Living with Traumatic brain injury (TBI)


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I was in my 20’s, an all-star runner, and bikini model, also once long before, a Prima Ballerina. After accepting a full scholarship to one of many university offers, it wasn’t new to me to walk on a new team as a freshman and already be the fastest runner on the team, soon setting the school record. It was never hard for my blessed body I, unfortunately, took for granted. I was just a pretty upper-middle class, gifted, loved, and blessed girl, who couldn’t see that, and was very entitled, took everything for granted. Very selfish, and even sadder. I got kicked out of for partying and misbehaving badly again. I had had a terrible substance addiction since I was 15yrs old, my first year of high school.

I went back home. Decided to go to a quick type trade school. I successfully graduated on the Dean’s List! I had never done anything like that before….even with my substance abuse addiction issues going on. I then got my Radiology Technician License and chose to keep going to MRI. I had just passed my course and had to complete more internship hours to take my licensure test, but my sister needed me to help keep her townhome financially. I thought I could find an internship there, and moved up to help her.

Read more: Going Through a Challenging Period

After a few months of living with her, I got a job of bartending. One night I was going to drive home for Thanksgiving break and knew I had to stay awake. I bought something that could help, started driving, got scared of cops, stuck the straw in the gram bag, and snuffed it all in, overdosing and immediately giving me a seizure.

My car went across the 2 lane road, and down a huge hill, onto somebody’s property who had huge ranch acres of land. My small car wrapped around a huge tree. I must have had my radio on loud enough to annoy one of the daughters living there, to come outside and find my car. I will always thank God for the woman who lived there. She came out, saw me, looked in my wallet to call my parents and worked around not only the police force and the medical EMT’s. I had to be medically induced into a 2-week coma, even though I was already out. I hit the steering wheel and hurt my left eye that thank God I still have. I fractured my pelvis, my brain hemorrhage was above my neck and in the upper right part of my brain. I thank God every day that my “traumatic” is not as bad as it could have been.

My face is still pretty and recognizable to all people who know, and or love me, and I can walk on my own. Cognitively I’m fine. Because the hit was on the right parietal motor function area of my brain, the left side of my body’s motion is affected outwardly. My left side of my face I had to practice evening out to the other, my left arm, and hand are paralyzed. And I have really awful tone spasticity everywhere from my TBI. So, my hand is curled up in this tight little fist which I’m happy that my fingernails don’t draw blood from my palm anymore. And I can only bend/curl my elbow inward.

Read more: I Have a Rare Condition that Prevents me from Having a Normal Life

My walking is so ugly. Though, I owe most of my determination and perseverance to my past athleticism, because, I taught myself how to walk again. Going to surgery for my Achilles tendon lengthening, which they call S.P.L.A.T saved my life. At the beginning of walking, I had my balance issues even with my cane. I had a lot of falls.

I was 28 years old when my crash occurred. I turned 30 in the hospital. I felt so ugly. I was a sad person I didn’t even know. I had no identity. I couldn’t wear certain clothes, or shoes of this AFO, so about 4 months ago, I decided I didn’t need it. I’m tough and determined still. I will never lose that. Now I am walking more and more normal in running shoes, for support. I still have foot drop that comes with post-TBI PT, but I want to wear whatever clothes I want to now, and look almost able-bodied. If weren’t for my arm and hand, I could at least pull off looking

I used to surf. The bikinis were my favorite thing to wear. In high school, I lived at the beach. It was divine, even during the hurricanes. When hurricanes came, they brought huge waves, so being that the majority of my friends were surfers, we made a hurricane party. That was basically my life before TBI. Now, not so much. Friends? That’s laughable. ZERO! New exciting adventure? NOPE. Going outside to have fun even on a weekend? WITH WHO?

Read more: Accepting My Disability

I have become a recluse to subsequently develop Anthropophobia – the fear of people. I was always that girl who felt like they were missing out on something. I had this need to be social, entertaining people. I was constantly making people laugh. Now, I’m not funny anymore. I’m not sure if I even want to make new friends. Especially never go on any dates ever again. I don’t think I’ll ever get married.

It’s funny in a way how I was so rebellious about not living with my parents all through my teens, to now having, liking, wanting, and needing to live with them now. But here I am 37yrs old, no career, no one to talk to, no outside activity, no drivers license. I am a complete LOSER! I hate myself so much. At least I don’t think about suicide every day anymore.

I taught myself some special exercises and stretches to help whatever I felt most bothersome. After being through with PT, I kind of had to self diagnose. Thank goodness for all those years I spent practicing medical training. Now I’m working very hard to find a career that I can be successful and happy and physically able to do, eventually getting a drivers license, and maybe living on my own in the next decade.

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