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Taylor’s pickup truck represented Taylor’s work ethic, his expression of masculinity, his love for country music, and a space of fun memories and experiences. Perhaps most glaringly, it represented something Taylor feels he has lost — his freedom. The decision to sell it came after another night of seizures.
In times of great distress, I sometimes forget that I am not alone in my struggles. I thought it might be helpful to hear from others in our community. I checked in with some caregivers and survivors, and here is what they had to say.
COVID-19 has left many caregivers struggling with the emotional pressures of isolation. Nicole remembers a pivotal conversation about the inevitability of change and offers some advice on ways to find some comfort and calm in these difficult times.
What an awful, scary, and painful time it has been. I’ve wondered what (if anything) I should share. Some things seem so small now, and others so big...In this time of uncertainty it is important to tap into things that have previously helped you, and remind yourself of the goodness within you and around you.
My blog is titled Permission to Tell the Truth in an effort of honoring my feelings, not denying them. The actual act of truth telling is challenging. It hurts. Here we’ve established a relationship of trusting support. I’d like your continued permission to be open and real.
While my thoughts should have been carefree during our summer vacation at our favorite North Carolina beach, each day as I took in the vastness of the ocean, I was reminded of the far reaches of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and grief.
My name is Nicole Bingaman. I am a mother to three sons, all in their twenties. Our oldest son, Taylor, suffered a catastrophic brain injury seven years ago. There are some hard truths I’ve discovered about myself over the years. Please know some of them require great courage to share with you.
A gentleman asked me, “Looking back at the beginning of your journey, what could have been done on the healthcare team's end to help you?” Taking a deep breath, I realized the question was an open door. I wasn’t sure I felt fully prepared to walk through it. I’ve pondered this question since then and want to share five qualities of healthcare providers that left an impression on me.
These words are part of my caregiving truth. Even though they are messy and imperfect, they are full of love. For you. For me. For the caregivers dealing with moments they can’t bring themselves to share, or those who want to cry, but find their tears have run dry.
Finding acceptance after a brain injury isn't easy. "For a long while, I bucked against our reality. I found myself caught between what I had once known and an uncertain future. The in-between caused marked turmoil. As much as I didn’t want to accept Taylor’s brain injury as part of our lives, it is. As much as I wish it didn’t affect Taylor and our family … it does."
Taisha Rios shares her story about loving and raising her son Yael and how their lives were dramatically changed by an accident. She discusses behavioral challenges, the impact on Yael's confidence, school accommodations and more.
Amanda Stombaugh shares how she managed through the trauma, her daughter Ashlyn's rehabilitation, managing the behavior of a young child with a severe TBI, how to practice self-care while parenting three children, communicating with Ashlyn’s school, helping Ashlyn with social situations, and more.
Over the last few months, a group of people has weighed heavily on my heart. I’ve been thinking about them, and I’ve wanted to express my concern and compassion for them. They are the siblings of brain injury survivors. What happens when your brother or sister suffers with a brain trauma?
If you were to look into the windows in our house of life, we would appear to be a “normal” family, but the reality is, we don’t feel normal. Most days are spent figuring out what will help Kyle on that day; how can that brain of his be calmed.
Hope—love—tenacity—go for it—get mad, let yourself be sad—but don’t let the madness or sadness swallow you. These were repeated themes, said in a thousand ways for a thousand reasons. These are the messages we need to hear again and again.
We admit, despite celebrating Steven’s recovery, we did fall into the dismal comparison trap. "Why is Steven’s rehab roommate already walking?" "His accident was as severe as Steven’s; how did he escape a craniectomy and the helmet?" "How did she escape the epilepsy curse?"
Some may question the morality of lying. As I moved deeper into my new role as a caregiver, I reached out to learn as much as I could about caring for someone with mom’s type of brain injury. My mistruths are categorized as Therapeutic Lying.
It’s been six and a half years since I began this brain injury journey. Or, to compute, 2,372 days, 56,928 hours, 3,415,680 minutes. As I think back, I take pride in each of those days (the bad ones included), remembering too vividly a time in which I was convinced we couldn’t make it at all.
This book packs a lot of wisdom. You’ll learn about aphasia; you’ll understand ambiguous loss; you’ll follow Abby down dark hallways and into sunlit rooms and learn what it means to own a life built on raw truth.
The emotional equivalent of being caught in the undertow came earlier this week. I was scrolling through old photos, reconnecting to moments captured in time. I found my mind trapped in the tumultuous waters of ambiguous grief, fighting my way to the surface.