(status updates at bottom of page)
My name is Caren. As of the writing of this Introduction in 2014, I am a 41 year old who is married and the mother of 6 children.
On January 4, 2014 I was on my way to pick up our 2 oldest daughters, on a Saturday morning, from a sleepover. I would never arrive.
I was in a horrific head on collision with my then, 5 year old son Austin. I was the driver of a minivan that belonged to my mom. My seatbelt failed/malfunctioned and I was ejected from the passenger side door – over the door frame my body apparently bent in half. I was not ejected through the window or through the windshield. In fact, the windshield though cracked all over – remained intact. Both airbags were deployed and Austin was sitting behind the driver’s seat in his Booster seat. Everything that happened, my very survival and that of my son, the survival of the woman in the other vehicle, was nothing short of miraculous….for all of us.
I do not remember the wreck in any way, shape, or form. The other driver states she also has no memory of the wreck. My son remembers numerous details about it, including seeing me ejected, unbuckling himself to find me, face down, and in a pool of blood around my head and body. He escaped unscathed physically – not even seatbelt marks from his carseat – an unexplained miracle and angel blessing for sure.
I incurred numerous orthopedic fractures which included a hairline fracture of my pelvis, broken R wrist, Ribs 2-11 fractured in multiple places (flail chest) and displaced by 2cm, my spine T 5-10 fractured, my R scapula fractured in more than two places and the rest of my scapula shattered. I sustained numerous bruises, lacerations, and other injuries which included seatbelt marks, a plum sized right eye, and a closed head injury. It would turn out that I would learn that my brain injury was called a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). This title for my ‘new normal” as I called it, was an understatement – by far. My medical injuries and their extent would continue to be discovered, treated, not treated, and are still unfolding as time goes on. When two or more systems of a body are injured it’s referred to as a Polytrauma.
All these moments, would, though unknown to me at that time – change every facet of my entire life forever.
I was orginally unable to return to work. In fact, my recovery continues, and while I have been dabbling in volunteer work here and there, I have been unable to return to a traditional work setting. I will be 45 in November of this year. Any day above ground is a good day and I am grateful to have survived.
If you are looking at this page right now, then it is meant for you to know to NEVER GIVE UP HOPE (my acronym for HOPE = Help One Person Excel). I had to have a correlation that was positive for my TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) as I originally got tired of talking about it and got tired of this “thing” defining my life. I didn’t like how much of my life it seemed to have taken from me, and wanted to excel beyond these new limitations.
Now…… I do talk about it, have come to understand it, and am continually coming to grips with this “new normal”. I coined TBI to mean “To Be Independent” as this is the struggle and goal, to get all this back over time. My independence, my freedom, my life!
It was also my desire to share my experiences, what I have learned, and been taught by others – in the hopes that sharing would not only help in my recovery, but spread awareness about Traumatic Brain Injury and Polytrauma. Hopefully, this will help lift some of the burden of trying to locate resources for those with similar injuries.
I am currently 46 years old and dealing with a great deal of plateaued chronic pain and various challenges that I am utilizing creative processes to overcome and work around as much as possible. I am participating in ongoing educational opportunities online, an active member of a Toastmasters Club, participating with local vocational rehab to ideally be able to do some part time work from home at some point. Starting a home business as a Life Coach and Medical Advocacy Consultant to be able to set my own hours and work around my new normals.
Volunteer Co-host on Brain Injury Radio Show, ongoing Blog writer, and weathering the COVID-19 pandemic with my family at home as our State has been ordered to Stay Safe and Stay Home (shelter in place).
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