Archive | March, 2017

#BrainInjuryAwarenessMonth: March Musings on the Brain Injury Journey

17 Mar

 Every March, I find myself thinking about the brain injury journey. Right now the whole idea of recovery is front and center for me and so many I speak with.

I was at a brain injury event a couple weeks ago and a young stroke survivor who, pre-brain trauma, was a teacher at a community college, asked me how long it took before I felt I recovered. Without hesitation, I surprised myself and replied:

You know what? I still feel like I fake it every single day.

Using the word recovery to represent an epic journey filled with big shifts that lead back to some idealized state makes me uneasy.

I guess some have miraculous healings and sudden flashes of recovery.

My brain injury journey was never about those big changes or the Earth-shattering breakthroughs. It was about small, breathtaking moments – ones that just seemed to materialize that represented another step forward.

I imagine that at one point I realized that the key was paying attention and noticing all the tiny shifts that added color, quality, and a bit of humanity back into my life. If I blinked I missed them. So, more than anything else, I needed to be present, with eyes wide open, to use these small shifts to move forward.

Meme.steps forward CO path.rec

As Mary Lanzavecchia, my valued writing partner and co-author, and I prepare to release our first joint effort, An Insider’s Guide to the Injured Brain: A workbook for survivors and those who support them, we have been diving deeply into recovery and what that means. We know that the process of writing An Insider’s Guide and creating the exercises to support the concepts lead us both to a new level of recovery however, that too was slow and sometimes painful.


So this March here is where I am.

I am more than good enough for today.

Tomorrow I anticipate being even better.

Imagine what next March will bring.

How do you view recovery?


#BrainInjuryAwareness Month and Cranium Crunches

10 Mar

From the beginning, Cranium Crunches has taken March and Brain Injury Awareness Month seriously. This is the time to raise the level of understanding about brain injury –the perfect time to get good information to those who need it.

It seems, however, that every March I find myself thinking, really hard, about the brain injury journey. This year, before sharing my current thoughts, I decided to get a little perspective and take a good look back to see how my message has changed over the past seven years.

That dive into the past was a beautiful exercise for me and before putting the 2017 version of my thoughts about the brain injury journey out there, here are three bits from pieces from past Brain Injury Awareness Months that showed me just how far I have come… but not really 😊!

Last year’s March self-reflection included this:

Dear Brain,
I am almost done grieving the losses
The loss of my keys, the loss of my words, the loss of where I fit in the world.
As peace sets in and I find a comfortable level to float
It really is time to honor, celebrate, and thank you for all I found.
Within your imperfections, I learned to listen closely
And I found my voice, calling me to action.
Within the fog I walked into a deeper understanding of what is around me
And I found the focus I needed to see the beauty right in front of me so much more clearly.
Within the confusion, I learned to look for clues in context
And I found the insight that comes with shifting my perspective.
Within the fear of doing it all wrong I heard the laughter
And I found the key to my survival.
Within the world of believing that no one could possibly understand I discovered a community
And I found my purpose.

With deep love and gratitude,


This piece of March 2015’s reflections jumped off the screen (entire selection here):

As I think about Brain Injury Awareness Month and those in midst of the fog, I am reminded of a few key things.

First, most of the time people with brain injuries look sooooo normal. It is those conditions that you can not see that are difficult for both those who are living them and those who are living with and caring for those who are living with them. Please, as my friend Kim Tackett says, Be Kind.

Second, living with, caring for, and cleaning up after someone with a TBI is a hard, thankless job. Patience, understanding, and then more patience works…most of the time.

Third, honor those who carry the load. My husband, my son, and a few trusted friends are freaking amazing human beings and I did not always remember to thank them but, I am now. Every chance I get.

Finally, embrace the imperfections in any way possible. My dear friend Kathie (one of those trusted friends mentioned above) still has a scarf I made for her as part of my recovery work. It is a symbol of my imperfections — it is uneven and has holes but every stitch was knitted with every bit of gratitude I could muster.

One of my favorite March musings to date is this sort of words to the wise piece from 2013:

So… as part of your journey into understanding the world of brain injury from the outside:

  • Listen, watch closely, and adapt to changes as they happen.
  • Drop assumptions and preconceived notions about how that person “should be”.
  • Slow down and think through your questions, especially when you get unexpected answers. Perspective, among so many other things, changes so it may take a while to find the right question.
  • Find those things that are difficult and create ways to practice those skills in a safe place. Games – board games, word games, car games, online games, apps – are ideal.
  • Think about how frustrating the changes are for you and now imagine having those same frustrations with no way to control your emotions or think your way out of them….
  • Find the experts as you need and support groups when you need.
  • Know that you will all come out differently – make the most of that and celebrate what you can.

Stay tuned for this year’s reflections!

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