Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Owning the Traumatic Brain Injury

Good Tuesday everybody!!! I hope everybody is doing fine. First and foremost I want to thank to all of you that are resing this blog. From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT. Walking the path to recovery is not easy, as I mentioned. It takes some serious hard work and dedication. There is no way I couldn't get better without all of you, my wife, and my providers. As you all know this blog started as a tool for me to tell my story and as a therapy tool. All of you THANK YOU FOR BEING PART OF MY REHABILITATION.
Owning the Traumatic Brain Injury. I realized that trying to dismissed the injury it was not going to help. On the other hand it was going to make it worse and it was going to make everything frustrating. When we don't realize we have an issue, voluntarily or involuntarily, we tend to live with the problem without addressing it. Is like trying to run with worn out shoes or like trying to swim againt the current. It is hard. Once a problem is recognized we tend to work on changing things and taking care of the issue. As we start to take care of the issue, rays of light start to come across the clouds. We see the light at the end of the tunnel.
So, how does this applies to a Traumatic Brain Injury? It applies in a way that a Traumatic Brain Injury already happened. It is there. Nothing is going to change that fact. That is our reality. Living with it as all of you BI survivors is not easy. Sometimes we feel slow, dumb, less of a person, embarrassed, defeated, worthless, useless, alone, among many other feelings.
So, how do we pull away from feeling that way? Step number one is accepting your reality. I understand that this might be extremely hard to those that have suffered from a severe head injury. The ideas I express here could potentially apply to all those with mild and moderate BIs. By accepting the injury as our reality gives us power. It makes us agents of change in our live. It gives us that power and motivation to work harder and get better. We are able to see our deficiencies, disabilities, and areas we can work on. As we get a clear view of all these areas that we can work on it is refreshing to see that we are able to set goals to improve. We could all lay down and say "life sucks" or "I want to be who I was and I can't". God has a plan with everything and if you suffered a BI, guaranteed that you will be able to conquer it in any way. Seeing our problems and working on them by yourself or with your providers will make all those issues get better. Just remember that some of them will not go away completely but definately they will lessen and get better.
Take me as an example, I suffered from issues such as heavy stuttering, memory, balance, concentration, attention among others. Before the BI I was a Platoon Sergeant in the US Army in charge of nearly 60 Soldiers. Can I do that today? Maybe the answer is no, but I could definately do it better that 6 months ago. At the begining I would tell my speech therapist to concentrate on other cognitive problems instead of concentrating on my fluency. At one point I said enough, I can't keep talking this way, it's embarrassing. From the moment I recognized that this was a problem I had to work on I have improved a lot. The speech problem happens today but gradually it has been improving, today I'm not even close to how I was in the NPR. There's more work to be done but I'm going to keep pushing on.
The same experience I had with my speech I had with many other disabilities I had, and belief me they are all getting better. Yes, greatly in part by my efforts but I couldn't have done without my wife and providers.
My message today is: Own the Injury. You decide how you are going to move passed it. Work hard and you'll see that it really gets better.
Thank you all.


  1. Victor, great post and a very good point. Acceptance is the first step in healing from a TBI or anything really.

    Immediately after my brain injury, I spent so much energy trying to act like not as much was wrong. Little did I know at the time, I was not fooling anyone! I was expending a bunch of energy on tryin to keep up the act instead of investing it in myself and improving. It was exhausting and futile!

    Only when I just let it go and I started being honest with myself and others, did I really start the healing.

    I still am embarrassed at times. My speech is not what I want it to be. I get stuck on a word. I stutter. I sometimes sound like my mouth is wired shut. I write like a 6 year old. You know what? Like you said...it is much better than it was! I know it is only going to keep getting better. I will see to it. You can be sure of that.

  2. Debbie, thanks for your comment. It is very good to see that we are not alone. Like you and I we can identify with each other. Sharing experiences is knowledge. I am so glad I met you. IT WILL ALWAYS GET BETTER!!!!