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Posts tagged ‘Brain Injury’


Meditation Practice

The more I read, the more I’m convinced that meditation is the secret to recovering from a brain injury.  Here, here, and here.  There is a mind-blowing amount of research that supports the beneficial effects of meditation on the brain.  So neurologists, what’s it gonna take?  What’s it going to take for you to start recommending a daily meditation practice to your patients?  Apparently, a mountainload of evidence is not enough so what will it take?  Please, please tell me.  I will find it and give it to you.

Please go here for a better, affordable alternative to learning Transcendental Meditation.



There is a CRAPLOAD of misinformation out there. It’s kind of astounding. If you have a brain injury, you better figure out for YOURSELF the correct information and not blindly listen to everything your doctors tell you. This is all stuff that I’ve heard from doctors or from other stroke survivors and it is just plain wrong information. First, it does not matter if your stroke was ischemic(caused by a blood clot) or hemorrhagic(bleed in the brain). What matters is how severe the stroke was, where it was, and the size of the infarct. A hell of a lot more brain matter can be killed from an ischemic stroke than a hemorrhagic stroke. And vice versa. Second, it does not matter if the stroke was in the cerebrum or cerebellum. All strokes are capable of causing severe disability for years and years. Third, the fatigue caused by a lot of strokes can last for years and years and maybe for the rest of your life. I was told by a neurologist, a year and a half after a debilitating, disabling stroke, that my fatigue was the result of being depressed. Oh really Doc? Fourth, I was also told at a year and a half out of my stroke that my recovery was over and I need to deal with the mental effects now. I cannot WAIT until that MD sees me again. Fifth, I was told by my neurosurgeon that the PFO in my heart caused my stroke. Then my cardiologist told me it had nothing to do with it. I’m still debating this one. The first speech therapist that treated me – don’t get me started. When it comes to a brain injury, there is A LOT of wrong information being given out. The truth is the medical community does not know how to deal with these patients. The fact that I lay in a hospital bed for 30 hours before being diagnosed speaks for itself. Barb, I’m pretty sure I used ‘lay’ wrong. I’ve never figured out when to use lay or laid or lain or lie or lied.


Mood Swings

After a brain injury, you’re gonna have VERY little control over your moods.  It’s indescribably better than it used to be but I still have problems with this.  Sometimes I’m a horrible bitch, sometimes I’m unbelievably mean.  But now I would like to think I’m rarely like this.  Maybe people still think of me as a bitch but I DON’T CARE!  Now I can change my mood within minutes with meditation.  The first year after my event this kind of thing was out of control.  I couldn’t help it, I had zero control over what I said or the way that I treated people.  I can’t keep apologizing for it, it is what it is.  It gets better.  There are very few people who I called a friend prior to the stroke that I still call a friend to this day.  Yesterday I was in an area of town that ex-friends of mine opened a store.  That’s what prompted this post, I consider LOTS of people to be ex-friends.  For everyone reading this that doesn’t have a brain injury – if you ever experience a brain injury, GOD FORBID, but if you ever do you better hope that your friends are willing to stand by you through all the mood swings.  The majority of people in my life were not.  When I got sick, there was an outpouring of support.  My hospital room was overflowing with cards and flowers.  Well, most of that support was fake and not genuine.  Now almost 3 years later I can count on one hand the number of people from my old life that are still in my life.  Those people are NEVER getting rid of me.  I would go to the ends of the earth for them.

Please go here for a better, affordable alternative to learning Transcendental Meditation.



Rehabbing stroke survivors needs to change.  Not just stroke survivors, people with any kind of brain issue.  Something needs to change.  I don’t know what yet but something needs to change.  I’m not happy with some of the care that I received and every single person that is part of this online stroke tribe(credit for coining ‘online tribe’: Barb) that we have created is not happy with some aspect of the care that they received post-stroke.  This SHOULD NOT be the case.  That actually makes me kinda sick.  The time that I spent in the hospital I was incredibly vulnerable and miserable and not able to speak for myself and not comprehending everything properly and I wasn’t treated right.  And I wasn’t treated right in the absolutely critical 5 months following my month-long stay in the hospital.  That’s not ok.  I just realized the impact that I could possibly have on neurological therapy.  I’m a PT and I had a devastating, horrifying, life-altering, tsunami-like thing happen to my brain.  At the age of 30.  I write a very popular and influential blog.  I have a lot of friends who are extremely intelligent people who are dealing with this.  All of these things combined well………

One thing that I know needs to change dramatically is when patients with brain injuries are allowed to sleep.  A search term today was “is it good for a stroke patient to do a lot of sleeping?”  The answer :  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right now inpatient therapists are on like a 7am to 5pm schedule and traumatically brain injured people are supposed to conform to this schedule.  Yeah no.  It doesn’t work.  People that have just been traumatized to the brain need to sleep A LOT and WHENEVER they want.  You want a better recovery for your patient?  Well do you?  Then let her sleep.  The brain heals when it sleeps.  Sleeping should be the #1 priority and therapy should happen when the PATIENT is awake and ready.  Sleep comes first, rehab second.  I remember when I was in the hospital(for a devastating brain injury) that an OT would come into my room every morning at 7am and wake me up saying “rise and shine!”  I never wanted to hurt someone so bad.  If I wasn’t nearly locked-in that OT might have been physically harmed.  The salaries that are given to therapists are kind of pathetic(at least in Pittsburgh) and it’s most definitely not enough for me to have, prior to this event, work late hours or overnight.  So one change that NEEDS to be made is higher salaries for therapists so that they’re willing to work crazy hours to conform to the PATIENT’S sleeping schedule.  These patients absolutely SHOULD NOT have to conform to the therapist schedule.  It should be the other way around.  People that have just had something like this happen CANNOT be expected to be on any kind of schedule.

Oh and all of this needs to happen.  Some of this has nothing to do with therapy/rehab but whatever.


Why I Do What I Do Part Two…..Meditation

There is oodles and oodles and oodles of research about how meditation affects the brain.  Oodles.  Go onto and type ‘meditation’ and over 3500 articles come up.  When you have a brain injury, you better meditate.  You can work out a ton, and I can give you all kinds of exercises and suggestions as a physical therapist, but if you’re not meditating and doing breath work you’re not going to get the results that you want.  You need to work on the brain directly for anything to truly change.

Please go here for a better, affordable alternative to learning Transcendental Meditation.


Brain Injury

A brain injury is a lifelong battle.  It’s not something that you just “get over” or recover from within a few months – or  years – or ever.  If you’re lucky enough to have a brain injury you are forever changed.  FOREVER.  I had a massive brain injury.  Some moron in my life that didn’t understand why I was still sick a year later said to a friend of mine “is she trying hard enough?”  Someone also said to me once “you should be happy, you were almost dead a year ago.”  I cannot begin to explain the stupidity of these comments.  Stupid is not even the word for them.  The people who made these comments are no longer in my life (thank God) so I feel ok about calling those comments stupid.  🙂  That’s what they are.  They are extremely, extremely, extremely insensitive and stupid.  Anyone that would think even for a second that I’m not trying is out of their mind.  But, nobody knows anything about stroke, especially strokes in young people.  Don’t think that your doctors know anything about strokes – they don’t.  The lack of knowledge about strokes is NO excuse for being so insensitive though.  Learn how to act and what to say.



I’m pretty smart.  One of the biggest things that annoyed me, and still annoys me to this day – you know what, A LOT of stuff has annoyed me.  A LOT.  I mean I had a stroke at age 30, that’s pretty annoying.  But this has been one of the biggest annoyances.  I lost nothing cognitively.  I was not affected cognitively whatsoever.  But a lot of people treated me like I was.  I can certainly understand being treated that way the first few months because my brain was recently massively injured – that’s gonna cause some immediate cognitive issues.  But after a few months, my cognition was fine.  I still said and did weird shit, couldn’t help it, but I wasn’t stupid – I was injured.  Don’t treat someone like they are any less intelligent, they’re not.  You have absolutely NO idea what’s going on in their head.


New Life

I’m in the process of building a brand new life right now.  There are very few people from my “old life” (pre-stroke life) that I care about bringing into my new life.  Those people know who they are.  For the most part I want new people in my life.  I only want to be around people who are understanding, unfortunately most people are not.  I am recovering from a massive brain injury and even though it doesn’t look like it, I still have a ton of problems and I might have problems for the rest of my life.  I can have zero stress in my life right now.  Stress will inhibit my recovery greatly.  So no stress for me.  If you cause me to be stressed out, you’re out of my life.  That would suck for you, cause I’m really funny.  🙂  That sounds really conceited, but I don’t care.  This experience has pretty much made me not give a crap about most things.  It’s time for me to be selfish, and to help other people when and if I can.  Although I don’t think I am being selfish, doing things to make your life better – that’s not selfish.