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Hello Fellow HOPEsters!!!

Not sure if you are a HOPEster? Check out our definition here: https://hopetbi.com/2018/07/16/be-a-hopester-2/

Did you learn something, read anything that inspired you or impacted you on the HOPE TBI site at https://hopetbi.com/ ?

HOPE TBI brings awareness, educates about self-advocacy, and helps take some of the struggle out of finding resources and information when someone is faced with a trauma from a polytrauma or brain injury, and the resulting conditions from those injuries (acute or chronic pain, symptoms, experiences, processes, etc.), and treatment options available.

Do you support bringing awareness to the topics written about and want to see more content? Check out our Blog at https://hopetbi.com/blog-and-updates/

Keep HOPE TBI active, growing and it services FREE.

You can support general operations, outreach, and awareness efforts of HOPE TBI by being a donor or sponsor at https://hopetbi.com/donations/.

(all yearly donators of $500 or more have the option to have their name, “in memory of” name, or business name/logo listed on our “Sponsors” page for one year after donation made)

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here: Reviews and Testimonials

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Blessings Every Day

Let us introduce our newest HOPEster…..Melissa Whyte, Survivor.

Let’s welcome her to HOPE TBI.  We invite you to read her survival story below:

“I want to leave a legacy that shows people that it is possible to overcome adversity. I want them to know it is possible to see past a persons difficulties to see them as capable. I want people to see past my difficulties and see what I was able to accomplish, even with so many things stacked against me………”

READ MORE HERE

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

Reviews and Testimonials

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Having Faith

FAITH is stepping on the “seeming void” and finding the rock beneath.  

                                                                         With FAITH comes HOPE. 

Where there is HOPE there is FAITH

                                                         Where there is FAITH 

MIRACLES happen.

I can say with pure conviction that I would not have survived all that I have this far into my life without a strong connection to my Faith and my deep Spiritual Connection. I can say that throughout this recovery process, there are times when it feels that all I have that is consistent is my Spiritual self and my every present, life clinging grasp onto HOPE.

I am not without humility when it comes to the fragility of life in general.  I am truly in awe of the miraculous events, too numerous to be coincidental, involving the wreck I was in and all of the circumstances in my life since.  There were angel wings wrapped around my son that day.  It is the only explanation for his survival….the only explanation for my survival.  My continued courage to overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties, medical and otherwise have only been conceivable due to my connection to God and the abiding Faith that I embrace.  This propels me and gives me strength to never give up HOPE.

“Can’t” is not in my vocabulary as a general rule.  I have never been that type of person to accept “can’t” as an acceptable answer.  I feel this limits the education and growth of ourselves as individuals, professionals, spouses, family, parents, and friends. If at all possible, rid this word from your life. Instead replace it with “can attempt” “can make effort to” “can do it” “can accomplish” “can change my thinking about” and any other word or phrase that includes your ability to put forth the effort in living the opposite of “can’t”.

One of my favorite verses is Phillipians 4:13  “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”.  This has fueled me for years.

I lived through this wreck for a reason.  I was meant to survive.  There is a plan, a special plan for my life.  My life matters. I truly believe this. I am not here to merely exist without offering some meaningful contribution to my family and the world.  I have been led to serve others my whole life.  I have enjoyed this life of service immensely.  I am grateful for the blessing that I have been given to continue my life’s journey. Sometimes, I am not sure why I was CHOSEN to live, while others with far less injuries have died – but I will not waste this time.  It is precious, and every moment counts! 

My dad used to say that many are “LED” but few are “CHOSEN”.  I never understood that very much as a child, however, I feel I am getting a better grasp on this as an adult – especially as one who continues to survive from a Catastrophic and Life changing event (but then aren’t all life events life changing?)

I find myself led to continue to write about, speak about, and educate about my Trauma, my Survival, my Rehabilitation, and Self-Advocacy –  so that others may perhaps find something useful from my experiences and I have a written expression of healing. I am enormously grateful to my mother for starting a blog for me in the beginning, and for being a testament for my life.  The timeline of events that she has written about has been very helpful to me as well and helped me fill in a lot of blanks for things I just do not remember.  I love seeing her posts and hearing her words like a warm blanket of protection.  How she knows how to say just the right things still amazes me.  I hope, in the end, that my kids love me as much as I love her; as much as she has helped me to continue to love myself.  She is amazing. 

I am blessed with a selfless and loving husband as well.  He has sacrificed much for me.  He makes me feel beautiful and shines light in my life, even in the darkest of nights. Not only did God Choose me, but so did he.  My love for him is unyielding and he is simply the best man I have ever known in my entire life (before and now). He is beyond amazing and I am truly fortunate to know such love.

My HOPE is that I continue to evolve professionally and personally. My HOPE is to continue to be led to the proper medical care,  and interventions to help me further my life as a functional, active, evolving, spiritual and passionate human being. My HOPE is that my family is continually blessed with support and strength to endeavor this journey with me.  It has not been easy on them either.

I realize I will never be the same Caren I was before the wreck.  That much is abundantly clear. The “new normal” I embrace I am still getting to know…….even years later. From being bent and literally broken, to a process of healing that incorporated plates, screws, nails, modern day technology and a sheer will to survive. I have been able to find value in the life I have been gifted to live. I am not perfect, I am far from it. There are struggles that still challenge the fabric of my existence. There are challenges and fears I still face. Sometimes, on a daily basis. However, I am grateful for the opportunity to face them and continue becoming the best version of myself possible.

We are allowed to be a masterpiece and a work in progress. I am a work in progress, my life is my masterpiece, and I am not giving up on ME.  Your life, your story, your experience, your sheer grit to survive is your masterpiece. I see you. You are not invisible. Don’t give up on you.

If you are reading this, thank you for being here at this moment.  Please don’t give up on me either.  With your help, your ongoing support, your presence, your intercession, your skills, your energy – real or virtual, all things are possible.

Have FAITH.  Never give up HOPE.

                            With FAITH comes HOPE

Where there is HOPE there is FAITH

Where there is FAITH.  MIRACLES happen.

I AM LIVING PROOF OF THAT!!!

Grief and Renewal

Brain Injury Radio Show – Listen to our April 2022 Episode – HERE

Easter actually began as a pagan festival celebrating spring in the Northern Hemispherelong before the advent of Christianity. “Since pre-historic times, people have celebrated the equinoxes and the solstices as sacred times,”   Later, Easter became recognized as the highest celebration of Christianity. Because the resurrection establishes the belief in life after death. Happy Easter if that’s youHowever you believe, spring signals a time of renewal, when new life and color emerges.

Add the Virus and other news hot topics the past few years, and there has been ample opportunity for us to have reason to grieve. With more isolation, lock downs, fear mongering .. Grief over real losses of all kinds, has perhaps been even harder to bear. Grief is stressful enough, but add everything else mentioned, and no one has been immune to grief. We must take time to grieve, or we would never fully appreciate gratitude.

Tonight we discuss grief and renewal for brain injury survivors. We’ve felt the sorrow, now how do we refresh and move forward?

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 good bit of Warrior!

Hosted by Kim Justus, author of In a Flash: Miracles Here and Beyond and Hootie’s Hollow and the Magic Tree found at inaflash.org and Amazon & “Like” me at facebook.com/inaflash.org too! For More on Caren’s great Blogs and Resources see: hopetbi.com

Other Radio Shows with Caren Robinson and Kim Justus

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

Reviews and Testimonials

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Newest HOPEster Ramona – Caregiver

This is where it all began. The HOPE TBI Blog and the HOPE TBI Website.

It all began with my mom starting a blog and fundraiser on my behalf, years ago. My mom has been one of the many valuable supports in my life, through everything. She never gave up on me; for that I am grateful.

I asked her to collaborate with me to do a story page to honor her and the process she put so much effort into on my behalf. This is that story.

(Click on Name to access story page)

Ramona Andrews – Caregiver

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

Reviews and Testimonials

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Brain Injury – A Disease Process

This is an excerpt from the Paper written by renowned Neurologist “Masel”:

“……The purpose of this paper is to encourage the classification of a TBI not as an event, not as the
final outcome, but rather as the beginning of a disease process. The paper presents the scientific
data supporting the fact that neither an acute TBI nor a chronic TBI is a static process—that a
TBI impacts multiple organ systems, is disease causative and disease accelerative, and as such,
should be paid for and managed on a par with other diseases.
Despite the fact that patients with a TBI who survive the acute event do not die of their brain
injury per se, a TBI is a disease…….”

Masel, B. Conceptualizing Brain Injury as a Chronic Disease. Vienna, VA: Brain Injury Association of America, 2009.

REPORT in PDF Format: http://www.lexisnexis.com/documents/pdf/20090513025855_large.pdf

WEBINAR: http://www.braintrauma.org/february-2011-webinar/

Is Brain Injury a Chronic Disease? (Commentary Regarding The Brain Injury of America’s “Conceptualizing Brain Injury as a Chronic Disease”)             http://www.braininjurynetwork.org/thesurvivorsviewpoint/achronicdisease.html

Brain Injury Radio Show with Dr. Brent Masel.

Quantum Leap: Dr. Brent Masel on Transitional Learning after TBI

Golden Girls Explain Golden Opportunities

This is a post I wrote just as I was really learning to claim my role as an advocate for myself. It was a turning point for me, in truly learning to trust my body and not necessarily what I was told about my body. It was when I decided to trust MYSELF, and to speak up when I felt or knew something was wrong.

This experience with this nightmare provider was someone I should have been able to trust. It turns out he took advantage of that trust. This experience brought me to a painful realization that not all doctors respect the “do no harm” oath.

In fact, if left unchecked, those who don’t value that oath, can cause a great deal of additional irreparable harm to their patients, can absolutely cause medical PTSD, and change the course of a patients care for the worse. I share this again as it should not be forgotten.

Find your voice and speak up for yourself. You are worth it

(previously posted elsewhere in 2014, yet worth reposting)

The Golden Girls

Golden Girls Explain Golden Opportunities

TBI is an invisible disease….so is PTSD….and so are things that are obvious injuries if NOT actually checked…..if the doctors actually LISTENED to their patients and did the tests and procedures they were supposed to  from the beginning rather than making judgements without following through – or without actually consulting the patient about their decisions.

This is essentially what happened to me too. I was in a vehicle accident with polytrauma and Traumatic Brain Injury and several fractures. Then I keep complaining all through therapy that my pain was worse and I was losing strength on my right side. I was released to attend PT OT and ST without restrictions that during and after therapy….I spoke of my pain and limitations often. Not the referring Orthopedic Dr. nor the Rehab Dr. ever did a CT Scan to follow up on my pain or x-rays of all the previous fractures. In fact, the Rehab Dr. said it was probably all anxiety related and I needed to put in “more effort”…He even held my arm up and dropped. I couldn’t hold it up on my own. He thought I should try harder – what he didn’t accept is that I was giving it all that I could. It just wouldn’t work….and now I know why. As it turns out for the last 9 months I finally get that CT scan and it shows that my ribs 2-11 are still fractured and displaced with NO HEALING…and that shattered and fractured scapula on the R side?….YEP….no healing either. I am now scheduled for surgery Oct. 8th to plate and put screws on each rib and reconstruct my scapula/body and plate and screw those as well…..obviously THEY weren’t putting in enough “effort”…. if they only listened to me. Feels good to be validated and know that I can actually trust my own judgement about my body though…my PCP on the other hand has been great so far….I have a medical case manager too who has been advocating for me as well….I can say that they only added to the anxiety I was already having about the wreck in general….those other doctors, that is.

This is a great episode from the Golden Girls show about Invisible Illnesses where she confronts the Dr. who didn’t listen to her…..this is just AMAZING!!!

I only wish I could do this with my Nightmare Doctor….

Compilation of all the doctors Dorothy went to and the process she went through to get answers:

Confrontation by Dorothy to Dr. Budd

Both Empowering and worth watching!!!

Our Newest HOPEster – Stephen Bristow – Survivor

Let us introduce you to Stephen Bristow. He is from Michigan and has a unique story of how the system sometimes fails it’s children. This story also drives home the importance of adequate services and interventions that are both compassionate, ongoing, and swift; a stark reminder of just how far we have come with the treatment of Brain Injury over the years, and how much further we have yet to go.

“I was young about five years old or younger when I sustained my first traumatic brain injury. This was caused by my father. He was very abusive. He was also a Navy man. The second traumatic brain injury I recall happening around 7 or 8 years old, and had something to do with baseball The one titled “mother” was not around most of the time. When she was, she was also abusive, and I sustained many beatings from her. She was employed at a Utility service…….”

STEPHEN BRISTOW STORY HERE

Eight Is Enough

Some of you may remember this show back in the late 70’s, early 80’s.  For those old enough to remember..this was about the Bradford family, which consisted of 8 very independent children and the trials and tribulations of growing up, facing important decisions, and other tough topics of that time.  They had a father, Tom, who to me seemed quite oblivious to a lot of common sense solutions, yet when it counted, came through as a great source of love and support for his family.

There were a lot of movies, TV shows, and other depictions of families that carried us through relatable, humorous, and sometimes downright serious content and the process of life transitions, which we would stay glued to the TV or Big Screen to see just how things turned out, see justice done, capture a glimmer of hope, or just escape to be entertained for a wee bit.

In those moments, of living vicariously through our favorite character’s lives – we shaped our view of not only ourselves, but the world around us.  We shaped our views on advocacy, education, societal roles, relationships, our sexuality, and they challenged us to think outside of ourselves just a bit….especially if they included controversial content – personal writing ahead of its time really.  When a character would be removed from a show, killed off, or somehow taken in a different direction – it sometimes affected us deeply – especially if we watched them grow up or felt we were growing up with that character as well. Relatable, right?  It sometimes felt like we were losing a friend or loved one of our own – even though, by all accounts, this was completely unrealistic.  How could we go on?  Yet we did.  One day moved into the next, a new show, new series, new movie emerged and suddenly the previous experiences though remembered, became a distant memory, now replaced by better writing, CGI, better special affects, powerful acting, and tapping into those topics that often remained previously untouched. 

Some of us also no longer had time for that level of commitment to a “character” because we were building our own “character” through our lives, our own careers, our own families.  Striving to make sense of all the changes, the challenges, the amazing tribulations, the absolute exhaustion that being a responsible adult brings.  How could we go on?  Yet we did.

We all have experienced trauma in some sort.  Some from their first breath out of the womb, some their entire childhood, some their entire life in one form or another; some – a one and done situation which impacted the entire fabric of their lives despite all the good that exists around that one trauma.  Some of us persevere, some don’t.  There are so many factors that influence all of those changes and the way we evolve through them….or don’t. I am not even going to begin to attempt to list them all here.  Yep, there are that many.  We wake, we wonder – How could we go on?  Yet we did, and we do.

In this moment, as I reflect on my life on this 8 year Anniversary of the wreck that changed my life forever, in every aspect…..I am struck with examining all the characters in my life, my influences, my beliefs, my moral compass, and I think of all that I have survived and continue to endure.

I think of the effort required to overcome unimaginable pain, hopelessness, limitations, a stripping of life, dreams, and independence since that fateful day.  There were a multitude of moments where I would cry, rage, and scream…perhaps even laugh hysterically at the irony of things being the opposite of what I envisioned for my life at that time and since.  The stages of grief became my daily association with that one question that no matter how I progressed or what kind of HOPE I held….still loomed waiting for answer.  How could I go on?  Yet I am, and I do.

During this process of trauma, re-inventing myself, effort, and personal growth – I have learned some very hard, valuable lessons.  Some I am truly grateful for…others, not so much.

I have had my rose colored glasses ripped from my face, stomped on, crushed into the ground, and damn near destroyed from an repairable possibility.  However, once you see things from the way they actually are vs how you think they are….well….now that has a life altering affect of its own.  Which way you allow it to take you depends a lot on your own mental fortitude and ability to CHOOSE to go on, CHOOSE to survive, CHOOSE to be the best version of yourself in this very moment.  It depends a lot on whether you CHOOSE to accept and embrace the smallest victories, the smallest growth, the smallest blessings.  How do we go on?  We CHOOSE to.

I still enjoy watching a bit of TV and a movie here and there.  It is interesting to see how the writing in the shows nowadays differs a lot from my younger self’s experiences with the progression of each character. I find myself, with the assistance of technology, social media communities, and access to a plethora of information readily available at my fingertips…..that my possibilities for research, growth, healing, advocacy, and a life drenched with an unpredictable next step – have been forming that picture on life’s big screen in answer to the beckoning call of each Anniversary that reminds me that I am still here….thriving….without even knowing I could sustain as long in this form…as I have. 

I am struck with reflecting on this being the 8th year since the wreck.  The 8th year since I fought for each breath and each step and each ability.  The 8th year of creating a living visual answer of….despite starting over and over and over –  “How do we go on?” 

I am left with this.  Eight is Enough.  Enough time to decide to live; Enough time to choose HOPE permanently; Enough time to continue to vibrantly live a life of gratefulness, appreciation, and acceptance of what is, and what isn’t; Enough time to speak my truth, sound my voice, and share my words without feeling self-conscious about what others think about my experiences, or me as a whole person.  Enough time to decide to not just plan, envision something someday, not just try….but do.

Eight is Enough.  Enough time to finally be able to say out loud….”I am disabled, but I am more than my disabilities.  I am doing, and will continue to, do the best I can every day…and THAT….is enough!

Our Newest HOPEster – Laura, Survivor

Check Out Our Newest HOPEster

This is what an invisible injury looks like.

The term “traumatic brain injury” wasn’t something I ever thought too much about pre-accident. It was something that happened to people in stories in the news, it was something that happened to people in the movies. It never occurred that it was something that could happen to me. And then it did. ----

National Concussion Awareness Day

Today is National Concussion Awareness Day, started by Brooke Mills in 2016.

https://nationalconcussionawarenessday.com

#NationalConcussionAwarenessDay

#ConcussionAwarenessDay

National Concussion Awareness Day is celebrated on the 3rd Friday of September. Bringing awareness prompts you to study the signs of concussions and take them seriously, as they are a brain injury.

Concussions have become an epidemic in the United States, with millions of traumatic brain injuries happening each year.

A concussion should be suspected if there have been both: A blow to, or sudden whiplash injury of, the head, and any of the following symptoms:


•Headache
•Dizziness or poor balance
•Sensitivity to light or noise
•Blurry vision
•Feeling in a fog
•Feeling generally not right
•Trouble sleeping
•Drowsiness
•Trouble concentrating or remembering
•Irritability or emotionality
•Fatigue
•Confusion
•Sadness
•Nervousness or anxiety
•Brief loss of consciousness

If an individual experiences a hit to the head coupled with any of the above symptoms, a concussion should be suspected and the individual should be removed from sports until evaluated by a provider trained in concussion care.

As concussion gains more of an international spotlight, there’s still a shortage of doctors equipped to handle concussions.

https://www.concussion.org/news/national-concussion-awareness-day/

http://www.hopetbi.com #hope_tbi

HOPE TBI Co-OP and Exchange

Come visit us at the HOPE TBI Co-op and Exchange. Currently serving The United States and US Territories.

Please do NOT list items for sale here! We are a Co-Op/Exchange Group Only (no monies exchanged)!!!

Remember to Bookmark this Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HOPETBICoOpExchange/

This group is to list durable medical equipment, supplies, technology, machinery, prosthetics, etc. that you are ‘gifting” for FREE to someone in need.

You may also post a request if you are needing something as well. Please only request item(s) if unable to acquire by any other means. No acquiring items just to sell them.

THIS GROUP IS NOT OPEN TO VENDORS.

[Disclaimer: This group does not support or endorse the exchange of medications or supplements in any form. Please see your medical providers for those needs. This Group or its Owners/Moderators are not responsible for any transactions, equipment, or product exchanges with another member]

    Gifted Items/Needed items can be, but are not limited to: vehicles, hospital beds, wheelchairs, braces, ventilator equipment, oxygen concentrators, traction equipment, personal care aids, books, Posey Lifts, adaptive equipment, Manuals/information, Bathing Supplies, mobility aids, etc – and other items useful to a person with a disability or injury. The sharing opportunities are endless.

We realize that Insurance does not always cover all the needs a person has after experiencing a devastating and catastrophic medical emergency. We also realize not everyone has insurance. We understand being financially strapped, destitute, or handicapped after a life changing medical event.

Being a member of this Group does not imply nor guarantee that you will have your needs met or provided, but merely an additional opportunity to network with those who may be able to help directly or indirectly.

This Group will also allow you the opportunity to share your fundraising pages or place to post your public funding request page links (like Go Fund Me Page, PostHope page, Pay It Forward Page, YouCaring page, Give Forward, Donors Choose, etc). Be prepared to be vetted for authenticity.

It is strongly advised that if you meet anyone offline, that you do so in a public and safe location.


Our 2 Newest HOPEsters – Debbie and Kris

#MoreThanMyBrainInjury

We want to introduce a Survivor story and a Caregiver story.  The battle for survival and quality of life continues with these two powerful stories.  

 

Debbie Webb – “The year was 1990, I was practicing barrel racing and the horse I was riding slipped onto her side.  Upon impact with the ground, I was immediately unconscious.”  Check out her story here: 

readmorearrow

Kris Ruckle-Mahon – “My role went from being a parent to a caregiver on April 11, 2007, something I was not financially prepared for. I was fortunate though, to have a great work and family support system to help us through it.”  Check out her story here:

readmorearrow

Our Newest HOPEster Chasity

Grab a cup of tea or coffee and snuggle in for a read of the Survivor story about Chasity Christian. A survivor of many traumas and how love is carried in different forms – from our newest HOPEster.

#MoreThanMyBrainInjury

Chasity Lee Christian – Survivor

New Page Added – Clinical Neuroendocrinologists

Hello HOPEsters. We are thrilled to be able to share with you a list we have tirelessly compiled of “clinically practicing” Neuroendocrinologists who provide direct patient care.

This is not an all inclusive list and does not include Neuroendocrinologists that are  “researchers or lecturers” only.

Let us know of any others that are not on the list and we would be glad to add them.

click-here-button

Also check out our Neuroendocrinology page as well, if you haven’t already done so.

No-Fault Invitation

Ya’ll have seen and heard me talk about Auto no-fault a lot over the years. You have heard how I have embraced self-advocacy on my own behalf and encouraging such with others as well. 

Some changes were made to the Michigan Auto No-Fault laws that have hurt the protective measures that No-Fault owes its recipients. It has been disastrous and is literally costing lives.

Check out C-Pan (Coalition Protecting Auto No-fault) and Michigan Auto Law for more information and the various changes.

However, not all HOPE is lost just yet.

THOUGHTS?

Here’s an idea to bring awareness to Michigan No-Fault Laws/Changes, an invitation to all Senators, lawmakers, and our Governor to “Have A Heart”.

Each legislator who has voting power on the No-Fault issue, spend one week. Just one…..with a catastrophically injured patient and their family. They have to be a caregiver for that week, working with family or nurse supervising direct care..

Then let’s see how they think at the end. I think before pushing paper and making decisions from behind a desk that impacts so many lives….they should be required to live it in some way and make it work by their own effort and examine what they are expecting (56 hours limit being suggested for example) before making laws for it.

It’s easy to judge if you aren’t living it every moment of every day.

We could call it OPERATION: “Have A Heart”

#haveaheart #wecantwait

Here are suggested parameters:

  1. Live with family in their home for 7 days. 24/7 (live there, sleep there, be available all 24 hours – regardless of activity involved in at the time)
  2. Provide direct care to patient along with caregiver (regular or fill-incaregiver, or at direction of family)
  3. No personal tablets, laptop computers, other electronic devices allowed to be brought into home. No use of phones during care time.
  4. No refusing to do any care needed (due to discomfort, grossness, lack of knowledge, or fear of messing up).
  5. No mistreatment, verbal abuse, or physical abuse of patient or family.
  6. No help from anyone outside of what family has immediate access to without you there (no assistants, runners, interns, etc)
  7. No buying or purchasing anything for yourself (including food or drinks) or the family until after 7 days are completed. They eat and drink what family does on their budget.

Join us at the “We Can’t Wait” Facebook Group

Survivors with Disabilities

Support House Bill 4486 and Senate Bill 314

Brain Injury Radio and Other Outreach

Check out our latest additions to our Publications, Radio and Outreach page.

PUBLICATIONS, RADIO, and OUTREACH

Check out all the pages under our AWARENESS MATTERS tab:

HOPE TBI Awareness

Publications Radio and Outreach

Support Groups Sites and Books

Supports Sponsor and Recommended Charity Opportunities

Polytrauma/Orthopedic Resource Pages

TBI Resource Pages

Neuroscience In The News

How You Can Help As a HOPEster

You may be asking yourself how you can help. How can you make an impact to continue to bring awareness and support self-advocacy? How can you become a HOPEster?

Maybe you don’t have a Brain Injury and have never experienced a Polytrauma. Maybe you came upon this Website while searching for something else. Perhaps you are curious about the content, or know someone who has had a Concussion, Brain Injury or a disability.

Whether you are here accidentally or purposefully we hope you have found information and resources in this Site that have been helpful, useful, or educational to you. If this page is your first stop – please explore the rest of our pages as we offer a lot of value for your visit. We provide all these services for FREE to the community at large.

Maybe you are a survivor, a caregiver, a healthcare provider who understands all to well the content here and could even add to the stories here with your own.

If you would like to offer HOPE (Help One Person Excel) by:

Giving a gift to keep this site running and helping its services remain FREE

Help us continue to bring awareness; or just support the cause

BECOME A HOPESTER

Check out our page HOW YOU CAN HELP

HOPE TBI – PODCAST

New Episode Every Sunday

This past Sunday we had 2 new Podcasts drop from our Blog post about Sex and Disability

The first Podcast is part one of a 2 part series – Sex and Disability

The second Podcast is part 2 of a 2 part series – Sex and Disability: Sex and Brain Injury After Trauma

Introducing HOPE TBI Podcast

We are thrilled to announce another way of bringing support to you, and awareness to brain injury and polytrauma. We are pleased to introduce you to our Podcasts.

If you couldn’t get enough of the HOPE TBI website, Blog, or Support Groups… you are going to love listening to our Podcasts.

If you are someone that has difficulty reading, or is on the go and no time to peruse web pages, you are going to love the convenience of listening to our Podcasts.

If you are new to HOPE TBI, then welcome. We have a lot of support to offer you through our many FREE services.

Please remember to leave a Testimonial to give us feedback. Do you like what you hear? Are you getting value from the content? What impact has HOPE TBI made in your life. We want to know.

Listen Here: HOPE TBI – PODCASTS

Our Podcast is available on Anchor by Spotify, Spotify, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, and Radio Public

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here: https://hopetbi.com/reviews-and-testimonials/

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Michelle and Joe Patnesky – Parents of Hailee

Check out the story about a mom fighting for the life and proper care of her daughter who was hit by a car January 2021.

When doctors and therapists don’t have faith, sometimes a family’s love and prayers can work miracles.

Michelle Patnesky, the mom of 17 year old Hailee, takes us on a journey with her family as they traverse the system to advocate for their daughter who has sustained a severe brain injury and remains in the hospital.

https://hopetbi.com/michelle-patnesky-caregiver/

Help me welcome our newest HOPE’sters!

Introducing Vera Quijano – Survivor

Check out our newest story submission. at HOPE TBI www.hopetbi.com

Vera Quijano, a dance and yoga Instructor, who is now dancing to the beat of a different drum after sustaining a Traumatic Brain Injury after surviving a vehicle accident, where she was hit by a drunk driver.

Check out her video interview here:https://hopetbi.com/vera-quijano-survivor/

Also check out a song she wrote about her journey called “Post Concussionist” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKLVx5em_fo

At HOPE TBI we welcome Vera as our latest HOPE’ster!!!

That Mother

I just want to say to all you Mothers’s, Step-mothers, Foster Mom’s, and Guardians fulfilling a role as a “mother” figure…..

I see you.

I see your love, your sacrifice, your devotion, your fierce advocacy, your struggle, your effort, your laughter, your tears, your disappointment, your celebrations, your resentment, your anger, your amazement, your exhaustion, your selflessness, and your commitment.


I just want to say to all you Mother’s, Step-mothers, Foster Mom’s, and Guardians fulfilling a role as a “mother” figure….

I hear you.

I hear your cheers, your jeers, your concerns, your focused topics, your questions, your accolades, your encouragements, your motivational speeches, your yelling, your frustration, your grief, your joy, your coaching, your mediation, your compassion, and your ongoing effort at communication.


I just want to say to all you Mother’s, Step-mothers, Foster Mom’s, and Guardians fulfilling a role as a “mother” figure….

Just Be You.

Be the best version of yourself each day, be that disheveled mess, be that organized detailed version of yourself, be true to your values, be that parent that can admit their mistakes, be that parent that lives by example, be a stay at home parent, be a working parent, be a disabled parent, be a retired parent, be scattered, be focused, be hard to understand, be easy to get along with, be the parent that lacks humor, or be the parent that can make your child laugh. Just be YOU.


You are who your child(ren) will remember long after they have grown and you are their influencers for good or evil, love or hate, bravery or fear, joy or sadness, loved or abandoned, condemned or celebrated. You are the beginning of their imprint on the world.


Thank you for being just who you are and adding to the fabric of our world with your ability to be THAT MOTHER.


Happy Mother’s Day!


~Written by Caren Robinson 2021

HOPEster Movement

Join the HOPEster Movement!

Are you passionate, idealistic, and believe in the inherent goodness of others and our collective responsibility to each other as human beings?

Then you are a HOPE’ster!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/hopester/

#HOPEster #hope_tbi #ImaHOPEster

Beating The Stigma of Mental Health

Check Out Our Radio Show from today for

Brain Injury Awareness Month.

Brain Injury Radio Recovery Now – with Caren Robinson and Kim Justus, sponsored by the TBI Network.

(click Title to right) Beating The Stigma of Mental Health

Check out our collection of other Radio Shows here as well:

Publications, Radio, and Outreach

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

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

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Brain Injury Awareness Month
Join the  #MoreThanMyBrainInjury 
Campaign this March

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) leads the nation in observing Brain Injury Awareness Month by conducting an awareness campaign in March each year.

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) theme for the 2021 to 2023 campaign is More Than My Brain Injury.

About Brain Injury

#hope_tbi

5 Important Brain Injury Recovery Steps

HOPE TBI Podcast
Brain Injury Recovery Steps

Although the vast majority of people recover after a concussion (guess what? a concussion IS a brain injury)…….how quickly they improve, rehabilitate, and return to their daily activities depends on many factors. These factors include how severe their concussion was, their age, how healthy they were before the concussion, how they take care of themselves after the injury, and the resources provided to them regarding their aftercare/recovery process (this means being provided with proper directions, follow up, and educational information by good providers who know what they are doing).

Okay, we say “good providers”. I do want to say that brain science is changing and evolving on a daily basis. It may not be possible for your provider to know all the latest and greatest developments regarding brain injury recovery, so don’t be too hard on them. It is also difficult for the rehabilitation team of providers to know exactly how long a recovery will take, especially at the beginning. This is why it is called “practicing medicine” – not everything is certain or known. The more you know, the more you realize that once you’ve seen one brain injury you’ve seen one brain injury. This means that all brain injuries, and healing abilities from those brain injuries are different (even if they share similar symptomology). A “good provider” would be someone who advocates for their patient, or defers their patient to a provider with specialized training, or who acts as an active listener and guide through the recovery process (even if that means being willing to learn about new scientific breakthroughs and keeping up on their skills, and knowledge base around what they are treating you for). Is that clear as mud? LOL

Do not compare your concussion (brain injury) symptoms and recovery to that of someone else or even to any previous concussions you may have sustained. Each persons injury is different, and the symptoms of each brain injury(even when happening to the same person) may be different and require a different rehabilitation time as well.

It has been established time and time again that recovery is usually fastest in the early weeks and months after brain injury. In the first few weeks after a brain injury, swelling, bleeding or changes in brain chemistry and physiological aspects of the brain are often affected, and affect the function of healthy brain tissue. The fastest improvement usually happens in about the first six months after injury. During this time, the injured person will likely show a vast array of improvement and may even seem steadily be getting better. The person continues to improve between six months and two years after injury, but this varies greatly for different people and may not happen as fast as the first six months. It is important to note though that while improvements slow down substantially after two years….additional healing and progress may still occur many years after injury. Also the opposite is true as well. A person who appears to be recovered or rehabilitated may not experience affects or manifestation of their injury until years later.

There are some poignant things to keep in mind regarding recovery from a brain injury.

  • If you suffered from anxiety or depression before your head injury, it may make it harder to adjust to the symptoms of a concussion (brain injury)
  • If you already had a medical condition at the time of your concussion (such as chronic headaches or chronic pain), it may take longer for you to recover
  • Receiving another concussion before the brain has healed can result in brain swelling, exacerbated symptoms, permanent brain damage, coma, or death – especially in our youth. You should therefore avoid activities that could cause you to jolt, bump, hurt, or cause a blow to be made to your head.
  • If you are a woman (female) it may take you longer to recover and you may have more severe symptoms that your male counterparts.
  • Numerous Concussions (brain injuries) over time may cause you to have ongoing serious long-term problems, including chronic memory challenges, difficulty with concentration, persistent headaches, and occasionally, diminished fine motor/physical skills (such as keeping the ability to stay balanced or walk in a straight line).

After reading all this, the question presents itself as,

“Great! Then what things CAN I do to improve my rehabilitation process?”

After all, that’s why you are here to see what that burning question will reveal, right?!?!

Neuro Optometry
  • 1. Vision Testing –
    • I don’t mean like your typical eye doctor or optometrist/ophthalmologist that you would see to get your vision tested for glasses. or your glasses prescription adjusted. They don’t have the specialized training for the help you may need. I am talking about seeing a Neuro-Ophthalmologist/Optometrist (yes there is a difference). A Neuro Optometrist is trained to diagnose and treat neurological conditions that negatively impact the visual system. A Neuro-Ophthalmologist is a medical doctor that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment/rehabilitation of neurological conditions adversely affecting the visual system and specializes in neurology AND ophthalmology.
    • They specialize in visual problems that relate to the nervous system (brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and diabetic neuropathy). They help patients rehabilitate their vision with specific visual exercises/eye-training exercises that rewire the brain (neuroplasticity). These exercises can be done in the office during a scheduled appointment or at home with the aim being to reduce symptoms and promote visual recovery. These exercises are designed to improve balance, gait, visual information processing, cognitive skills, visual memory, motor skills, double vision, tracking/scanning problems, inability to focus, loss of central vison, strabismus (eye turning), convergence insufficiency, visual field loss, issues with depth perception, etc.
    • They may also, for some patients, prescribe specific optical lenses called prisms (prism glasses)
    • The treatment from this may last weeks, months, and for some patients – years.
    • See additional information about VISION THERAPY.
Auditory Testing
  • 2. Auditory Testing (hearing tests) –
    • Hearing issues are often overlooked in polytrauma patients because of other visible life threatening injuries that often take medical precedence/priority. However, hearing loss may mask or confuse getting a correct diagnosis for other injuries. Some patients have been diagnosed as being unresponsive or uncooperative when it was their hearing that was affected. Issues with the ear can result in problems related to balance, hearing loss, dizziness, vertigo ( the most common vertigo being benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), tinnitus (ringing in the ear), chronic nausea, and headaches. While some of these changes are reversible, others are not. This is the importance of getting auditory testing completed as soon as possible after a head injury.
    • Dizziness is believed to occur in 40-60% of people with traumatic brain injuries. The ear is also the organ that is the most susceptible to blast exposures. The extent of ear damage from a blast depends on a multitude of factors (size of blast, environment, distance from blast, orientation of ear canal to the blast, open or closed area during blast). The most common injury from a blast is a ruptured eardrum (tympanic membrane). There are also cases of traumatically induced Meniere’s Disease.
    • Hearing loss as a result of brain injury causes damage to the inner ear or because there is damage to the brain that produces sound. Auditory problems could be mistake for signs of cognitive deficits attributed directly to a brain injury. Hearing loss also exacerbate the social, emotional, and cognitive affects of the brain injury. It is possible to have cognitive affects related to brain injury AND loss of hearing at the same time.
    • Auditory symptoms may include difficulty understanding speech, especially when there is background noise; difficulty locating sounds (knowing where the sounds are coming from); hyperacusis (extreme sensitivity to sounds); tinnitus (ringing in the ears with no external source of the sound); conductive or sensorineural hearing loss ( damage either to the tiny hair cells in your inner ear – known as stereocilia, or to the nerve pathways that lead from your inner ear to the brain); distorted hearing, etc.
  • 3. Speech Therapy –
    • Brain injuries can cause speech, language, thinking, and swallowing problems. Speech therapists treat all these conditions
    • Types of issues treated are dysarthria (when the muscles you use for speech are weak or you have difficulty controlling them causing slurred or slowed speech that can be difficult to understand), aphasia (impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write), improving cognitive communication skills, and improving memory
    • Goals in treatment by a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)/speech therapist is to help the person speak more clearly; express thoughts more effectively; improve problem-solving, planning, and organization skills; improve speech to make it clearer; reading comprehension skills; improvement of memory using various tools (calendars, notebooks, to-do lists, post-it notes, planner, white boards, etc); learn ways to swallow safely; work on social skills through reading and social cues, etc.
  • 4. SPECT CT –
    • CT and MRI scans provide detailed information on the anatomical structure of the brain. Brain SPECT imaging reveals the function of the brain by measuring blood flow. 
    • Functional brain imaging is not considered a stand-alone diagnostic tool.   While there are varying levels of acceptance among the neurological and psychiatric conditions, the science and technology have been research for decades and there are hundreds of published research studies utilizing SPECT for the evaluation of the various conditions.
    • See our article – SPECT CT
  • 5. Rest
    • Rest and proper sleep is very important after a concussion because it helps the brain to heal. Ignoring their symptoms and trying to “tough it out” often makes symptoms worse.  Physical and cognitive rest is often recommended, however this varies greatly depending on the health of the brain prior to the injury, as well as the force sustained.
    • These activities, patients are advised by healthcare providers to rest from after a brain injury include: reading, using a computer, watching television, playing video games, or working on school assignments. For many people, physical and mental rest until symptoms subside is the only treatment needed for a concussion or other head injury.
    •  During the first 24 hours, the brain needs as much rest as possible, including minimizing mental, and physical stimulation.
    • After 24 hours, if the injured is symptom-free, the injured person may begin the “relative rest” progressive protocol. Relative rest refers to avoiding any mental or physical activity that provokes the concussion-related symptom (for example if they participate in a physical activity and it increases symptoms, then stop that particular activity)
    • Each day a person can add more mental and physical exertion, as long as their activities don’t provoke any concussion symptoms. It is advised to avoid any strenuous exercise for a week or so. If you want to keep exercising, try to keep it light. If you’re a runner, for example, try walking. It’s also best to avoid any heavy lifting for a week. Moderate activity over the long term helps reduce effects of depression, feelings of isolation,
    • Regardless of the severity of your concussion (brain injury), you should be symptom-free before returning to normal activity, and your condition should be carefully monitored by your doctors.

“NEVER GIVE UP ON A HEAD INJURED PATIENT. – Recovery Occurs for the rest of a person’s life. Give people the type of treatment that they deserve. ~David Hovda, PhD

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

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

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Year of the SEVEN

HOPE TBI PODCAST

Today is my RE-BIRTHDAY.  I am 7. 

That is seven years since the accident that rocked my world and changed everything forever.  Seven years since becoming the walking dead to the actually breathing and eventually living.

There is no culture in the history of the world and no religion where the number seven is not a powerful and positive number. 

The number seven is a number that represents and symbolize introspection, inner wisdom, truth, and the origination of life. It is said to represent security, safety, rest, and is considered lucky throughout our history and through many civilizations.

Seven is known as the number of total completeness and perfection – most often related to a spiritual direction, though the physical part cannot be ignored or discounted either. It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God creating the world, where the world was created in six days and God rested on the seventh day – creating the foundation of the seven-day-week we use to this day (for those that believe in that line of thought). The number seven is also featured in the Book of Revelation (seven churches, seven angels, seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven stars). The Koran speaks of seven heavens and Muslim pilgrims walk around the Kaaba in Mecca (Islam’s most sacred site) seven times. In Hinduism there are seven higher worlds and seven underworlds, and in Buddhism the newborn Buddha rises and takes seven steps.  There are also the 7 deadly sins (pride, greed, lust, gluttony, envy, anger, sloth) and the 7 virtues of the spirit (chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, humility OR also known as faith, hope, charity, fortitude, prudence, temperance)

Most of us have even heard about the seven wonders of the world, so seven is special to the global community as well.  In fact, regarding every day life, studies have shown that most people can retain roughly seven items of information in their short term memory ( a real challenge with a brain injury let me tell ya). That is why phone numbers in the U.S. and many other countries tend to have seven digits (not counting the area code part of the number).

In fact, even when focusing on healthy sleep hygiene, it is recommended to get seven hours of sleep (less than five or more than nine and your risk for heart attack, stroke, angina, and a host of other non-restful issues increases).

Over the last seven years I have really learned to see obstacles and limitations as opportunities and a reason to really lean on HOPE and embrace faith and allow myself to BE hopeful.  To give permission to myself to accept a new type of paced existence.  But what does that REALLY MEAN…to have HOPE?

This does not mean that I was positive all the time. I can tell you that! Oh no, far from it.  See, HOPE does not necessarily equal optimism or positivity. Sure optimists are often more positive than those that are caught up in dark moments/thoughts, or with overwhelming feelings of defeat and depression when faced with a “new normal” where they literally have to learn everything again.  However, even the most pessimistic/negative person can have HOPE for things to be different or improve.  I can personally attest to the facts that there have been many dark moments/thoughts over the last seven years.  Yet being able to hang onto HOPE, hang onto the belief that I was here for a specific reason (even though I didn’t know what that was) and then making the effort to LIVE and embrace my life in every form it came to me in became my focus and continues to unfold as my reality.

This day is spiritually significant to me.  It is physically significant to me. This day is emotionally significant to me and I am pleased to be able to take another breath….to reach another goal……to live a new dream and embrace new aspirations and possibilities.  I am pleased to be guided by Faith, HOPE, and LOVE.  I am pleased to be able to FEEL pain, FEEL elation, FEEL defeat, FEEL supported, FEEL misunderstood, FEEL heard, FEEL sadness, FEEL happiness, FEEL lost at times, and FEEL accomplished.

I am grateful to be allowed to have an avenue to share my journey with all of you and HOPE I can offer some measure of HOPE for someone who may end up reading this today. 

So happy RE-BIRTHDAY to me.  This is the YEAR OF THE SEVEN.  The year I loudly embrace that special introspection, inner wisdom brought forth, speak my truth, and continue the celebration of life.  I accept what seven has to offer: security, safety, rest, and while pacing myself, cherishing how lucky I am to continue to rewrite my own history.  I open my arms to the Universe and to my experiences and hold hands with HOPE, while  living in the moment and looking forward to the future, while building on that visualization.

Grateful for another blessing and another opportunity to draw in breath one more time.

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

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

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

9 Essential Resources for Migrant Workers Affected by COVID-19

Image via Pixabay

9 Essential Resources for Migrant Workers Affected by COVID-19

At Hope TBI, our mission is to offer guidance and support to those affected by traumas of any kind. This includes physical, mental, and emotional traumas sustained before, during, or after your migration to the United States — or as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. As such, the nine links below will connect you with the different resources that may be available to you amid COVID-19 — especially if you’re facing deportation, struggling to find work, looking for medical testing, or need help putting food on the table.

Medical, Unemployment Insurance, and Employment Resources

These three resources will help you to understand your rights as a migrant worker during COVID-19 — and find new work opportunities if you’ve lost your job.

Financial Assistance

During the coronavirus crisis, migrant and undocumented workers can benefit from the following financial assistance programs.

  • Explore the different immigrant response funds that may be available to you and your family during the pandemic.
  • Contact your state’s Social Services Agency to check your eligibility for food, cash, or child care assistance.
  • Locate a food bank near you if you’re struggling to put food on the table due to job loss or any other reason.

Legal Resources

Whether you’re facing deportation or need one or more legal documents translated into your native language, these three resources can help.

  • Visit Informed Immigrant to find a complete list of regional and national resources for immigrants during the coronavirus crisis. You’ll find resources on financial assistance, mental health, healthcare, education, housing, and more.
  • Look for top freelancers to help with everything from translating and understanding legal documents to handling the legalities of deportation proceedings.
  • Facing deportation but can’t afford to hire a lawyer? Look for free or low-cost legal assistance.

The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for the U.S. economy, and billions of lives have been disrupted in one way or another. With the nine resources above, hopefully you’ll have all the information you need to find new work opportunities, get tested for COVID-19, obtain legal counsel, and make ends meet during this unprecedented time.

Submitted By:

Diane Harrison

Healthpsa.info

diane@healthpsa.info

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

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Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Call To Action for HOPE TBI

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

If you have found value in this Site, in any of the content, any of the stories you have read, learned any information that you didn’t know before, felt validated, felt hopeful, appreciated the vast resources provided, can relate to anything you have read, or listened to in these pages, then this is a Call of Action for you.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

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

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

REVIEWS and TESTIMONIALS

Transition Ability

Let’s start your journey. Contact me for a FREE 30 Minute Life Coaching Consultation.

Sometimes its the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination ~Drake

If you can’t fly, then run; If you can’t run, then walk; If you can’t walk, then crawl; but by all means, keep moving.
~ Martin Luther King Jr.

#vitalabilityllc #transitions #ability #hope_tbi #lifecoach #trauma #braininjury #survivor

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Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

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Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Moving Forward With Vital Ability, LLC

This is a long time coming. I have finished my educational training as a Certified Holistic Life, Career and Executive Coach. I am specializing in Transitional Life Coaching, Brain Injury Recovery Life Coaching, and Disability Life Coaching.

I work with a diverse array of clientele from the general public – including medical patients, caregivers, providers, soldiers/veterans, business owners, executives, public officials, professionals, entrepreneurs, LGBTQ, parents, older Teenagers, and others from around the world through virtual connections.

 My training incorporates holistic coaching techniques, traditional coaching methods, Brain Based coaching, Ontological coaching, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) coaching, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) coaching, and Positive Psychology coaching.

Also, I am pleased to offer Medical Advocacy Consultant services to those looking to have a bit more support on their rehabilitative journey. Please see the website to get more information on these different services.

www.vitalability.com

Learn more about Vital Ability in this Interview:

Vital Ability, LLC Interview

Please feel free to share this page with anyone you think would be interested. Thanks for supporting me.

I wish you are peace, health, and happiness. Let me know what you think and don’t hesitate to reach out. You are not alone. You are a miracle!!!

~Caren Robinson~

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

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

Your input is important to the development and growth of this website, and we like to know what is going on out there in your thoughts.

Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

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!

THE_BLACK_LIVES_MATTER_MOVEMENT

Thank you for visiting the HOPE TBI Website.

Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

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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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Please take the time to make a comment, share your thoughts, and tell us what impacted you the most and what brought you here:

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Thank you for visiting us! We look forward to hearing from you.

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

 

HopeTBIglobalawareness

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

disabilityandsex

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.

possibility

 

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

braininjuryradiobanner
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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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/