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Staying Positive, by Carrie

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In June 2009, I was an outgoing, positive, strong willed and independent 38 year old. One morning I felt sick so I went in the bathroom and sat down on the floor. After a few minutes I realized I was not going to be sick and went to stand up, only to realize that I had no use of the left side of my body. I knew immediately that I had had a stroke; later I’d find out it was a hemorrhagic stroke or brain bleed (15 percent of all strokes are hemorrhagic, but they are responsible for about 40 percent of all stroke deaths; yea to being in the 60th percentile), but I couldn’t understand how or why? I was completely paralyzed on the left side for months. Through lots of therapy, family and friend’s encouragement and prayers, I started to get better. I regained most of the function of my left leg with the exception of my ankle and toes, but with the help of an AFO (ankle brace) I learned to walk again. The arm and hand have not been as cooperative but I do what I can.

Seven years later I can only change one thing in that first sentence and that’s my age. I’m not saying it’s been easy and I am quite a different person. I think the hardest part was the acceptance that my life would never be the same as it was, but also realized that it did not mean my life was over- just different, as some of us call it “finding the new better you”. I believe the key to finding this “new you” is by staying positive. Now you may say “What?” and yes it’s not easy and I wasn’t positive everyday and probably not very much in the beginning but by keeping the positive self talk to “I will get better” I saw a difference and it still helps today. Stroke recovery doesn’t end when therapy does, it actually never ends. You have to keep working at things and finding the positives in your life every day. I also believe in giving back and sharing my experience with new survivors, students, therapists or whoever will listen.

And if you know me at all, you know I have two passions. First the Dallas Stars, this is where I can go and be part of functioning society and nobody really knows something is wrong with me except that I walk a little funny and only use my right arm, but we are all there for the same reason so we are all the same. Go Stars! Second is BIND, this is where I also feel normal and help others feel normal; we all understand the struggle. I am especially thankful to be a part of BIND where I can use my voice and experience to advocate for education and awareness of brain injuries. As well as be a voice to new survivors to let them know that they CAN and WILL survive and thrive!

~Carrie “The Boss” Price

Life As A Cowboy

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My name is Kevin McIntyre. I go by Cowboy. I am the one who wears the Cowboy hat at BIND. I will tell you how life was before, during, and after my Brain Injury.

My life before by Brain Injury was a very exciting to me. I am a Retired 4 Time National Champion Professional Bull rider from PRCA. Some people say that I was already Brain Injured just for getting on the Bulls. I have been thrown, stepped on, gored, and had many broken bones, and concussions. During my time riding, I lost the feeling in my right leg. I went to the Circuit Doctor asking him why I was dragging my right leg, he told me it was ok because people get them and it is called a dead leg. I figure since he was a MD., he knew what talking about. The last Bull I was on snapped my back while I was in chute. I knew then I needed to retire before I was dead.

On April 24, 2011, I just proposed to my wife that morning, and had to head up to the hospital to visit my dad before he passed away. On my way home, I ran into a tree head on because I could not get my Right foot off the gas pedal due to NO feeling in that leg. On my way to the hospital, I died 3 different times. When I got to Medical Center of Plano, they noticed that my face bones had been crushed. It took 3 plastic surgeons 12 hours to put me back together. They also told me that I had a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). I don’t know what a TBI was. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t think right.

After a month of Hospital time and Rehabs, working with many therapist, I am getting better. One of my Speech Therapist at Select Rehab (Peggy) introduced me to Valerie Gotcher. Valerie introduced me to BIND (Brain Injury Network of Dallas), and to Karl Heller (who is my Peer Partner Mentor). I have been with BIND since 2011. I have profited by BIND, not by money (which we don’t get paid), but by the satisfaction of helping other people with Brain Injuries. I am the Project Manager of Outreach and Advocacy Group. We go out and speak at Rehabs, Hospitals, Universities (Colleges), Support Groups, and Churches. We are also pairing people up with Mentors for the Survivor, and for the Caregivers.

So if you have any questions about your Brain Injury, or want to know more about BIND. Call, visit, or email us at 972-769-BIND (2463), 1408 Gables Court Suite 2 Plano, Texas 75075, www.thebind.org.

Thank you, Diana!

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Recently, BIND Member Taylor interviewed our volunteer Diana Diaz.  Diana visits the BIND program each week and offers wellness programming and health coaching.  She is also a member of the Auction & Happy Brain Hour committee for BIND and is busy collecting silent auction items for our event scheduled on October 15th.  We’re blessed to have Diana as a proud BIND volunteer!  Thank you!

Q: What 3 things would need on a deserted Island:

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Some kind of device on which to play the first six seasons of Sex In The City
  3. Camel-back carrier filled with water

Q: What’s your day job:

A: Speech language pathologist at Health South

Q: How did you get involved with BIND:

A: I had previously worked with Valerie, knew several Members, and I believe in BIND’s mission.

~Taylor

Celeste: 2 Years, In Her Words

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On May 13, 2014, my life made a 360 degree turn! I was working in my office with a colleague at Reliant Rehabilitation of Dallas. I stood up to drink a cup of water and the cup dropped, my right side of my face drooped & my right arm was oscillating without control. My mind yelled, “ALERT! SOMETHING IS WRONG!!” but I couldn’t say a word.

I was transferred to Medical City of Dallas immediately via ambulance. I had an embolic stroke (actually 2 blood clots) in the left hemisphere of my brain. In the ER, they administered tPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator) to dissolve the clots to improve blood flow in the middle carotid artery. One of the clots was “stubborn” I guess and I had brain surgery (intracranial angioplasty and stenting).

I woke up in ICU in silence and had right sided hemiparesis (right arm was flaccid (no muscle tone) and sensation deficits. I have Apraxia (oral motor speech) and Aphasia (express & understand language). After my stroke, I couldn’t read, speak, nor form sentences. Thank GOD my spelling and memory was intact to write simple words to express my needs.

I am a Physical Therapist practicing over 20 years and my position before the stroke was Chief Therapy Officer managing staff, hospital policies and rehab patients/families. I transferred to Baylor Dallas inpatient for a week for all therapy disciplines (Physical (PT), Occupational (OT) and Speech (ST)) then Pate Rehabilitation (Anna location) outpatient for ST for 8 months. My discharge from Pate was January 28, 2015 and I was a little torn. I was sad to leave my “safe place”, happy because my speech was better and scared to jump into life again!

I gained more Faith in GOD and more fight for my life and my daughter, Tylar. A lot of crying (an emotional battle) during my storm but those tears were a symbol that I’m thankful & humbled because GOD shielded and blessed me with a strong support group…family and friends! I didn’t work for nearly a year and gradually started PT per diem then full time in June 2015. GOD IS GOOD!! I joined B.I.N.D. last year as a volunteer to connect with brain injury survivors and to increase awareness & knowledge in the community. Brain Injury Network of Dallas is a bridge to build relationships, mentorship, support for survivors and their families and a platform for patient advocacy!

Celeste Larkins
Stroke Survivor May 2014

2015: Impact Report

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“BIND needs the stories of its members told.  Today is not the time for the silent treatment.  These stories of stroke, traumatic brain injury, infection, and brain tumor removal are sad, but also show remarkable strength.  The feats that our members have conquered are inspiring.  Their progress, compassion and determination, strengthened by becoming a BIND member, must be…..”

Click here to keep reading:

2015 Impact Report PDF

~Valerie Gotcher, Executive Director