Check out www.Jennifermosher.com

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A parable that improved my perspective

Shake It Off and Step Up!

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The water wasn't very deep, so the mule could stand on the bottom. The farmer heard the mule "braying" - or whatever mules do when they fall into wells.

After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened . . . and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical. But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back he should shake it off and step up!

This he did, blow after blow. "Shake it off and step up. . . shake it off and step up . . shake it off and step up," the old mule repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows or how distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up. It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of the well .

What seemed like it would bury him, actually helped him all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

That's life.

If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity . . . the adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the very real potential to benefit and bless us.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Did you know?

Every 15 seconds someone in the United States suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Of the 1,000,000 people treated in hospital emergency rooms each year, 50,000 die and 80,000 become permanently disabled because of TBI.


When I hear statistics like this, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I was not one of those 50,000 who died from TBI, and wonder why people aren't required to wear helmets in ALL sports and when driving more than 10 miles at one time.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm on a marketing rage

Marketing my book is more fun to me than was writing it. Maybe I should have picked marketing or PR as my college major?

I'm up really late tonight, I mean late since I already took a sleeping pill and I'm fighting my "need" to crawl in my bed, because I just sent my press release to two different people. One may have a connection with the Minneapolis Star Tribune Newspaper, and next week I have to call the AP office to find out who specifically I should send my information to at the Associated Press. This publishing thing is an entirely new world.

I learned, however, that most newspapers or magazine have a policy against writing a book review about a self-published book. Understandable but still dumb. So You have to find someone to write a feature story about you, and then mention your book at the end. I think this is how it works, but I'm learning as I go.

Anyone have any connections at any paper? Hey, I wonder if I should send my press release to a newspaper in Nebraska!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bad Brain Bleed

The other day I got a silly paper cut on my finger. It oozed blood a little, and just for a second, because I grabbed a paper towel to wipe the blood away. This got me thinking. My poor brain bled after my injury with no place to go, so it just swelled. The most damage happened from this swelling. I feel so lucky that I got medical attention quickly because if the swelling went on any longer...well, we won't go there.

(I hope I explained this correctly. It makes sense in my mind). Read the below link for a better explanation:

http://brainline.org/content/2009/11/ask-the-expert-what-happens-when-a-brain-bleeds.html

Thursday, October 29, 2009

INSPIRING - example of overcoming disabilities

Exercise helped him too! (admittedly I cried when I watched this)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A food that helps you sleep!


Fresh and dried cherries are one of the only natural food sources of melatonin, the chemical that controls the body's internal clock to regulate sleep. Researchers who tested tart cherries and found high levels of melatonin recommend eating them an hour before bedtime or before a trip when you want to sleep on the plane.

. . . on my way to the store to pick up some cherries. Sweet dreams!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bob Barker Donates USD 3 Million for Brain Injury Center

October 8, 2009

The price appears to be right for former game show host and naval aviator Bob Barker, who donated USD 3 million to help build a premiere Defense Department center for wounded warriors suffering traumatic brain injuries.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I've never been drunk, but this must be close

My eyes are starting to blur, and I literally just walked into the wall, and practically slipped down the staircase. This feeling is not the result of liquor, but rather it is because I just took my Ambien pill for the night. Go Ambien! I scream to everyone who will listen. Figuratively of course, because I feel super loopy right now. Typing on the computer is certainly not helping. My Sleep Specialist once said, "no computer before bed!" Alas, I've used the computer nearly every night before I go to bed. Yeah, I'm loopy tired right now. Which is such a beautiful feeling. I met Marla for dinner tonight and I explained to her that B.A (before Ambien) and A.A (after accident) I hadn't had a loopy, deep, filled with dreams sleep for over 14 years.

There's nothing worse than a restless, dreamless sleep, I tell you.

More people should put sleep on higher priority. I would babble more about this issue, but I'm looped of feeling so much loopiness. It's really hit me now, and I hope I made it safely into my bed. I love my bed. I wish I could marry it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Jennifer Mosher is ecstatic (I won I won I won)!

Thank you to everyone who ordered my book during the month of September because I entered the Lulu Sales Contest (the top three sellers of the month are recognized).

And guess what people? While waiting to exit my airplane seat, after a long-bumpy-I-feel-like-I'm-going-to-barf ride to Minnesota, I checked my email and almost flipped when I read the subject: CONGRATULATIONS FROM LULU.COM! The message inside said "You've won third place in the Lulu Author's Sales Contest!"

I don't know how many authors entered this contest or how many the other winners sold, but I WON I WON I WON (okay, third place is not really "winning" I guess, but I choose to revel in the moment!)

I'm going to send them a photo of me holding my book so they can post it on their website in conjunction with announcing September contest winners. My self-promotional marketing tour has begun!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"I've heard of you..."

...and that's a direct quote, which proves without a doubt that my grassroots marketing campaign is working!
Tonight I went to the brain injury support group meeting at Intermountain Neuro Rehab. The speaker was a physical therapist who specializes in neuro rehab. She's passionate about health and fitness, and so am I (which means I loved her presentation). After the meeting, I talked to her about my published book and she said, and I quote, "Wait! I've heard of you!"
This was like music to my ears because it means that the word is getting out. People in Utah's brain injury community have heard of me and my story. AND THIS, this is 100% the purpose of my book: to spread the word about brain injury. Okay, admittedly it's 90% of the purpose. The other 10% is for my own sanity, and for my own need as a human being to understand what happened to me, and to document my experience.

I sold three books tonight. Once people see my flashy cover, they are sold.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Only 7 more days to get 10% off...

Remember to order my book BEFORE 11:59 EST on September 30th to get 10% off your order!

order at www.Jennifermosher.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I am becoming a thick Amazon woman!!!

Please read the beautiful reviews on http://www.amazon.com/Smile-My-Forehead-Memoir-Injury/dp/0578013045/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253165435&sr=1-1

I'm so honored, and they make ME want to buy the book "The Smile on My Forehead: Memoir of My Life With a Brain Injury." (except I already own several copies)

Friday, September 11, 2009

...the market is booming!

Sorry to disappoint, but I don't mean the stock market. Nor do I mean the global market. I mean my MEMOIR MARKET!

My grassroots marketing plan is working!

1. A local book club is reading my book, and I'm presenting at their meeting
2. A reporter from Deseret News is going to read it. (Hopefully he'll write about it!)
3. Thanks to everyone who has written about it in their personal blogs or on their Facebook status
4. Now available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Smile-My-Forehead-Memoir-Injury/dp/0578013045/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252813229&sr=1-1
5. Copies available at the October Utah Brain Injury Association Conference
6. THREE Minnesota book signings
7. http://www.brainline.org/content/2009/09/the-smile-on-my-forehead.html
8. October 6 appearance at Sister Kenny Institute in Minneapolis

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Yesterday in San Francisco ... I really hurt myself!




Not in a bad way. I mean usually this is the kind of hurt I love. Call me crazy, but it's the kind of hurt that comes with lifting weights or after a really good, long run (I hate running, so I don't know why I even used that example). I like to hurt my muscles with exercise. Good. Strong. Fitness.

But, today I feel like someone whipped me with a metal jack-hammer. Theoretically, I guess someone did. Except this wasn't your typical jack-hammer. This weapon was a 5'3 little Asian woman, born and raised in Thailand, who walked and pressed on my body with her feet. I'm not kidding. My bruised body is the result of a massage; a Thai Massage.

This woman, who barely spoke English, except when she said, "too much pressure?" after hearing me moan, and "you don't want pillow?" as I readjusted the pillows and blanket underneath me.

I'm your biggest fan of massage. But, 90 minute Thai Massage? Not so much. I may feel differently if I'd taken the time to warm my muscles up for an hour or two just before my appointment.

OUCH. OUCH. OUCH. However, I feel the need to try it again. My mom and sister with me thought their massage was W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L. Why didn't I? Feeling jipped and physically hurt is all. I'm going to yoga soon. Maybe that will undo what she did and help to relax my tightened muscles.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Order my book TODAY for 10% off!

if you haven't already, you can order my book for 10% off at by entering LULUBOOK
at
http://www.lulu.com/content/6145926

Please order? I'm in a sales contest for the month of September. I win great recognition if I sell more books than anyone else in the contest. Only. for. September.
(sorry, $5 download won't help me win the contest).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I can't believe I didn't blog about this before!

Today is Thursday August 27, 2009 and I can't believe I didn't think to blog five days ago on Sunday, August 23, 2009 because theoretically it was a very special day in my life; a very momentous day to be exact.

August 23rd is the FIFTEEN year anniversary of my car accident! Fifteen years ago I lie comatose in a hospital bed, with a two fractured femurs, my neck fractured in two places, and four mangled, busted toes, not to mention a very serious Traumatic Brain Injury, and not expected to even make it through the night. Yet, here I am. Sprawled across my big, beautiful, red couch, typing away on my laptop. Talk about feeling blessed. Talk about feeling lucky. I'm living a FULL life, working hard, hoping to make my mark on the world, and I feel like I should never complain about anything, ever. Ever again. Any issue, any bump in the road, any struggle is just minor compared to my state fifteen years ago...

How's that for perspective?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Double-Chocolate Bran Muffins (another healthy recipe)!

Double-Chocolate Bran Muffins
3 C wheat bran (divided)
1 C boiling water
2 C buttermilk
2 eggs
1 ½ C sugar
1 C canned pumpkin
2 ½ C flour (I used whole wheat)
½ C cocoa powder (I used dark chocolate)
2 ½ C tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 C chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)

Measure 1 C bran and 1 C boiling water into large bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add buttermilk, eggs, sugar, and pumpkin. Whisk until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine flour, remaining 2 C bran, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until combined.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients gradually, while mixing gently. Add chocolate chips. Spray muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min. Cool in pan for 5 min, then remove and place on wire racks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My personal memoir is DONE (that's right - finished/complete/you can purchase it right here!)



My BIG day has finally come! I'm screaming with excitement. Buy yours right now at:

http://www.lulu.com/content/6145926





Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lack of sleep = misery



Of course, this is a true equation for anyone.

Life just feels worse when your tired. Cognitive deficits are further aggravated with fatigue, which brings me to my main point: I'm not thinking very well today, because I DIDN'T SLEEP VERY WELL AT ALL LAST NIGHT.
It's my new sleep medication (no more Ambien, as it stopped working), and I'm having an allergic reaction to this new stuff. I swallow the pill, feel tired, lay in my bed, and then my sinus' clam up so badly, I can barely breathe. It's miserable. Call me crazy, but I can't sleep if I can't breathe! What happened to my blissful sleep?
Excuse me while I go eat something healthy for an energy boost so I can make it through my day. I'm so tired, and I wonder how I think I'm going to be able to walk today in my pink pumps (they are very cute though!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jennifer express irritation with snail mail


ARRRGGGHHH! Picture yelling, screaming, flaying arms from side-to-side incessently. That's me trying to wait patiently for my proof copies in the mail. SNAIL MAIL. It's so slow. Am I over-reacting? I received an email from the publisher that my order was shipped on July 30th. Today is August 4. Okay, okay I AM over-reacting. It's only been four days (giggle giggle). I guess it's just an indication of my excitement that any day now, I will officially be a published author.
I'm a sore loser at the waiting game!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Last night at B.I.G...

I'm always amazed by other survivors at the Brain Injury Group (hence the name B.I.G).
This is a support group for Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors. My group meets in Murray, UT and is hands-down the best one in the valley. I love hearing everyone's comments because I always think, "I feel like that too!"
Last night one comment in particular caught my attention. A survivor said, "I'm 5 years post-injury and I don't remember what I was like before (the injury). I mean, I remember, but I don't think about it at all because I am who I am today, and I must go forward with that." Don't take that as an exact quote, but that's the gist of what he said.
It got me thinking. First off, he is 5 years post-injury. I'm almost 15 years! When I was 5 years out (think year 1999!), the effects of my injury were all consuming. I constantly tried to do things that aggravated my brain injury (things like too much info at once, spending time in large crowds, traveling to foreign places, and never-ever getting a full night's sleep). I lived my life as I knew how, and how I knew was from experience - from the way I was pre-TBI. And I'm not that woman. After years (at least 10) of learning how to accept how my injury had changed me, I can finally say that I feel 100% exactly like him.
I don't think about it at all because I am who I am today, and I must go forward with that.
WORDS TO LIVE BY. AMEN!

Monday, July 27, 2009

PUBLISHING: so close I can smell it.

Today I received my "proof" book in the mail. Check it. Check it. Check it. That's what I've been working on. I found two formatting errors, so NOW I have to WAIT for the publisher to fix it and then my dream will become a reality.

After five years...my short, little memoir will be available for purchase! I'm so excited - I love the front cover and the back cover. It's bright yellow - which at first I couldn't stand but now I think it's perfect, and reminds me of a smiley face sticker. Bright. Happy. Smiley. Positive. I wonder if you'll think my book is positive. Please let me know! Check my blog or website www.Jennifermosher.com for the official announcement, which is just days away!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Need a good laugh?

I laughed out loud so hard while watching this, I think I busted a rib.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

StraightFromScratchGranolaBars

Homemade Granola Bars

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Ingredients (use whatever kind of nuts you want. I used slivered almonds instead of peanuts, and added pumpkin seeds. I also used xylitol in place of the brown sugar. I also added roughly 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips):

* 2 cups oats
* 3/4 cup wheat germ
* 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
* 1 cup peanuts, crushed
* 2/3 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 cup honey
* 4 Tbsp butter
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
* approximately 8 oz. dried fruit

Crush your peanuts, put them in a plastic bag and smash them with a heavy mallet.

Then, mix the peanuts, oats, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds in a baking dish with sides. Toast them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that they don’t get burned.

Line a glass 11x13 glass baking dish with waxed paper, lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray.

Put the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Mix the grains, the liquid “glue,” and the dried fruit.

Mix everything REALLY WELL because you want to make sure the “glue” gets all over everything. Now, dump your granola mixture into your prepared baking dish.

Spread out the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Now fold over the sides of the waxed paper or add a sheet on top, and PRESS HARD all over the granola. You want to compact it together so that your bars won’t fall apart when you cut them.

Wait 2-3 hours or until the granola has totally cooled. Then, open the waxed paper …

And carefully turn the granola onto a large cutting board, peeling away the rest of the paper. Now, firmly pressing down with a big knife (not sawing), cut your granola into whatever size bars you’d like.

Wrap individual bars into plastic wrap.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Homemade Granola Bar Recipe - wait, nevermind

Today I found a recipe for homemade granola bars (on another blog) and my friend Britta and I just returned from Whole Foods after buying all the ingredients. I was going to write about the recipe here, but I just took my Am-bless-ien and YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS if I don't lay down to sleep right away after taking it...(I have a difficult time falling asleep EVER during the night and the next 48 hours become nothing but torture). So, alas, nevermind, I'm going to make them in the morning and blog about it later.

Was that too much information; a stupid thing to even write about? My eyes feel like they're sinking into my head right now which means I better close them and say GOOD NIGHT!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This generation won't grow up practicing the Moonwalk in their homes ...



Who from my generation didn't have at least one Michael Jackson album cover hanging on their bedroom wall?

It's the end of an era. Did you know that Thriller was preserved by the Library of Congress to the National Recording Registry, as it was deemed "culturally significant?"

Although I was able to watch only part of Michael Jackson's funeral today, I thought it was incredibly moving. I loved seeing John Mayer in a suit, as well as his entire family each wearing one white glove. That may sound like I'm being sarcastic, but I'm not. Actually, I feel sad that MJ is gone, and sad that I was never one of those kids with the Thriller album cover hanging in my bedroom. Proudly, I can still do The Moonwalk.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It was an emotional wallop movie!


My mom and I saw a movie last night (Mom and Dad Mosher are visiting Utah for the holiday, staying in Park City). AND WOW, IT GOT ME THINKING!

The Movie: My Sister's Keeper (with Cameron Diaz)
The Story: Girl sick with Leukemia. Parents genetically engineer another child to be a "perfect match" donor for her.

Ultimately, this child sues her parents for the legal rights of her own body, so she doesn't have to be a donor anymore. Much of the movie is spent in the hospital while the mom (Cameron Diaz) and the doctor are trying to heal her. The story-telling is a bit choppy (back and forth, before and after current time, etc), but it still has some powerful scenes that really got me thinking about my own experience in the hospital.

The lawyer that helps the daughter who sues her parents, we find out later, does it because he has Epilepsy. We watch him have an Epileptic episode outside the courtroom, with a voice over of his client making a poignant realization -- one that I completely relate to! She said (something to the effect of), "That's why he took my case, because he knows what it's like to have something that makes you different." He has Epilepsy, her sister has Cancer.

I have a Traumatic Brain Injury. Similarly, I feel like this is something which makes me different. Anyway, I gotta go meet my parents up in PC now, so if you are reading this and you honestly don't know what I mean when I say that a Traumatic Brain Injury makes me different, then please read my upcoming memoir (because I don't have the energy to explain it all right now).

I'll definitely post on my blog when you can buy it (it will be available only online).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm back. Loving. Ambien. Again.

I'm happy to report that the Ambien advice I found on the internet (see previous post) is 100% correct! Empty Stomach + Immediate bed rest = blissful Ambien sleep

To be more specific, I crawled into bed at 10:30 PM last night, awoke at 6:00 AM this morning, and I must have R.E.M'd a normal amount because I feel so great today that I even went on a three hour hike at 8 AM.

Jennifer Mosher thinks life is fantastic (when she gets enough sleep).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ambien Tricks

What happened to my blissful seven hours of uninterrupted sleep? I thought Ambien had fixed my problem. But, last night was miserable. I barely slept FIVE hours and when I woke up, it took me forever to return to sleep. I don't think I ever really did fall back asleep. UGH! I lay in my bed...and lay there...lay there, practically twiddling my thumbs, feeling so tired, wondering why WWWHHHHYYYY I couldn't fall asleep. I felt like I was locked inside a torture chamber.

So I did some googling about Ambien, and I found the following quote, written by another Ambien user:


"I have taken for 1 years. I am 57 years old. Works great if I take it on an empty stomach, and get right into bed. If you take it and try to keep yourself awake, you can override the pill and be up all night."


Last night I did not have an empty stomach when I took Ambien, and I messed around on my computer just after I swallowed - hoping to get extra tired, thinking I'd sleep more deeply. Alas, my night of slumber was not so.

Therefore, TONIGHT I commit to going to bed with an empty stomach, and I will swallow the pill just before I lay down my head (usually I don't feel that tired for about ten minutes), and we'll see if this advice works!!

Until tomorrow...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sleep is highly underrated

The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

I love that quote! F. Scott Fitzgerald speaks with complete accuracy. I totally don't understand these people who say they don't need very much sleep, they can get by on six hours or less per night. I mean, c'mon! The human body needs sleep to operate. In effect, I feel like I haven't been operating very well for the last like 14 years. I've tried and tried to sleep better - orthopedic pillows, diet, exercise, and all of this helped some, but not enough. The real kicker in my search for a better sleep is AMBIEN. I know I've blogged about this before, but it's 9:30 P.M and I'm so tired, have such a craving for sleep, that I just took my Ambien sleeping pill and my eyes are drooping and starting to blur. So, away, I must go to my pillow and have sweet dreams (I've been dreaming more with Ambien with means I'm sleeping deeper). I feel like an entirely new woman now that I usually get a normal, deep sleep at night. I'm so happy. This brings me to one more quote:

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night's sleep. ~E. Joseph Cossman

Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm admittedly impatient

So, today is Thursday, June 19th. Did I not say (above) that I sent my manuscript to the publisher on Monday, June 8th? That's a week and a half ago, and I'm anxiously waiting for a return email from them with my formatted document attached. They've already formatted it before, and I changed some things, so I sent in for a re-do. The only reason I'm saying this is because if they already have the manuscript "mostly" formatted and just have to change a few things, it should take that long, right?

WRONG!

I'm self-publishing through a print on demand company (POD) and let me tell you that self-publishing is NO LONGER a novelty. They have hundreds of books to publish. Anyway, I'm assuming this is why it's taking so long (aside from the fact that a week and a half isn't really so long, but I'm totally impatient because this memoir has been my extended project for an eternity now).

Tomorrow could be my lucky day.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My memoir...

Yesterday (Monday, June 8) I officially "let go" of my need to edit and re-write my book, and sent it to the publisher. Admittedly, I've reached this point before and "thought" I was finished, but alas, I found spelling mistakes and other errors, so I put a halt to the publishing thing and tried to fix it.

I want friends, family, and strangers to be able to say, "yeah, I get it! I get what it's like to live with a Traumatic Brain Injury" after finishing my book. I also want other TBI Survivors to understand that they are not alone (5.3 million Americans)! I hope I reach my goal, and you will feel this way. You'll have to let me know, whoever you are reading this.

My book is Print on Demand, so you have to buy it online. I'll post a purchase link on my website www.Jennifermosher.com and also on this blog.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Community Food Co-op of Utah (I'm a fan, thanks Kate)

As a child, I remember my mom saying things like, "I'm going to pick some stuff up at the Food Co-op" -- It was a store, a place we went to buy healthy, fresh produce. So, when I heard about "The Community Food Co-op of Utah," I assumed it was the same thing.It's not a store in Utah, it's a location where you pick up a box of fresh food -- straight from the farmer!
"Sounds cool," I thought. But I never got around to signing up (although I know a few other people who participate). That is, until I read Kate Wheeler's blog about it. She talked about all the great food she got, for really cheap. Recently, I've admitted that I spend a ridiculous amount of money on food - - eating out etc, and I'm too embarrassed to admit how many times I go to the grocery store per week, bottom-line, I'm trying to cut back).
The exciting thing is that I joined the food co-op and this month you'll never believe what I got!

1. one loaf of fresh bread
2. three zucchini
3. 16 oz brown rice
4. six apples
5. one 5 lb bag potatoes
6. three melons
7. mushrooms
8. eight bananas
9. asparagus
10.four fresh, whole artichokes
11. a bunch of radishes

phew! I think that's all of it. There's so much, I don't know how I'm going to finish it all. What do you do with radishes? I have no idea (I'll have to get creative).
The best part is that ALL of this only cost me $15! Can you believe it? I'm already planning tomorrow's meals...

If you are interested in taking part in this fabulous, fresh food co-op, go to: http://www.foodco-op.net/

(the below video is NOT from the Utah Food Co-op, but it gives a better understanding of the philosophy behind it).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm in Tahoe now (South, CA side!)

I arrived in Reno on Sunday May 24th. Today is Thursday, May 28th and I feel like the "vacation part" of this vacation has just begun. I mean the lazy, let's relax by the pool or watch tv kind of vacation.
Sunday night, we hung out with my cousin Melanie and her husband Sal. Monday morning, we left Tahoe and landed in Sacramento where my brother and his four kids met us at The California State Railroad Museum (the boys LOVE trains). After chasing kids and eating too much Mexican food at some local restaurant, we (as in my parents and I) decided to drive to Danville and stay at Brent's house for two days, to spend more time with the kids. Tuesday we went to Charlie's last T-ball game, Wednesday we went to Rachel and Lauren's "Heroes" presentation at school (they are in 2nd grade, and had to give a short memorized information bit about someone who has changed the world. Rachel was Rachel Carson and Lauren was Rosa Parks).
Anyway, now that I have my kid fill for a short while (I miss them already), we are back the hotel in Tahoe. Hopefully, I can hike in the morning because I haven't done any of that yet!
Alas, none of the Moshers are good at sitting around, doing nothing. So, I've been doing my final edit on the memoir (my goal is to send it to the publisher on Monday). I'm not much of a "lounge" vacationer - I like to do stuff.

SO, SORRY THAT WAS A TOTAL TRAVEL LOG.

IMPORTANT: I made a decision to avoid white flour 100% for the next month (my birthday is an exception. I will probably eat cake then). I've made it 24 hours thus far, and already I feel a difference.

DO YOU think I can make it the full month?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

For the beauty of the earth

Tonight I went hiking up to Donut Falls. It started to rain a little, but said a silent prayer, asking for it to stop raining.

And do you think it stopped? OF COURSE!!!!!!!!!!!!! I smell like wet grass and camping; the two most potent smells while we were there. I love that smell. I also love the smell of camping. I used to say I hate camping, but I'm trying to change my ways. I used to hate camping for the following reasons:

1. Inexperience. The first time I went camping in a tent was after college (aside from the time Brent and I pitched a tent in our backyard when we were kids).
2. My sleep disorder. (I can't stay asleep, and wake up to the quietest sound. A chirping bird ruins me). HOWEVER, this problem is obliterated, thanks to AMBIEN.
4. No desire. (they say change starts with desire).

WHO VOLUNTEERS TO TAKE ME CAMPING?? someone has to provide the tent, and I'll do the Dutch Oven.
For real, let me know!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Night Jam Session

And I certainly don't mean like JAMMING on my guitar...

I'm talking about JAMMING on my book. Geez, each time I say I'm finished, I find one more spelling mistake or one more misused word, so I have to edit, edit, and edit some more.

Recently, I realized that I've been trying to edit the whole thing on my computer, which is completely ridiculous because I can't see the entire picture on my little laptop. So, Kinkos is getting the best of me and I'm printing the whole thing (for my edits). I'm currently on page 99 and it's 156 pages (minus Dr. White's foreword, the Preface, the TOC, the Copyright, my acknowledgments, and my Disclaimer).

So, Happy Friday Night--my booty is already sore from sitting on it, laptop resting on my knees. I'm hungry so I might need a break soon.

Monday, May 4, 2009

How to up your cultural understanding

Step one: attend many local cultural performances in one month.

Step two: see the same performance twice so as to better remember the details of the experience.

Step three: at least three different performance styles must be seen during the month (for example, you can't go to all dance performances. Try one theatre, one dance, one concert).

The above list is from first-hand experience. Tonight I just returned from attending my 5th cultural experience in less than three weeks! Yes, I said 5! Count 'em 5:

1. April 17th: Utah Symphony
2. April 24th: Ririe Woodbury Modern Dance
3. April 26th: Wicked at The Capitol Theater
4. May 3rd: Utah Chamber Artists at the Cathedral of the Madeleine
5. May 4th: Utah Chamber Artists again

I feel so uplifted and happy from taking advantage of the local arts and humanities again, that I decided to make it a permanent fixture in my life. I commit to have at least two cultural experiences per month. More is better, but I don't want to become too overly-zealous with my goal that I set my self up for failure. Besides, culture gets pricey. I'll blog about my experiences here (which gives me something else to write about besides How a Traumatic Brain Injury has changed my life).

Thursday, April 30, 2009

How did I survive my life B.A?

And no I'm not talking about my Bachelor's of Arts degree. Life B.A. stands for life BEFORE AMBIEN.

Tonight I went to dinner with Alisa (my neighbor and friend), and I described a specific night several months ago when my already exhausted self had to stay up far too late. I was tired. Irritated. Ornery. Unhappy. But, "that was before Ambien," I explained. She laughed and suggested I start describing events as B.A. or A.A. (before Ambien and after Ambien).

I'm sleeping so beautifully -now A.A- that I'm totally wondering how I actually survived B.A. Seriously. Imagine living your life with relentless cognitive exhaustion. That was me. Now I rarely reach cognitive exhaustion, and I feel incredible. I'm a new woman and willing to write commercials for Ambien.

The drug is my new best friend. I'm like a cheerleader.

Gimme an A. Gimme an M. Gimme a B. Gimme an I. Gimme an E. Gimme an N. What does it spell? AMBIEN. GOOOOO AMBIEN.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Something WICKED is not that way at all ...

Last night, my friend Wendy and I went to see WICKED at The Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake. It was absolutely spectacular! For some reason, I assumed I had purchased bad seats, but oh so not the case. Our seats were great and right on the main level, about row 15 (we sat way far stage left, but nothing to complain about). The performance was so wonderful, that Wendy and I cheered and screamed all the way home.

I felt alert the entire evening! This is one of four cultural experiences I'll have this month. Truth-be-told, the old Jennifer lived for cultural experiences. My friends and I were "kind of artsy." After all, I was a humanities major in college. I loved art museums and I assumed my future career would somehow include the arts (museum curator, art litigation attorney, writer for a community arts magazine, buyer for a theatre or museum gift shop - it's true, I considered everything) FYI, my career today does not any of these things.

But everything changed for me after my accident. My car crashed. My body crashed. My head crashed. Everything was broken and mangled. Thus, I honestly thought that parts of my personality were mangled too.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about: Approximately six years post-accident, I got third row seats to Mamma-Mia in Minneapolis at a very discounted price. I'm pretty sure it was Mamma-Mia, but I just had to call my mom and have her confirm because I can't remember. I was so cognitively overloaded and so tired during the performance, that I can't recall any of it. I literally remember sitting in my great seats, thinking, "I'm supposed be enjoying myself. Jennifer Mosher loves this kind of stuff, but I don't like being here right now." I feel like this during every cultural performance I've attended post-injury. In fact, a few years ago some friends and I went to New York City and I can't remember which Broadway performance we saw (surprisingly, I know that I saw CATS in NYC back in 1990 because that was pre-accident, and I remember nearly every cultural experience that I had pre-accident).

My point is this: I DID NOT FEEL THIS WAY LAST NIGHT AT WICKED! I'm 99.999% certain that this is due to my reformed Ambien self. Sleeping pills have changed me! This is no exaggeration. I'm sleeping longer and deeper, which makes me more alert and more like my old self during the day. It's wonderful. This month I've already attended The Utah Symphony, a Ririe-Woodbury modern dance performance, WICKED, and this weekend I'll see the Utah Chamber Artists. I've enjoyed every moment of every performance - just like I used to. I'm so happy because I really feel like finally my pre-injury self and my post-injury self are blurring into the same person!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My book + editing = nightmare

I don't think I understood entirely what I was getting into when I started this whole memoir writing project.

I write my story. I edit my story. I write. I edit. I write. I edit. It. Never. Ends.

I keep saying that this book is going to be the death of me, because it's never done, never good enough. Finally, I submitted it to the publisher thinking it was complete and good. Needless to say, I found multiple errors in the document (my errors) such as missing commas or inappropriately capitalized words. So I fixed what I could and resubmitted. But you can only fix ten errors at no charge, so I selected the most blatant mistakes (such as misspelled words) and I've embarrassingly left the others. Did I have a professional editor read the manuscript? No, (that costs a ridiculous amount of money and remember this is my personal project - self published on my own meager budget). Yes, I did have multiple friends read it and college writing professors. So it could have been much worse.

The most important aspect of my writing is that I SHOW NOT TELL, so I worried more about style than I did about grammar. Now I wish I would have worried more. As I said before, this book felt like it was going to be the death of me because I've put so much energy and heart into it. I reached a point where I just said, "Enough!!" and "It's done!"

Anyway, writing about my injury has been both daunting and helpful. It's helped me to understand exactly what happened to me, as I have little to no memory of several months after my car accident. It's overwhelming for the very same reason. I sometimes can't believe that I was injured so badly because most of the time I feel so good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Passion is the force behind the momentum of our lives.

Chapter 9 of the book "Magnificent Mind at Any Age," talks about passion. Passionate living, it says, is the soul of success. We must ignite our passions to light up the brain circuits that drive success. This whole chapter got me thinking about my own passions.
I'm a woman of purpose. I love having a purpose or responsibility. Once my dad told me, "Jen you're into whatever you're into." At the time that he said this I was young and changed my mind all the time about what I wanted (to do, to be, to have). I am driven by my dreams and goals. But I feel like my dreams and goals were changed after my injury (14 years and 8 months ago). At the time of my accident, I was driven by school and academic achievement and my yearning to have it all (good grades, good job, be physically fit, be social, and have tons of friends). In retrospect, I think I was becoming a little unbalanced, but I think balance should just come with age and experience--you learn over time what is really important and what makes you really happy.
I can feel this blog topic leaning in another direction and I'm about to start writing about how my brain injury has changed my life. So I need to stay on topic: my passion.
What is my passion?
Well, what I was trying to say with that whole off-topic, car accident thing, is that I feel like I lost a lot of my passion after my injury. I could no longer do things I did in the same way, at the same speed as I did them before. School was too hard, I had to sleep a lot, and I forgot everything all the time. Oh geez, there I go again. I can't help but define my life by my brain injury. So that being said, HERE ARE MY PASSIONS: (I'm a list person. I love lists. If only I could express everything about my life with a list):

1. People. I'm motivated by people. I love to make people happy (pretty much exclusively my family and close friends--I say that almost in jest because I consider most of my friends to be also close friends, and I have a lot of friends).
2. Health. SIX IMPORTANT WORDS: I. Love. To. Eat. Healthy. Food. And I love to exercise. I love the physical energy that results from combing healthy eating with physical fitness.
3. Food. This one only really counts if it is combined with one of the first two. I love to make food for people. I love to eat food with people (especially at restaurants). The best thing is to eat healthy food with friends.
4. Kids. I like kids. Especially if they are related to me. Everyone thinks their own kids are the cutest. I don't have my own kids (yet) so I'm going to say my brother's kids are the cutest and leave it at that.

TRY THIS ONE ON FOR SIZE
: Watching my brother's kids eat healthy food. That combines all four of my passions!

Monday, April 13, 2009

41 days and counting. . .


Until I visit Lake Tahoe for the very first time in my life!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I’m kind of a pretentious chef


I was asked to bring a dessert to Easter dinner tomorrow, and decided to make a fruit tart. Why didn't I think of just picking up an apple pie at Marie Callendar's? It's only a couple blocks from my home! Probably because I'm really not a pie fan. Second of all, I like to make really good food. Make. Good. Food. Those three words are synonymous when they're in the same sentence. I can't have one without the other. This is where the pretentious part comes in. It's not that I'm that picky of an eater. I'm a picky baker. There is a difference.
So I'm making a white chocolate fruit tart. I found the recipe on Allrecipes.com and everyone raves about it. Hopefully it will turn out.
Someone else could make a bad fruit tart and I wouldn't even bat an eyelash. But if I make and bring a bad fruit tart, I feel disappointed. I'm only pretentious about food that I make myself.
Tonight I made only the crust and white chocolate, cream cheese, whipping cream filling. Tomorrow I'll put on the fruit and glaze (the only reason I know to do this is because it told me so on Allrecipes.com. It prevents the crust from becoming soggy and sucking all the juice from the fruit).
On another note, I've been jamming to my iPod this whole time, while writing and baking and the song Beat It by Fall Out Boy (featuring John Mayer) is currently playing. I'll take that as a sign and BEAT IT (stop writing). Ironically, the Fall Out Boy concert in Salt Lake City is this coming Monday!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dazzle

In my last post, I complained of blog boredom. So in order to dazzle things up a bit, I chose a new design.

Does it work? Is the black screen too much? I'd love to know your thoughts. . .

Blogging Brain Lapse 2

Like I've said, my intention with this blog is to write about my daily Traumatic Brain Injury Struggles. Yet I find myself having little interest in writing about this topic anymore. Here is why:

1. My book is done (it should be available for purchase as soon as the publisher has completed the formatting), therefore I'm not thinking about TBI topics for my memoir (which can translate into a blog post).

2. It's been over 14 years since my injury and I feel like I've put a lot of my struggles behind me. I don't even recognize them as much anymore, because they are nothing new. In other words, I'M USED TO IT (I realized that I just referred to my struggles as "them" and "they," which sounds weird but I don't know how else to call "them").

3. I'm bored (of blogging and thinking about my Traumatic Brain Injury). I'm sure this feeling will pass, as not a day goes by when I'm not reminded, in some degree, of my TBI. But lately, I just want to write about something else.

4. Lastly, I feel sooooo much better now that I'm taking Ambien just before I go to sleep. The other day I had my one month follow-up with the sleep specialist and I told her I was "dreaming more" at night with the Ambien (some people have been known to have bizarre, intense dreams with Ambien, including sleep walking, eating, driving etc). My dreams aren't bizarre they are just more intense and longer now. The specialist said this was a very good sign because it meant I was sleeping much deeper because dreaming happens only at a certain stage during the night. I DIDN'T REALLY NIGHT DREAM AFTER MY INJURY, AND BEFORE THE AMBIEN. How sad is that? In a way, the car accident erased my dreams.

Anyway, maybe I should try blogging about "Life" rather than just "Life with TBI?"

Friday, April 3, 2009

from the Brainline Newletter:

Put Your Brain to Work and It Will Work for You

We've all seen the news: we can affect how our brains work. Neuroscience tells us that we can increase our chances of maintaining our mental edge and functional independence throughout our lives. How? By working to keep our brains fit the way we work to keep our bodies healthy.

What you do everyday matters to your brain. The choices you make, your level of physical and mental activity, your social life, diet, and sleep habits-all these things can affect cognitive fitness: a state in which we are performing well mentally, emotionally, and functionally.
***
What Does it Mean to be "Brain Fit"

Notes from the Lab: Research studies in many countries have found four factors that may predict maintenance of cognitive function.

1. Increased mental activity
2. Increased physical activity
3. Increased levels of social engagement
4. Control of vascular risk by:
a. Controlling weight
b. Monitoring cholesterol
c. Monitoring blood pressure
d. Not smoking

Everyone knows what a fit body looks like, but fit brains, which don't boast rippled muscles or six-packs, are tougher to distinguish. Brain fitness is a state of mind in which we are performing well cognitively and emotionally. When we're cognitively fit, we're maintaining our mental edge, staying sharp, aging successfully. Brain fitness is not only the absence of disease either Alzheimer's or other types of dementia; it is also the preservation of emotional and cognitive well-being throughout our working years and beyond.
***

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Blogging Brain Lapse

I'm at a loss for blogging topics? Any ideas? HELP ME!!! I'm trying to make this blog Traumatic Brain Injury specific. But I've been feeling so great lately that I haven't been even considering such topics. So why am I feeling so good? I guess I've talked about this subject before in previous posts, but I really think it mostly has to do with one thing (I guess I found my blog topic):

SLEEP

I feel remarkably better on days when I have enough quality sleep. This is probably true for everyone to some degree, but for me it's like I'm not the same person when I'm cognitively tired (this kind of tired is different than the usual, un-brain-injured tired). Usually I smile a lot and I am pretty engaging, social, talkative. But when I'm cognitively tired I am not smiling, not engaging, not talkative. I don't want to be social and I just want to be alone in the dark.

Bottom-line (to the point because it's passed my bedtime and I must be quick. I know better than to deviate from my sleep schedule), this is what helps:
1. Healthy eating (no sugar or salt before bed)
2. Deep-breathing in bed, to calm myself
3. Exercise in morning or early afternoon
4. Ambien

YES, I said Ambien. Drugs, sleeping pills have been the real savior for me. This doesn't work for everyone and without the sleep-hygiene that I listed above, Ambien doesn't work as well for me. But finally, after almost 15 years of not-satisfying sleep every night (YES EVERY NIGHT FOR 15 YEARS), I'm finally sleeping like a normal person. PRAISE GOD FOR MODERN MEDICINE!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

5 Ways to Boost Your Will Power

The following five "Ways to boost your will power" are from the Dr. Daniel Amen video that I just watched (and I'm currently reading his book). STATEMENTS IN PARENTHESIS ARE ADDED BY ME.


5 Ways to Boost Your Will Power

1. Maintain healthy blood sugar (don't let yourself starve. If you are like me, you become ornery and can't think straight when you're hungry).

2. Get good sleep (everyone should get 7-9 hours every night. don't kid yourself into believing that you are just 'one of those people who can get by on 4-5 hours').

3. Have clearly stated, reinforced goals.

4. You have to practice will power (practice telling yourself 'no' and over time it will become easier for you).

5. Balance your brain chemistry (fish oil does wonders).

Friday, March 13, 2009

Are you on Speed?

Yes, my next door neighbor just asked me that question (after first asking, "What are you doing up so late?!) It was 10:30 pm, and normally I am frowning, drooping, hungry for sleep just before 10 pm. Alisa knows that my life is screwed if I don't make my normal bed time.

BUT EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT NOW!


Ambien has made me feel like a normal person, rather than an injured person who must plan her life around her sleep schedule.

Last night, for example, I took Ambien at 9:24 pm (after a long, tiring day because I didn't sleep well the night before -- I didn't take an Ambien) and NO JOKE, I awoke at 5:31 am and not a minute sooner. I got 8 full hours of sweet sleep. Does the world understand that I have not experienced 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep in the past 14 years? Today was bliss! I've been up since 5:30 am and didn't even begin to feel tired until 10:30.

I just took a bit of my Ambien pill a few minutes ago and I'm beginning to deteriorate, in a most yummy way. I love this!

Sweet dreams!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sleep Consultation (I'm glad I did it!)

I found out an interesting fact about my own sleep during the consultation. Only 16% of my sleep reaches R.E.M or DEEP SLEEP. 22% is normal. This difference is a result of my Traumatic Brain Injury, which explains WHY I never sleep more than six hours at one time (occasionally seven hours) and I WHY I NEVER feel rested. My quality of sleep sucks.
So now I'm on my way to pick up a prescribed sleep medication, AKA AMBIEN. Some patients have weird dreams and awakenings in the middle of the night with Ambien, but she said these are not the majority. So I'm going to try it for a month and see if it helps me.
As a side note, I must acknowledge that Dr. Mark Ashley told me at the Brain Injury Association of Utah Conference a few years back that TBI survivors must fix their sleep hygiene along with taking prescribed medication. You can't assume that a sleeping pill is going to fix it alone. So I'll be sticking with my early bed time, no sugar or salt late at night stuff.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sucky Sleep Study PART 2

So it is now 9:54 pm and I need to brush my teeth and crawl into bed in the next six minutes. Therefore this post is going to be quick and short.
Tomorrow morning I have a "Sleep Consultation" with the office who did my sleep study (which I might add was basically a waste of time because the only thing they told me was that I didn't have restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea, which I already suspected, but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry when dealing with your health).
I have little idea what to expect with the sleep consultation, but I really hope, hope that they can tell me something "helpful" about how to improve my sleep. I'm sure one thing they will tell me is "go to bed at the same time every night." My time is 10:00 pm which is in exactly one minute, so I must away. I'll update this blog with the results of my consultation tomorrow.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My memoir - UPDATE!

My book is nearing completion! I'm just waiting for the publisher to finish the cover and the manuscript formatting! Check this blog or my website for another update. The book is POD (print on demand) so you must order it online, but you can also download a copy.

DO I HAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS ON MY PUBLICATION DISTRIBUTION LIST SO I CAN LET YOU KNOW THE MOMENT IT BECOMES AVAILABLE? www.thesmileonmyforehead.blogspot.com

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sleep Disorder Round 2

I just read my last post, where I wrote "everything is normal in my sleep cycle" which is not true. What I meant was that everything is normal in the sense that I don't have Restless Leg Syndrome nor Sleep Apnea. But it is NOT normal in the sense that I spend hours awake when I'm painfully tired.
Last night, for example, I had a hard time sleeping.

I recorded my schedule:
9:29 p.m.Start getting ready for bed
9:43 p.m. Lay in bed
3:50 a.m Wake to use bathroom
5:40 a.m Still lay awake
6:30 a.m Still lay awake
8:00 a.m Alarm went off for church (I was sound asleep when it went off)

Needless to say, I had to take a nap this afternoon, thus, I'm anticipating having a difficult time sleeping tonight also. I guess 11:00 p.m. until I get tired, but we'll see.

AFTER ALL THAT, MY POINT IS TO SAY THAT I MADE AN APPOINTMENT WITH A SLEEP SPECIALIST ON MARCH 2. I hope she can help me, and will tell me more than "go to bed at the same time every night etc" which is the sleep hygiene stuff I already know!

I CRAVE A GOOD SLEEP. WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE SO HARD FOR ME?


(okay admittedly, I did eat Indian Food last night and it was spicy. That was probably completely the problem).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My sleep study results (are worthless to me).

So today I received a voicemail message from my doctor because she received the results back from my sleep study. And the results are . . . DRUM ROLL PLEASE . . .


. . . Everything is NORMAL in my sleep cycle!

I do not have sleep agnea or restless leg syndrome. She did say that the sleep specialist said, and I quote, "It probably has something to do with her previous Traumatic Brain Injury."

TELL ME SOMETHING I DON'T KNOW!!!
Talk about disappointment. I'm back to my own drawing board about my sleep disorder. Unless there is no cure for it. There is no quick fix. Maybe I just need to be even more religious about my sleep hygiene. I need to go to bed at the same time every night and eat healthy and exercise (not in the evening). I guess I'm kind of frustrated that there is no QUICK FIX for brain injury related anything.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I experienced brain exhaustion today


I've been taking ski lessons up at Park City Mountain Resort for the last five weeks. My confidence as a skier has improved tremendously (I still hesitate to refer to myself as a skier because I'm still learning how to "not fall, plant my poles, bend at the ankles, lean forward, be dynamic" etc).

Today was my final lesson this season, and I made a huge leap. However, it seems like whenever I make a huge leap in anything (try anything new), my brain always makes a bit of setback. This is my biggest hurdle living with TBI and one that I'm still trying to deal with (even after 14 years).

So last week I skied three blue hills, and today I wanted to try a BLACK DIAMOND (double Black Diamond is the hardest), just to say I did it.

And I did! My second to the last run was a Black Diamond. It wasn't pretty. I fell. I side-stepped. I took breaks. But I will say that I made a couple turns without falling, and without side-stepping. The important thing was that my goal was to try a Black Diamond and I did it! The whole falling and side-stepping is typical for a new skier.

But what was not typical is how my brain felt after at the bottom of the Black Diamond hill. After already skiing for a couple hours (body tired), and after trying to multi-task so much down the hill (knees bent, lean forward in your boots, don't fall), and ski in a way that I've never had to before (stay in between the moguls), my brain was exhausted, spent, empty, gone, foggy (those are all the words I can think of to describe how brain exhaustion feels). Even skiing the easy, almost flat hills down the mountain felt tiring after the moguls. I couldn't focus or think of anything. Literally, my brain felt empty. It's scary and unnerving.

But such is the life of a Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor. The only way around this is for me to learn my triggers and avoid such triggering situations. That being said, I think in my ski experience today, the trigger was not the Black Diamond, but rather that I did it at the end of my lesson when I was already tired. Maybe next time I will try it towards the beginning.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Well, I had my sleep study . . .



They hooked up me to all kinds of wires (by sticking gel into my hair which made the wires stay on my head and on my legs and all over). Everything is monitored through these wires, even your brain waves. The nurse also set some wires in my nose. I don't know how they expected me to sleep, but alas, I did. I slept slightly better than I do on most nights.

The above photo is of me before I hit the pillow.

I remember waking up twice in the middle of the night (once because the nurse came in to readjust my nose wires). I woke up at approximately 4:30 a.m. and laid there, begging myself to fall back asleep, until 5:30 a.m. I must have slept fairly well, however, because I felt great for the rest of the day. And I even went skiing after my sleep study! Okay, I have to admit that I did take a one hour nap after I returned home from the study. I often wonder how I'd manage my life with out my power naps and quick breaks.

I'll get the results of my sleep study in approximately three weeks.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Magnificent Mind at Any Age ~ thoughts part 3

I'm learning so much from this book!

So the back bottom part of the brain is called the CEREBELLUM. I'd have to look at my medical records to see if my cerebellum was injured in addition to my frontal lobe, but I'm assuming it must have been because the The smile on my forehead extends around the back of my head.
The cerebellum is involved with motor coordination and also with thought coordination; meaning how quickly you can make cognitive and emotional adjustments, especially playing a sport (which is hard for me!)
Low cerebellar activity is also associated with poor handwriting (mine became so sloppy after my accident), problems maintaining an organized work area (ugh, it takes extra effort for me to keep work area cleaned, or my bedroom), being sensitive to light or noise (I sleep with an eye mask and also need to keep the TV volume down low because I hate loud noises).

GOOD NEWS: given that the cerebellum is the major coordination center in the brain, coordination exercises (sports, Yoga, music) keep this part of the brain tuned!
This is why exercise helps me so much, which is why I love it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fish Oil is Brain Food

After my recent brain research, I've come to the conclusion that a healthy brain is fed two things:

1. Exercise
2. Fish Oil

John Medina, author of "Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School," calls exercise COGNITIVE CANDY. It is like an energy boost for the brain (that's how I think of it).

According to a study from Louisiana State University in September 2005, fish oil may help protect the brain from cognitive problems. Dr. Daniel Amen says that taking a fish oil supplement can increase healthy blood flow to your body and to your brain.

I'd write more, but I have to go now and take my daily fish oil supplement.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are


The above quote is by Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

I fully believe that healthy eating makes my TBI less severe. Let me rephrase that: healthy eating makes the effects of my TBI less severe, simply because I have much more energy and my head rarely feels like a metal bar has shot through it (which it does, when I am not eating and sleeping well).

Take last night, for example. I attended a potluck dinner, full of about 100+ unfamiliar people, who brought lots of food. Bottom-line, I ate too much. I ate too many salty tortilla chips (salty is operative word since sodium is a no-no for me, especially at night), and too many cookies. More specifically, the very last thing I ate for the evening – I say “last thing” because I ate it after I was already painfully full of not-good-for-me-stuff – was one of those store-bought, thick sugar cookies covered with a thick coat of icing and candy sprinkles. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep very well last night, and to add to my misery, some guy decided to snow-blow the sidewalks directly outside my window at 4:30 this morning.

Three nights ago, on the other hand, I slept almost like sleeping beauty. I didn’t even wake up to use the bathroom once, and I felt great all day. The difference is that night I didn’t eat sugar or salt in the evening. In fact, I don’t think I ate anything bad at any point during the day. I felt healthy, energized, and for lack of a better word, I felt normal.

What did I eat? Well, for one, I found a recipe in a Martha Stewart magazine called Protein Packed Breakfast.

Check out the recipe and please try it:


Ingredients:
1 large egg, plus 3 large egg whites
4 ounces soft silken tofu, drained
course salt and ground pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1 bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
1 scallion, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced

1. In a bowl, whisk together egg, egg whites, and tofu; season with salt and pepper
2. In a small nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high; add bell pepper and scallion whites. Cook until scallion has browned, 3 to 5 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add egg mixture to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, just until set. 2 to 3 minutes. Top with bell-pepper mixture and scallion greens. Serves 2

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Magnificent Mind at Any Age ~ thoughts part 2

Have you ever wondered why the same stress factors affect people differently?

"Some people after a head injury, seem to really be affected, while others don’t” (this is a direct quote from "Magnificent Mind at Any Age" by Daniel Amen, M.D.)

The above statement got me thinking about my own battle with TBI. My injury was very severe, but the repercussions of my brain injury appear mild (most people, I’m told, don’t even know the severity of my injury by just looking at me).

Why do I handle my life with TBI so well?

According to Daniel Amen, M.D., a brain healthy life will increase your reserve or hardiness to deal with pending stresses or trouble. In his book, he lists ways to increase your brain reserve. As I read through this list, I quickly recognized that I did have a brain reserve before my accident which has helped me to recover.

Here is part of Dr. Amen’s list and how it has improved my own brain reserve:

1. Maintain positive social connections
I enjoy maintaining social connections. People generally like me, and I generally like people.
My home was and is full of positive energy. Some people hate their family. I love mine! When I was a child, my cousins were my best friends. Even now, I talk to my mom nearly every day. Love is in the Mosher household – enough said.

2. Engage in new learning
Formal education was very important to me pre-accident. Admittedly, I spent too much time studying in high school and college, this combined with a strong work ethic, always seemed to keep me engaged in something having to do with learning.

3. Take a daily vitamin
Isn’t every mom like mine, and make their kids eat a multi-vitamin before eating non-sugar cereal in the morning? (I’m not talking about the cartoon-character, colored, sugary flavored ones either! Ours were not flavored, not chewable, and straight from the health food store).

4. Avoid too much television (our TV broke when I was a child and my parents refused to fix it. I spent most of my youth without TV).

5. Express gratitude
All members of the LDS church are taught about gratitude from a very early age.
“It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.”~ Naomi Williams

6. Exercise regularly
I can’t remember a time when members of my family were not “gym addicts” (especially my dad).

7. Maintain a healthy diet
I like vegetables, quinoa, and olive oil

Monday, January 19, 2009

Magnificent Mind at Any Age

I just started reading the most informative book! Magnificent Mind at Any Age by Daniel G. Amen, M.D.

It teaches the secrets of a balanced brain from a physician who has studied BRAIN INJURIES, ADHD, Depression etc. He claims that it's impossible to live a healthy life without a healthy brain.

I decided I'm going to blog about the fascinating facts that I learn.

DID YOU KNOW?
The human brain is NOT firm, fixed, and rubbery, or how it looks once it is fixed in formaldehyde on the pathologist's table.
Your brain is really comprised of 80% water, and is the consistency of soft butter or custard. Neurosurgeon Katrina Firlik describes the brain "like tofu, the soft kind, which when caught in suction during surgery slurps into the tube."

The soft, tofulike brain is housed in a really hard skull that has many ridges. These ridges damage the brain during trauma.

Now I have a mental picture of my poor, injured brain after my car accident. My parents once told me that my brain was so swollen from the damage that there were no more ridges for a while . . . ugh.



Stay tuned for more . . .

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder

My sleep study is not for two more weeks, but I'm researching everything I can to better understand possible outcomes for my sleep issue. Today I Googled "Sleep Disorders and Brain Injury." I learned some interesting facts.
A recent study, found that a brain injury may increase your likelihood of developing circadian rhythm sleep disorder (CRSD), which is something I'd never heard of--but then again I'd never heard of a brain injury until I had one myself.
CRSD is more than insomnia, it's a disorder of the sleep cycle, affecting the timing of your sleep. The timing of your sleep is governed by certain hormones which make you sleepy or alert. Maybe my body no longer releases these hormones? I'm not trying to self-diagnose, since this is what the sleep study is for (I'm so thankful that my doctor is smart enough to send me for a study, rather than just saying, "here's some Ambien, sweet dreams"). I have no problem feeling tired at night, just a problem getting and staying asleep. The human brain is extremely complex, and it affects everything. As a result, my brain injury is somehow related to every part of my lifestyle--even my sleep.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Q: What's worse than Chronic Insomnia?

A: Nothing

Experts and other survivors say that a sleep disorder (Chronic Insomnia) comes with the TBI territory. For me, this is the most miserable part of the injury. It's like human torture. I've made all recommended lifestyle changes to improve my sleep:
  1. Try to go to bed at the same time every night
  2. No liquids before bed to decrease the urge to use the toilet in the middle of th night (but I live in Utah, which is practically the dessert. I'm so thirsty at night so I have to drink water)
  3. Sleep with an eye mask and earplugs
This has made a huge difference. But it's not enough. Before the accident, I could sleep through my alarm. After the accident, I wake up if a cat walks outside my bedroom window. Before I began to implement the suggested lifestyle changes, I would sleep only 4-5 hours during the night. No joke! Now I sleep 6-7 hours at one time. At the Brain Injury Association of Utah Conference in 2006, Mark Ashley (see http://www.neuroskills.com/) told me I should be sleeping 7-9 hours per night.

I can't remember the last time I've slept even 8 hours straight during the night.

Bottom line, I'm not going to stand for this sleep disorder any longer! I just made an appointment for a Split Night Sleep Study, two weeks from now, at Intermountain Medical Sleep Center in Salt Lake City. Hopefully February 2, 2009 will be the day that I can get my sleep fix! Give me 8 hours straight of rest, it's all I want (Imagine me shouting these words because I didn't sleep well last night--even though I had over 9 hours in bed--I still went to the gym this morning, and now I have to take a nap to recover).

I hate feeling like I must plan my life around a sleep schedule.

On another note, studies of people with TBI found that between 37% and 98% of them said they had some kind of fatigue. As many as 70% complained of mental fatigue. It doesn't matter how severe the TBI is. Fatigue is a very common problem among all people with TBI.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My thoughts on balance

Today I went skiing in Park City, Utah and it felt great! The slopes seemed empty (maybe people are cutting back on ski trips due to the economy?). I gracefully wiped out only three times, which I don't think is too bad considering this was my first time skiing this season.


Skiing is great exercise for my body and for my mind because it requires me to multitask. I'm balancing on skis, paying attention to where I'm going, making sure no other skier is running into me or vice versa, on top of remembering to pole plant and lean forward in my skis. Sounds like common sense, and it should be considering that this is my third season (in addition to the ski lessons I took at BYU, which almost doesn't count because it was so long ago and it was pre-injury), but multitasking is challenging for a brain injury survivor.


Anyway, while skiing, I started thinking about balance, and how important it is for me, as a TBI Survivor, to keep everything in balance. I can't do too much of one thing because I become overwhelmed (aka cognitively exhausted). For the first ten years after my accident I would NEVER have been able to ski comfortably. Okay, admittedly once I went skiing in MN but it was not comfortable nor was it fun, and that was also when I was still learning how to adjust my lifestyle to my injury so I was out of balance: I worked full-time, went to graduate school at night, exercised at the gym, and constantly took little short cat naps in ridiculous places because I was utterly exhausted (the toilet, the staircase, the library, on the floor of an empty office at work to name a few).


But now that I've reduced my work load, quit graduate school, and I go to bed early, my entire life runs smoothly. My head doesn't hurt nearly as much, I almost never have vestibular problems and I love skiing! I credit 75% of this to my own efforts to keep myself balanced. Time and luck share the other 25% as my body and my brain have healed over the last 14 years. That statistic may be inaccurate but it sounded good to say 75% my own efforts. :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I just re-designed my website!!!!

Check it out at www.Jennifermosher.com and let me know what you think (please)!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Friday at the gym . . .

I saw a poster hanging on the wall at 24 Hour Fitness, with a photo of a woman swimming, that said:
joan used exercise to recover from brain surgery
12millionlives.com

I imagined another poster, with my photo, that said:

jennifer used exercise to recover from a brain injury

So I went to 12millionlives.com and published my OWN story.

PLEASE read it (and you can comment on my story at the same website):

http://12millionlives.com/community/node/520
(see the first story under "recovery" in the middle of page)

Friday, January 2, 2009

My memoir is practically complete!

New Year's Day I stayed in my pajamas all day, and did not leave the house (yeah, that's right, and I'm not at all ashamed to admit it)!

BUT I FINISHED MY BOOK! Of course I do have a few more things to do:
  1. Dr. Russo will review it for clarity
  2. Deirdre will do the same
  3. I approve the front and back cover design
  4. Lulu calculates cost
  5. Send it to the press and voila YOU CAN BUY IT ONLINE OR FROM ME IN PERSON
Please note: if you'd like to be contacted when my book becomes available for purchase, please email thesmileonmyforehead@gmail.com and ask to be added to my distribution list