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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

25% off The Smile on My Forehead (great xmas gift)!

Now through December 14th, buy my book at 25% off at

Click here and use this Coupon Code at checkout: BUYMYBOOK305

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords: Just my thoughts.

I watched ABC's 20/20 about Gabrielle Giffords, her journey with a traumatic brain injury, and I wanted to share my thoughts.

Watching it was like watching a video of my own life at the hospital, 17 years ago. I remember ("remember" only after seeing video and pictures to jar my memory) being asked simple questions by my speech-therapist and not knowing how to formulate an answer. Just like Gabby.

Even today, I sometimes have trouble formulating words, just like Gabby. As Mark Kelly explained during the interview, this struggle of finding the right word is very common in brain injuries. I really appreciated this because, so often, the first thing people think of with brain injury is "memory problems." But, it's lack of memory combined with a slow-processing speed. It's not just that we forget that xyz happened. We may, in fact, remember that it happened, but can't remember the word for xyz. When this happens to me, I just brush it off as "I can't remember" (because it takes less effort to explain it that way).

Doctors don't know where optimim and charm are in the brain, but therapists do what they can to touch that part of their patient's personality. For example, I love how music is used during Gabrielle's therapy because it's something she really relates to. Her therapists see her personality coming out as she tries to sing.

Gabrielle Giffords' life is moving in slow motion, and it's so hard. I feel it. I know it. I wish I could tell her, and Mark Kelly, that life will become faster, better, easier. She will make a comeback. She is going to do well. I can just tell. Her optimism and hard work will pay off.

So, I sent Gabrielle Giffords my book. Not that I expect her to have read it yet, but hope she will at some point because it could help her soooo much as she adjusts to her new brain. Reading memoirs written by other TBI survivors definitely helped me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

HELP Brain Injury Association thru Payroll Deduction

Support BIAU through Community Shares of Utah . . . PLLLEEEEASSSE? Payroll deduction is such an easy way to give and the we could really use the help. The programs cost money and fundraising is difficult.

Here is more info:
Employee giving campaigns are in full swing. Through Community Shares of Utah, the Brain Injury Association of Utah (BIAU) is included in your annual payroll deduction philanthropy campaign. Contributions designated to BIAU are used to fund local programs, support, education endeavors that benefit all of local communities. Your gifts are even more valuable as we have experienced an increase in the number of people using our services. If you have not already done so, please include BIAU in your payroll deduction gift.
If your employer does not have an Employee Philanthropic Campaign, please contact us at (800) 281-8442 and we will introduce you to our friends at Community Shares of Utah or contact them directly at (801) 486-9224. Thank you for your continued support of BIAU.

-Ron S. Roskos,Executive Director

Friday, September 23, 2011

Stow speaks for first time since beating

I just read an article that, Bryan Stow, a man trying to enjoy a baseball game, was brutally beaten outside the Dodger Stadium and received a severe brain injury.

Who knows where I've been hiding, but I hadn't seen or heard anything about this on the news. My heart sinks any time I hear of anyone who sustains a Traumatic Brain Injury because I know what's in store for them. The article says that although he is improving, he is not "out of the woods yet."

Read the full story HERE

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Is lavender essential oil effective for people with Insomnia?

Who would have thought that something so simple could help me so much?

I'm a 100% believer in modern medicine, but I think a little help from alternative medicine will do no harm.

I've heard of Essential Oils, but never gave them a second thought because . . . well, re-read first seven words in above sentence . . . I just think you need to first turn to the "proven" stuff.
That being said, I think I might be changing my mind . . .

A yoga instructor at class recently told me that lavender oil can help you sleep. She said her husband puts a few drops of lavender essential oil on the bottom of one foot and a few drops of serenity essential oil on the other foot, thus being cured of his insomnia! I was given samples of both (pure, without chemicals works the best) and WOW, I slept like a baby. Typically, I need to swallow an Ambien pill to help me sleep and I did not when I used the essential oil! Now, the fact that I'd just done a relaxing yoga class where the instructor gave us all head massages (yummy!), after having us smell lavender oil, may have also had something to do with my deep sleep.

But, I'm telling you, LAVENDER OIL has some sort of positive effect on sleep because I've used it every night since, and I'm sleeping deeper (with or without Ambien, I've tried both). I stopped by the health food store and picked up some lavender essential oil, but I could tell this was not as pure as the stuff I'd gotten at yoga. Pure, or course, is more expensive but VERY worth it. I actually sneezed from the smell of the unpure stuff (I think I put too much on my pillow), and it smelled like alcohol and chemicals.

You have to get the pure stuff from an independent sales consultant and doTerra, I'm told, is the best. That is the brand I used at yoga. Like I said before, I can definitely tell a difference between doTerra and the cheap stuff you buy at the health food store.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Me + Yoga = Feel Better (KSL article to prove it)

Nkoyo Iyamba (KSL News Reporter) asked me if practicing Yoga has helped with Chronic Pain.

"YEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!" was my screaming answer. Read her article "Yoga moves ease chronic pain for crash victim" HERE for the entire story.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I wish I could post this on my forehead (next to my smile):

Since my injury, my head feels like it's about to burst around large crowds (especially crowds of unfamiliar people), I struggle if more than one person is involved in my conversation, and sometimes I feel overly-sensitive to things that didn't bother me before.

This bugs me.

If only it were possible to make everyone who ever comes in contact with a TBI Survivor to read this: share because it explains WHY in very simple terms (thank you Lash & Associates)!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A new name for my smile . . .

My heart melts as I remember a question that my sweet four-year-old nephew, Benjamin, asked me this past weekend:

He was sitting on my lap, looking so cute that I almost took a bite of him. But, before I could do anything, I busted up laughing because he said, "Lemme see da scrape on your forehead."

"I love that you called it a scrape!" I responded, still laughing.

"Well, das wat 'tis. Iss a scrape!" ("as if" there was anything else to call it)

Sometimes a scar. Sometimes a scrape. Always a smile.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

You can now find my book for your KINDLE!!!

If you have a Kindle, please check out my book at the Amazon Kindle Store!

Friday, May 20, 2011

My SMILE will be at the Utah Festival of Books!!!

The Smile on My Forehead: Memoir of My Life with a Brain Injury will be part of the Utah Festival of Books on Saturday, June 4th!

I will be giving a 15 minute presentation at 10:45 a.m on the main oudoor stage outside the Wilkinson Center on the BYU campus, and then signing books from 11 a.m - 1:00 p.m. This is a wonderful opportunity to sell my books and also to educate more people about Traumatic Brain Injury! I'm definitely planning to give a short crash-course on TBI!

Anyone in Utah who is interested and available, please come listen.

Click HERE for the Festival Website. . .

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nutrition has long been investigated as a possible treatment for TBI

The following article got me thinking, once again, about the importance of nutrition for a brain injury survivor. They are finding that good nutrition, especially high protein, will help in the very, very early stages of injury.

Interesting because I am a HUGE cheerleader for good nutrition even decades after injury. When I eat better, my brain feels better!

Read the article right HERE

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Powerful Soul Surfer: all it takes is a little love

I've only cried *EVER* in a few movies. The first was E.T. and the second was The Joy Luck Club. And the third was just a few days ago when I watched Soul Surfer.

This movie is based on a true story about teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton who gets her arm chomped off by a 14-foot tiger shark. I cried during the movie not only because it's so inspirational, but because I could completely relate to Bethany's personal battle to not let tragedy destroy her life. I say "battle" because on the one hand she said things like, "What am I supposed to do now?" and "How will I succeed?" or "Why did this have to happen to me?" These are some of the EXACT same questions that I struggle(d) with after my Traumatic Brain Injury. Bethany lost her arm, which changed her life. I lost part of my brain, which changed my life.

And on the other hand, she keeps at it until she can learn to surf with just one arm. When someone asked her, "Do you think you'll surf again?" She curtly answered, "Think??? I 'know' I'll surf again." Her determination is key.

Bethany really had to learn how to love and accept her new self and I feel like I had to do the same after my injury. I saw Bethany's parent's struggle to know when to accept that she may not be able to accomplish the same things and when to push her to still dream big, just as I watched my parents push and pull back with me.

Through my years as a Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor, I've found myself much more conscientious of others who are someplace in the midst of a personal struggle. And I've found that's everyone -- to some degree -- everyone struggles with something. For some of us it's a missing limb or missing brain cells, but for others it's the death of a loved one, a broken heart, or financial mishap.

It puts my own struggle in clear perspective when I think in these terms.

My favorite quote from a Bethany interview is this: She hopes her story will "encourage people, young and old, to learn to love others more, cuz I think that's what this world needs -- is just more love towards other people. I mean, we're all not perfect, all of us have something wrong with us . . ."

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Physicians and TBI

Here is a great, short video about an army physician who also sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury. Watch it HERE

It is possible to reclaim your brain!

Do you want to learn the steps to take to reclaim your brain? Read a wonderful article HERE

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bookclub featuring "The Smile on My Forehead"

People are reading my book as part of their book club, and then I join their meeting -- show a short video (of me in the hospital) and answer questions. It's a great way to spread the word and educate the community about Traumatic Brain Injury. So far, I've done one club, my next one is Tuesday, and another one in April.

I anticipate more to come!

Friday, March 4, 2011

You can check out my book from the Salt Lake City Library!

Finally, my book is available for check out at the Salt Lake City Library! You can also get it at the Orem Public Library.

If you live in Salt Lake, want to read my book but haven't gotten around to ordering it or downloading it, go to and search for Jennifer Mosher or The Smile on My Forehead.

(this is all thanks to Jerry Johnston's article "Utah author shares her story about brain injury" in the Deseret News!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Brain at The Leonardo - an event in SLC!!!

Event: Leonardo After Hours: Are You Your Brain?

Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Time: 6:00 to 7:30 PM

Place: The Leonardo Garage
375 North 500 West, Unit B, Salt Lake City
Free appetizers and a cash bar


This Leonardo After Hours -- Are You Your Brain? -- will explore how your neurons, synapses, and all that gray matter work to learn, create, and morph memories to make you who you are. And because some questions of identity simply cannot be explained by pure biology, we'll also delve into some of the more mysterious questions of how you become you:

Can experiences actually rewire your brain on a physical level?

Is any memory a true memory?

How do the stories you tell yourself and others change who you are?

Can fake memories be etched into your neurons and synapses?

Enjoy an evening of fascinating facts, video clips, audio snippets, and scintillating conversation with experts and audience members on Tuesday, March 8, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at The Leonardo Garage, 375 N. 500 West, Unit B, in Salt Lake City.

Featured experts include:

Monisha Pasupathi, PhD, developmental psychologist, University of Utah Psychology Department

Christopher German, PhD, research associate, the Brain Institute at the University of Utah

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My article in the Deseret News!

"Never waste a tragedy," a friend of mine often says.

That's the best one-liner from a February 18, 2011 article in Deseret News. Columnist Jerry Johnston wrote a wonderful piece about ME and MY BOOK. I am absolutely thrilled because he is a great writer with a very clear, slightly philosophical, voice. I love him!

Click here to read this fantastic article.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Listen to me on the radio . . . again!!!

Who's a fan of NPR??? Check me out Friday, Feb 18 on 90.1 Utah 11:00 am and 7:00 pm. Or stream it at "Life With a Brain Injury."
GUESTS: Jennifer Mosher (TBI survivor); Laura Watson (TBI caregiver); Dr. Elie Elovic (University of Utah Brain Institute)

We'll talk about the injury, the recovery process, the ongoing challenges of living with TBI (forgetfulness, sleep, fatigue) and some of the strategies to help. No trick questions - just a conversation about what TBI is and some of the unique issues survivors have to deal with. They invite listeners to call in, and are sometimes flooded with calls; other times, listeners are so taken by the conversation that they prefer to sit back and listen -- we'll see what happens!

Feel free to call in and ask a question (801) 585-9378) between 11 - 12

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords: Reality Check!

"Most people with such injuries have some level of impairment for the rest of their lives."

How's that for honesty?

I just read an article about Gabrielle Giffords that, although still positive, was very realistic about the implications of living with a Traumatic Brain Injury. It seems like I've been reading a lot of things like, "she asked for toast this morning" or "she's so motivated, she'll be running around the hospital corridors in no time." While that might be true, something that we need to remember when thinking about her future is this: (from the article I read)

" . . . for the most part, brain injury patients will always have some degree of impairment, Grafman said.

That's not necessarily a recipe for misery; it just means people need to adjust, said Grafman, who has studied Vietnam veterans with brain injuries for 30 years.

"I'm always impressed ... at seeing how may of them have lived quite successful lives, having families and kids and working at jobs," he said. They "wind up living, in some sense, an ordinary life."

Click HERE to read the entire article

Sunday, January 30, 2011

How is snowboarder Kevin Pearce handling his TBI?

I can't believe it's already been just over one year since Kevin Pearce was injured when he hit his head on the edge of a halfpipe while snowboarding in Park City!

There's a nice article in The New York Times that gives an update on his recovery. Here are two quotes that I can relate to oh-so-well . . .

"Pearce said he was having a harder time than others were in seeing improvements in his brain function." (I think most TBI Survivors remember who they were and what they could do pre-injury, so this makes it difficult to recognize improvements because you are always comparing. Yeah, so I just wrote that in the third person, when really I'm talking about myself "I remember who I was and what I could do pre-injury . . .")

"As the morning wore on, Pearce mentioned taking a nap. He wanted to be ready for this week’s broadcasts, and all the travel had drained him." (I feel for him. Any brain activity Sometimes I feel like an infant, the way I have to take regular naps)

Click HERE to read the entire article

Friday, January 28, 2011

George Clooney has a TBI?

I hadn't heard this one, but according to a 2005 article, George Clooney sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury while filming the movie "Syriana." Click below to read the article:

George Clooney and TBI

On a related note, George Clooney's aunt Betty Clooney, died of brain trauma caused by an aneurysm. The Betty Clooney Foundation (est. 1983) in Long Beach, CA helps people with cognitive disabilities. Click HERE for details on the foundation.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A great article from Wash Post (about Giffords and TBI)

I'm keeping tabs on the status of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' recovery, and I found T.H.E. B.E.S.T article and T.H.E. M.O.S.T R.E.A.L.I.S.T.I.C article about TBI. Although many of the articles brush over the fact that Ms. Giffords has a Traumatic Brain Injury, this is the first one I've found that really discusses the parts of her brain that may be injured, and gives readers specific rehabilitation exercises that may be used for her brain to rebuild itself.

Here's a teaser: "One of the things about traumatic brain injury is that recovery can go on for an extended period of time," said Michael R. Yochelson, a neurologist at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington. "We leave the book open."

To read the rest of this wonderful article, click HERE

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A conversation with my dad . . .

Dad: Hi Jennifer? Jennifer Mosher? This is your dad . . . in Minneapolis (insert laughter) .

Me: Yeah Dad, it's me! (insert eye roll)
* * *
This is always how my dad and I start our phone conversations (read pg. 79 in my book for another example) and tonight was no different. It's kind of silly that we've been doing this for years - ha ha ha. Anyway, I don't know why I started with that other than it came to my mind as I just got off the phone with my dad. As usual, Dad made an insightful and somewhat philosophical comment . . . this time about recovering from a Traumatic Brain Injury.

He's been reading a lot about the healing capabilities of yoga and meditation. I practice a lot of yoga (maybe "a lot" is not the best word since I usually only make it to a class twice per week. However, let it be known that I am a committed gym-goer, and I do faithfully attend some sort of fitness class 4 times per week). Dad read about a film called Spiritual Revolution (all about the healing powers of meditation). Daniel Davis, who contributed to the film, was also the Activities Coordinator with the Jan Berry Center For The Brain Injured. I don't know much about Mr. Davis' practices, besides the fact that he began developing mindfulness, drumming and other creative practices for people with serious brain trauma.

So, then my dad asked my thoughts on why I've done so well in my recovery.

Luck? Medication? Vitamins? Studying books about Brain Injury?

AND this is where he made the insightful and somewhat philosophical comment. He said, "It's like anything else. You have to work at it to get better." Then he threw in the golf analogy (if you know my dad, you know that in his earlier life, he was obsessed with golf and did anything he could to improve his game).

"It's like golf. If you want to become a better golfer, you have to constantly practice."

I think he's right (don't tell him I said that)! Recovery from a Traumatic Brain Injury is a lifelong endeavor. It doesn't happen over night and it takes a lot of hard work. Which reminds me of a favorite quote from Maya Angelou (also in my book on page 93):

Nothing will work unless you do.