Wisdom gained from 20 years of living with ABI in 4 mantras

BY: JEAN OOSTROM

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I write today about the passage of time after brain trauma.

Since acquiring a brain injury as a result of a stroke in 1997, some thoughts have helped with my recovery:

I never gave up.

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But other thoughts have hindered it.

Immediately following a brain injury, a diagnosis – be it a concussion, stroke, combat trauma, or PTSD – can be a word that both the brain injured person, and the people who care for that person, can use to start to recover.

For the people who care for the brain injured person, a diagnosis can provide a research tool or an avenue for questions so recovery can proceed.

For the person with the brain injury, a diagnosis can provide a much needed answer and recovery options.

But with the passage of time, that original diagnosis can become a label, which may hinder recovery.

With the passage of time, caregivers might wonder if they have missed something, that could move recovery in a different direction.

With the passage of time, the person with the brain trauma might start to accept the fact that, ‘this is as good as I am going to get.’

Which is why thoughts like these have helped me recover, with the passage of time:

At times I played the role of caregiver for myself and trusted my recovery options

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I’ve been down and out, pulled myself up and made it to the other side

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The brain trauma will always be part of my life, but it will not rule my life.

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After suffering a stroke, Jean coined herself “the voice for the brain injured person” and provides information “from the brain injured point of view” so people can find answers as they “learn to live with their new brains” after all types of brain trauma.

Jean shared more of wisdom in 2016 during Brain Injury Awareness Month:

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BIST Review: CBC Doc on The Brain’s Way of Healing

BY: JEAN OOSTROM

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On October 27, CBC The Nature of Things aired a documentary about Dr. Norman Doidge’s book The Brain’s Way of Healing. You can stream it (in Canada only), here.

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SCREEN SHOT FROM CBC THE NATURE OF THINGS, THE BRAIN’S WAY OF HEALING

For anyone who has experienced a brain trauma, Dr. Doidge provides hope and has changed the verbiage surrounding brain trauma such as:

  • “this is as good as it gets” or
  • “the brain does not heal” or
  • “no, we don’t have a treatment for autism that works”

To:

  1. Let’s try Bioflex Laser Therapy or
  2. The PoNS™ Device or
  3. The LED light helmet for PTSD

I was initially introduced to Dr. Doidge’s book The Brain That Changes Itself almost eight years ago, which was the first time I could really read about my brain injury. When I read the case studies presented in the book, I was able to piece together my brain injury and put the practice of neuroplasticity into my daily recovery.

Dr. Doidge’s new book, The Brain’s Way of Healing, provides a scientific view of all types of brain trauma based on the neurons in the brain miss-firing.

While watching The Nature of Things segment it became apparent that technology has caught up with brain trauma, and is providing a new and exciting avenue for recovery for all types of brain trauma.

  • For anyone who has experienced a brain trauma in the past, it is not too late.
  • For the caregiver who is looking for answers for recovery, kudos for all the research you have done so far for the person you care about.
  • For all physicians who are involved from diagnosis to recovery you can now provide hope and a better way.

If people are being diagnosed today with any type of brain trauma here are the links that will be important during their recovery, as featured in the CBC documentary:

Dr. Doidge‘s Books The Brain’s Way of Healing and The Brain That Changes Itself.  http://www.normandoidge.com/

Dr. Kahn with Bioflex Laser Therapy http://bioflexlaser.com/

Paul Bach-y-Rita, M.D founder of the The PoNS™ Device   https://tcnl.bme.wisc.edu/

Dr. Margaret Naeser in Boston uses a LED light helmet to treat PTSD victims.  http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/features/can-led-light-heal-the-brain-of-ptsd-victims

Paul Madaule from the Listening Centre in Toronto in the treatment of Autism http://listeningcentre.com/

Our work is just beginning but thank you to Dr. Doidge and other professionals for not giving up on us.


After suffering a stroke, Jean coined herself “the voice for the brain injured person” and provides information “from the brain injured point of view” so people can find answers as they “learn to live with their new brains” after all types of brain trauma.

 

 

 

19 years plus a day

BY: JEAN OOSTROM

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As I write this, it’s been one day and 19 years since my journey of  living with my ‘new brain’ after a stroke began.

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Jean Oostrom

19 years may seem like a long time, but as the years have passed, I have made a conscious decision to be content with my level of recovery. I’ve been open to new ideas to help my recovery along further.

During recovery, I believe it is important to separate the trauma from the reactions to the trauma. I believe this is true for both the brain injured person and the people who care for that person.

I think few people have the type of compassion needed to see beyond the reactions to the trauma and recognize the person behind the injury. It takes compassion to ignore the roller coaster of emotions attached to that place where the damaged brain has had enough and recognize the brain injured person for who they are.

The people who care for the brain injured person hold the key to recovery, especially at the beginning.

It is almost impossible for the brain injured person to verbalize what is happening to their damaged brain. Only with the passage of time can a level of understanding be reached by asking questions, doing research and never giving up on your recovery.

The science of neuroplasticity is now being used in the treatment of all types of brain trauma so finally science has caught up.

The 19th anniversary of my brain trauma has come and gone, but it is really the day-to-day adjustments that have made the difference in my recovery: showing up with determination, recognizing when my damaged brain has had enough, being in open communication with the people who care for me during those dark and lonely times and, most of all, never giving up on my recovery.

So I’m looking forward Recovery Year 20, and what new recovery options are on the horizon.

This Brain Injury Awareness Month, Jean shared her story with us, check it out below: 

Jean Oostrom is the creator of New Brain Living as a place where people with brain injuries and the people who care for them can find answers.  New Brain Living started out as a project to make some sense of her own brain injury in 1997, and now is making a difference for many brain injured people and the people who care for them.

Jean has coined herself “the voice for the brain injured person” and provides information “from the brain injured point of view” so people can find answers as they “learn to live with their new brains” after all types of brain trauma.

The following recovery options are available at the New Brain Living website www.newbrainliving.com

5 Answers to New Brain Living – The First Step to Learning to Live With Your New Brain

New Brain  Living Book

New Brain Living Blog

Twitter @NewBrainLiving

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/newbrainliving/

 

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