Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tim McGraw

“Don't take for granted the love this life gives you. When you get where you're going don't forget turn back around; and help the next one in line. Always stay humble and kind.” -Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw’s words speak so concisely and so clearly to me. I am so fortunate to have gotten where I am today I clearly recall just how scared I was when I was initially injured. I swore to myself that I would never forget how difficult the road was which I had ventured on. I remember once a former patient came to visit the rehab that I was in; and after speaking with him my entire state of mind was changed. I swore that I would never forget the impact that the interaction had on me and I am very happy to report that I have stepped into that role for my Healthcare Organization. Daily I seek to turn around and encourage the next survivor in line. Personally I feel precisely where I am supposed to be. There has to be a sense of community and comradery to get through the long and often difficult path of recovery. I have been fortunate to recover to the extent that I have and the least that I can do is help to encourage someone who was precisely where I was. Career wise, mentorship provides a very similar basis for people that are young in their fields. I would love to hear anyone who is willing to share who has inspired them either through his/her recovery or career wise. I thank you very much for reading and am enthusiastic to read any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Moving Forward

"Looking back isn’t going to help you. Moving forward is the thing that you have to do." - McKayla Maroney

All too often I hear about people who live in their glory days. Recently in church the minister spoke and reflected about how the best days are yet to come. I think that after having sustained a life altering injury individuals often take on a “sour grapes” persona. I myself have hone there at many points throughout my recovery; but thankfully I realized that it does no good for you or the people around you. In all of the relationships that I have fostered with people who have endured trauma similar to mine, I have found that nearly everyone who has not made efforts to embrace their new self is stuck living in a fantasy that is no longer. I believe that a person’s state of mind is the largest contributing factor to how far they are able to progress. There are always stories of people who have succeeded far beyond their potential. Likewise there are many stories of individuals that are “wasted talent” who have never amounted to what they could have been. Since my injury I have certainly learned what it is to work hard. There is not one thing that I perform daily that was not affected by my injury. I am so appreciative now of my abilities that I have retained. Literally my entire life changed in a moment. Certainly a moment changed everything in my world, and I am now mildly disabled for life. Maroney wanted to influence those who have been pigeon holed themselves into thinking that there is only one way to accomplish a goal. There are always at least two ways to solve a problem. Sometimes people don’t want to put forth the effort to decipher which method would be most applicable. I am hugely in favor of knowing that there always are numerous ways to figure though an issue. I thank you very much for reading and I welcome any thoughts or comments that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, August 8, 2016

Human Spirit

"Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us." -Wilma Rudolph

Every great accomplishment begins the exact same way: with the decision to try. Humans are capable of extraordinary things; they must first be motivated to attempt them. There are thousands of reasons that serve as excuses for individuals to not go against the grain. It is not “easy” or “simple” to push hard to achieve where you desire to be in life. Certain things in life will happen that are beyond our control. Certainly I never would have signed up to sustain a life altering traumatic brain injury at the age of twenty. I am positive that nobody would; accidents happen and the only way to proactively move forward in this life is to visualize where you want to be. There are always reasons to throw in the towel, yet there are always reasons to continue pushing once you realize that this is your life. There are no repeats or second chances. Every individual has to take his/her own life into their hands. I know that there are plenty of people who sustained the level of injury that I did who will be dependent on others for the rest of their lives. I believe that my unbending spirit is in large part why I am where I am. I challenge every person who has sustained a life altering injury to understand that indeed my life is certainly altered, but I have a life. Every one of us has the potential for great things. It is up to each one of us to summon the strength within to push harder and go further. Guaranteed there will be moments of weakness and moments where it is tempting to give up. Remember that every one of us has the option to “give up” on something every day. As we learned as a child in team sports, “Nobody likes a quitter”. There is no single person in this whole world that is more important than you. You all owe it to yourselves to push harder and go further. I would love to hear any reflections that you may have and as always I thank you for reading.

~Noelle

Monday, August 1, 2016

11 Years Post Injury

"It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves - in finding themselves." -Andre Gide

I have arrived upon another anniversary of my accident. For the first time in my life post-accident I actually feel as though I am progressing quite well. I have secured a very definite support base for myself. I am no longer living in fear all of the time. I understand that there will be some things that will always present a bit of a challenge to me. The short term memory is extremely difficult to deal with at times. I have to make certain that people who I surround myself with understanding individuals who are very understanding of the difficulties that I face. There are always people who do not understand, but conversely there are always people that do. I am very comfortable with where I am in life currently and a large part of this is in regards to my fitness. Oxygen traveling to the brain allows for clear and concise thought. Working out has always been a pillar to my existence and I am depending on it strongly once again. This year is special to me because the day after my anniversary I have been selected to attain the honor of a heroic woman under the age of forty. I believe that young women need to know that there are others who can help to give encouragement and share ideas as to how they have gotten themselves to where she is. I am very honest about many of the difficulties that I have had. I feel that I would be doing the brain injury community an injustice by not being entirely candid regarding the various difficulties that I have had. No brain injury is the same in large part because no two people are the same. Every survivor can certainly benefit from encouragement. I see encouragement as extremely motivating if it comes from a person who has already walked in your shoes. There were so many factors that came along with the brain injury that were so unique and in fact scary to me as they were experienced. A network of survivors can create a culture of communication that can help to bridge the gaps for those who are newly venturing through on their path. I realize that have come tremendously far in the eleven years since my injury. I feel as though the best is yet to come and I will continue to do my part to get the word out to promote tolerance and understanding in the arena of Traumatic Brain Injury. I thank you very much for reading and would welcome any comments that you may have.

~Noelle