Monthly Archives

March 2016

Open CLUBhouse is May 4th

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Join the best brains in the business at the annual BIND: Brain Injury Network of Dallas Open House!

Come and go as you’d like between 2 and 6 pm on Wednesday, May 4th.  Enjoy a tour, refreshments, fun and fellowship with our members. Curious about how you can help us?  Email members@thebind.org for a copy of our Wish List.

Location: 1408 Gables Court Suite 2, Plano Texas 75075.  BIND is surrounded by trees in the Gables Court office park, located off 15th Street near Independence to our east and Medical Center of Plano on Coit to our west.

Call 972-769-BIND (2463) or email info@thebind.org to RSVP.

Patience: By Stacy

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Lucy loves to torment Charlie Brown by having him run toward the football to make a great punt. Each time, Charlie Brown thinks that this will be the time that he will do it, but each time, at that crucial moment, Lucy pulls the ball away and Charlie Brown ends up flat on his back.

Maybe not after the first time, but definitely after the second time, most individuals would give in and call it a day. But Charlie Brown keeps after this, year after year after year.

I sometimes feel like Charlie Brown and Lucy is holding the ball that keeps being pulled away at that crucial moment. Why? You ask. I am recovering from a Brain Injury.

On June 13, 2014, I had brain surgery because I had been diagnosed with a cavernous hemangioma. Unlike some individuals that suffer with a brain injury, I knew the date and time of surgery, I just did not know that the carpet was about to be pulled out from under me. Surgery left me with aphasia, hemiparesis, and hemisensory loss.

Through time, much therapy, and support from family and friends, I went back to work 6 months after surgery. Knowing what I know now, I pushed it a little too hard. Have patience with your rehabilitation. IT IS IMPORTANT. I was impatient and it cost me some valuable time. Two months after returning to work, I ended up having a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a “mini stroke.” My body was not finished healing.

I returned to therapy, sought out more support groups, and started learning how to have patience with this process. It is not easy. It is not without setbacks. It is not without much trial and error. But, it is a step in the right direction.

I became part of BIND, The Brain Injury Network of Dallas. Through my membership with BIND, I was able to slowly return to work. I learned many valuable lessons, especially when it came to having patience with myself.

BIND provided me with opportunities to try out skills, like talking in public; after all, I need that skill to go back to teaching. Through the friendships that I formed, it helped me realize that I wasn’t in this alone. I have my husband and kids, but having someone to talk to, to laugh with, and to socialize with that has been through their own brain injury helped me put everything into perspective.

I am happy to report that I have gone back to work, but it is not easy, not without setbacks, and not without trial and error.

Brain injuries affect everyone differently so family, a support group, doctors, and therapists are very important, especially when talking about moving forward with your recovery.

Are you as persistent as Charlie Brown? Will you keep trying? BE CHARLIE BROWN!!

~Stacy B.

Coming Soon: Heartstrong

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Headstrong: Donna ValentinoDonna Valentino’s book Headstrong: Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury Without Losing My Mind (image shown) has been the subject of numerous positive reviews. If you don’t already have a copy, pick yours up here: https://secure.mybookorders.com/Orderpage/1786

In Donna Valentino’s book Heartstrong, Overcoming Obstacles and Living Life to the Fullest, she writes:

“While my overall purpose in writing this book is to share my triumph over obstacles, I also want to share an important message with others:  don’t let the obstacles in your life destroy you.  My obstacles made me stronger.  If you remember nothing else from this book, please take this final message away:  never give up.  You can overcome your obstacles, and you can do it with greater agility and grace when you have a positive attitude and open mind.  I’m grateful everyday that my kids still have their mom.  It’s my greatest privilege to be a positive part of their lives, even if I cuss like a sailor and drop the “F” bomb like it’s nobody’s business.”

~Donna Valentino

 

Perspective

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bind_iconper-spec-tive:

(noun) a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

This word and all of the meaning it carries has been stuck in my head for weeks. It’s a difficult concept to explain but we all understand it. Perspective explains why our own car, even when it’s used and dirty and worn, is a relief after driving a rental car for a few days. Perspective also explains why that same car of ours is substandard and just plain awful after taking a newer, shinier model out for a spin.

In other words, “If we all threw our problems into a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back. (Author Unknown)

The experience of significant illness or injury often catapults a person into perspective realization, too. This is especially true for adults who have experienced a brain injury. The life that was once known is suddenly changed and the person is often left in a confused and frightened state.

From the confused state, grief begins to take its course, leading with denial. This is often a stage in recovery after brain injury where perspective can’t be recognized yet. The consequences of the brain injury don’t seem “real.” The second stage of grief is anger – where perspective begins to take root. The survivor is frustrated, now realizing that talking, walking, or getting dressed is not as easy and automatic as it once was.

Then, perspective begins to branch into more roots as the next stage of grief appears on scene – bargaining. “If I could just do ___________, then ____________. If I could just go home, everything will be fine.”

After bargaining, the unfortunate fourth stage of grief is depression. Depression is present in at least 60% of brain injury survivors, and may persist for many years after the initial injury. Perspective has now grown branches and looms several feet above ground, casting shadows, sometimes a constant reminder of the life led before.

The final stage of grief is acceptance. I ask you this – what does perspective grow into when acceptance arrives? Does perspective begin to uncurl and open new leaves and adapt to the changing seasons? Does acceptance bring compassion and personal growth?

For those who’ve experienced a brain injury and reached the stage of acceptance, I believe that true perspective is achieved. Survival is appreciated. Support systems are recognized and thanked. The chance to reprioritize life is realized and taken advantage of. It’s a profound concept, but one that is possible after brain injury.

~Valerie Gotcher

Never Give Up

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Life is but a dream, it’s what you make it.

December 14, 2007, I suffered a stroke to the Cerebellum region of my brain. This trauma affected my motor functions, coordination of movement, balance, equilibrium and posture. I could not understand what was being said to me. Nor could I verbally express any thoughts. I was a mess!!!

The past 8 years have been an incredible journey.   I have learned so many lessons and continue to learn due to the grace of God, neuroplasticity, positive attitude and hard work.

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by stimulating neurons through activity. This activity may include cognitive, physical, occupational and speech therapy. Brain games or learning a musical instrument may also help to improve your brain.

Be aware that I have stated that these activities may improve brain function. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees regarding the recovery of brain trauma. It is different for each traumatic brain injury.

I do know this. You will have limited recovery if you choose not to work to stimulate your traumatic brain injury. Work hard and find out what life lessons await you.

NEVER GIVE UP

Ted Hilburn, stroke survivor & BIND member