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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

(Not that this has anything to do with TBI)

But . . . I just VOTED!

They offered early voting this year in Utah (I thought it was everywhere but my mom said that in MN you have to apply for early voting only if you're going to be out of town or something). Anyway, I am not going to say who I voted for or for which party but I will say that I voted some Republican and some Democrat.

AND I will also say that I'm proud to live in a country where we have the freedom to participate in our government.

AND I will also say that I'm relieved that I can take advantage of this freedom (I guess that's my TBI connection) considering that the doctor told my parents that I probably wouldn't make it through the night (14 years ago, the day after my accident), clearly he was also telling her that I would never cast another vote for leadership in this country. . . !

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'll be on KJZZ again!

Denise Druce just invited me to appear on her show tomorrow morning (Tues) to help demonstrate some Yoga poses. I'm really excited as she said the other guests on tomorrow's show are all people who have overcome a huge trial, hopefully using fitness. So I'll fit right in!
Utah Channel 14 - 9:00 am

Friday, October 17, 2008

Update on my book!

Friends keep asking me "how's your book?"

Well, here is my gritty, short answer:

Book is done but I've been rejected by a handful of publishers. The last rejection letter was "the nicest one" Deirdre Paulsen has ever seen - true, it was very nice (and I've also received some not-so-nice letters). It said it was good and they commend me for my work, but they don't know how to market such a memoir which leads me to believe two things:

1. If I was a famous person, my book would easily be published because it's a great story. But I'm just a random, average person.

2. People are unfamiliar with brain injury and assume it's an . . . an . . . I forgot the word I was going to use, seriously it was just in my head and I thought about something else for a second and the word dissolved. This is the brain injury battle - words dissolve in your head. Anyway, I can't think of the word but it's the same thing as an "uncommon" or "rare."

Bottom-line, I understand why a publisher doesn't think they can market this book and with the way our economy is, they want to publish potential best-sellers. SO I'VE DECIDED TO SELF-PUBLISH!!!!

So I'll definitely post an update when the book is published (I've already found a self-publishing company and had them print one test copy. . .) and let you know how you can buy it!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Life is NOT like a box of chocolates. . .

Life is like a slice of pie . . .

The following are my thoughts from the Stephen Sheppard, PHD keynote address at the Brain Injury Association annual conference (today).

The four PIE elements are:

  1. Productivity

  2. Spirituality

  3. Recreation

  4. Social Life

Although many people are in constant struggle to balance their "slice of pie" elements, it's very difficult for a Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor because we have so much collateral damage (ability to sleep, short-term memory, difficulty paying attention, coordination, loneliness, job loss, emotional outbursts).

For years after my injury, I tried to slice my pie the same way as I always did. I was tired, but I didn't take naps (who has time for naps?). I wanted to go to graduate school, so I did -without taking into account that I didn't have a decent short-term memory (asking a TBI Survivor memory taxing questions makes our mind and body feel as if we've just run a full marathon). As a result, my life was extremely unbalanced.

Nine years post-injury (I just passed my 14 year mark in August) I finally started slicing my pie differently and I am SOOOO much happier! I'm more Productive because I know my limitations and I say NO to things that I know will be too much (i.e tonight I was supposed to go to my friend's birthday party but I decided to skip it because talking about brain injury anything for an extended period of time wears me out and 2day I was at the TBI conference all day. I also have to work tomorrow and catch a flight immediately afterwards because I'm going to CA to visit my brother. I knew I'd be too tired to do anything after the conference). There was a time not so long ago where I would have just forced myself to do it all: the conference, the party, work, etc with no stops. NOW I'm SOOOO much more realistic about my limitations.

My Spirituality is in check because I take TIME to relax and to meditate (same thing that helps me be more productive).

My Recreation is still limited but I've learned to "work with what I got." As I said before, I know my limitations - I know what's going to tire me out and how much recovery time I'll need after an activity. Example: hiking is very difficult, especially late at night and especially over uneven terrain due to my balance and coordination problems. But I realize that this is worse in the evening so I found a hiking group which meets in the morning! Bottom-line, I can still recreate with a few adjustments. ANY UT TBI SURVIVOR SHOULD JOIN THE NATIONAL ABILITY CENTER FOR HELP WITH RECREATION (that's my NAC plug).

The same thing goes for my Social Life -too taxing, too tired, too late and I just can't participate. Okay let's be honest, sometimes I DO participate in social events that are too much and I end up regretting it but you live in learn (I'm talking about attending social events with lots of people, late at night when I've already had a long day. If it's not a work day and I get a good nights sleep the night before, then I'm usually okay).

This post is much longer than anything I've ever written before and I'm not sure how many people read my blog anyway - yeah my counter says 1880+ people viewed it but that might just mean "looking" and not "reading." So just out of curiousity, if you actually READ this post, please let me know by adding a comment below. . .

Sunday, October 5, 2008

BIAU Conference!

This coming Thursday and Friday is THE BRAIN INJURY ASSOCIATION OF UTAH FAMILY AND PROFESSIONALS CONFERENCE in Layton, UT. I'm really excited because this conference is so enlightening and revealing: with hundreds of people in attendance (TBI Survivors, family members, medical community), I realize that I'm not alone in my struggle. 5.3 million Americans have disabilities resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury and only a couple hundred will be at this conference.

Wade Justice, M.D. is the keynote speaker. He sustained a severe Traumatic Brain Injury three and a half years ago after his vehicle was hit by a drunk driver. He'll share his personal struggle with Brain Injury as well as where he is after "re-inventing" himself.

I cannot wait to hear his process -especially since I've spent the last fourteen years re-inventing my own self - and I hope to learn some valuable tips for living with TBI.