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Brain injury blog by survivor

Brain injury blog by survivor



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Brain injury blog by survivor

Brain injury blog by survivor



Guest post: Leanne Whitehouse on her 30 year TBI anniversary

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The Motor Vehicle Accident

30 years ago my life permanently changed when I was involved in a horrific car accident that should have taken my life.

I suffered horrendous multiple internal injuries, shredded intestines & bowels, broken bones… plus a severe traumatic brain injury that went undiagnosed for 24 years.

I had major short term memory loss, extreme learning deficits, vertigo, chronic pain, no attention span, huge visual and audio issues…. I had all the “A, B, C’s” …. of TBI.

I went from being an independent surfing health nut and young insurance professional… to being a totall dependant, unemployable low self-esteemed, non-confident, hollow shell of a person overnight.

Amazing progress has been achieved by me personally over the years. The past 6 years have been extremely progressive. I have become comfortable with the label “TBI Warrior” and finally have the strength to give back to our commUNITY and share from the heart.

The Doctors had all but given up on me.

They had documented that I had bruising to the stem of my brain. Doctors told told me that there was nothing else they could do to help get me better. It was reported that I had the brain capacity of a 12 year old and not to expect any improvement. My take on that was, a 12 year old is continuously learning stuff and having fun, so that is what I desire to do. Today I joke and call myself the equivalent of a female “Peter Pan.” Tinkerbell if you like.

2010 was a turning point for me, after 3 months of hard work with a team of psychologists, my short term memory improved by 20%. The head psychologist praised me and likeded me to “Rip Van Winkle”. I had been living for the past 22 years in the twilight zone, having small bursts of cognition, to dark traumatised black spots that would go from minutes to hours. Sometimes weeks and months. This therapy was called “Cogmed”, it has a price tag on it, but it was my key to opening a trapped mind and allowing me to be the person I am today.

This allowed me to take an active interest in researching what I was feeding my body and learnt that by eliminating certain foods and beverages had a major positive factor on my health and well being. Journalling what worked for me and what didn’t, immensely helped me see what was right for my unique challenges. For me, the 2 biggest “takeaways” … and the 2 most commonly repeated “must do’s” that every doctor and researcher  placed as a number one priority to maximise health – was to:

“Reduce Inflammation and Increase Antioxidants.”

6 years ago I was officially diagnosed with TBI and CPTSD, put on a disability pension and all the stress of trying to act normal was relieved.

Finally I could put the FUN factor back into my world.

Most people that meet me don’t believe that I have a problem because over the decades I have become a master of disguise. As technology increased, it became easier for me to take notes on a device, in lieu of carrying around notebooks filled with handwritten notes that were neither indexed nor categorised, but roughly put in year order.

I worked for 10 years in the insurance industry, went to college to complete a degree which took way longer due to the TBI. At one point a teacher asked me if I had help doing assignments as my handwriting changed significantly on every page of the document I handed to him.

I chuckle when my girlfriend calls me and reminds me of how she took over all of my accounts and clients when I left a particular job. She  said my file notes were a pleasure to work with because she could just pick up a file, review my notes, and she knew everything about the client before she contacted them.

That was part of my TBI tool kit to appear normal in the working environment. My friend did not know the hours I put in at work, starting early and finishing late so that I could write up all those details. I still do that a lot today, I just do not trust my memory and I am frightened I may miss something.

When the time came that I decided to finish working 9 to 5, that was a lie. I started work at 7 and ever finished before 10, weekends were generally sleeping off the working week.

I traveled to Bali and lived there for around 12 months. That was appealing to me as I loved surfing and I had staff to do all the things I couldn’t. That was heaven to me.

I returned to Australia, and 15 years after the accident I had a healthy baby boy, followed by another child 22 months later.

My children have now grown into teenagers and they both love baseball. This has been a huge challenge to me, never being a ball sport person. After 5 years of baseball I still don’t understand the game. I have slow processing skills.

2 years ago I did the Steps Program which helped me to comprehend what I need to do to make my life better, living with challenges. This year I have been very active: I wrote a story in a book that will be released in November 2018, as well as completing a course so that I can be a peer leader in the Steps program. Also I submitted a talk to the 6th Annual Australian Brain Injury Conference.

Interestingly I have come to the conclusion that I have to be my best advocate in educating people about my challenges with TBI and CPTSD.

When I can, I help others understand what to look for to find a solution.

Together we can help each other recover and share our stories so that others may relate and start to comprehend the “undiagnosed” dilemma of this and last century.

I have a Facebook page if you would like to follow my journey:

How have you learn to cope with your brain injury? How long did it take to get the right diagnosis?


9 replies on “Guest post: Leanne Whitehouse on her 30 year TBI anniversary”

Thank you for sharing!! I also had a severe TBI. My goal is to go back and finish PA school (if you’re unfamiliar think most of med school but half the time) so my doctors had me take a class first to make sure I could handle it. I didn’t realize I was totally lacking in the confidence department until we got our first exam back! You have come so so SO far!!

Very good article inspiring I’m 10 years out now I have something to look forward next 20 years maybe I can have some fun if I make it that far 51 years old

Thank you for sharing your story. God has much need of you and that is why God left you here to share your story with others, so that He could use you to get the glory out of your life. You are such a blessing and l pray that God will continually bless you and will meet each and every one of your needs, whatever they may be. May you continue to be encouraged.

I was hit in the head alot and still I received my Tbi never surgery doctors in Vermont say to little about getting to the right doctors
Glad you have been such a warrior
I’m still scared today
I get dots, low energy and pains everywhere and know one sees the truth sharp pains in my head
My husband died three months ago from Tbi 9 years ago
I took care of my love an forgot to worry about myslef. Now three months later
Investing in home and want to get to the bottom of my illness that know one sees
I just go slow but I’m scared ill mess up
I bought a home an now afraid that I may need loads of paper to remember most
No coach no feeling that I have somewhere to go for help
I feel happy till the family says I’m handycapt and that’s not it at all
So I pray to get where you are someday
Again thank you for being such a strong person
I only hope I can get there to the other side an I am going to fight
I want to be a EMT
Scared in Vermont
Thank you for sharing your journey

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