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Survivors of acquired and traumatic brain injury share challenges and rewards of rebuilding their lives and futures. Learning how to live with a brain injury can be a long, stressful and slow process that involves rebuilding your life and reshaping your future. These blog articles by survivors share the challenges, frustrations, joys and rewards of finding hope and a new way of living. By moving forward toward what is possible rather than looking back at what has been lost, it is possible to bring meaning to your life.

A Note from Debbie

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I was desperate. I had sustained a brain injury in an automobile accident and was struggling to deal with everyday living activities. After almost burning down my home twice by leaving cooking units on unattended, I finally realized I had a problem and that it wouldn’t go away. Everything in my life that used to be so easy was now almost impossible to do without putting myself, others or property at risk.

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Survivor of Brain Injury – What’s in a Word?

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Survivor, person with a brain injury, brain injured person, brain injury survivor, disabled person, person with a disability, person who experiences brain injury – these are the words often used in reports, publications, and in the media. But there is an ongoing debate about what’s the best choice.

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Surviving TBI From a Bike Accident

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I began training for my first triathlon in 2008 at age 44, encouraged by my wonderful Pediatric Nurse Practitioner colleagues in Neonatology at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. On May 24, 2008, I began to bike ride 14 miles with my dear friend, Angie Cookman, on a trail in Coralville, Iowa. We came to an area with a large downward and upward hill; we were not speeding and were both wearing helmets. At the bottom of the hill there was a six-foot section of water and mud. I unfortunately hit the muddy area and was thrown 25-30 feet and hit concrete on the right side of my head. The helmet was cracked all the way through on the right side for 1-2 inches. I immediately passed out and started bleeding from my right ear and nose.

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Holidays Aren’t All Ho! Ho! Ho! after Brain Injury

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Holidays can be especially hard for all family members when a spouse, child, parent or sibling has a brain injury. In this brain injury blog, Marilyn Lash recalls how feelings of loss resurfaced in her family as her injured brother struggled to cope with the stress of holidays.

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What Exactly is a Brain Injury Conference? A vocabulary lesson

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It’s not what it sounds like…not where you go to be diagnosed with a brain injury. It’s a gathering of specially-trained folks; people in organizations who are valuable resources for individuals and families dealing with a serious head trauma and/or brain injury. And, no, it’s not boring; you do not need “medical jargon” as a second language! It’s a room filled with inviting booths where leaders in the brain injury community make available take-home materials and offer a sympathetic ear. There are break-out sessions featuring key-note speakers, usually experts in the field, who can speak from first-hand experience about the diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries.

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Where Are They Now?

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After we moved into our new quarters, we had to say goodbye to some old friends who were integral to our growth and the all-round upbeat atmosphere in the office. Briefly, here is an update of what they are currently doing:

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Positive View of Traumatic Brain Injury

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A traumatic brain injury changed the life of Terry Morgan. He went from feeling like a million dollars as pastor of a large church and leading a full active life and career to feeling worthless. The fall that resulted in his brain injury changed his entire life – and that of his family. But as a brain injury survivor, it also resulted in his reevaluating what’s important in life. He now see there is a positive side to brain injury once you survive the physical and emotional trauma and rebuild your life.

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Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation

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John Richards never expected to be a brain injury survivor. As a rehabilitation professional, president of a brain injury residential program, and Board of Directors member of the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire, he was a well known service provider and advocate for persons with acquired brain injuries. The day he was found unconscious next to his bicycle on the road changed all that.

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Special Dog Helps with Brain Injury and Disability

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What is a dog story doing in the Brain Injury Blog? Canine companions or dogs with special training to assist people with disabilities aren’t just for people who are blind.
Grace Peay tells the story of how her special dog, Ackerman, helped her regain her independence after her traumatic brain injury. Struggling with social isolation and depression in addition to her physical challenges after her brain injury, acquiring a canine companion required a lengthy application and training process.

The result is a loving companion, guide and assistant who helps her with the daily challenges of living with a brain injury. Ackerman is an amazing canine companion who has enriched her life.

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Marriage after Brain Injury? It’s not easy

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“Who has those perfect relationships before a brain injury?” That’s the question of Beverly Bryant as she reflect on how her marriage with her husband and relationships with her children changed after her traumatic brain injury.

Moving on means grieving losses and letting go of one’s life prior to the brain injury. Recovery means allowing the survivor to take risks, make mistakes, and regain control while still giving help and support. Finding and maintaining relationships after brain injury is hard. But let’s be truthful. Building meaningful relationships is always hard.

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