Brain Injury 101

This diagram gives me chills (both figuratively and literally) as it explains precisely how brain injury works.  Its alright to have any or all of these feelings when navigating through recovery.  The key is to explain to your support network how you feel when frustration and discomfort set in.  Professionals are also a great resource if physical and emotional problems persist.

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The Trail Never Ends

As with the path to recovery, rehabilitation is infinite to the mind that strives each day to get better.  As I reflect back to my early days post surgery, nothing worked.  My arms, my legs, my fingers, my sight, my mouth, and my short term memory were all affected by the hemorrhagic stroke.  There was no place to start other than at the beginning.  I had no idea what a journey this would turn out to be.  I was frustrated, confused, and scared in this new environment.  That was until the professionals around me started to put an action plan in place.  It was my job to set goals and stick to the plan.  Results came slow (sometimes dreadfully slow).  But the long term vision began to play itself out and I started to feel my body figuring out the means to adapt.  I was starting to mend.  The key was to keep going!  Fight for small wins each day.  Each piece of this convoluted puzzle in recovery has a place.  Dig in and don’t stop!  Set goals and stick to them.  Find your purpose and rediscover your quality of life!

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Blasted Trail Construction!

Insert annoyed pout face here!  Portions of Katy trail are closed for the foreseeable future in order to install surface upgrades.  Man, this is a kick in the pants for my daily exercise regiment.  I’ll figure out an alternative route for now.  It will be worth the wait…THIS HYPE BEST BE WORTH THE WAIT KATY TRAIL FRIENDS!

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Long Work Hours Could Increase Stroke Risk

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/03/long-work-hours-could-increase-stroke-risk-heres-what-can-help.html

Before my Hemorrhagic Stroke, I was completely guilty of this. Long days in the office were my norm. The stressful commute to and from home didn’t help matters either. I loved the pace! There is no doubt about it, but at times, I definitely over did it in my professional career. I didn’t sleep enough, my diet was crap during the day, and my exercise routine (or lack there of) was a bit off balance back then. I cared far more about making money and impressing my bosses other than focusing on my health. Both my marriage and overall quality of life suffered from my lifestyle.

After my stroke, the reality set in which went over like a lead balloon! My doctors and therapists all figured out rather quickly that I put my work before just about everything. They also informed me that my life was going to become very different because of brain injury. Sleep and downtime would become critical as my brain began to repair itself itself. Let me just say that the transition was not easy! I refused to put my work aside as my body started to heal itself in my rehabilitation hospital. As a result, the set backs began to pile up due to my stubbornness to adapt to my disability. I was so afraid of what the future had in store for me professionally that I bloke out the reality that I was very, very sick at the time.

Looking back on it all, I should have made my therapy the #1 priority rather than getting back to work as quickly as possible. Much time was needed for the body and brain to adjust to my new surroundings. Getting well after traumatic brain injury is a process. It sucks and I didn’t want to hear any of it back then, but its a process. It’s a long, slow, and at times frustrating process. One aspect of therapy that I was able to repurpose from my professional life was the ability to set goal for myself (both long and short term) in the hospital. I made a game out of it of sorts and my job was to figure out how to get back as much as I possibly could in there. I enjoyed the challenge of it all even though the situation was life altering. In time, the pieces started to fall into place and I did get back to the company that I loved so much.

I realize the article focuses on work related stroke risk, but this topic has been on my mind for a while. Find a healthy balance between work and play!

About

My name is Jonathan Miller. I am 42 years old living in Dallas, Texas. On February 22 of 2006, while living in Central New Jersey, I was to undergo brain surgery to remove a benign mass, which was discovered (more on this to follow) on the right temporal lobe of my brain. Though the surgery was successful in removing the mass, a blood vessel located on the Thalamus was hit at an unknown point during the procedure. The “bleed” was neither noticed by the surgeons, nor documented, nor discussed in post surgery discussions. In the immediate days that followed, we all knew that something was wrong…and this is where my journey begins…

Introduction:

I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea what the term “stroke,” meant until it seemed to hit me over the head with a sledgehammer when I was 28 years old. And In those first few days after the surgery, a wave of panic, confusion, frustration, fear took hold of me. It’s a feeling that I will never forget–a feeling that most will never understand, not unless you’ve been there.

In the agonizing days and weeks and months that followed the surgery, the truth was that I didn’t know if I was making true gains to get back to the life that I once lived or if all these medical professionals were simply getting me prepared for a new life in a completely different body. I simply wanted to hear an honest answer, yet I never seemed to get one. At several points though my recovery, I felt like I was alone in this journey. Now granted, I had an enormous network of family and friends that rallied for my campaign back to health but on my lowest of days–especially in the rehabilitation hospital I just wanted to talk to someone who experienced this. I needed someone who could give me guidance on what to expect. But more than anything, I wanted someone to get me motivated to recover and press on.

I don’t have all the answers, but I have lived it. Everyday of my life revolves around it. Recovery takes a long time and the results vary from survivor to survivor. I’m convinced that it’s all about what you put into it mentally and physically and with the people that you surround yourself with as well. This site is intended to inspire survivors, coach the caregivers, and maybe even teach a thing or two to the professionals.

After seven years, I started speaking out [www.outstroken.com]. If you, a loved one, a friend, or a colleague need a resource for recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury or stroke, I hope you find this site encouraging and inspiring.