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How I improved my quality of life


Guest Lifelines Dallas
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Guest Lifelines Dallas

Who I am: I am a brain injury survivor. At age 38, I am seven years post brain aneurysm rupture and brain surgery. I had a motor vehicle accident (MVA) 10 years prior to my rupture and sustained a mild traumatic brain injury. In September 2007, I had another MVA that resulted in concussion.

In my effort to restore my quality of life, I have spent the past 7 years researching the brain, brain function and better brain health. As a result of my efforts, I have successfully remediated my brain injury. I advocate for the brain injury community and facilitate a brain injury support group. All this to say that I’ve walk in the same brain injured shoes. I have struggled for the last 7 years to restore my quality of life and it my hope that by sharing what I have learned, your recovery time will be considerably shorter.

Things I had difficulty with that led me to understand I had brain functioning problems:

1. I looked through old picture albums. I could remember the events but could not remember what I learned from them. I discovered later that I had severe long term memory loss in addition to short term memory loss. This meant that I couldn't learn anything new, because the human brain relies on the experience of the past and then applies the memory to the present in order to plan for the future.

2. I looked at the clouds, but couldn't turn the clouds into shapes, things, animals, etc. I had lost the ability to imagine.

3. People commented that I had a "flat effect†e.g. inability to express emotions.

4. When I tried to perform a task I could easily do before the brain injury, I felt as though I ran into a mental brick wall. I was asking my brain to do something it couldn't do.

5. I tried counting backwards from 100 in series of 7’s out loud with someone checking my answers. I had trouble with this, and was later told my executive function had been affected.

How I remediated my brain injury and restored my quality of life:

1. Evaluation by a neuropsychologist. This involved a battery of tests that pinpointed a majority of my cognitive deficits. I also had neurocognitive rehabilitation, but in hindsight, it would have been better to wait before beginning this therapy until I had completed the other therapies that restored my brain function. Neurocognitive rehabilitation restores some brain function, but it largely teaches compensatory strategies.

2. Evaluation by a Tomatis (listening therapy) specialist.

3. Evaluation by an occupational therapist specializing in sensory integration issues.

4. Evaluation by a neuro optometrist or another vestibular specialist who ran the following tests: Visual Evoked Potential, Otoacoustic emissions, platform posturography, vestibular-ocular reflex function test (VAT), electronystagmography (ENG).

5. Evaluation by a qualified neurofeedback specialist. Neurofeedback helped restore my higher level functioning.

6. Acupuncture treatments. Acupuncture helped restore the subconscious processes to my brain.

7. Periodic sessions with a psychotherapist/neuropsychologist who has experience with brain injury.

8. Evaluation by a neuro endocrinologist for possible hormonal dysfunction. More information about these issues can be found at by googling neuroendocrine+pituitary or neuroendocrine+brain injury.

I also had my Vitamin D levels checked – 25 OH and 1,25. My deficiency resulted in mineral metabolism issues.

9. I came to realize that medication was negatively affecting my cognition/brain function and blocking the natural healing processes of my brain/body with added toxicity. I concentrated on better nutrition and constructed a diet that aided in my healing process.

10. Participate in a brain injury support group.

I hope the information in this thread is of use to you. The therapies mentioned helped me remediate my brain injury; however, it is important to note that every person and therefore every brain is different. What worked for me might not work for you. As brain injured individuals, what we can do is believe that brain injury can be remediated and find the therapies that work for us, believe in ourselves, learn to listen to our bodies and see the miracles in everyday life. Always hope, keep the faith and know that a better life is possible.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

God bless,

Kimberly

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