Thursday, March 8, 2018

Never Turn Your Back on Hope

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” 
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Throughout life, there will always be disappointments. We have to remain hopeful and realize that miracles happen every day. We have to never give up our dreams. We all must maintain hope. No matter what happens in our lives there is always reason to keep the hope alive. Every day is a chance for us to follow our dreams and to keep our dreams alive. Maintaining positivity is very important to who we are.  We cannot give up on our dreams. Each one of us has a story. Those of us that have had injuries are forever in pursuit of regaining our faculties. New breakthroughs are made every day and we have to be patient and realize that they are happening all around us. We have to be open to the new opportunities that are available for us. Through our various friends and loved ones we can keep researching new possibilities. We all can expect to have various times of disappointments. We can decide that those disappointments not going to run who we are. We can have different hopes every day and it is important that we never put a limit on it. We have to know that small or finite disappointments are going to occur. Hope is not something that you can overdo. It is healthy for all of us. I am so happy that I was able to advocate for myself at an alternative therapy physician’s office. I try to maintain a positive frame of mind and always am positive to stay hopeful. 

We can choose (in my opinion have to) take full responsibility for our lives and choices. We have the responsibility to maintain a positive outlook. Our days can be so much more productive as long as we are dedicated to maintaining our positive outlook. Following an injury we strive to regain our autonomy. Positive thinking is incredibly important and we must strive to conduct our lives in ways in which to do so. Always choose relationships with people who try and conduct themselves in the same way that you do. Hope is limitless. We should always try to bring about hope in our lives. We can choose to enjoy the activities of every day. We can choose to be enamored of the environment around us. Following my injury I have a far greater appreciation for the sunrise and the sunsets. So many people get too wrapped up into insignificant things and miss the true beauty that is this life. I thank you very much for reading and as always I welcome any responses that you may have.

~ Noelle

Monday, February 26, 2018

Change yourself. Change the world.

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons or the wind but you can change yourself.” - Jim Rohn

Every one of us has a responsibility to choose our correct path in life. Every day we can choose to wake up in distress or we can choose to wake up and push forward toward what we want. Now is the time. Planning is important but we must hold onto the fact that this is our life. Every passing moment is a moment that we will not get back. I try to make myself get to the gym because I realize that it is with these decisions that I am shaping my life. We have to choose wellness for ourselves. We are in control. We can choose to live healthy and make healthy decisions. I will include a picture of me before I went to the gym this previous weekend. Every day we can choose to be proactive and make positive decisions for ourselves.

I love to learn about my heritage. This week I am going to an Irish concert at Monmouth University. My ancestors were of Irish decent and I find it interesting to learn about the Irish music and the dancing. I cannot change myself but I can adapt the way I live my life. I made a vow to stay activity driven in the colder months and I am happy to say that I have stayed true to my vow and my activity level this winter has been far more than it has in the winters past. I am happy to report that I feel better with this change and I would recommend it for all. How have all of you maintained your goals that you may have set out at New Years? I always am true to the gym and I always try to eat healthy. My big change this year was to try to remain active through the winter. I find that the more that you do the more that you continue to want to do. My arm is doing well with the alternative therapy that I have begun. We have to make an effort for ourselves. This is our life and we are in control. I believe that where there is hope there is possibility for healing.

I would love to hear from anybody else who has acquired a tremor with their brain injury. I have hope and I love these support groups that I have found online. Many people in the world go through similar circumstances as we do. With the internet we can look for many support groups online and we can share with one another. I thank you very much for reading and I would love to read any thoughts that you may have. ~ Noelle

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Thinking Outside the Box Isn't Enough

“It isn’t enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive; get used to acting outside the box.” 
- Tim Ferriss




I love this quote by Tim Ferriss. We cannot think of ourselves as being “typical”. Once I realized that I do not exactly fit any mold, I opened myself up to many possibilities. There are always many solutions to any problem. I am trusting in my physicians as I try to come up with ways in which to lessen my issues that I still have from my Traumatic Brain Injury. I have numerous outlets that I can refer to as I go forward with my treatments. I recently connected with a brain injury survivor from across the country. She is encouraging me and sharing her journey as she has tried to gain her life back. I am open to new therapies and some alternative methods that have helped people along the way. I just got a new ID badge to attend a new alternative treatment center and I will include the picture with my post. Many people are willing to reflect and share about his/her journey. I think that each one of us can gain valuable knowledge from others. 


I have learned an incredible amount from others who have walked along my
path earlier than I. Human interaction is incredible for many reasons. It is my hope that I can continue connecting with others and I am hopeful that they are as willing as I to share their stories.  I have always thought outside of the box, but only now am I beginning to actually act, outside of the box. I am open to hear any therapies that people have found helpful after a brain injury. I will continue to investigate the varying techniques that people have utilized to see if maybe they might be suitable for me. Every one of us from every walk of life should research our own health and what has helped people like us. This previous week, I went myself to a new doctor. I advocated for myself and I showed all the appropriate insurance information. I felt extremely proud of myself as I handled the entire situation myself. I was able to calmly advocate for myself as I have trouble filling out the new patient registration form. Thankfully I was able to dictate my information to a man who worked in the office that was able and willing to scribe my information down for me. I think that it is always better the more frequent that we are able to allocate for ourselves. I was not even nervous about it (as I had been prior). We need to be comfortable with our own life circumstances and ourselves. There will always be situations that arise where we need to verbally advocate for ourselves. The more comfortable that we get with ourselves the easier it will be to speak on our own behalf. Thank you so much for reading and I always look forward to reading any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Friday, February 16, 2018

Cherish Each Moment, Big and Small

"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet."
- James Oppenheim


Enjoying the moment and enjoying the passage of time is the secret to living a peaceful and happy life. We must enjoy the simple and insignificant moments in life as much as the events that we look forward to in the future. This previous week my family got a new puppy out at our farm. I had some headaches the last few days because of the rainy weather, but I tried to truly enjoy the puppy and allow myself to focus on the positive aspects that I have in my life currently. The quotation is excellent because it causes people to look at their surroundings and seek happiness in the moment. Each one of us is capable of changing our focus towards that which is currently around us.

We can choose to be actively engaged in our surroundings. I did not allow myself to focus upon the negativity of the uncomfortable feeling of the headache, but rather focus on the fact that we got a new puppy to play with. Every day we always have a choice to focus upon the positive or the negative aspects of life. I feel that with practice, each one of us will get better at creating a more peaceful solitude for ourselves. Everybody has good days and bad days. We can practice to focus upon the positive things that we have surrounding us. Some things we may take for granted; practice taking note of the small blessings in your life and allow yourself to be joyful in your own being. James Oppenheim’s quote should serve as motivation for each one of us to realize that we indeed have the power to create a joyful existence. I for one am always happier when my mentality has a focus. Focus, drive and direction are three key ingredients to a peaceful and proactive life. I think that is why people after an injury must get involved in a mission greater than him or her. Individuals make up this world and we each are capable of many things.

We are capable of redirecting ourselves. When I woke up in pain and heard the rain outside I knew that I had to change my focus from the discomfort. Thankfully, I was able to focus upon the new puppy and helping him to adjust to his new surroundings. I have heard from other survivors that they take part in puzzles to help them to get out of his/her own head and focus upon something. Our minds are capable of being trained and we must take responsibility. We must seek out joy and realize what contributes to our happiness. I think that we must seek guidance from others who have/are going through similar circumstances to us. Once again, I am a huge fan of networking and sharing guidance among people. I will include a picture of my new puppy so you can see. His name is Brady and he helped to take my mind away from my pain yesterday. I thank you very much for reading and I would love to read any comments that you may have. 

~ Noelle

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Open Your Mind to New Challenges, New Opportunities and New Possibilities

“When you open your mind, you open new doors to new possibilities for yourself and new opportunities to help others.”  - Roy Bennett

My father is getting a new puppy today. I will have the joy of a new puppy and the hope that I am going to see a new doctor this afternoon to discuss different options to aid with my movement disorder.
Each one of us can be a messenger to others. We have to be willing to take down our guard and trust those who are open to helping us. I do not live my life just for me. I believe that I survived in the manner that I did to share hope and encouragement. My journey I hope can be educational for others and it is my mission to encourage other survivors. We have to be open. I am going to a new doctor today to see if there are other alternative therapies to employ to aid me with my Dystonia.  I have been using Botox for years and I am open to the possibility of a new therapy. I have an excellent team of doctors around me that know my mission and they are all aiding me in my mission to become more functionally independent. I consider myself very lucky that I have a team of excellent doctors around me. After a brain injury, we all deal with our own challenges and sometimes it is incredible to realize that maybe the doctors know best and maybe they have tools at their disposal that we never dreamed of on our own. I am going to put my trust into these doctors and believe that they will help me. I think that you have to trust professionals and be vulnerable to their suggestions. They want you to improve and I believe that is what life is all about. My injury was many years ago now and I will not lie dormant. I am going to seek out the best methods to help and improve my life.

My father is getting a new puppy today. I will have the joy of a new puppy and the hope that I am going to see a new doctor this afternoon to discuss different options to aid with my movement disorder.

I am very hopeful regarding my appointment this afternoon. A new set of professional eyes will see me and examine my case. If I can gain more normal control over my arm, I feel as though my quality of life will be much improved. I would love to hear from anyone who deals with any form of movement disorder. It is extremely difficult when you have a region of your body that is involuntarily tremoring.  I know that nothing is a cure all. I am hopeful that I am on the right track. I am hopeful that you will all keep me in your thoughts and send positive vibes my way for my appointment this afternoon. At the end of the day I need to remember how fortunate I  am to be able to drive myself to this appointment this afternoon. I will certainly check back in and let you know how my appointment goes.

Thank you very much for reading and I look forward to reading any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, February 12, 2018

Super Bowl: A Family Tradition

"I believe in traditions; I believe in the idea of things being passed between generations and the slow transmission of cultural values through tradition."
- Graham Moore


I attended a small super bowl gathering at my brothers this past weekend. My father and I joined my brother and his family as he had a bunch of people over to watch the game. His children are getting older and it was a great experience. I had a friend take a picture of my goddaughter and I; which I will include with this post. The joy of everyone sitting around in his or her jerseys has become a yearly tradition. Traditions are fantastic. My brother’s children are being brought up in a house where football will forever be a very important aspect! I have never felt the same passion for football because I could never play. I was thrilled that I could join along. It is fantastic to watch as my brother brings up his family. It is hard to believe that my big brother now has his own family. 

Following a life altering accident, we need to be close to our families. Over the years, I have remained close with my family. I realize that my family are everything to me. They are the people who have stood by my side in the good times and the bad. We as survivors need to grow while remaining close to our home base. I will forever recall how my family has stuck by me through it all. I am not sure that I will have children of my own and as a result, I am extremely close with my brother’s. I would love to hear from any survivors about their feelings about having a family of their own. This path of life that we are on is long with many turns and hills. We have to look to one another to guide us along the way. I have recently been searching for others who are familiar with dystonia. I have dystonia in right arm as it resulted from my head injury. I am pursuing what ways people have found relief from this. I would be so grateful for any input that anyone could give me on this matter. I feel a new sense of purpose and I am enthusiastic about finding new methods to better combat this dystonia. Thank you very much for reading and I welcome any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Friday, February 2, 2018

Groundhog Day Advice: Always Move Forward

"Groundhog’s day is upon us!  Another February 2 and another Superbowl is here!"

Groundhog’s day is upon us! Another February 2 and another Superbowl is here!

We need to make every day purposeful. Following an injury, it is tempting to plod through your days. It is important to make annual celebrations and to never give up on your dreams. Every day is a new chance to achieve. It is important to not allow yourself to slip into Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog’s Day.

Remember that every February 2nd is the day that the whole country begins looking forward to the next season. We each have to be joyful that we are able to enjoy and prepare for the change in season. I am gathering my jersey for the Superbowl this weekend. I get excited every year for the Superbowl and for Groundhog’s Day. I recently have begun looking into further opportunities to further control my right arm. We have countless resources that are available to us by using the internet. I see many specialists and I greatly value all of their opinions. Prior to making any decision, I reach out to several of my support groups and ask who has had experience with what I am considering. I am very blessed that I work alongside numerous healthcare service providers that are more than willing to offer me educated advice regarding the method that I am considering.

After an injury, we are works in progress. We each have to decide which methods we are going to pursue. The internet provides us with an open forum on which we can communicate with others and gather insight. I am going to try and utilize all of my available resources to gain knowledge as to the most suitable step forward for me in my journey. I have gained back much of my cognition and I am always nervous about ingesting anything that may slow me down. I refuse roll over and quit trying to improve myself. Recovering from brain trauma is a lifelong journey. I believe that we should all always keep working to better ourselves. I am curious as to what types of things you are doing to further yourself along this journey. I am thankful for all that read my posts and I look forward to any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, January 29, 2018

Run Toward Adversity, Not From It

“You're trying to escape from your difficulties, and there never is any escape from difficulties, never. They have to be faced and fought.”  
- Amid Blyton

I recently took a vacation down to Florida to visit with some of my extended family. I celebrated my thirty third birthday down there and I successfully took two plane rides by myself. One moment where my balance came into major play was when I attempted to navigate a narrow plank when I was attempting to get on the boat. My balance is so much improved but this was an occurrence when I had to speak up for myself that I needed assistance. When I was going through security I had to disclose that I have a disability and I am unable to raise both of my hands above my head without them moving. Once I disclosed my disability I was able to be screened by the airport officials using another method. I am able to take a flight myself. I am so glad that I was able to prove to myself that this is a viable way for me to travel. I was able to achieve many things only through practice. We have control over ourselves to handle how we respond.

I attempt many things fearlessly yet I still have nerves about walking on a narrow suspended board. Once I spoke up I was able to have assistance as I attempted to navigate onto the boat. I was able to conquer my fear of flying myself, yet I still needed assistance to get onto the boat. There are some things that I may always need help with. I enjoyed my vacation in Florida yet I need to face that there are certain things that I will always need help with. On my vacation I was able to get away from the cold weather and escape into warm weather; who I am and the challenges that I have followed me.

I can never stop fighting. I have ingrained it into my persona to never give up. I was able to go to a different salon to get my nails done. It may sound insignificant to many but to me it was a challenge to attend a salon with different service providers who are not familiar with my disability. The more often that I go to different professionals the more prepared that I am to make a change and be accommodating to others. My vacation was a success. I am thankful that I take at least one trip a year to escape the cold in the winter.

Day by day I am achieving and I am taking part in life. I hope that others who are dealing with a brain injury know that they are not alone. There are others like us out there and while there are many who do not disclose that they have battled through a brain injury; there are those of us who understand. Throughout my recovery I wanted to be sure that I would help people who have endured what I have. I am hopeful that I am and I truly hope to improve the communication amongst the population of brain injury survivors. While there are many of us who are unable to communicate there are many of us along with our families that can. I will include a picture of me boating in Florida and I would love to hear any thoughts that you may have. Thank you so much for reading.
~Noelle 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Keep On Keepin' On

“Keep trying. Set small goals. Focus on what you need to get there. Congratulate yourself and take a break. Then keep trying.” - Lucy MacDonald

We can all see our lives pressing on. I challenge you all to take control and get in the driver’s seat of your own life. There are many different avenues that our lives can take, but none without our effort. It is time to get involved and to steer your life. Each one of us is in control of our own destinies. Much of life is ensuring that you are pleasant and that others want to be in your company. Try and be thankful for all that you have.

I try and bring it back to the basics; be thankful that you have woken up with air to breath and water to drink. Every day is a new opportunity to better find where it is that you are supposed to be in the world.

I feel that I can help to encourage patients because I have been there. I know the difference that it makes to have a new face visit you and to hear about your rehabilitation and the concerns that arise. Sometimes fresh ears are needed to pick up on the perseveration that is all too common to those with brain injuries. I know that I for one became fixated on a relationship that I had while I was in the hospital. It was only from the repetitive correcting from others that I gradually was able to correct my behavior.

I am so fortunate that I still have my parents currently in my corner as I go forward and seek where my place is in this world. Through all of my reflecting I feel that I do a good job never allowing myself to stop trying.

I am forever trying to improve myself. Life is about improving yourself. We are all given this life and what we do with it is up to us. I have had to change some of my leisure activities because my balance is not perfect. What I have learned throughout my journey is that life is not about perfection. Each one of us has our own issues that arise in our lives. Each one of us has to be strong and evaluate where we are going in our lives.

We are responsible for our own lives. We are the authors of our own story. You can never abandon your goal. I encourage and challenge everyone to decipher his/her own goals. I try and distract myself with games and activities to keep myself in the correct frame of mind. We have to find things that help to encourage us as we go along our path. I greatly enjoy conversation so I love to get out to meet new people. I have been expanding my horizons and opened myself up to meeting new people. There are interesting people from all walks of life. Everyone has a story to share if you are inquisitive enough to inquire. I would love to hear how you meet new people. Thank you very much for reading.

~ Noelle

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Just Keep Moving

“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise you will have the gift to affect other people.” - Jim Rohn

Communication is a wonderful tool that can make your life so much better. I had an experience over this past weekend where I truly felt what it was to have matured and to handle a situation with grace.

A friend of mine and I went into a bar to hear some music and I was approached right after entrance by the door bouncer who said to me, “You have already had enough to drink, I’m sorry but you have to go.”

I calmly showed him my disabled identification from my wallet and told him that I would gladly take a breathalyzer.  My friend was very upset when I told her what had happened.

I explained calmly that I understood that they were far more familiar with overly intoxicated people trying to enter a bar then people who had sustained brain trauma.

When my friend saw that I wasn’t overly upset by the occurrence we decided that we would leave the establishment and have a good night. I credit the way I live my life with giving me the ability to respond calmly and matter-of-factly in this occurrence.

The vast majority of people have no familiarity with a brain injury. It can present as so many other occurrences. Since I do not and cannot live my life embarrassed of this injury; I was able to go on and enjoy my night with my friend without my night being tainted. I do not fear returning to that establishment because I feel that I handled myself calmly and that now they may know better. We have to be our own advocates.

Calm and reasonable explanation goes much further than an emotion riddled hasty response. I am sure that there are countless numbers of brain injury survivors that deal with this type of occurrence on a regular basis. Now I know that perhaps a bar setting may not be the best, but I wanted to listen to some music. Sometimes we have to decide that we are going to perhaps endure some misunderstanding, yet decide that the evening with our friends is more important. I decided a long time ago that I was not going to be a hermit.

I like to get out and I advocate for others to go out and take part in activities. I attended a Rutgers basketball game this weekend also with my father. It is wonderful to get out and experience things. We have only this one life and we are responsible for making it worth living. I am going to include a picture from a get together that I attended at a friend’s meetup group. It is all about taking advantage of events that are scheduled and making a life worth living.

I touched base with another survivor who feels invisible as she is proceeding through life. I tried to encourage her and get her to realize that she is choosing to be invisible. We have to take responsibility for our own lives and get busy living!

I thank you so much for reading and welcome any thoughts that you may have!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Believe, and the world is yours

“New Year, new you.  The body achieves what the mind believes.  Believe in you and the possibilities are limitless.”

   - Noelle McNeil


A new year is among us and we have to believe that we are capable of great things. What are you going to accomplish this year? I am going to keep working on sharpening my memory. I feel enthusiastic about the things that I am now able to accomplish. Things get better with practice and everything becomes easier with every successful attempt.

You have to believe in yourself and what you are capable of achieving. We have to know that we are special and we are capable of wonderful things. We are all capable of having confidence and interacting with many people. I feel that life gets better when you interact with others. We can push ourselves in the gym and encourage ourselves to stay with our fitness routine and our diets. We have to challenge ourselves to attempt and accomplish more. Daily we should witness our lives getting easier. Continue to reach out to others and share what makes life easier for you. We can come together to collaborate and share ideas. The more people sharing leads to a far greater collaborative pool of ideas for our population to draw from. New Years is a fantastic symbolic way for us to compare our goals with others. I get to share my goals with the patients and residents that I interact with. I love hearing feedback from others as far as how they believe that I am setting my goals. I am a huge fan of sharing my ideas with others and especially elders. These people have been on the planet for longer than I and they are more than willing to share their ideas and opinions with me. I learn from my interactions and they were absolutely correct when they were telling me that every new thing that I try will get easier the more times that I do it. I am preparing to fly myself again later this month and I recall how fearful I was the first time that I flew myself. It seems as though it is old hat now as I have done it several times. It is still not my favorite thing to do myself, but I have proven to myself that I can do it. I enjoy making conversation with those that are sitting around me and hopefully I will come upon somebody who enjoys social interaction as much as I do.

I am so thankful to all of you who have followed along with my weekly blogs. I hope and I pray that I am reaching others who are seeking a way to connect with others. Life after a significant life event is forever altered and I know that it is helpful to connect with others who are in the same boat. Perhaps you also have found that you connect better with someone who has also been through a significant life event his/herself.

~ Noelle