We Support Black Lives Matter

Some of our readers may think to themselves why is all this focus being put on Black lives…don’t all lives matter?

Saying Black Lives Matter does not mean other lives don’t matter. Not at all.  In fact, saying All Lives Matter (though coming from a good place for most who embrace that term) misses the crux of the Black Lives Matter movement.  Saying “All Lives Matter” pulls the attention away from Black Lives, who are the ones that are and have been heavily discriminated against for generations.

Black Lives Matter is a rallying slogan/anthem that speakes out about police brutality and systemic racism.  It calls for a shift in statistics where Black people are twice – three times more likely to be killed by a police officer while unarmed, compared to a white individual. As a nation we need to pay attention to all of our races and cultures equally and stop acting like Black Lives are devalued in some way.  Saying “All Lives Matter” diminishes and dsicounts the focus on the violence and discrimination Black individuals face every day. Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by not only police violence, but systemic racism.  By saying Black Lives Matter, we are saying that Black Lives Matter as much as White Lives.

We support racial justice and we support equality.

Examples below of the difference between saying Black Lives Matter vs saying All Lives Matter:

If you see someone’s house on fire getting destroyed, you don’t stand there and yell at the fire department to put water on your house that’s not burning because you have a house too. No, you focus on the emergency in front of you at that moment and give everything you got to save that house and protect the people in that house that is burning.

Giving attention to the burning house is not saying your house doesn’t matter. It’s not saying your life or all the other houses and lives in the neighborhood don’t matter. It’s saying we need to focus on what is burning right now and not ignore this fire because their lives matter too.

~compiled based on a comic strip by Kris Straub

If you see a person on the ground who fell and cut their knees open and they are bleeding profusely and people are trying to help put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding until help comes….

You don’t stand there and yell at them saying “Hey I have knees too, in fact I have two of them – what about my help…what about my knees?”

No….you focus on the person that’s bleeding and needs that lifesaving help in that moment. You triage and prioritize.

That doesn’t mean that if you may injure your knees in the future or have injured your knees in the past that your knees don’t matter. What it means is that the knees that are bleeding now need the most immediate attention because those bleeding knees matter too – and are more emergent to take care of now in this moment….not just yours.

~Caren Robinson

 

Black Lives Matter!

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Down The Rabbit Hole during COVID-19

Brain Injury Radio Show

Kim and Caren discussed, reaching out and staying connected during this difficult time in our history. We discussed tips and ways to stay connected.

We took callers .. Interested in hearing how our listeners are coping with the “New World” and their thoughts, fears, feelings.

This show is a gathering place for anyone seeking recovery from the challenges of life on life’s terms. We discuss useful tools that have helped us lighten the load, of our journey through recovery. This is a “we” recovery program, because it is in the “we,” that we find the new “me.”

We focus on the four A’s of Recovery: Awareness, Acceptance, Action and Adaptation. This is a place for survivor’s striving to become thrivers, which takes a large dose of Warrior!

Hosted by Kim Justus, author of In a Flash: Miracles Here and Beyond found at inaflash.org & “Like” at facebook.com/inaflash.org   Co-Host is Caren Robinson found at: hopetbi.com

LISTEN TO SHOW HERE

 

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Reviews and Testimonials

Hello HOPEster’s,

I wanted to reach out and share our latest and greatest page with all of you.  It is our Reviews and Testimonials page.

If you are seeing this message in your email you have subscribed to our email notification list.  That means you care enough about our content to want to be notified when we post something new.

If you are coming on this Blog post by scanning our Site, please take time to also leave your review and feedback after exploring a bit.

We would be thrilled and grateful if you would take a few moments to type up a review or feedback about our website and submit it in the comment section of our new page.

You can reach our page here:

https://hopetbi.com/reviews-and-testimonials/

.

reviewstestimonials

Brain Injury Awareness Month – Radio Show

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Check out our recent Radio Show with Caren Robinson and Kim Justus as Co-hosts.

Kim and Caren will be discussing the basics of Brain Injury in an effort to raise up the understanding, as we begin Brain Injury Awareness Month. Among the topics discussed will be: Mindfulness Techniques, Meditation, Positive Psychology, EMDR and other holistic techniques. Building bridges and synapses the Non Pharma way!  In keeping with my shows this month .. We will have more give aways .. Marchtacular!!  One survivor, supporting another. Every show has a promo give away – Listen to win!

This show is a gathering place for anyone seeking recovery from the challenges of life on life’s terms. We discuss useful tools that have helped us lighten the load, of our journey through recovery. This is a “we” recovery program, because it is in the “we,” that we find the new “me.”

We focus on the four A’s of Recovery: Awareness, Acceptance, Action and Adaptation. This is a place for survivor’s striving to become thrivers, which takes a large dose of Warrior!

Listen To Show Here

 

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Awareness Matters – Rock the Vote!!!

Okay….as an advocate for patients with brain injuries and those going through transitions in their life….part of that advocacy and role of consulting is being authentic and realistic as well. While I have compassion for what Biden is going through health-wise….I also must be pragmatic and realistic about what we as a Country are watching and a lot of America is missing.

We are watching in Biden a man struggling with brain changes that make him inept for the role of President of the United States. He is losing time, memory, has numerous bouts of aphasia and an obvious onset of what appears to be dementia. While he may go on to live many more years and contribute to society in other ways……the decline is palpable and not representative of what our Country needs or requires of a Commander -in-Chief.

Biden is NOT someone that should be in a role that requires strong mental faculties to run this Country…..he absolutely can not win against Trump or any other Republican candidate for that matter.

Bernie is our only hope at this point to have a fair, constructive, and challenging election in November. It won’t be a challenge if the DNC foolishly allows Biden to continue on. Biden will lose and should lose as he is just as dangerous for our Country as is Trump.

I hope Bernie pulls out a win to face off against Trump. I hope there is not a Baker convention that picks someone less qualified or not even in the running…as the Superdelegates would surely do….

We are facing a historical and pivotal shift in our Country and have been for quite sone time I only hope it shifts in the way that saves our Country and its democracy….not destroys it.

Please make your voice heard…VOTE!!!

https://youtu.be/jXtm1or9tjo

Love, Sex, and TBI – Beyond the Chocolates

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Come and Listen to our recorded Radio Show called Recovery Now with Kim Justus and Caren Robinson as we talk about Love, Sex, and TBI – Beyond the Chocolates.

We would love your feedback.  Feel free to share the link and start a dialogue.

https://www.blogtalkradio.com/braininjuryradio/2020/02/13/love-sex-and-tbi-beyond-the-chocolates-on-recovery-now-with-kim-caren

 

Sex Therapists, Counselors, and Educators

https://www.aasect.org/referral-directory

 

Sex and Disability Furniture and Alternative Assistive Devices

https://www.morethansextoys.com/pages/pleasure-able-sex-and-disabilities

https://www.intimaterider.com/

https://yourkinkyfriends.com/2018/07/04/sex-toys-and-furniture-for-people-who-live-with-disabilities/

No Glove No Love – Safe Sex After Brain Injury

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Sex and Disability

Sexuality is one of the most complex aspects of life but, the sexual lives of people with disabilities have been disregarded and stigmatized. As a result, sexuality as a form of pleasure and an expression of love is not taken into account or even recognized for individuals with disabilities.

Sexual expression is influenced by cognitive and emotional processes and is dependent on functioning anatomical and physiological systems, in other words, our brains control our sexual organs and responses.

Before resuming sex with a partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse, talk about it with your doctor or therapist and be guided by their advice.  Make sure you are clear and talk with your mate about your expectations, fears and feelings, including consent. Communication is key! Remember to not put too much pressure on yourself, focus on pleasure and not technique. You may need to change your same old lovemaking style and experiment with other sexual activities which can include

  • oral sex and mutual masturbation
  • utilization of sexual aids/toys/furniture
  • to increase intimacy, concentrate on boosting the romance in your relationship by offering lots of affection, complementing and saying nice things to each other and celebrating big and small occasions.

Importance of safe sex

After a TBI, it is just as important for you to protect yourself from unplanned pregnancy and from sexually transmitted disease as it was before your injury. Even if a woman’s period has not returned, she can still get pregnant. Here are some tips to help with birth control and protection from sexually transmitted disease.

  • Do research to help figure out what method of birth control and protection from sexually transmitted disease are best for you.
  • Because of changes in thinking abilities, it may be harder for you to remember to use protection or to remember to take it with you.
    • You can plan ahead by always carrying a condom or other method of protecting yourself and your partner.
    • For women who use birth control pills, or a device that must be replaced, using a calendar or alarm on a smart phone can help you remember to take the pills or change the device.
  • If you are unsure whether your partner has a sexually transmitted disease or has been intimate with others who have such disease, it is safest to use a condom.
  • If you have engaged in any risky sexual behavior, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases and get treated if you test positive.

Consent should not be assumed

Each of us is responsible for making sure we have consent in every sexual situation. If you are unsure, it is important to clarify what your partner feels about the sexual situation before initiating or continuing the sexual activity. Consent should not simply be assumed by:

  • Body language, Appearance, or Non-Verbal Communication: One should never assume by the way a person dresses, smiles, looks or acts, that they to have sex with you.
  • Dating relationships or previous sexual activity: Simply because two or more people are dating or have had sex in the past does not mean that they are consenting to have sex with you.
  • Marriage: Even in marriage, a person should not assume they have consent for sexual activity. Marital rape is as serious as any other sexual assault.
  • Previous Activity: Consent to engage in one sexual activity at one time is not consent to engage in a different sexual activity or to engage in the same sexual activity on a later occasion.
  • Silence, Passivity, Lack of Resistance, or immobility: A person’s silence should not be considered consent. A person who does not respond to attempts to engage in sexual activity, even if they do not verbally say no or resist physically, is not clearly agreeing to sexual activity.
  • Incapacitation: Alcohol consumption or use of other drugs can render a person incapable of giving consent. Alcohol is often used as a weapon to target individuals and is used by perpetrators to excuse their own actions.  Additionally, Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct laws apply to a perpetrator regardless of whether or not they were drinking. It is important to remember that sexual assault is never the survivor’s fault, regardless of whether they may have been intoxicated.

The term “sexual assault” means any unwanted, nonconsensual sexual contact of any kind (including kissing) obtained through the use of force, threat of
force, intimidation, or coercion.

Rape is unwanted, non-consensual sexual contact that includes penetration (i.e. vaginal or anal penetration, oral sex, and genital touching) obtained through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion. 18% of all rapes and sexual assaults are reported to be committed by strangers, which means that most of these crimes are committed by someone the victim knows, is close with or related to (according to the 2017 Bureau of Justice’s).

Myths About Disability and Sex

  • Disabled people can’t have sex.
  • Disabled people have to pay for sex.
  • Disabled people aren’t sexy. 
  • Disabled people don’t want or need sex
  • Disabled people only have kinky sex
  • Disabled people can’t have sex
  • Disabled people only have sex with other disabled people
  • Disabled people can’t have kids
  • Disabled people shouldn’t have kids because they can pass on their disability
  • If you have sex with a disabled person you will catch what they’ve got
  • Disabled people are a burden on their partners
  • People living with a disability can’t have “real” sex
  • Disabled people need protection, like kids
  • Disabled people have more important things than sex to worry about
  • Disabled people are brave and courageous to try sex (no, it’s just adapting to a lifestyle)
  • All persons in wheelchairs are chronically ill, frail, or sickly

Facts About Disability and Sex

  • People with disabilities can be sexual and enjoy sex
  • Some people who use a wheelchair can still feel “down there”
  • Sex is not just all about each others “privates”, it’s about intimacy as well
  • Mobility aids can be a fun addition
  • People with a physical disability don’t just “lie there”
  • Disabled people can have sex and enjoy it
  • Disabled people sometimes choose to pay for sex like people who aren’t disabled
  • Disabled people are sexy
  • Disabled people can have sexual desires/needs
  • Disabled people can have kids and build families of their own
  • People with disabilities can identify as LGBTQ too
  • All people need to learn about and understand sex
Also check out our web page called Sex After Brain Injury and Trauma

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The Dirty Dozen – 12 Ways To Cope With Memory Loss

It can be very frustrating if your life is being negatively impacted by your memory loss and someone (often a friend, provider, or relative) who doesn’t truly understand your experience says, “Oh, I forget things too…”

You may hear some people say that everyone has memory loss, especially as we get older.  To some extent that is a true statement.  We all have moments where we walk into a room and forget what we walked in there for, or forget where we laid the keys down at.  However, here is where it differs. Memory loss as a result of a disease process, injury, or due to the use of certain medications is different than the memory loss we experience as part of the natural aging experience.

Several conditions, other than aging can cause significant memory loss.  Some of these may be reversible with treatment.  Some are permanent, even after treatment. Regardless of whether reversible or permanent,  if it is effecting your life in a negative way, or robbing your quality of life, you may find some of the tips below to be helpful in helping you manage the memory loss you or a loved one may be experiencing

Some examples of memory loss that are not included in the natural aging process are the following:

  • Brain injuries – traumatic or acquired (such as blunt force trauma, accident, encephalopathy, falls, blood clots, stroke, transient ischemic attack, aneurysm, medications, drugs, etc)
  • Result of brain surgery (all surgeries carry risk, especially surgeries involving the brain – examples may include shunts, removal of diseased tissue or tumors, repairing bleeds, repairing puncture or crushed wounds, etc)
  • Brain Diseases (like a tumor, hydrocephalus – fluid in brain, or other rare disorders) and other Diseases (like Huntington’s, Muscular Dystrophy, Parkinson’s Disease)
  • Infections of the brain – such as syphillis, HIV/AIDS, Lyme Disease, other viruses
  • Vitamin B1 or B12 deficiency – good nutrition is imperative for brain health
  • Hypothyroidism  ( a common secondary condition that can be acquired after head injury and often undertreated; some can be hereditary and if left untreated can exacerbate symptoms)
  • Kidney or Liver disorders
  • Dementia/Alzheimer’s  (may be acquired secondary to brain injury, inherited, or from other unknown processes)
  • Emotional Disorders – stress, anxiety or depression can cause forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating and other problems that interrupt the ability to function in daily life)
  • Alcoholism, smoking, or drug use
  • Sleep Deprivation – quantity and quality of sleep affect our memory processing

Here are 12 ways that may help you manage your memory loss in a more functional way, helping to maintain as much dignity and independence as possible.

  1. Make a memory board (with important names and frequently used phone whiteboard2numbers).  Hang somewhere visible, so it can be seen and utilized daily.  Update the same day weekly or as schedules change.
  2. Create a life story book, photo album or something digital that is labeled to help identify who and what is important to remember (people, places, experiences).  Get assistance to from someone you trust (such as a family member or professional) to do this. This can include pictures, question and answer format, or whatever works for your particular needs. This serves as a dual purpose as well, as it can also be used by professionals or caregivers to understand more about you as well.
  3. Cognitive stimulation. This involves activities and exercises that stimulate thinking, concentration, communication and memory. braingamesgenderUtilizing brain exercise sites such as  Lumosity , Constant Therapy, and CogniFit Brain Training; play strategy games (like cards, checkers, chess, crossword puzzles, word finds, puzzles); coloring, drawing, or listening to different types of music.
  4. Utilize a reminder system (this may include calendar, white boards, chart on the wall).  It could be color coded as well (so a different color for each person or different color for each appointment on schedule – just make sure you use same color each time you do the schedule). Using A Planner or a Calendar App? –  write down things right away – without exception. Always keep the planner with you wherever you go.  If you get a call about an appointment, write it down IN THE PLANNER.planner  If something changes in the schedule, write it down IN THE PLANNER.  Label cupboards and storage containers as a reminder of where things are kept; label doors as a reminder of which room is which.
  5. LISTS are your friends and great reminders (note: if you have trouble writing, use a voice recorder or dictaphone to make lists).  Consider making permanent signs – even having them laminated, to remind you of things you need to do regularly (for example – sign by the sink reminding you to wash your hands before cooking or before leaving the bathroom).  Make a list for things you are running out of and leave attached to the refrigerator door (this is a great way to make a grocery list you take to the store with you).  Make a list of what bills are due on what days and how much each bill is that is due, along with how it is paid.  Make a list of daily tasks that need accomplished.  Make (or have someone make) a checklist to hang by the front door that includes what you need when you leave (for example: purse/wallet, phone, phone charger, planner, meds, bottle of water, keys, sunglasses, ear plugs, jacket, etc).  Use the checklist EVERY TIME before you walk out the door.  This reduces chances of forgetting things.
  6. stickynotesUse post-it/sticky notes. You can use them anywhere in your home or personal workspace to remind you to do specific tasks (such as a sticky on a library book that has to be returned by a certain date, or start load of laundry today, etc).Once you have completed the task, it’s important to throw the post-it/sticky note away. This way you won’t accidentally redo what you already finished.
  7. Use a mobile smartphone (cell phone). Many mobile phones have a built-in voice recorder. Use this  to record information that you need to remember or add items to your virtual calendar. You could also leave recorded notes, play it back later, or review those notes at the same time each day.  Also cell phones are great resources for text reminders, checking emails, and having access to a GPS (such as Google maps) to utilize to keep from getting lost. Use your phone to take picture of your whiteboard schedule that week so when you leave home you can look at the picture even if you aren’t at home to see it.  Use an app to record incoming/outgoing phone calls (check your State or Country laws first though, about recording these in your particular location).
  8. Medicine/Pill reminder box.  This will help you see whether you have taken your medications for that day (this helps to prevent taking your medications more than once). Some models have am/pm, and other times of the day; pillboxsome can be set to remind you when to take your pills, with an alarm, vibration or flashing light.
  9. Use an alarm clock, a watch with an alarm, or a kitchen timer to remind you when you need to leave the house for an ­appointment, or when you have to check something cooking in the oven. Write down why you have set the alarm – so you know why it is ­going off. (I cannot tell you the number of times I have had an alarm going off and then sat there wondering why I set it. So notes are very helpful – put by the alarm)
  10. Never leave the room when you are cooking.  You may forget what you were doing and this increases risk of burning your food, burning up a pan, or causing a fire.  Never leave the room when water is running in a sink or bathtub. You may forget about it and cause a flood.
  11. Appointments and Meetings. In advance, make a detailed list of what you want to say, questions you have, agenda for meeting, etc.  If you are going to a medical appointment, bring a pre-typed list to leave with the provider of all other providers/specialists (make sure this includes their addresses, phone numbers or contact informatioLeadership with educationn), all medications and their dosages (remember to list any herbs, supplements taking), and list of concerns. Record meetings or appointments to go back and listen to later and take notes from the recording.
  12. Don’t procrastinate. Whenever possible, doing things when they’re on your mind rather than later so you don’t have to worry about forgetting them. Try to utilize the same routine every day as much as possible.  Routine reduces chances of forgetting.

Open Letter – Mr. President

Open Letter to the President of the United States of America.

1/24/2020

Dear Mr. President,

Your role as a leader of the free world is the most important in the Republic, in ours….these United States and all her territories. Your role affords you the ability to maintain influence, direction, opinions, and historical precedence through each of your spoken words, deeds, and continued representation of various topics.

While I understand you are not a medical professional, nor have received any form of medical training Mr. President…you only need do a simple internet search on an internet browser of your choosing…. to read about the extensive life changing effects of Traumatic Brain Injury.

These medical facts are documented by a multitude of research/studies, medical professionals/experts, well respected organizations, survivors, and our very own Military.

Please understand, how recently, you painted an illustrative picture to the world about your seemingly misguided and uninformed statement about the lack of seriousness brain injuries cause.

Mr. President the potential life changing affects of Brain Injuries (also called Concussions by those not aware of the proper updated terminology) are VERY SERIOUS.

I was listening to your statements of ……..

[Mr. President] “No, I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it’s not very serious,”

[reporter asks] “So you don’t consider potential traumatic brain injury serious?”

[Mr. President] “They told me about it numerous days later, you’d have to ask Department of Defense, “I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen.”

“I’ve seen what Iran has done with their roadside bombs to our troops. I’ve seen people with no legs and with no arms. I’ve seen people that were horribly, horribly injured in that area, that war,” Trump said.

“No, I do not consider that to be bad injuries, no,”

Mr. President, I feel it imperative to provide you with the proper information on the campaign to bring global awareness to the effects of Brain Injuries. Awareness that even the White House seems to be in much need of….. so as to represent the dire importance of presenting the consequences accurately to the masses.

The effects of Brain Injuries can be long lasting or even permanent. While recovery and rehabilitation are possible, most people with brain injuries will face life challenges that will require them to adapt and adjust to a new reality where permanent physical or mental disability, and sometimes even death are the very real SERIOUS EFFECTS of their lives after sustaining that injury (or series of injuries). Even patients who appear to fully recover after treatment and rehabilitation may have some long-term symptoms that never go away or fully resolve. These changes may cause an inability to return to their life in the same capacity that they had before their injury.

Indeed Mr. President, injuries to the body, whether visible or not visible, can be equally life changing.

The statement you gave was partially correct in as one of the many symptoms of brain injury does include “headache”…..however there is so much more.

SOME of the other changes other than headaches include an alteration in:

physical realm (sleep, hormonal, neurological, balance, nervous system, endocrine system, appetite, fatigue, etc);

an alteration in cognitive processes ( memory issues, distractability, impulsiveness, mood disorders, language, mental processing time, confusion, etc);

an alteration of senses (sight, vision, phtophobia, double vision, smell, taste, hearing, tinnitus (ringing in ears): aphasia (difficulty with talking or expressing ideas, understanding everyday language, and problems with reading and writing),

and development of PTS (post traumatic stress) and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) can also be present along with, or secondary to, the brain inury or polytrauma event(s).

[not an exhaustive list by any means]

Mr. President, despite the amazing advances in medicine, research by scientists, and active steps taken to develop treatment plans by our own Military; there are still more discoveries to be made and more work to be done.

Devotion of time and much needed funds, resources, and bipartisan support is still necessary to bring awareness and education about brain injuries to the forefront by not only you, but our other Leaders in our Government, private, and public sectors .

We must recognize this as a valuable opportunity to address this as what it actually is….a call to action about this – an International medical crisis.

We must figure out how best to treat those with Brain injuries, help them live their best lives, and be open to various methodologies and alternative sources of therapies that are allowed and covered by our insurance companies as to support the best outcomes.

Mr. President, you must know as soon as possible that despite early diagnosis and treatment of Brain Injuries, the fact remains that brain injury will be a life-changing experience for many patients.

So….in a word Sir….S E R I O U S !

HOPE for Life,
Caren Robinson – United States Citizen
Polytrauma and Brain Injury Survivor

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/22/politics/trump-us-service-members-traumatic-brain-injuries/index.html?utm_source=fbCNN&utm_content=2020-01-22T14%3A40%3A11&utm_term=link&utm_medium=social

Brain Injury Radio Invite

Brain Injury Radio Announcement. Come join us in listening….

Toxic Providers have you down, confused and frustrated? Join Kim and Caren as they discuss Co-Morbidity and Mixing it up with TBI and PTSD – Wednesday – January 8th, 2020

To Access 7pm PAC/10pm EST Call 424-243-9540 or Click Link Below to Hear Live Show, and Afterward to hear On Demand Program

Adding To the Mix

Check out our two newest pages added to the website as part of our New Year contribution:

Publications, Radio, and Outreach

Supports, sponsors and Recommended Charity Opportunities

Dwell in Possibility

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Well, yesterday was an intense day indeed.  January 4th marked the 6th Anniversary of my Re-birthday, my second chance at life, and the opportunity given to me by circumstance to choose fighting for life or succumbing to death.

January 4, 2014 is a day that I often viewed as the worst day of my life, as it changed literally everything about my life.  It robbed me…..of me. However, I have come to view it as one of the best learning experiences I have ever encountered, at least in this lifetime.

This day is a day of reflection.  In a lot of ways, it is also a day of high anxiety and fear.  It is like the gift that keeps on giving.  I say that sarcastically and sincerely at the same time.

Sarcastically, as the injuries I sustained continue to evolve and change.  The injuries overall are still improving, some remaining the same and in a chronic state, and yet others through their metamorphosis have created other challenges that continue to erupt into existence as times goes on.

Sincerely, as I have and continue to, learn so much about myself and those around me as time goes on.  I began this journey not knowing what my future would look like or if I would have one.  I still do not know what that future looks like entirely, however, I now have a vision of which direction I would like to head in.  I have returned to schooling, training, and continue to educate myself.  I educate others as much as possible about polytrauma and brain injury and I am braver with my ability to advocate for myself and others.  I prioritize things in my life differently and feel gratitude for each breath and each heartbeat I continue to be gifted with.

I find myself continuously faced with my mortality and the mortality of those around me.  I find myself wondering how the impact of my survival on this world, in my life, in the lives of my children and my family would be remembered.  Each moment, and each action is a precious opportunity to build new bridges, experiences, and lasting memories.

Six years it has taken me to accept my new normal.  Six years it has taken me to find a way of living that makes me feel like I am indeed LIVING.  Six years of literally blood, sweat, and tears.  Six years of laughter, pain, joy, and stepping outside of my comfort zones – not only physically, but emotionally and mentally.  Six years of choosing life over death.  Six years, that on some days only feels like yesterday.  Six years, that on some days it seems like double the time has passed.

My go-to prayer/mantra is always, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”, and “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”.  I  will continue to make the effort to balance that wisdom with my experiences.  I will continue to wrap my arms and heart around the experiences of others and give the best part of my daily life through authenticity to each opportunity.

While the waves of emotional turmoil level out, while the billows of frustration thunder through each attempt at moving forward, while the storms come and go, and the financial devastation doubles down….the whisper in the wind that keeps me going and guides me to to that warm sun on my face is the ever present force of HOPE and LOVE, and possibility.

Happy Anniversary and Re-Birthday to me.  May each heartbeat take me into the next realm of discovery.

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Happy New Year HOPE’sters

Here’s hoping all our fellow HOPE’sters had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

We would like to wish you a Happy New Year with 2020 vision of great things yet to come.

Never give up HOPE, and never be afraid to be who you are meant to be. Don’t be afraid to be who you are!

Holiday Blessings

This time of year we reflect on what we’re grateful for. We’re grateful for the privilege to continue to serve you. Thank you for continuing to entrust us, support us, and support others involved with polytrauma or brain injury, by visiting our site, sharing it with others, and submitting your stories.

On behalf of the creator of this Web Site, Caren Robinson (survivor to thriver) and all those who support her in her rehabilitation….we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and hope for a joyous and Happy New Year..

The Cost of Social Trauma vs. Personal Trauma

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I had the opportunity to co-host an online radio show LIVE.
 
We discussed “The Cost of Trauma on Recovery Now”.  We were covering the cost Social Trauma vs Individual Trauma and shared a dialogue about our views and defining of terms regarding Trauma.
 
Something we didn’t have an opportunity to cover is the generational movement of folks not wanting to have kids at all or build their own families due to the potential exposure to Trauma, violence, or the eroding of society, our humanity, and the environment as a whole and how the current Trauma’s and experiences in our societies are impacting the future of humanity.  It is imperative that as a collective consciousness we develop and implement ways to reduce, recover , and or eradicate as much Trauma as possible.
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Please take an opportunity to share the link with those you feel will benefit from this topic.  
Feel free to click on the link yourself as well and listen to the show.

 

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Never Forget

remembrance (noun) – the act of remembering a person, place, or event; an act of recalling to mind; recalling a specific memory.

This coming Wednesday is September 11, 2019.

September 11, 2001 revealed heroism in ordinary people who might have gone through their lives never called upon to demonstrate the extent of their courage. – Geraldine Brooks

In 2001, Congress declared September 11 as the “National Day of Service and Remembrance”.


Brain Injury Radio – Caren Robinson

braininjurytalkradio

Well I did something magnanimous this past Wednesday evening.  I had received an invitation to be interviewed on Brain Injury Radio by Kim Justus.

I took the plunge, and embraced the opportunity to share some of my experiences over the course of the last 5 years in regards to bringing awareness to Polytrauma and Traumatic Brain Injury on a International Radio Show.  How exciting to be a part of something so deeply personal, meaningful, and far reaching.

Check it out…take a listen and leave a comment below.  Let me know if there was anything on there you could relate to.  Feel free to share this link with anyone you think would benefit from hearing its content. I’d love to get your feedback!!!

* Brain Injury Radio Interview – HERE * 

Some of the resources mentioned on the show were the following:

Audiology testing, SpectCT Scan, Medical Acupuncture, alternative Medicine, cognitive fatigue (neurofatigue), among other things….and the mentioning of the following groups:

Pink Concussions

Cerescan

Toastmasters International

~Caren Robinson

 

Traversing the 4th of July

Before the wreck, sounds did not bother me. Bright lights did not bother me. Not much of anything like that did…..

However, that all changed after the wreck thanks to a Brain Injury. That invisible injury altered so much of my life and how I perceived life. It still does.

I still find myself procrastinating doing things that have those loud sounds and bright or flashing lights attached to it. Often times I either avoid those activities altogether or power through knowing full well the cost it will take on my body afterwards….yet willing to pay the cost for the experience.

This is the first year since the wreck (5 total years now) I was able to actually look at and hear fireworks without my heart racing a thousand miles an hour with each boom, without having panic hang with me all night, without feeling like I was having a heart attack with each pop, and without wanting to puke from the brightness.

I had a slight body jolt with a few of them….but nothing like before. I slept HARD afterwards and a bit drained today…yet holding steady.

Sudden loud unexpected noises are a good way to light that panic/anger/anxiety button. Knowing the sound is coming makes it more manageable for sure. Being mindful and aware of my body and setting boundaries for myself is becoming more natural as time passes.

Honoring Memorial Day

Thankyouveterans

 

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States Memorial Day is a solemn event, not a happy day or time. It’s a time to reverently consider the idea of sacrifice, to preserve the memories of those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, and to give thanks that they did so. 

The holiday is observed on the last Monday of May.  Memorial Day is a  sacred time as we remember our fallen warriors by speaking about them, holding memorial ceremonies, visiting cemeteries, holding family gatherings,  lending a helping hand to our living veterans, and participating in parades honoring those veterans.  It is customary on Memorial Day to fly the flag at half staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset

Taps, the 24-note bugle call, is played at all military funerals and memorial services. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. .

It is important for Americans to take time to remember the sacrifices that bought their freedom. Here are some ideas on how to celebrate this important American holiday:

  • Send a note of thanks to Veterans you know.
  • Donate to veteran charities or volunteer your time at a Veteran’s home or charity.
  • If you know someone who has lost a loved one in battle, offer to help with a household project or help meet a special need they have.
  • Visit a local cemetery and place flags or flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers.
  • Even if you don’t have any veterans in your family to remember and speak of, you can always learn of the lives of other past service members through memorials and museums.
  • Another way is to incorporate the colors of the flag into your wardrobe, and display a Memorial Day pin. It’s generally considered a poor choice to wear clothing with the American flag printed directly on it; the flag is meant to be flown, not worn; finding clothing that includes the essential colors and patterns is a great way to mark the occasion.
  • Fly the American flag at half-staff until noon.
  • Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 pm. Pause and think upon the meaning of Memorial Day.
  • Send a care package to deployed service members.

Unofficially,  Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season.

Reflection of Motherhood

reflectionofmotherhood

Being a mother has been the best job in the world to me.  I always wanted to be a mother…from a very young age.  I felt capable, ready, and committed to being the best mom possible.  I wanted to be, and often was, the supermom, who could seemingly do a little bit of everything at a moment’s notice.  Then the wreck I was in changed all of that forever.  It shook my confidence.  It shook how I existed from one breath to the next; it shook every aspect of my life as a daughter, sister, wife and as a mother.

I have been a mother to foster children, stepchildren and biological children. I have been a mother figure to kids that never even lived with me. I  have been mothering to kids I came into contact with. I am convinced that how we care for, love, and embrace our children is exactly what makes us a mother, no matter how those children came into our lives, or became our own.

After the polytrauma and traumatic brain injury, I was no longer the mother my children knew before that day.  I was different.  I didn’t even know who I was. I was injured, I was in pain and I was unavailable emotionally, mentally, and physically.  I have heard stories about things I don’t remember – things I have allegedly said or done, most humorous, some horrible and embarrassing.  I apparently was a horrible person sometimes, especially in the first year after the wreck.  This was just bad mojo – cognitive changes, personality changes, and enormous pain from all my injuries.  I was often in so much pain I couldn’t function at all.  I was useless to everyone around me.  I definitely couldn’t make effective and meaningful decisions.   I couldn’t remember one day to the next or who had visited me, or what was said by whom.  I couldn’t muster taking care of anyone else, let alone myself.

My outlook on everything, while hopeful, was also littered with confusion and a myriad of emotions I didn’t seem to be able to control.   I noticed my mood was worse as the pain increased and for a long time just breathing or moving caused me pain.  I slept A LOT.  I couldn’t even force myself to stay awake.  I wasn’t the mother I had always been.  I was the mother fighting for life and fighting to come back to my family.  I was a mother still inside, still to my children, still to the world who knew me as their mother.  Yet I wasn’t at the same time.

My own mother took care of me.  She bathed me, clothed me, fed me.  My mother was there for my first steps as an infant and again as an adult as I learned to walk all over again.  My mother was my caregiver.  She didn’t have time to grieve.  She became the needed mother role for my children.  My husband and my mom were my pillars of care and support.  I was fortunate to have such amazing support.  Not everyone has a supportive system like that.  Some days my mom was more of a mother to her grandchildren for a period of time than I was….than I was capable of being.  I don’t like to dwell on that.  I don’t like that this was her reality – however I am enormously grateful.

I realize that being a mother is an enormously different experience for every woman who ventures down that path, and the experience is different with each of our children as well.  I am acutely aware of this.  Not every woman wants or enjoys being a mother.  Some mothers are not mothering at all.  Some women abuse or neglect their children.  Some women wish they never had children. Some are the opposite however and actively involved, readily available, completely vested, and doting.

My job as a mother is constant.  Being a mother is a full time endeavor and is totally consuming, no matter how old your children are, or how many you have.  No matter how old, how broken, or how healed you are as that mother.  A mother sometimes  worries for her children.  A good mother desires to see her children succeed.  It is frustrating and depressing when you go from full time, full speed ahead in parenting and life to an abrupt halt due to an injury that doesn’t even allow you to participate part time…if at all on some days.

Learning to embrace the new normal after catastrophic injuries is no easy feat.  Most days it seemed impossible and almost always overwhelming.  You would be amazed at how much the love of being a mother motivated me to give my best effort each day.  Some days, literally the only reason I found myself able to face the day was because I knew my children needed me, were counting on me, and were hoping for my recovery.  So in that regard, the kids helped save my life.  They helped me stay motivated just by existing.

Some days are challenging still, though much better than in those first few years.  Did you know that any women who are mothers take on additional caregiving for loved ones with disabilities or long-term care needs, beyond the work that we normally do to raise children or to fight through their own rehabilitation?  This became the case for me when my mom developed encephalopathy and a resulting ABI (an acquired brain injury) secondary to being diagnosed with Anca Vasculitis. I then also absorbed some of the role as her caregiver.  Signing documents in the hospital for procedures and care she needed when she was unable to do so for herself.  I took on the role of caregiver and I wasn’t even ready to be back in my full role as a mother to my own children.  That was a series of difficult transitions……for all of us. Yet we persevered.  Survival was inevitable.

Did you know that the CDC reports that the average life expectancy for women is 81? Living to the age of 81 is nearly four years more than that of men. In fact, many women outlive their husbands. Some even outlive their retirement. Even those on disability. Older, single women face significant challenges in managing their own long-term care needs as well.  If you add the extra job of being a mother to all that mix – you learn a lot very fast and you shoulder a LOT of responsibilities.

To be the best mom possible, I realized it was imperative for me to not just let go and let God;  but to let go and let others.  Let others help me, let others give rides to my kids, help my kids, help my family.  Let my husband take on those responsibilities I had as a mom, that I sometimes didn’t have the energy to be present for.

I realized that being a supermom didn’t mean I had to do it all.  Being a supermom meant I just had to be here to the best of my ability, to love my kids to the utmost, to voice my tolerances and intolerances in a different way.  Being a supermom meant giving myself the freedom to recover at my own pace, and forgiving myself for not being who I used to be.  Being a supermom meant being the best me I could be in each moment.

I still love being a mom.  I still love hearing the laughter of my children.  I love watching them sleep, hearing them play, and watching them grow.  I still value being involved, present, all while being respectful of my limitations.

I am still a supermom.  I just do it differently. Do you know a mom who is recovering from an injury….who is a caregiver….who is employed…..who is unemployed….who is on disability…..has her own children….or is a mother figure to the children of others….offer to help her out.  Can you think of that mom out there who is struggling to do her best? ….Offer to shoulder some of her responsibilities.  Appreciate her.  Celebrate her as an invaluable contribution to the family as a whole.   After all, that is what she is – invaluable.

Is that mother you?  Ask for help.  Love yourself.  Forgive yourself for not doing or being all that you envision all at once, or still. Get involved in a support group, counseling, whatever it takes to help you face each new day and each new moment.  You are after all….if you love being a mom….if you are go getter, a survivor, a brave face in a sea of thousands.  If you are a mother giving her best effort….even if you aren’t able to do everything….you are still a super mom.

Happy Mother’s Day

~Caren Robinson – May 2019

 

Below are some articles and links I thought would be helpful to all those who have mothers, are mothers, are children of a mother with special needs, or are caregivers for mothers…..

Parenting After Brain Injury – A Guide

https://www.headway.org.uk/media/3998/parenting-after-brain-injury-e-booklet.pdf

How Motherhood Makes You Smarter

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/how-motherhood-makes-you-smarter-55995649/

The effect of parental traumatic brain injury on parenting and child behavior.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9885318

 

When Parents Have Brain Injuries: Helping Children Cope

http://www.muhcpatienteducation.ca/DATA/GUIDE/532_en~v~when-parents-have-head-injuries-helping-children-cope.pdf

 

Adult functioning of mothers with traumatic brain injury at high risk of child abuse: a pilot study.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24401827

Children with Traumatic Brain Injury: Associations Between Parenting and Social Adjustment

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4695398/

Children of a parent with brain injury

https://www.braininjury-explanation.com/life-with-brain-injury/consequences-for-the-family/children-of-a-parent-with-brain-injury

Finding My Mom Again After Her Brain Injury

https://www.scarymommy.com/finding-my-mom-again-after-brain-injury/

 

TBI Ten Years Later: A Mother’s Story Continues

https://www.brainline.org/story/tbi-ten-years-later-mothers-story-continues

This Mother’s Day, know the symptoms of concussion

http://theconversation.com/this-mothers-day-know-the-symptoms-of-concussion-96101

 

How Treating People With Brain Injuries Helped Me Forgive My Mother

https://narratively.com/how-treating-people-with-brain-injuries-helped-me-forgive-my-mother/