No two brain injuries are alike, that's what makes it so difficult.

Brain injuries change everything, from being properly diagnosed to finding treatment that is effectively tailored specifically to your needs, taking into account your OWN individual injury. There is so much information that isn't currently available and most doctors have little experience in this area.

The first question you or your caregivers should ask your doctor: "Do you have any patients /have you treated anyone with TBI?" If they say "No", or "What is TBI?", then move on to the NEXT doctor.

I had no help and just like any other survivor, from abandonment and losing myself from the reality I once knew. Nothing about brain injury is pretty. Nothing gets better, before it gets worse, which is why it is important to understand the importance of teaming up with one another so we can help ease the most catastrophic event in our life.

In fact the hardest thing is acceptance. Not only by yourself but also the ones around you. This one aspect may be your greatest challenge. However I wish I had someone guiding me, I didn't, I had to figure it out while losing every last speck of who I was to find myself where I am.

My goal for Handle with LoVe is simple: see a need and fill it. And leave no man (woman or child) behind.

I am here to serve you and help you transition to create the new normal we all need to find. I am a resource specialist and though I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist or counselor, I am a survivor that can guarantee help. If I do not know myself how to break down some obstacles you face, I likely have someone within my network of medical professionals, parents and survivors who can help.

First things first: BREATHE ~ You Are NOT Alone.

Next, follow these steps for survivors:

  1. The first thing you tell a doctor is that you have had a traumatic brain injury, so the most effective protocol can be established. If your doctors do not have experience in treating TBI or currently treating patients, please, please take my advice and find one that does. This can save you time, money and often misdiagnoses.

  2. Remember we know little about the brain: so don't be the patient a doctor uses to learn what TBI involves.  "TBI"-Traumatic Brain Injury, "BI"- Brain Injury, ABI- Acquired Brain injury- these are JUST recently becoming recognized. In the field of medicine, brain Injury as been treated symptomatically, thus not being treated or diagnosed properly.

  3. Create a team and network-  you will need it to cover all aspects of your emotional, spiritual, financial and physical needs. A lot of care will be needed long term which usually a survivor and family are not prepared for or have the means. There are several areas in recovery that will not take just days or weeks, but years. This may be a lifelong condition, and you will need help.

  4. Get as much knowledge so you are able to be your own advocate:
    NEVER go to the doctor alone. You need to ask permission to record or have someone take notes for you because you will forget. Caregivers and family: you will get overwhelmed and simply shut down, you always need to make a chain of events or a daily log. Doctors will change.

  5. Make sure you always take notes and ask for a copies of your medical information so you can start understanding your brain, your injury, and your recovery.

  6. Keep track of every thing you are feeling and recording even something as simple as "the air smells different today" is important.

  7. Seek out and join a a local support group. GO! Introduce yourselves as friends caregivers, survivors,etc. It will be the BEST source for questions, support, connection both medicinally and emotionally.

  8. Get a mentor so they can help facilitate and communicate care and treatments beyond the limited time a doctor has to spend with you. Often you go home after long day of tests and you can't remember what the doctor said and more importantly convey your recovery clearly and effectively so they can better serve you.

Fact Sheets

Resource Links

Emergency Help

To report abuse and neglect, including self neglect, of an adult, call the your local division of Adult Protective Services. 

Anyone person regardless of age or gender can be a victim of domestic abuse. Call the Domestic Abuse Hotline for support and assistance 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Brain Injury in the Media

BEHIND THE MASK

Revealing the Trauma of War

Thousands of soldiers and veterans are suffering from some level of traumatic brain injury (TBI), mostly as a result of exposure to blast events. See the images, the art, and learn more through National Geographic: Healing Soldiers Art & Stories

UPDATE: ON MARCH 28, 2017, THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS EXPANDED THE CREATIVE FORCES PROGRAM BY ADDING FOUR CLINICAL SITES TO THE EXISTING SEVEN SITES THAT PROVIDE ARTS THERAPIES FOR SERVICE MEMBERS, VETERANS, AND FAMILIES DEALING WITH TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES (TBI) AND POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD).

Brain Injury in film

It's amazing and heartwrenching but for those friends and family who just don't "get it", these movies themed around traumatic Brain Injury can help to really paint a picture. Let's face it, people have a hard time believing something they can not see.

I hope the information and videos on this page will help family and friends to understand how the life we once knew is gone and creating the "New Normal" is something we must immediately work towards to give us the best chance of functioning.