You’d think a family of eight with the foresight to pull their children out of school earlier than the rest of the nation would be safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, seven out of the eight family members contracted the coronavirus at the very beginning of the pandemic, back when testing was frustratingly difficult to obtain, and our knowledge about the disease was limited.
Even after you've recovered from the acute symptoms of COVID-19, you might find yourself struggling with short-term memory loss, concentration issues, and other cognitive symptoms. If it's been weeks (or even months) since you had COVID-19, it can feel like there is no reason why you should still feel this way. These lingering symptoms after initial recovery from COVID-19 have become known as “Long COVID” and can have a debilitating effect on your life.
If you’ve ever felt like you were suffering alone with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you may find it reassuring to learn you’re definitely not alone.
Health care providers often set low expectations after a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). When patients exceed those expectations, it’s cause for joy. At the same time, it’s disheartening to be caught up in an endless litany of “can’t.”
“It’s like there’s molasses in my brain.”
I started figure skating competitively when I was eight years old. I loved the feeling of flying across the ice, the “wind” racing across my skin, vaulting into the air and sailing through a landing. Like many, I dreamed of the Olympics, and I poured every ounce of energy into training.
Chris Nicastro’s head was pounding. He opened his eyes, wincing at the bright lights from the bathroom vanity. It took a few moments for him to remember where he was: sprawled on the floor after fainting out of the blue. As he realized he hit his head — now for the fourth time — his heart sank. Another concussion.
If you speak to him today, you’d never be able to guess that Nathan “Nate” Benson is a brain injury survivor. The Bountiful, Utah native is in his final year of undergraduate school for a Neuroscience degree at Brigham Young University (BYU).
Many people who have a concussion suffer from some kind of vision problem as a result of the concussion. However, except for “blurry vision” or “sensitivity to light,” the vision problems people often experience after head trauma are not usually listed among the most common concussion-related symptoms. These symptoms are often overlooked and left untreated, or they are not treated as effectively as possible.
When Sam Pembleton arrived at Cognitive FX for post-concussion syndrome treatment, she was shaking. Her nerves were so bad that she couldn’t speak to the other people in the waiting room. When they put her in the MRI machine, she panicked. It took several tries just to get through the scan.
Quirien Willemsen is a happy, busy mother to three young girls in Loenen aan de Vecht, The Netherlands. She works as a legal counsel for a bank, loves going skiing on holiday, and embraces life to the fullest. But just six months prior to this interview, it seemed like that lifestyle was lost forever.
Memory loss is a common concussion symptom. But what many patients don’t know is that it comes in multiple forms and might not go away with time.
Samuel Gray spent his entire life trying to push past an invisible wall. His symptoms — things like brain fog, noise sensitivity, short-term memory loss, anxiety, and depression — made every day a challenge. And for most of the thirty-three years he suffered, he had no idea that his challenges stemmed from a childhood traumatic brain injury.
In her youth, Myrthe van Boon loved playing sports and being outside. On breaks from school, she loved going sailing or teaching others how to sail. Her favorite holiday destination was going to the mountains to hit the slopes. But that life disappeared in an instant when she fell during a skiing trip at age 22.
Everyone’s experience is different. Anyone experiencing a concussion or TBI has a different story, different outlook on life, and different symptoms, their experience of EPIC Treatment is going to be different as well. With that said, here’s my experience. I was injured 17 years before I received treatment, and you can read more about how I got my injury in another post here if you are interested. Hopefully, my story validates some of your experience, gives hope, and provides direction. To begin with, I was surprised my schedule wasn’t more packed with activities. I questioned if this would work. I received over 25 hours of treatment during the week when I was expecting a 40 hour week. By the end of the week, I appreciated that I didn’t have a 40-hour schedule because I don’t think my brain could have handled it. Day One: I walked into the office on Monday morning. I was handed the check-in questionnaire. I filled out the Post Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS) check-in and check-out questionnaire each day of treatment. CFX uses the questionnaires to monitor symptoms throughout the week, and is used as a measurement in their research. As I sat down to complete the simple form, I started to cry. I’m not against crying, but it takes a lot to push me to tears. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I called my husband. He said a quick “Focus, give it your best, and I love you.” Then I met Porter. Porter is one of the Patient Care Coordinators and I really felt support from him while I was at Cognitive FX. I didn’t have any idea what to expect. I was nervous. He gave me a tour, and we got started. *Sometimes you might also have an fNCI on your first day. I got my first scan done before I started treatment for my brain injury.
I was in an auto accident on January 2, 2001. I received a severe TBI, broke my back, pelvis, jaw, ribs, and pretty much every bone in my body. I was grateful to be alive, but after a few years I had accepted the fact that I was going to be deficient for the rest of my life.
Past patient, Anna Empey shares her experiences in a series of blog posts including "Perspective After a Brain Injury," "10 Things I Wish I had Know Before my Brain Injury," and here in this post. When I first was recovering, I felt like I couldn’t find words to write about my experience. I couldn’t explain either written or vocally how I was feeling or what I was going through. Over time, writing became something that helped me learn how to gather my thoughts and express myself. I focused more on the act of writing something down rather than if it was written perfectly or exactly accurate. Continually writing helped me find ways to get better at it.