"Advice For A Mother Of A Son With A Traumatic Brain Injury"

I am a mother, who has a son with a traumatic brain injury. On June 19th of last year, my son came out of the back of a pick up truck, and ended up with an enclosed traumatic brain injury. Everything in his life changed at that moment. We are nine months post tbi. My son physically, is the same boy I knew before the accident, but emotionally I know life is different for him. I am looking for any guidance, direction, and advice to help me, and my family help him. He is one of Gods greatest gifts to me. We are best friends, we are mother and son, he is my world. May God Bless All Of You! I look forward to hearing the insight. I am licensed in the medical field, and have worked bedside for twenty three years. I worked with James everyday, to help him regain everything that he possibly could, but I need help and suggestions, to try and understand his emotions, and thought process, from friends who have went through this journey. Thank You So Much!

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Hello Rachel,

As a mother myself my heart goes out to you.  I have done work with people in coma successfully facilitating sessions with them so they consciously respond.  My first client was an eight year old boy who drowned and was resuscitated after being under water for about 20 minutes.  I encourage you to find out how to use guided imagery and encouraging self-talk to help your son.

I am a certified clinical hypnotist and brain dialog researcher.  I have lots of experience in palliative care helping people who have experienced coma and/or TBI.

Also, I am a Jin Shin Jyutsu Physio-Philosopher Practitioner.  (www.jsjinc.net) It is because of Jin Shin Jyutsu, which is the ancient Japanese art of releasing tension that I have had a lot of success in my own situation after experiencing a car accident in 1991.  I was at a point where I could no longer walk and the doctor said my injury was surgically unrepairable.  Well, he was right.  However, it was energetically repairable by using hypnosis, Reiki and Jin Shin Jyutsu.

I know what it is like to have your child be your world.  I watched my first born son die at home of a birth disorder.  You are an awesome woman to tend to your child.  I really encourage you to find out about Jin Shin Jyutsu.

You are in my prayers.

Susan

Rachel,

I think the emotional aspects are much more difficult to deal with because you can't see them.  Physically I am very close to where I was pre-injury.  However, the emotional piece is where I continue to struggle.  What helps is the support of someone just being there--don't tell him it will get better, because you don't know.  Let your son know that you are there for him, encourage him to discuss his frustrations with you, ask him what kinds of things you could do for him that would help him, if he is open to seeing a psychologist encourage him to go--if not, at least try to talk him into writing in a journal.  Even encourage him to participate in discussions with other survivors.  Fortunately for me, I have an amazing neurologist who reaffirms what I am feeling, reminding me that it is "normal" for someone who has suffered a TBI and who hands me a box of tissues when I begin crying like a baby in her office because I have to try to stay strong and keep it together at home because of the kids.  Despite having an amazing support network and people who care there are still times that I feel alone and unfortunately there really isn't anything my supporters can do for me.  

Remind him often that you love him and are there for him--it really does make a difference for many.

Best of luck,

Julie

Rachel:

Your story resounds with many of us.  You and your son, James, are very early into the recovery process.  There will be many challenges and several ups and downs.  Through it all, however, James should continue working on his recovery and regaining any skills that may have been affected.  

No doubt that you have heard all of the warnings about the lingering side effects of a TBI such as fatigue, lack of social filters and exhibiting uninhibited behavior, anger, depression, insomnia.  You may also have heard that most significant recovery from a TBI will happen within a 12 to 24 month window.  While this may be true for the physical injuries, learning and improvements in executive functioning (problem solving, verbal reasoning, and multi-tasking) can continue forever.  That is, as long as James focuses on improvement and works hard at the recovery process.  

I am a survivor and, like many others, was told that I would not be able to do many things that I did before my injury.  Well, I am virtually 100% back: back to work, back to bicycle racing, back to writing.  In short, I am back to living a full and productive life.  It can happen.  

I now work with many survivor groups and, while I always caution survivors that a "full" recovery (whatever that means) is always possible, improvement is directly proportional to the level of effort put forth.  Like a muscle, the brain will get stronger with exercise.  Recovery is the duty and responsibility of all survivors.  

There is a saying in bike racing: "Being behind in a race is often temporary.  What makes it permanent is quitting."  As long as James keeps working at it, he will improve.  People can learn new skills until the day they die.  So, James can make his way back.

As his mom, be supportive.  Help James find a support group that is positive and can provide you both with some resources.  Most importantly, find a mentor who can work with you and James.  My wife and I regularly meet with other survivors and caregivers.  I am not a therapist nor is my wife.  But getting a survivor's input and talking with their caregiver provides many people with the hope needed to keep moving forward.  No one understands the emotional aspects of recovery like another survivor.

Let us know how we can help.

Best to James,

Randy.

Dear Randy, Thank you so much! It has only been ten months since the accident, some days the pain, just eats a parent up internally, seeing your child struggle. This week more news came, he has a torn rotar cup, whiplash, and will be seeing a neuro opthamologists. God Blessed us with an awesome therapy team close to home, who are now actively and aggresively(in a nice way) working with him. We live in Florida, and unfortunately, live in a town where there are no resources for TBI. I would love for James to have a mentor, and I think he would enjoy having a friend, who can relate to him in his current situation. Thank you for your outreach, God definetly linked you, and your wife at a much needed time, to our lives. Rachel

Hello Rachel, very nice to hear that James therapy team is giving him the therapy needed. Recovery is a long strange trip, but we recover minute by minute, day to day, month to month, year to year. We never stop unless we stop trying to live our lives. A mentor could be anyone, doesn't need to be a TBI survivor. See if the clinic/hospital could use a volunteer once in awhile (as his time permits) to do anything, see if there's support groups for people with strokes, see if there's a church that needs a hand once in a while. Being with others is great therapy. I am a survivor & volunteer in a TBI support group near my home. I volunteer to give back to the center that I used but also to continue my recovery. Talking with others, regardless of their recovery, doesn't matter. I see people who's TBI happened way before or after mine, people with multiple physical issues or multiple cognitive issues or multiple emotional issues. I look fine, I have a job, I can do most of what I did before my injury (8 1/2 years ago), but aphasia is my curse. So unless we're talking face to face you would never know. At work, people who knew me before think I've recovered 100%, but know to give me a wink then I'm missing or using the wrong word/phrase to tell me to try again. People who didn't know me before (and that I don't know) think I've just having a "senior moment". I think & tell people I'm probably 95% of the pre-injury me, I still waiting for that less 5% to come back and that's why I keep going & going & going. I refuse to think I've plateaued. Believe in him. He will recovery as much as his brain is able too. And remember there is no such thing as a time schedule.

Thank You So Much Richard! Every word you spoke is so very true. I BELIEVE IN YOU, is so very dear to me.



Richard J said:

Hello Rachel, very nice to hear that James therapy team is giving him the therapy needed. Recovery is a long strange trip, but we recover minute by minute, day to day, month to month, year to year. We never stop unless we stop trying to live our lives. A mentor could be anyone, doesn't need to be a TBI survivor. See if the clinic/hospital could use a volunteer once in awhile (as his time permits) to do anything, see if there's support groups for people with strokes, see if there's a church that needs a hand once in a while. Being with others is great therapy. I am a survivor & volunteer in a TBI support group near my home. I volunteer to give back to the center that I used but also to continue my recovery. Talking with others, regardless of their recovery, doesn't matter. I see people who's TBI happened way before or after mine, people with multiple physical issues or multiple cognitive issues or multiple emotional issues. I look fine, I have a job, I can do most of what I did before my injury (8 1/2 years ago), but aphasia is my curse. So unless we're talking face to face you would never know. At work, people who knew me before think I've recovered 100%, but know to give me a wink then I'm missing or using the wrong word/phrase to tell me to try again. People who didn't know me before (and that I don't know) think I've just having a "senior moment". I think & tell people I'm probably 95% of the pre-injury me, I still waiting for that less 5% to come back and that's why I keep going & going & going. I refuse to think I've plateaued. Believe in him. He will recovery as much as his brain is able too. And remember there is no such thing as a time schedule.

Thanks for sharing that with us. I like hearing success stories about other victims. My son was in a car accident and suffered a very severe Traumatic Brain Injury... Today he is doing much better. aphasia is his curse too. Here is his story. http://trymunity.com/index.php?do=/video/1/traumatic-brain-injury-t... 

There is always hope, love and prayer.  

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