she watched the magical story unfolding before her eyes. The joy could be seen in her eyes clear as day. Individuals who are in medical facilities have a much harder demeanor to interpret. Many times one is unable to decipher if their efforts are having a beneficial effect on the patient. The phone call that was received was certainly a treat. Whenever in doubt, always thank those who have made an effort on your behalf. Truthfully, I was unsure of the impact that I had in regards to the individual who has made it his prerogative to be sure to call and be sure that I am recognized for the efforts that I have put forth on behalf of the patients who I visit. The fact that I was recognized for my efforts made the true meaning of Thanksgiving incredibly valuable. When in doubt; always give thanks. I would always much rather give thanks when it is not necessary, than risk appearing as ungrateful.

I am sure that there are always people who I have missed (such is life) but I am sure to always try and make a contrived effort to make sure that I always give appropriate thanks and recognitions to those that have impacted my life positively. I see how positively a thank you can impact a person’s ambition to continually act in a similar manner. Now that the Christmas season has officially arrived it is important to instill gratitude to the children and those around you. My niece and nephew are adorable and special. It is important to try and contribute beneficially to their development of social etiquette and manners.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope that everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving!

~Noelle

Friday, November 21, 2014

Preparing to Give Thanks

The holidays are just around the corner. After a life altering injury there is an extremely concrete reason to give thanks for the gifts in your life. Family, love and joy are what surround the holidays. Specifically the purpose of Thanksgiving is incredibly poignant following a life altering injury or illness. Every survivor needs to realize how fortunate they are to be able to have the warmth and love of family. The gears of life allow for celebration. In order to truly feel and experience the holiday season one has to satiate upon the true beauty and meaning of the day. Far beyond any meal or any presents that are exchanged are the deep rooted meanings of each holiday. The purpose of Thanksgiving is a theme that I strive to live every day. There are many people who are unable (for one reason or another) to celebrate and experience the joy that is to be had.

I am thankful for the expertise of the people who I work alongside. Both professionals and patients are specialists in their own right. Hopefully I can convey to each and every resident/patient or family that I visit with that I respect and admire each and every individual. There is a spectrum that people who have had brain injuries fall into. The level of comprehension varies based on the acuity and the level of recovery from the brain injury. There is always the aspect of time that comes into play when recovering from any type of an injury. A brain injury involves the entire person. The physical aspects are often slight in comparison to the unseen injuries that are left behind. The gift that I can give daily is the gift of understanding. As a former patient myself, I vow to never forget what it is to be ignorant of the steps ahead. I think that every opportunity where a piece of information can be shared from one survivor to another is beautiful. Part of what I try and convey is the true importance of the season that is just ahead. It is important to continue living the meaning of thanksgiving far after the holiday season is behind us.


~Noelle

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Finding Joy In People

A large part of managing any change in life circumstance involves making an effort to find joy within people. You can count on people treating you much more warmly when your heart is in the right place. Hospitalizations are very difficult on people and surrounding families. The holiday season is coming; certainly nobody wants to be in the hospital during this upcoming time of celebration. As a support to the therapists, doctors, nurses and staff there will always be the effort to get patients home to their families. Relating to people who are going through trauma is definitely a specialty of mine. Hopefully I can increase the state of mind of the patients so they can focus more intently on their therapy regime that has been laid out for them.
There is a definite carry over from this positive mantra in the facilities onto general life. I stay in contact via email with many former patients. They share how their life is going and what is coming up on their agenda. Everyone has different strengths. It is great to compare stories and find those experiences that are alike and also those that differ. I am convinced that having a former patient who will compare notes with current patients can only assist in the recovery of these individuals. There is a common goal of many of the patients and residents to get home with his/her family before the start of the festivities. Regardless of whether or not they are able to get home before the holidays, each facility makes sure to create a warm and welcoming environment for each and every resident. The nursing homes have already begun to decorate to welcome the upcoming holidays.

Each resident makes the facility his/her own by adding decorations and by creating a true home feeling. There are several residents who I have encouraged to go above and beyond to lend a friendly hand or a warm smile to others. The result is a unanimous effort by both residents and staff to create a warm and welcoming environment. I distinctly recall coloring many trees with their warm autumn colors. The combining of efforts can create a beautiful environment where individuals can feel as close to “home” as possible. Many of the facilities offer long-term care where it is exceptionally important to encourage the employees to treat the residents as family. I would love hearing any feedback that you may have in regards to any holidays that you may have spent in the hospital. Thank you so much for reading as always.

~Noelle

Friday, November 7, 2014

Keeping Prospective....

There are many situations where an individual’s strength is tested after a devastating injury. I found a quote that I feel is quite applicable to interpersonal relationships post a brain injury, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Philosophically I believe this quote is right on the money. Regardless of how people treat you, the response is entirely in each one of our control. I believe that a person can make comments but not ensure the desired insult without the cooperation of the pupil who is the target. Theoretically an individual can make a vow within them to refrain from allowing him/her self to be distracted from the daily goals set forth. I adore this quote because it truly makes you think. A situation which has made an individual feel inferior always involves the willing consent of the person of target. As an individual you are actually in a tremendous amount of control as to what permeates your emotions.

  I try and imagine how things would be different if I never reacted quickly to inflammatory comments made in my direction. I know many parents who themselves get very reactive and angry if they feel as though his/her child has been targeted. It is difficult enough to control yourself, I really couldn’t imagine if someone who was completely helpless was targeted. Sometimes I feel that inflammatory comments are not made with malicious intent. As with everything, certainly there are times when they are definitely meant to purposefully be mean. I try and take a comment with a grain of salt and attempt to evaluate in what way the comment was made. I try and evaluate if the comment could have possibly been made in an innocuous manner. I have had to make a contrived effort to stop and consider the varying intentions of a comment which I originally felt as though had malicious intent. I have to credit my therapists for helping me to evaluate several possible intentions before having a kneejerk reaction. Post brain injury, it is easy to react quickly and without much thought. Frontal executive function is damaged and therefore as are the decision making and judgment making areas of the brain. I would invite any comments that you may have and I thank you for reading.

~Noelle

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween

This Halloween it has become very important to celebrate the ability to step out of the disguise. Children enjoy getting in disguise and enjoying asking for treats from neighbors. That tradition is wonderful and very accepted and lighthearted for children. Halloween has a slightly different connotation for an individual who is still coming to terms with a sustained disability as a result of an accident. In the support group that I will attend next week to learn about the lives and times of people who have sustained brain trauma, it will be interesting to see if this topic is approached. I have been fortunate in many ways in regard to this recovery; I am very truthful when I am conversing with other survivors how this was both a blessing and a curse. I allowed myself to step away from reality for many years.

At this point I finally am able to step out of disguise and be who I really am. Ideally, individuals (specifically children) would be able to separate reality from a silly celebratory day where there are parades and candy is given out to many smiling faces. Every year I am getting closer to the ability to step away from my own internal battles and step into the norm of society. I spoke for medical students and was very frank regarding the true implications of having a very much “hidden injury”. Even though my gait is off and such would be noticed to the lay eye, the unseen portion of this injury is by far the most difficult to deal with. Every aspect of a person is on the table in a recovery. I hope and pray that every person who sustains a disability knows that Halloween is a day about children getting candy and wearing costumes, nothing more and nothing less.

~Noelle

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Simple Things...

A smile is a simple way to help to make somebody’s day. Hospitals certainly are somewhere people need to be uplifted and helped to understand that the entirety of the employees are there to ensure his/her health and likewise the health of the community. It is great to see how a culture that values the friendly body language can help to stay motivated. While a patient is trying to regain his/her independence; a friendly and upbeat atmosphere is essential. It is also rather simple to enact. The level of expertise of a hospital is one thing; but a healthcare system that values a lifestyle that tries to keep patients out of the hospital is what has made me fall in love with where I work.

 It is not very often that there is a unified cause where the entirety of the workforce has the same goal in mind. Thankfully there are reports for the “best places to work” where the company that I am employed is consistently recognized. As a former patient, I always remember how much positive personal interaction affected my motivation. I take special notice towards the positivity that I witness at the nursing facilities that we run. Patients/residents who are afflicted with dementia or early Alzheimer’s often pass through a stage of hostility. It takes a special employee to be able to separate and not take the possible personal insults to heart.

 I believe that the recreation coordinators at our nursing facilities should be commended for the job that they do. Every facility that we have is different and each facility has a specialty. The full continuum of care is what keeps our healthcare system distinct as different from those in the rest of my state. Regardless of which hospital or rehab/nursing home there always has to be similar desire to shed positivity and light amongst those who are in the facilities. Employees are encouraged to treat residents as they would like a family member of theirs treated. It should be a top priority for every facility in relation to health and well being to shed positivity and light. I would love to hear from those who have shared a unique and positive experience. I know that through meditation and yoga individuals are greatly to control his/her state of mind and therefore how they are perceived.  I am intrigued as to how certain people are able to able to control so much of how his/her body reacts to certain stressors.

~Noelle

Friday, October 17, 2014

Getting Support.....


As humans we need to feel as a part of something. What was surprising was the amount of comfort that I immediately felt in my attendance of the Brain Injury Support Group. What was amazing was that in attendance was a family who I had visited during the hospitalization of their sister. Sometimes we all lose sight of the purpose that we fulfill as a part of our positions. I was amazed at the incredible unification of every person in attendance. I am sure that I will attend next month as well. Support is an underutilized resource. I remain in contact with the vast majority of the patients that I visit during his/her hospital stays. It was interesting to be exposed to several survivors who are at various different stages of life following his/her accidents. Some were traumatic accidents while others were brain tumor removals and strokes. Regardless of the nature of the injury, we all could relate to each other.

 The day to day progression through life while living as a brain injury survivor is no easy feat. I have made a pact to myself and every brain injury survivor that I come in contact with; to be one hundred percent truthful in regards to both the difficult times and the uplifting and encouraging times. There certainly is a choice that has to be made in order to focus upon the gifts that a survivor has. At the group there was a constant theme in regards to the support and love of family. Throughout the entire group there was never a feeling of anger or bitterness. In the group nobody felt the desire to keep the disguise on. We were all one; we have all survived and are desperately trying to find our place in society. There is a community sense in regards to brain injury survivors. The seminar that I attended earlier in the year was referenced and I felt in touch that I had attended and absorbed much information from the conference. There was truly something very comforting about being able to speak with credibility. My credibility comes from personal experience as well as working alongside survivors.

The fact that there was a former patient whom I had visited during her hospital stay in attendance was an added bonus. It is incredibly uplifting to witness the transformation that an individual goes through. I was intrigued by the benevolent nature of the group. I believe there is something to learn from every person that you meet. An individual, who has gone through many of the same experiences as you, has an even deeper understanding. I was unaware of the incredible benefit that a community would provide to a survivor. I am curious as to who has utilized a support group of any kind. I thank you very much for reading and encourage you to respond.

~Noelle

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Strive for Excellence


In the aftermath of a brain injury; the definition of excellence may change. Every goal that is achieved no matter how small is in a word incredible. I realize that this injury is here for life. I have made it my prerogative to make an excellent effort with the goals that have been set out for me. Brian Tracey reminds us, “Set excellent performance as your standard and strive to achieve it every day”. Post brain injury, there are definite issues that must be negotiated. In relation to people, there is always room for improvement. Practice does make perfect. I am not sure if there ever is a “perfect”, but I will continue to strive to be the most motivated individual that the patients come in contact with. I want the patients to know the culture of the hospital that they have chosen for care. I always try to convey that with a brain injury, much of how much you improve has to do with the personal drive of the individual. Many individuals are far too injured to comprehend his/her level of recovery. Typically I am of most use to those that are striving to regain their mobility. I often speak to families of individuals who are still in a coma. Family members typically see a value in my supportive services. In my case, I have set excellence as my standard in dealing with families.

I go to nursing homes as well as hospitals and rehabilitation centers. The families are thrilled that their loved ones can look forward to my visits. To these families I assist in making a difference. These families often write letters in regard to how his/her loved one benefits from me directly. There is a continuous level of care; sometimes I even witness a patient go from a hospital, to an acute rehab and then to a sub acute rehab. I think that any level of desire that can be awakened in a patient is instrumental to the drive that is necessary to improve and begin to tackle the extensive recovery process. I have made special connections with certain residents in the nursing homes. Every week that I visit them they tell me how the week was and who visited. In my line of work this level of hope and inspiration is excellent. Whenever I hear a resident tell me how much they appreciate my visits, I am further motivated to continue to do an excellent job at encouraging the residents. Appreciation is truly a wonderful gift to give someone. That is certainly something that I have learned by daily working with people who are going through difficult circumstances. I am hopeful that I can share some of what I used to propel forward in my recovery.

The therapists tell me how an individual is progressing and where they feel that they could use a bit of encouragement. The fact that professionals are using me as an additional resource to encourage their patients is truly excellent. Hopefully I can continue to strive toward further excellence every day. This position allows me to feel specialized and valued in the workplace. I am curious as to who has found employment after a brain injury. What are some of the challenges? Have you felt encouraged to do excellent? I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Monday, October 13, 2014

Importance of Family...

Throughout this recovery; I have realized the true importance of family. This injury makes me feel as though the population of brain injury survivors is my family. This injury has alienated me from many; it is during times of loneliness that I am so grateful to my parents and my brother. Unfortunately family life often suffers as a result of a life altering injury. Brain injuries in particular are very difficult. Depending upon the location of the injury, an individual’s personality may change. My family has immersed themselves in much of the research that is available. This injury is a part of me that I will live with for the rest of my life. Likewise, my family will hopefully always understand as I progress forward in life.  I am in contact with many survivors; not always is this guaranteed. There are heart wrenching stories of siblings, spouses and children who flee from the injured party. I recently have connected   with a young woman who has found love and acceptance from her sister. I will attend a traumatic brain injury support group that she and her sister are attending. I will make sure to acknowledge her sister and the fantastic role that she is playing in relation to her sister. Many of the survivors that I have become close with all mention his/her family and how the change in life circumstance has affected them. This upcoming weekend is my Goddaughter and nephew’s joint birthday party. There are going to be ponies at the party for the kids to be lead around on. I focused upon this during my last therapy session. Much of this injury I have been able to proceed through life in spite of. I will make it my business to be nothing but supportive of my brother and the beautiful party that he is putting together for his children. My parents are aware of the potential anxiety that I will experience; they also know of my will and have no doubt that I will be able to step outside of my emotions for the two hours that the pony rides will be going on. I would love to hear who else has a bit of post traumatic stress in relation to his/her injury. I realize that the troops coming home from war have the possibility of extreme post traumatic stress. My therapist and I discussed the possible triggers that may come up at this joyous event for my brother, sister in law and their children. I am curious as to who else sees a therapist to assist them as they navigate through life, this injury and family dynamics. The children would never understand any emotional issues that I may be feeling. I have to try and put them on the back burner as I will be there to celebrate the birthdays of the children. This weekend will be an overwhelmingly joyous occasion. I do not want to take away from the enjoyment of the children in any way. My brother and sister in law have been amazing to me and I need to be supportive towards them and their children. I am hopeful and confident that I will be able to manage my emotions as I have towards every other difficult event that I have had to face post accident. Hopefully my therapist has given me useful methods to keep my anxiety under control. I have to heed the advice of him and make sure to always keep the focus on maintaining an even keel. The children are too young to understand all that is encompassed with what goes on emotionally. One day perhaps fifteen years down the line I will explain it to them. Right now all they will understand is a party and cake. Perhaps I will discuss the posttraumatic stress tendencies when I go to my support groups for this injury. I have never yet been to a support group for this injury. Hopefully I will feel as though we are all speaking the same language. I would love to hear from anyone who has gone to a support group for their injury. Thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Monday, October 6, 2014

“Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.”

I get to encourage patients and fellow survivors to try and not focus on the often terrifying changes that they are encountering in recovery. A quotation from Horace states, “Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.” This quote can assist survivors to not become overwhelmed and disheartened towards therapy.  I have long finished my therapies, yet I continue and will always continue to work out and try to strengthen my right arm. Indeed it scares me what the future has in store for me. I cannot and do not allow this to cause me to deviate from the activities that I know are best for me. Depending on your state of mind, every day can be a gift. Encouraging survivors to do so with the credibility of having survived a brain injury myself, is what allows me to be accepted by survivors. There is such a vast spectrum of recovery levels. No two survivors are exactly the same.

Over the years I have noticed that I do have a quite a portion of anxiety towards the unknown. Recently I was reading a social media post that many family’s of survivors post on; the discussion was in regards to a nineteen year old child who just got cleared to walk with a walker from his wheelchair. The child’s mother was discussing her frustration in her son’s fear in regards to attempting to walk. She told her son that the hospital wouldn’t have cleared him to walk with the walker if he couldn’t do it safely or without incident. She shared her sons fear and anxiety towards regaining what she felt would be a very gratifying mode of mobility. Many survivors posted back to the mother that fear of walking after being wheelchair bound for so long was vastly typical.  I know that while I was experiencing vertigo, I was slightly apprehensive towards walking unaided. I meet many individuals and family members of people who had strokes; very often there is a disconnect between the desires of the individual and of the family. It is difficult to listen to a family/spouse discuss where they are hoping for the family member to be by a certain point in time. Many friends who are who are psychologists  have advised me that only for certain individuals  using “benchmarks” as goals have proven effective, whenever an aspiration is made it may best be made with a consult from the caring physician or physiatrist. They can help family members to understand the realistic time frame of the progression of the patient. The woman whose son has been cleared to walk by the physician is frustrated because she does not understand why her son would not take full advantage of the freedom to walk. As a survivor, there are many emotions that we go through that are difficult for others to understand. It feels almost as if we are part of our own tribe who understand each other.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

To the Question, You're the Only Answer.....

There are many questions that we will come across throughout this injury. In fact, I have felt that I have faced many issues and questions which I work tirelessly to create my own solutions. “To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life you are the only solution.” Jo Coudet perfectly addresses the issues in life. There are always several ways to solve a problem, a person with a brain injury, has to be slightly more deliberate in choosing an action and the methods to go about to solve a problem. Sometimes it is difficult to focus on the task at hand when your emotions are elsewhere. I have to deliberately refocus myself when I start to feel myself wander. I don’t feel this way much anymore; I know what skills I have to enact to keep myself focused. As far out of this injury as I am, I will always need to use my silent repetition strategy to anchor myself to my topic. I think it is important to speak about this on this blog because this is a place where I am hoping that survivors and families of survivors can come to compare experiences. I think that as much as I put towards fully understanding the difficulties that come alongside this injury; the easier it will get for me. There will always be some things that are a trigger for stress in me. I realize that the best way to try and diffuse these stressors is to study and learn as much as I can about this injury and about what has helped people as they progress forward in this ongoing recovery. By taking of the disguise of the hidden struggles that go along with a TBI, as a portion of the population we can work to compile some of the best strategies for getting back to the independent life that we all strive towards. As we always learned in early science, obtaining a method towards achieving an experiment or in this case independence. I would love for many people to submit his/her methods that they have used or are considering on here, so that survivors who have already used certain methods can share their experiences and results here. Today I am going to get some Botox injections in my right shoulder. I am largely independent, but I need to be driven to the facility because it is in a high traffic area. That is and always will be part of my life. I do drive but not in congested areas. I know that there are many people who have had no injury that don’t ever do city driving.  At the end of the day I have to be thankful that I have the supportive family that I do. There are times that I feel insecure about continuing to depend so heavily on my parents for things; but it allows me to take part in the things that allow me to be as functional as possible. Thank you very much for reading and as always I welcome any comments you may have.

~Noelle

Friday, September 12, 2014

Support

It seems as though I need to credit my injury for enabling me to have the credibility that I do to have my position. I know that it was my recovery that has allowed me to represent hope to families of patients and patients themselves. My position has allowed me to become rather specialized in regards to this injury. I can’t believe that something that I wished and prayed had not occurred has opened up so many doors for me. I am going to attend a support group for survivors and family members. I am hoping that maybe I will meet some friends who are like minded to me. I know that although I get down on myself, in the arena of brain injury I am looked up to by survivors and families. It is good for me to look to my population and know that I am not alone. I think that the best description of this injury is the “hidden injury”. It is absolutely an injury that nobody besides maybe a plastic surgeon would immediately pick up on.

I say that because a plastic surgeon told me that half of my face was paralyzed. I was furious at his comment because nobody had ever said that to me. I invite any survivor to comment on any facial paralysis that they might have experienced along his/her journey. Often I meet with patients, recently I met with a group of stroke survivors who compared stories regarding the frustration of not being able to be understood. As with most things the speech can greatly be improved with time and therapy. Even though the population of brain injury survivors is a small one, there are a great many similarities amongst us. I have grown so much emotionally, yet I still do care a great deal about how I look. It feels strange to have many parts of me be so different. My injury was so long ago, but I will never forget about it. I am convinced that my mission now is to affect those who are venturing through the recovery. I think it will be good for my position if I get exposed to as many brain injury survivors and stroke survivors as possible. I would love to hear who has attended a support group and what the experience was like. As always I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Another Labor Day Has Gone By......

As another Labor day has come upon us; it is a sign of things progressing as they always do. The children will begin to go back to school and get ready for their walks to school. Several of my friends are teachers; and they have all been working on their lesson plans. The Halloween candy is out; and it will be cold before we know it. I am not excited for the cold weather. It is strange to realize that now my friends are Mom’s as they are beginning to do back to school shopping for their children. It seems like yesterday when we were doing back to school shopping for ourselves. I am getting far more comfortable with my brother’s children as they begin to get older. My goddaughter is very much how I am in relation to animals. It is awesome to see how my brother’s kids are each developing their own personalities. I greatly enjoy children to a certain point. I also enjoy the freedom to give them back to their parents. I just love the summer. I will always love it. The fall will without fail have awesome weather. Then the winter will have the holidays and the excitement of the children. Maybe I will ask my brother if I can go pumpkin picking with his family. These Botox injections have allowed me to function. I don’t need perfect; I am so thankful to be able to be functional. As the cold weather approaches; I have to understand that as every other year; the time of warmth will return again. I thank you for reading and would love to read any comments you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, August 25, 2014

Refreshed and Renewed After My Vacation

I am refreshed and renewed after my vacation. There were a ton of second cousins at the cottage that we stayed at in Cape Cod. We all know; that with little kids comes crying. My Botox (for my Migraines) was actually scheduled for during the week that I was away. Thankfully my father is similar to me and doesn’t enjoy basking on the beach. Bright sunlight can certainly bring a migraine on. I was able to hop in my Dad’s car and he took me on day trips. I went to the beach with my Dog to catch the sunset. It is kind of unbelievable that all of the cousins were there with their own children. It was very nice to see it. One night in particular the older cousins were sitting around the kitchen table and playing a card game. They all probably hung out every night; I fall asleep early and wake up early. Only one morning I was wide eyed awake at 3:30 AM. I had Andrew so we waited until just before sunrise when I wasn’t at risk for falling; we walked down to the private beach. It was simply my dog and I and nature. Deep sand is tough for me to walk in. Tough I can handle; not when it would burn me if I cannot move fast enough. I would love to know who has shared that experience. The Halloween candy is already on display in the grocery stores. Yikes, sometimes I can’t believe how fast things progress. I guess the old saying, “The only constant is change” is very true. I really needed my vacation. I feel as though it was just what the Dr. ordered. ~Noelle

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Vacation....



This upcoming week, my extended family on my father’s side as well as myself and my cocker spaniel will be venturing to Cape Cod for a week. My Botox injections that I get to dull the nerve pain in my scalp and head from my migraines have completely worn off at this point. I am a tad nervous that my cousins are going to think be a bit surprised just how bad my migraines get. I am hoping that they will be peaceful the majority of the time. I don’t see these relatives that often and I know there will be a great many toddlers and at least one infant. As long as I have my dog with me I can escape out of the mayhem of little kids to the peace of the private beach. I am so happy that my father gave in to allowing me to bringing my Andrew. He originally wanted no dogs; but as it has become clear how unbearable my head becomes right as the Botox injections wear off, he now sees that Andrew is comforting to me and will be my escape. I am convinced that Andrew knows when I am in pain. He has not left my side within the last ten days as these headaches have been ramping up. In fact my vision is already beginning to double up again (I am counting down the days until I get my injections, supposed to get them on a date that I will be away). I hope everybody enjoys this next week and I will return in a week and as always I thank you for reading!


~Noelle

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Nine Year Anniversary....



Wow this previous Saturday marked my nine year anniversary of sustaining my brain injury. I am often asked how I had the drive to push forward to the extent that I did; my response is faith. That may not be entirely accurate; originally I was ignorant to the likely prognosis of what had happened to me. As I regained much of my cognitive ability; I made a conscious decision to keep pressing on. Once I was told that I was not paralyzed and thus I could theoretically no longer use assistive devices if I improved my balance my family and I began to do our own methods of therapy after hours. What is difficult is that I am forever different emotionally. The physical stuff I feel as though I can handle. If people would like to accuse me of being a boisterous drunk, I am fine with that. I absolutely do have some frontal disinhibition. I love my job because everybody here understands what it is to go through medical trauma. Mondays are actually my favorite day of the week because my boss on Mondays has had first hand experience with brain injuries. He understands that many of my personality quirks that are a direct result of this injury. I would love to hear has shared this incredible feeling of not feeling like an outsider. I would love to read any comments you might have. As always thank you so much for reading.


~Noelle

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Appreciating Gifts

I have learned that much of maintaining happiness and forward progression is as a direct result of our state of mind. Post injury before I began my position; many people who care for me wondered how I would handle revisiting my injury on a daily basis. I did not have a daily position prior to obtaining my current, and I am proud to say that I have pleasantly surprised those who were concerned as to how I would adjust to my newly founded daily obligations. I have flourished and allowed myself to develop into an integral part of the healthcare team.

I am committed to expressing the need and desire for an injured individual to become a part of anything greater than his/herself. I believe that utilizing my experiences for the benefit of others has perfectly played into my absolution to the occurrence of August 2, 2005. I still have my moments, and am by no means completely distant from having emotional moments of frustration.

My positions as both an employee of Meridian Health and as a member of the State Advisory Council to Traumatic Brain Injury have permitted me to put my best foot forward while being truthful in regards to what to expect in relation to the life altering event of brain injury. I have benevolently corrected well intentioned family members and even fellow employees as they have expressed the visible improvement that they believe a patient will notice daily. I chime in to remark that having been a patient, one does not see or feel the improvement from day to day. I will never forget the response of my physiatrist as I walked unaided to her office several months after I was discharged from the hospital. While I felt as though things were progressing, they were not going nearly as quickly as I had hoped. My physiatrist was astounded that I had walked unaided into her office. I knew that I walked far differently than I had prior and was not nearly as enthusiastic in regards to my coordination. I try and convey to both the families and the patients that there will certainly be trying times in the future of the recovery.

Recovery is different for every individual, yet as a former patient I remember all too well the trials and tribulations that I encountered along the journey. This role is one that I have come to appreciate as a gift. It is certainly an unorthodox gift and not one that I would ever hope that an individual receives but it is my gift. I would love to read any comments you may have and I appreciate you reading.

~ Noelle

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mindfullness


Over this past weekend, I was exposed to an incredible, engaging and extremely therapeutic practice. Meditation and the cognition of Mindfulness was introduced to me as a way that everyone can separate from his/her anxieties and self- induced pressures to focus on the present moment. The commonality amongst the peaceful and emotionally healthy individuals is the acceptance and appreciation of where they are at the present moment. The awareness of where one is in space and time through a practice called meditation can assist as one continues on in his/her life. The acceptance and appreciation of where one is in space and time can help as an individual strives for self empowerment. There has to be a necessary element of peace as one decides to venture forth. The individual always has the element of free will; if he/she decides that status quo is satisfactory then the utilization of true acceptance can help an individual to be aware of each peaceful moment in time. It seems as though the vast majority of people who we come across trek through the motions of life mindlessly. Post injury I try and be far more aware of the directions of my thoughts. Watching this introductory video to meditation allowed me to hear about the directions of my thoughts in a tangible sense. As with all newly learned practices there has to be an individual’s decisions to put forth effort to focus his/her mind away from the tangent distractions the constantly creep into each our minds. I try and focus upon the importance of my companionship at the retirement homes and the ability that I have to ease the minds of the families or the cognoscente patients in the hospitals. I am fortunate in that relating to patients and people keeps my mind from going astray for the most part into mindless and pointless thought. After work however, I am plagued by the draw of slipping into tangent and unfocused, mindless thought as everybody else. I am aware that the ability to comprehend these two differing aspects  of thought are in fact a level of thinking that it took me years to regain. I thank you very much for reading and I would love to hear any comments you may have.


~Noelle

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Reaction To the Brain Injury Alliance Seminar...


I just attended the Brain Injury Alliance’s Seminar on traumatic brain injury. It was incredibly enlightening and also granted me a sense of validity which is invaluable. As I am writing this, my botox for my migraines is nearing the end of my three months, and as a result I am struggling yet again. I learned from the professionals who presented that indeed my feeling of perpetual improvement and recovery is correct. To hear that my continuous effort has a huge effect on my functionality really encouraged me. I am so thankful to hear that the psychologist in her lecture remarked that it is important to remember that what a brain injury survivor has encountered is nothing short of catastrophic.

Therefore my emotional battles are not uncommon or unfounded. There is such a wonderful feeling of vindication that I earned from attending this conference and learning from numerous professionals in the field. I apologize for the brevity, my vision is beginning to blur as this migraine is unbearable.
I thank you for reading and would invite any responses you may have.


~Noelle

Monday, May 12, 2014

Seminars and Unity.....

It is a beautiful thing to know that a community wants to learn of methods for the betterment of its members. I am attending a seminar later this year; everyone in attendance has a need and a desire to learn of the trends that are helping the community of head injury survivors. Even though my injury was several years ago, I jump at the chance to learn from a panel of professionals and hear as to which methods they have witnessed to be the most effective for survivors. Part of my role is to encourage and share advice regarding things that I have learned along the way. I think that this seminar will provide a beautiful unity amongst both the professionals and the brain injury survivors that will be in attendance. I fall into the roles of both a professional and a survivor.

The keynote speaker on one of the days is also a survivor. She was injured in her teens in a car accident, and now is in her forties and living an independent life. She has diligently pursued her motivational speaking and has now provided herself with a career that has allowed her to live an independent life and speak regarding a life altering situation that is near and dear to her heart. There are several different lectures to choose from in each portion of the seminar daily. The seminar is a two day event that will provide a wealth of knowledge to those that have an interest in learning the current aspects of the Brain Injury Community. I consider it a truly special event to be able to attend this seminar as a professional and a survivor. I have a board meeting for the state council prior to the seminar. I will be able to ask questions regarding the current agendas for council that are brought up in our meeting. It is quite interesting that I will be attending the seminar on several different accounts.

I am a survivor, a professional who is working in the field of neuroscience and also a state council member in my home state of New Jersey. I am going to listen extremely intently to any questions or concerns that are brought forth during the council meeting. My family I know is extremely proud of the steps that I have taken to better myself in regards to my knowledge of this injury  I know that I have helped myself and patients whom I interact with who would have an interest and a desire to learn about where the brain injured are going as a community.

~Noelle

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Step Backward to Move Forward.....


Earlier in my week, I visited with a patient who is going through rehab at one of our facilities. I inquired regarding how he/she was progressing. The response that I attained was, “I felt that I was progressing very well; today I feel that I have hit a wall.” Erika Taylor’s quote was incredibly applicable to this moment. Taylor reminds us, “Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward”. The patient seemed to nod in acknowledgement as I stated this quote. I always hope to provide a bit of encouragement to the patients since I understand what a large effect the state of mind has towards the progression through rehab.

The patients appreciate my experience of knowing the progression of rehab. I know that rehabilitation is long and arduous. I have found it beneficial to acknowledge what a patient is saying and continue to encourage them as they progress forward with his/her rehabilitation. Every patient that I speak with, I convey that there is no glass roof over his/her head. A patient would make any doctor thrilled if they surpass the initial prognosis of what level him/her is expected to progress to. Honestly if I can help a patient to be encouraged to gain as much out of therapy as they can; I feel that I have added my portion to the rehab team. People have different ways of showing his/her appreciation or lack there of. I typically introduce myself rather lightly and feel out if the particular patient would be open to meeting with me. After I have met with the patient(s) I am able to report to the doctor of psychology if I feel as though he/she may have some emotional issues that are beyond my ability. I am not certified and therefore do not provide therapy hours when I visit with a patient.

The physiatrists in charge have faith in me as I have notified the appropriate professionals when I feel as though they may have some needs that are beyond my abilities as an ambassador. Knowing when to ask for assistance has become a skill that has proved to be invaluable for me. I would love to hear any comments that you may have, and as always I thank you for reading.

~Noelle

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gratitude....


Gratitude is a wonderful notion. This quote by M.J Ryan that beautifully encapsulates its impact: “Gratitude helps us to return to our natural state of joyfulness, where we notice what’s right instead of what’s wrong.” Generally all who I am in contact with: friends, family, coworkers and the like know that I am my own harshest critic. I try and focus upon what I have; that all is as it should be. It is no simple feat for me to distance from my preconceived notions of where I would have been. The truth is that nobody has any clue as to what “would have been.”

As with anything, with practice my method of thinking is becoming more automatic and less of a contrived effort. My physical abilities I have been fortunate to regain in the functional sense. Emotionally, I have had to remain (and always will) on the ball to make sure that I am centered and not focusing upon the things in my life that have forever been compromised. Staying in contact with the Brain Injury Community has allowed me to witness how I can act as an advocate and an ambassador to the general public on behalf of our portion of the population. When I visit with a family or with patients, I am cognoscente of the need to convey the implications to the psyche that very often occur. At one of rehab centers we have a stroke support group that meets weekly to discuss possible changes that a patient may notice following a neurological insult. Every week, the patients are surprised that I endured a stroke at such a young age. Ryan’s quote reminds me of my need to reflect upon how fortunate I am to be able to eloquently verbalize many observations that I have had along my path. I would love to read any reactions that people may have to my entry. As always, I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Monday, April 14, 2014

Credibility....

The ways in which I affect patients is what determines a good ambassador. I have a level of credibility in that I realize what it is to have had my life changed; yet continue on in life in a manner which is extremely conducive to my well being. A patient who I visit weekly in a rehab facility has told me a countless number of times of the enjoyment that I have added to her stay in the facility. The positive reinforcement that I receive from patients lets me know that I am adding benefit to the experience of those who reside in our facilities. I love hearing that by my presence and by providing comfort and encouragement has made a difference to people. To think that somebody looks forward to my presence weekly is hugely motivating for me. I am hopeful that there will always be a role to be filled. To consistently be referred to as an integral part of the healthcare team that is the organization that I work for, allows me to truly feel a part of something. I know that one of the most attractive traits of a healthcare organization is the interpersonal appeal of those who have contact with the patients and residents.

I hope that I continue to make a contribution to every person that I visit with weekly. Each and every patient that I know I am making a difference for makes a huge difference in how encouraged I feel regarding my position. It is amazing how incredible I feel knowing that someone has gone out of his/her way to make sure that I am recognized for the efforts that I put forth to always make sure that no resident or patient is left feeling as though no one cares. I check in with the head administrator at each facility to see if there is a particular patient who exceptionally would benefit from a visit with me.  I typically am given a sheet with room numbers on it; that way I know which rooms to visit.

~Noelle

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kindness


I think that after brain injury, survivors tend to lack the feeling of unison in many groups in society. It has been imperative for me to really strengthen my role as an integral member of my family. I have always felt as though family should love you through thick and thin. This weekend I am going to assist my father in sitting my niece and nephew. I know that my niece and nephew are familiar with me. Perhaps I can aid to help the children feel more comfortable. I think that the constant factor that must hold true in both my career and the role in assistance of care for young people is the role of kindness. I have recognized that there is no value that can be assigned to its intrinsic value in the care of people.

I witness daily the importance of that element in my healthcare organization. A healthcare organization must function similar to that of a family. The employees are conditioned that each and every person in our hospitals is somebody’s father, mother, sister or brother. The hope is that the quality of care is as one would hope for his/her loved ones. As a support member to the healthcare team, I witness some of the interactions amongst the hospital staff and can honestly say that the culture of kindness is of the utmost importance. The culture is one that makes you proud to be a part of. We are members of a greater cause. There needs to be an overwhelming desire of the team to help. Simple smiles and handshakes are simple tangible gestures that are encouraged. The hope is that even though it is never ideal to be in a hospital setting; hopefully we can differentiate ourselves by being an organization that cares. I have seen that this culture has passed on into other areas of my life. I am pleased that I have witnessed myself go out of my way to reach out to help others. I have lent a hand, a smile or a warm salutation to those who I have never met that look as though they are in need. In my experience through this recovery, warmth and kindness is invaluable especially in times of need.
I thank you for reading.

~Noelle

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dancing In the Rain....


I was at a friend’s condo and I noticed a sign she had in her living room: “It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s learning how to dance in the rain”. As soon as I saw that quotation I immediately felt it spoke to me. Recovery from a brain injury requires that many things need to be learned in different methods than they had previously. The ability to learn new approaches and methods allows for a person to be able to recover and assume a different life. As I always reiterate, “attitude is everything”. Things regarding a Traumatic Brain Injury may not be for the short term. I am 6.5 years out and I know that there are some things about me that will likely always be hindered by my TBI. As a result, I have not thrown in the towel; rather I have learned how to put my contacts in with my left hand. I now know that I am far more dexterous with my none dominate hand than most people ever will be. I wear eyeliner every day (I did pre-injury as well); except now I apply it with my left hand. I wear contacts everyday as well; I have learned to do them seamlessly with my left hand. I feel that this adaptation of learning to use my non dominate hand is very similar to somebody deciding that they will no longer wait until it is no longer raining before they return to dancing.

As soon as I saw this quote I immediately made the association with life. People who have sustained a TBI need to be open to learning new ways to do things. I would never have been sure that I could do this; until I had to. An uncle of mine had a shoulder surgery and as a result he will be unable to use his dominate right hand for 3 to 6 months. He told my parents that he is miserable and he feels bad for me that I always use my left hand. My response, was “no it is definitely not easy, but my left hand has learned to assume dominance”. Basically my body has realized that rather than “waiting for the storm to pass”, I have learned new and different ways to “dance in the rain”. Waiting I feel does nothing for us as we are attempting to get our lives back.

Developing new ways to accomplish everyday tasks despite what our injuries may have left us with is a prime example of learning to dance in the rain. Once again using our adaptation will help us as we go on through life. A popular song line is, “life’s about changing nothing ever stays the same”. Recovery from a TBI often does result in a very different life. The task at hand has to be to encourage those who are in recovery and allow them to never feel alone. I would love it if I could gain some feedback regarding that previous statement.

~Noelle

Monday, February 10, 2014

Open to Interpretations.......


            Every element in our daily lives has at least two interpretations. After a life altering event; an individual has to look at the positive side. I encourage a person to always try and be open to the uplifting interpretation of any situation. It is far too easy to fall into the negative. Forward motion is the only way to progress. We cannot change the beginning of our story; but we can always change how we would like it to progress. This moment in time is the first moment of the rest of your life. I repeat this notion to myself quite often as I realize that indeed certain things are different now then they were prior to my injury. I have far more emotional depth than I did prior to my injury. I also realize that I am indeed resilient. I feel that not many individuals are fearful of tackling the grief that comes with a brain injury. Certainly there are moments of grief that accompany a life altering event. There also has to be an effort to move forward. I hope that I am helpful to people because I do not try and pretend that all is sunny all the time. I always press on and I have been successful in my recovery; yet I am not afraid to be honest and I believe that it is my duty. I am on the Brain Injury Association for my state and we have meetings where we discuss the legislation that is being proposed and what the next objective should be. I don’t think I ever would have been on a state advisory council if I had not had first hand experience with this injury and the adjusting to life process after one has sustained such. I hope that every person and family who has endured an injury can attempt to focus on the positive light and be so thankful for what they have. I do my best to remain in contact with many people who are attempting to carry on in their lives despite whatever injury they have endured. I want to do my part to help and support others because I know that an injury does not just happen to one person. It is family wide. I thank you for reading and I would love to read any comments that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, January 27, 2014

Importance in Collaboration



I am so thrilled to see that posts that I have written have been useful for others pushing through on their recovery. It is an incredible gift to be able to help “connect the dots” for individuals who are facing a recovery. The unification that comes is invaluable for those who feel that they do not see a clearly laid out path set for themselves. For myself there were many instance of “trial and error”. A beautiful thing about this day in age is that there is the resource of interactive networks. There are various support variables that are in place to help.

People sharing first hand experience with others who are enduring a similar circumstance; allow for possible ideas to be shared. A medical doctor must always be consulted when learning of a possible treatment option. I myself utilized an idea that was suggested as a possibility by a medical doctor who I work alongside. I approached my neurologist with the idea; he conquered that it indeed may be a possibility.

I am hopeful that people can use this blog as a vehicle to share ideas with each other. Please always know that your doctor has final say; knowing what has worked for others is always useful. Thank you very much for reading and please know that I love when I come into the office and see that there have been responses and comments to my posts!

~Noelle

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

“It is in our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light”....

I recently had an incredible interaction with a former patient. He/she was feeling very down regarding the seemingly sluggish nature of the progression of the recovery. I was able to remind just how far he/she is from their original state. I am hopeful that I was able to help cast a ray of light towards the former patient. As Aristotle Onassis reminds us, “It is in our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light”. I love this quote because a large portion of my position is to help cast a ray of light towards the path of recovery. My position allows me to feel very important in the lives of those patients that benefit from my encouragement. I know that for some, my position allows for a sharper focus onto what works as a support to the therapists that are helping to improve the lives of their patients. I feel that having gone through a brain injury; I am very familiar with the difficulties that a patient may encounter as they venture forwarding in his/her recovery process.

As Aristotle Onassis implies, it is very easy to lose sight of the path towards the goal during dark times. In the daily rehab grind it is very easy and tempting to lose sight of the path towards recovery. Obviously every patient is different and there are three that turn me away for every one patient who truly benefits and looks forward to meeting with me. Typically the ones who benefit, do so with such enthusiasm that it makes me feel as though I am doing the right thing. I would love to hear any feedback that you may have and as always I thank you for reading!

~Noelle

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Moving Forward.....


As another year and another holiday season gets further in the distance; individuals have to keep their victories fresh on their minds. As a culture, Americans are excessively rushed and stressed. Individuals who are recovering from brain injury need to make a conscious effort to not lose sight over the strides that have been made. My quality of life has greatly improved after successfully getting my headaches under control. I have shared that I am in contact with a network of brain injury survivors. Constant headaches are something that plagues nearly all survivors. By being in contact with both fellow survivors and several doctors who are familiar with the recovery process from a Traumatic Brain Injury; I was able to approach my neurologist with what had been suggested as a possible approach to lessening my headaches.

The specialists have final say always, but in my case the suggestion regarding the botox injections were well received and after eight years of my injury, were decided upon as a possible method to lesson my headaches. I am very grateful that I am in contact with numerous individuals who have been willing to share their expertise with me regarding a brain injury recovery process. I am hopeful that this blog will provide a forum where survivors and families of survivors can get in touch with one another to share ideas and experiences to compare notes.

Part of my desire in this position is to help by providing a resource to survivors. I know that families desire for their loved one to be understood. I found that there is no better way to be understood than by creating a network with others who have gone through a similar experience as you. Once this network is discovered, experiences can be compared and the mutually beneficial arena takes form. As always I thank you for reading and I thank you for your responses.

~Noelle