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ABI RECOVERY MAGAZINE Volume 1 Issue 3

Summer Quarterly 2017 Serving and Supporting the Brain Injury Community of Canada

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s “When It Come to Defeating the Enemy, Stroke, I Wrote the Book” ...Page 11


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Publisher and Editor Deborah St. Jean ABI Recovery Magazine (ARM) is published quarterly eZine. Deborah is a survivor of a mild closed brain injury sustained in a car accident on June 4, 2012. As Executive Director of British Columbia Brain Injury Association (BCBIA) at that time, she already had a healthy respect for survivors of brain injury and now understood firsthand in a small way. Due to a merger, she left BCBIA in 2014. While there, having served the membership well, she got to know their stories. There, she developed a passion to support and advocate for the Brain Injury Community.

Deborah thanks you for your support! ARM welcomes letters and relevant, original articles for publication, and we reserve the right to edit any accepted submissions for clarity and length. Contact Deborah St. Jean for copy deadlines or

Visit us online WRITE: 7436 Stave Lake Street, #103, Mission, BC V2V 5B9 Magazine & Subscription Information ABI Recovery Magazine (ARM) is an online ezine published quarterly. Full colour magazine 8 1/2 x 11 that addresses a wide range of topics for professionals and survivors with acquired traumatic brain injury, their families and caregivers. Published four times a year starting Annually with the ‘Winter Issue’ free to all.

Supporting The Brain Injury Community of Canada Coast to Coast Disclaimer ARM’s Publisher, Editor and other principal parties take no responsibility for, nor do we necessarily agree with opinions contained in contributors’ articles, letters, advertising composed by second and third parties, nor do we guarantee the accuracy of such information nor medical claims contained in articles and other content submitted by outside parties. Your discretion is advised.

Health & Medical Disclaimers Material published in this magazine is provided for informational purposes only with the aim to stimulate thought arouse meaningful discussion. This publication is not a substitute for medical care, rehabilitation, educational consultation, or legal advice in any way. Information in this magazine is general as it cannot and will not address each individual’s situation and needs. This magazine contains general information which may or may not apply to individuals. This magazine cannot and does not address each individual’s situation and needs. We encourage all persons with brain injuries, their family members and concerned parties to seek professional advice for any specific questions and concerns. The Publisher has made every effort to insure that content is accurate, correct and current and are not liable for any unintentional errors. Links to websites and contacts have been carefully chosen, but do not imply endorsement and we are not responsible or liable for their information and contents. Under no circumstances, shall the authors, the Editorial Manager and Publisher be liable under any theory of recovery for any damages arising out of nor in any manner connected with the use of this information, services, or documents from this magazine. *

eSubscribe Click here to sign up for your electronic subscription to ABI Recovery Magazine. Thank you for your interest in ABI Recovery Magazine and for your support. eSUBSCRIBER CHANGE OF ADDRESS? If you have moved, please contact Deborah at: 604788-7221 or email: Deborah@abirecoverymagazine.ca Please put ‘ARM Subscriber’ in subject line of email and send us your new email address to continue receiving your issues of ABI Recovery Magazine.

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. . . e u s s I In This Brain Injury Drop In Makes a Difference………… Pg. 6 by Angelika Dawson An Once of Prevention………..…………………. Pg. 8 By Julie Entwistle When It Comes to Defeating the Enemy, Stroke, I Wrote the Book…………. Pg. 11 By

Julia Garrison Fox

Speed Up Peripheral Visio - Build White Matter. Pg. 15 By Kimberly Burnham Caring for A Brain Injury Survivor Includes Caring for Yourself………………. Pg. 18 By Rick Lauber Dawne McKay, MVA Survivor - My Story………. Pg. 21 By D. McKay Pool Therapy: ABI Survivor Makes Waves…………. Pg. 23 By Alisha Lundgren-Drinkwater Returning to Work After A Brain Injury………….. Pg. 26 By Crystal Willms ABI Recovery Magazine Subscribe@abirecoverymagazine.ca Pssst… It is Free! (Pass it on)

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what is possible; and then suddenly you are doing what’s impossible.” ~ St. Francis of Assisi


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Brain Injury Drop In Makes a Difference By Angelika Dawson - Communitas Supportive Care Soc., BC

The room is cheerfully decorated and there’s the smell of fresh coffee brewing. Amanda and Glen are busy rearranging the tables in a way that will make the meeting more inviting. As people come in they greet each other with a friendly smile and warm words. Amanda smiles, knowing how important the weekly Brain Injury Drop In at Communitas Supportive Care Society is for those who come. “It’s a safe place where people who come know that they will be welcomed and understood,” she says. People who live with ABI have either experienced an accident that has resulted in trauma to the brain or they’ve had a stroke or a disease that has affected the brain. Unlike people who are born with a developmental disability, those who live with ABI live with a “before and after” reality, which often makes for a difficult adjustment. Feelings of depression and isolation are not uncommon. It is for this reason that the Brain Injury Drop In is so important. “Often those who come to our group have already gone through a whole process of coming to terms with what has happened or what is happening to them,” Amanda explains. “When they come here, they are seeking a community. The purpose of the group is twofold: to create and foster community and to include a learning component. On Wednesdays, they meet for a social time that includes an evening meal. There is also often another activity planned like a movie, for example. Learning times include topics that are

determined by the group. They have discussed topics like mental wellness, positive self-esteem and breaking stereotypes. People are invited to bring their spouse or another support person with them. They average about 30 people each week. Glen, who has been part of the group for several years, says there are many people in Abbotsford who live with brain injuries but do not get the support that they need. He encourages those people to visit the Brain Injury- Drop in at Communitas. “People who come here get a lot of support,” he says. Sherry has also attended the group for years and her face lights up as she talks about her experience. “I love coming here,” she says. “It makes me happy. We get a great meal and I’ve met a lot of people and made some good friends.” Amanda is encouraged when she hears this, knowing some of the challenges that these participants have faced. Some of those who attend the Brain Injury Drop In talk about the stigma they face when they’re out in community. Amanda hopes that people in the general public will embrace those who are different or who live with the challenge of ABI. “People with a brain injury are just like you and me. The desires of a person haven’t changed after their injury, they still want to fit in, to be loved, to be respected,” Amanda says. To learn more about the Communitas Brain Injury Drop In, visit CommunitasCare.com We invite you to read these personal stories: Glen’s story Sherry's story Blair’s story Communitas Supportive Care Society is a non-profit faith-based organization providing care in communities across British Columbia to those living with disabilities. *


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An Ounce of Prevention By Julie Entwistle - Founder, Solutions for Living, Ont. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” ~ Benjamin Franklin www.SolutionsForLiving.ca

When talking about brain injury, it is fitting to start at the very beginning PREVENTION. Really, it is the best medicine. For now, let’s forget about the symptoms of brain injury and its’ impact on work, home, school, and quality of life. Let’s not talk about how it is assessed and treated. Instead, let’s focus on trying to stop it from happening in the first place. But even before that, we need to know what we are dealing with. It is well known that brain Injury is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. In Canada, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is more common than breast cancer, spinal cord injury, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis (MS) combined. There are approximately 18,000 TBI hospitalizations annually. In the province of Ontario, 25% of the two million people diagnosed with a neurological condition have suffered from a TBI. In 20002001 brain injuries accounted for $151.7 million in direct costs to Canadians (1). By way of distribution, TBI is most common in children (0-19) at 30%, followed by seniors (60+) at 29%. In kids, falls are the most common cause followed by motor vehicle accidents and then sports. In adults, motor vehicle accidents cause the most TBI’s, and in seniors the causes include falls (76%) followed by car accidents (2). Knowing the causes helps to look at how we can engage in preventative strategies. As an occupational therapist with a background in health promotion, a parent of four, and athlete, here are my thoughts: Falls Kids fall all the time, so how can we prevent that? Well, there is a difference between a child falling when walking, running or jumping, versus falling from, say, a shopping cart, off of a playground structure, or from a tree they tried to climb. Falls from bikes, skateboards and scooters are going to

happen – and a helmet can mean the difference between a head injury and not. The bottom line is that falls in kids are best prevented by proper adult supervision. Yes, it is that simple. In seniors, falls take on a different form. They are not from carefree or reckless behavior, but often happen when someone is just trying to go about their day by having a shower, coming down the stairs, or taking a leisurely walk. Seniors need to be attuned to the physical, balance and vision changes they are experiencing as they age, and need to consider the importance of anti-slip mats in the bathroom, removing scatter mats, installing grab bars or railings, and the benefits of a walking stick or cane when outdoors. Seniors need to engage in regular exercise and activity to maintain bone density, mobility and intact balance. They have to be very careful when living with pets or when trying to negotiate places that are cluttered or dark. Awareness of declining abilities is the first key to addressing these properly such that a prevention plan can be developed that will ultimately improve safety and reduce the risks. Note that the services of an occupational therapist can be pivotal in creating this safety plan. Motor Vehicle Accidents Like falls, despite our best intentions, these can and do happen. The issue here is trying to minimize the risk and optimize the outcome. Safe drivers are attentive, undistracted, and alert. They travel at safe speeds, approach intersections with caution, stop behind the line, pass when appropriate, and recognize that rushing to get somewhere on time is useless if it means you never get there at all. Safe drivers don’t text or hold a phone to their ear, don’t eat a hamburger and steer with their knees, and don’t drive when tired. If you are one of these drivers you are going to increase your chances of avoiding a collision, and lower your chances of being the cause. Unfortunately however, not everyone is a safe driver. So, all the rest of us can do is wear our seat belt, buy a car with a good safety rating, make sure everyone in the car is buckled properly, make sure the headrest is at a proper height, put loose belongings in the trunk (I know of a child who got a head injury from a flying jar of pickles that escaped the grocery bag during a collision), and follow the rules for child seats.


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Sports I am an avid athlete and have pretty much played or tried every sport. There are very few sports I dislike and I honestly feel that sports can be the most positive and influential outlet for young people, and one of the most engaging and social outlets for adults. The issue is that sports seem to bon a stick than a helmet), ensuring they are playing at their level, monitoring the coaching influence and team culture to make sure this is appropriate, and my favorite is from the book “The Secrets of Successful Families” and includes that the only job of a parent in organized sport is to “shut up and cheer”. No parent should be on the sidelines encouraging reckless, mean or harmful behavior. The results can be devastating. If you are concerned about your child’s risk of head injury in sport, know that there are many other sports on a stick than a helmet), ensuring they are playing at their level, monitoring the coaching influence and team culture to make sure this is appropriate, and my favorite is from the book “The Secrets of Successful Families” and includes that the only job of a parent in organized sport is to “shut up and cheer”. No parent should be on the sidelines encouraging reckless, mean or harmful behavior. The results can be devastating. And if you are concerned about your child’s risk of head injury in sport, know that there are many other sports that reduce the risk but are equally as challenging, competitive, fun and have the same physical, cognitive and developmental benefits. So, let’s start practicing prevention. It does not have to be easier said than done. * About the Author Julie Entwistle has a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Studies and Gerontology and a Bachelor of Health Science degree in Occupational Therapy. Julie is a member in good standing of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO), the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT) and has been practicing occupational therapy in Ontario’s auto insurance industry for the last fifteen years Julie is the owner of a large rehabilitation company and in this role is responsible for recruiting, training, and mentoring of other therapists entering and working in this field. She continues to educate and train students as a preceptor and clinical lecturer via McMaster University. Julie also holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University with a specialty in business strategy. Julie has taken many courses and classes over the last 15 years,

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including additional training in Spinal Cord Injury, the Executive Certificate in Home Modifications, and is trained in administration of the AMPS and the PGAP program. Also, she has 10+ years of pre-clinical occupational therapy training and experience working with people with disabilities (adults, children and seniors.) *

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When It Comes to Defeating the Enemy, Stroke, I Wrote the Book By Julia Fox Garrison Keynote Speaker and Best Selling Author

A surgeon stepped into the waiting room, where 16 of your family members were quietly pacing and praying. "She is in critical condition. She appears to have had a seizure and she had heart failure. Her hemorrhage is massive. We are doing life-saving measures to evacuate the blood. If she makes it, she'll most likely need reparative surgery once she has been stabilized." “What do you mean 'if she makes it'? She is healthy, young, and strong." Your husband, Jim said incredulously. “What I am saying is that she may not survive the operation. This procedure has a high mortality rate” the surgeon said solemnly. During the surgery, I died on the operating table. My heart stopped beating. My lungs stopped breathing. My brain stopped functioning. During the flat-lined period, I was climbing a ladder that had no beginning nor end, top and bottom faded into the clouds. I thought, "Wow why do I have to climb, shouldn't I have the ability to float?" Instinctively, I knew I had a choice. Should I stay or Should I go now. I chose to stay. "Can I return as Beyonce?" Someone is telling you to wake up. They sound dangerously, oddly happy; and it is obvious something has happened. And you are not Beyonce.

This July 17 marks the 20th anniversary of the war on my body, where I had to battle against a massive hemorrhagic stroke. It ravaged my body and killed a large portion of my brain. An MRI reveals this reality. The right side of my brain is over 60 % dead, the size of my fist. The large black spot on the scan is dead brain tissue. There's also a deep hole where the surgeons evacuated the blood during brain surgery. There was a time when speaking of something undesirable I would say, "I need that like a hole in the head! Now I add, “Wait, I already have a hole in my head.” My brain injury may have claimed my limbs, but it did not capture my spirit. I fought off this enemy that rendered me disabled and nearly killed me, with humor, positive attitude, hope and faith. Stroke may have had its way with me, but it could not conquer the essence of me. War is ugly and stroke recovery is not pretty. Fighting a war requires a unified front. I rallied my troops--my parents, brothers, friends, husband, and son--to help me through the darkest times of my battle. Initially, I felt that time was on my opponent's side, it ticked so slowly. Brain Injury recovery is measured in minutia. As time passed, however, it changed sides to become my ally. It was now like a time-release medication. As I looked back to the beginning of the assault, I realized that those small seemingly minor skirmishes were taking a toll on the enemy, the tide had turned. I had reclaimed significant territory since the battle lines were drawn. My horizon became brighter with each passing day. Yes, twenty years ago, I escaped the Grim Reaper. Every year since that fateful day, I have marked July 17 as a “Homage to my Hemorrhage,” celebrating the gift of more time here on earth. I had been thinking of my 20-year anniversary as marking a milestone, but upon reflection, I have come to


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realize that every day represents a milestone — another opportunity to make a positive difference in this world. Although the course of my life as I had originally envisioned veered off course, I am brimming with gratitude for the incredible opportunities my stroke has given me. I never felt like a survivor of stroke, but always a survivor of life's happenstance. Although some may cringe when I refer to my stroke as a gift, it has shaped my life in ways that are surprisingly full of wonderful possibilities, including the remarkable people I have met because of my stroke. These folks have also educated me and left me in awe and inspired by the power of the human spirit. No one escapes adversity, whether it be physical, emotional, financial, or some other setback. Mine happened to be a paralyzing stroke, but it has given me insight to what is important. My stroke, my educator, has schooled me well, and provided lessons that keep me grounded, fulfilled, and greeting each day with renewed hope. Thanks to my stroke, I've learned: Life is about choice. Each choice is predicated on my prior choice.  Laughter truly is the best medicine for the mind, body and spirit. I must administer steady daily doses. Being able to laugh at myself induces more laughter with others, creating a cacophony of joy and positive connections.  No one is responsible for my happiness but me. It is an inside job that I must undertake and make a habit. Just by choosing it, though, doesn't make it inevitable, it takes hard work.  Say goodbye to embarrassment. No one has the right to judge another. I learned that to feel embarrassed is what I am thinking others are thinking of me. The source is internal not external. It is how I

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I own my dignity. It is only lost if I give it away. Keep my head held high and my eyes on the prize--my quality of life.  There will be obstacles to achieving goals. Overcoming an obstacle may require a detour, but this often exposes me to new revelations.  The proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” is visible only if I access the light switch within myself. The damage has already been done, now it’s up to me to deal with the aftermath of the wreckage. Many folks ask why I would celebrate a date that has left me impaired and in this disabled state? Of course, it still engenders pain and distress at the memory, but it also shows how far I have come from that day when I thought I was going to die. Celebrating allows me to get the upper hand over my stroke (albeit the right hand only—my left hand is still good only for decorating). This is a day for reflecting and rejoicing at the opportunity to have had 20 more years of celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, and other special events with family and friends. Twenty years ago, when we celebrated my son's third birthday, I didn't realize then that would be a memory that would sustain me five days later when I suffered my injury. Parents are proud and emotional at their children's accomplishments. It becomes especially apparent at graduations. I have been blessed to see both his high school and college graduations. I was overwhelmed that I lived to see these accomplishments. I was a blubbering mess-mostly tears of joy, but also tears of reflection. Yes, there have many occasions to celebrate over the past 20 years, as there have been trials of sadness and loss. This is the Yin and Yang of life.

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“Life lesson

#1 ~ Begin each new day with a grateful heart


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I am not my stroke. Does it define me? In some ways, yes, but it is only layered on an already multifaceted Julia. I am the victor of my stroke, I conquered the beast. As it attempts to raise its ugly head daily, I am battle ready. This enemy did not defeat me, it only made me stronger, wiser, more grateful, and happier. Yes, happier. I know up -close-and-personal that there are no guarantees in life and that every minute I’m alive is a bonus. * Julia Fox Garrison, Mass. USA: For Julia’s future availability for speaking engagements, email pinheadpress@comcast.com for more information and schedule.

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About the author: Julia Fox Garrison is a well known Keynote Speaker and Best Selling Author,. Her book, ‘Don't Leave Me This Way (or when I get back on my feet you'll be sorry)’ is one that stroke survivors will relate to and be encouraged by, It is a recommended read! Ms. Fox Garrison invites you to visit her webpage for more information and how to obtain her book. (juliafoxgarrison.com)

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Speed Up Peripheral Vision - Build White Matter By Kimberly Burnham —The Nerve Whisperer, Spokane, Wa. USA

A 2017 study in the Journal of Neurotrauma suggests that the peripheral vision reaction time indirectly measures white matter integrity in the posterior corpus callosum [connection between right and left hemispheres of the brain]. This is a brain region frequently damaged by mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). (Womack, K. B., C. Paliotta, et al. (2017). "Measurement of Peripheral Vision Reaction Time Identifies White Matter Disruption in Patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury." J Neurotrauma 34(8): 1539-1545. https:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27927083 Within seven days after the injury, patients received an MRI scan and a battery of neuropsychological tests. Nine uninjured control subjects received similar testing. The patients 18-50 years of age were included if they had a post-resuscitation Glasgow Coma Scale >13 and an injury mechanism compatible with mild traumatic brain injury. Healthy controls were either age- and gendermatched family members of the TBI patients or healthy volunteers. Researchers found that the patients with the worst white matter levels had the worst test scores and the patients with the most mild white matter deficits had the best test scores. "Patients could be stratified on the basis of crosseduncrossed difference on the Stroop 1, Controlled Oral Word Association Test, and the obsessivecompulsive component of the Basic Symptom Inventory tests." Reverse engineering the Journal of Neurotrauma article indicates that exercises that increase peripheral vision and exercises that speed up reaction time may encourage white matter integrity and brain healing.

Reverse Engineer Brain Trauma A sign a symptom dissolved exercise increases peripheral vision see the sides way out to the right way out to the left speed up the brain react with sight insight fast and faster still the brain will work white matter gray matter corpus callosum creating in reality These three exercises: peripheral vision, blinking speed and the left-right looking exercises can each change vision and the connections within the brain in a different way. Peripheral Vision Exercise: Look straight ahead with the head and eyes. Reach out your arms to the right and left at shoulder level with arms straight. Reach backward then slowly bringing the hands and arms forward as if to clap in front of you. Arms are straight the whole time. Look straight ahead but look for your hands moving into view. Stop moving the hands when you see them. Move the hands and arms backwards slightly. Wiggle the fingers on the right then left then right again. Can you see them? Stretch your vision to your hands and wiggling the fingers all the while looking straight ahead. Make this a practice every day expanding peripheral vision. Blinking Speed Exercise: Look around at the light. What can you see? Do you see red and blue? Is the room or landscape painted with yellow or pink? Now start blinking you eyes. You can blink fast or slow or vary the rate as you go. Ask yourself questions as


you blink for a minute or so. What do I see that is red? How many chairs are there? Do I see anything that is triangular? Notice the colors, numbers and shapes as you blink. Then after a minute or so stop blinking and look around. What has changed? Is the light brighter? Are your eyes more comfortable? Are colors more vibrant? Open to seeing what is around you. Left Right Looking Exercise: From the field of NeuroLinguistic Programing (NLP) comes the idea that when we are recalling certain kinds of memories or imagining something, we move our eyes in a particular direction: up, down, sideways, gaily forward, right and left. For example, moving the eyes to up and to the left is thought to indicate the recalling of remembered imagery. The premise of this exercise is that moving the eyes, strengthening the muscles, exercising them up and as far to the left as possible activates the eyes and enhances our ability to remember images, in other words improves our memory. Take a deep breath in and relax your eyes. On the exhale, look to the left, as far to the left as possible while centering the head in a relaxed way over the shoulder. Repeat this three times for each direction. Inhale and relax the eyes. Exhale and move your eyes in the specified direction. Take another deep breath in, and on the exhale look to the right, as far to the right as possible, while the head remains facing forwards. Do this three times. After the third deep breath, exhale and look up and the left (enhance visual memory) as you think about your best friend's favorite color. What color is he or she always wearing? On the fourth exhale, look down and to the right as you think about how you felt in your body this morning. Were you happy or sad? What emotions were you feeling? How did your rib cage feel or your shoulder? On the fifth exhale, look down and to the left as

you listen to your intuitive sense. What should you make for dinner tonight or what should you wear this morning? Take a deep breath in as you relax your eyes. On the next exhale, look up and to the right as you imagine the contours of a boat or an airplane that you could build that is nothing like anything that has ever been seen before. Up and to the right is the domain of visualization, imagined images of something you have never seen before. * Known as the Nerve Whisperer, Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine) helps people with brain health issues, chronic pain, and vision improvement goals through health coaching (phone consulting) and hands-on healing (craniosacral therapy, Reiki, acupressure) in her private practice in Spokane, Washington. NerveWhisperer@gmail.com

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Caring for a Brain Injury Survivor Includes Caring for Yourself By: Rick Lauber – Author of Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians and The Successful Caregiver’s Guide

Preparing for the unexpected is close to impossible; however, you can plan for after the unexpected occurs. Brain injuries are, typically, the result of sudden head injuries and, therefore, are surprises. Following such accidents, the lives of both a brain injury survivor and his/her family members can change forever in mere minutes. Following a brain injury, family members often assume the role of caregiver and can take on any number of newfound responsibilities. The job of caregiving is not an easy one … you can be taxed physically, mentally, emotionally, and even financially. I speak from personal experience as I helped and supported my own aging parents (Mom had Parkinson’s disease and Leukemia while Dad had Alzheimer’s disease). While these conditions were not caused by brain injuries, many of the results for someone caring for a brain injury survivor proved to be quite similar – I took on further work and struggled to balance my own career, family, life, and caregiving. Caregivers often lose themselves in the process of caregiving. It’s common for many brain injury survivors’ caregivers to focus on their own loved one’s journey back to recovery and completely ignore their own needs; however, taking time for yourself results in better personal health, increased energy, and reduced stress. Caring for yourself is one of the most important things you can do when caring for another individual. I learned this lesson with my own parents. Caregiving can easily become a secondary full-time job that can be time-consuming, demanding, and stressful. Caring for yourself may seem like a distant thought to you and an impossible task. To make

things easier, you can access and use respite care service providers. Finding additional local help to give you a much-needed break isn’t necessarily difficult to do; however, there are things that you need to remember: Schedule respite care often: You can never get enough of a good thing, so plan for regular respite care. Taking frequent breaks or using respite care often doesn’t mean that you are either irresponsible or selfish – it means that you understand that you know that you are playing a key role in your loved one’s care and that you cannot effectively do this when you are exhausted and/or sick. Even long-term care facilities recommend that caregivers feeling under the weather remain at home to avoid passing along any germs to their senior residents. I remember a notice on the front door of my father’s care home which read, “If you’re sick, please stay away and schedule your visit another day.” Share necessary information: If you are bringing in a professional/private caregiver to help and provide you respite, give him/her all of the details that he/she will need. Leave a list on the kitchen counter or post it to the refrigerator door where it will be handy and conspicuous. That list can include your contact number, an alternate name and contact number for any emergencies, several recommendations of suitable activities for your loved one, food preferences, medication reminders, and so on. Have a Plan “B’: For any number of reasons, your respite worker may not be available to be with your brain injury survivor. Additionally, professional / private caregiving companies may not always provide you with the same worker from one day to the next (the same worker will become more familiar with your case and be recognizable to the brain injury survivor). Therefore, you can benefit by having one (or several) back-up plans for respite care. What other respite care providers in your area are available, if needed? What is their lead time required to request and book a worker? Are they cost-comparable? Evaluate your respite care worker: Although you may not be with him/her constantly, you can still assess


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his/her skills and performance. My family hired a private care aide to work with my father and I would occasionally make unscheduled visits to his care home on some other premise when she was on-site with him. This way, I could physically watch how she worked with Dad. If your brain injury survivor has been placed in a hospital or other care facility, you could ask the staff for their observations about your hired care worker. Remember though that their patients and their own work are their priorities and they cannot regularly monitor your hire. A brain injury survivor’s journey back to recovery will greatly depend on your own involvement and contributions. To be most effective, best serve, and continue to function at your best, you must remember your own personal health and well-being. Taking respite is one of the regular steps you can take to keep yourself well at this time. *

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Rick Lauber is a published book author and established freelance writer Lauber has written two books, Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians and The Successful Caregiver’s Guide (Self-Counsel Press) as valuable resources for prospective, new, and current caregivers.

He is also very pleased to have been twice-chosen as a contributor in Chicken Soup for the Soul: It’s Christmas!, as well as, Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat. For information on how to obtain Rick’s book’s, visit Rick’s web site. (www.ricklauber.com)


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. s s e c c u s e k li s d e e c c Nothing su . s s e c c u s le tt li a t e G . e r o m le tt li a t e g t s ju n The

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Dawne McKay. MVA Survivor - My Story By Dawne McKay. Founder of Motor Vehicle Accident Support and Recovery Group

One week prior to my accident, I was on vacation in Florida with my boyfriend and I was suddenly jolted awake in the middle of the night with a terrible feeling that something awful had happened to someone close to me. It was a feeling that I had never experienced before and I thought I was going to get a call that someone had passed unexpectedly. I carried this feeling with me for days and I just couldn't seem to shake this unsettling anxious feeling no matter how hard I tried. One week "to the day" I was involved in a horrific car accident. I was on my way to work stopped to make a left hand turn and I was rear-ended by an SUV clocked at 80 mph and I was pushed into the path of a transport truck. My life as I knew it suddenly changed in a matter of seconds. I was transported to a local hospital but my injuries were so severe that they had to transport me to a trauma hospital. When I arrived in the trauma unit I remember being greeted by the Chaplain as I was truly lucky to be alive. I suffered multiple injuries including a head injury and and a horrific seatbelt wound on my thigh. I only spent three days in the trauma unit as they decided to discharge me even though I couldn't walk. I think back to that morning and I was actually excited to be leaving the hospital and couldn't wait to have a shower, wash my hair and put my pyjamas on. I didn't realize that I would be absolutely terrified to get into another vehicle, how bad the pain would be once the morphine had worn off and suddenly I realized that I could not walk and I was in excruciating pain. Daily nursing, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, PSW's and numerous medical follow up appointments had now become my new way of life not to mention financial

strain, flashbacks, sleepless nights, constant pain, he "what if's" and anxiety. As I had never been in a motor vehicle accident like this, it was a HUGE learning curve and recovery for me. My accident happened in 2012 and I still continue to attend outpatient rehabilitation. I am still trying my best to cope with the chronic pain, sleepless nights and flashbacks. Today and every day I try my best to be as positive as I can. In 2016 I decided to create a Facebook support group for Motor Vehicle Accident Survivors. I took it upon myself to not only build the support I was seeking, but to spread it out to others who were in similar situations. I have over 200 members. A lot of them are either recovering from their accident or just starting to go through the process. Knowing you are not alone is the main thing and bringing people together and finding support in one another is very therapeutic. I find that once motor vehicle accident survivors are discharged from the hospital, they really don't have anywhere to reach out to other survivors. The group is strictly to provide members with emotional support while they recover physically, financially and legally. No medical or legal advice is allowed in the group. * You are invited to visit us on Facebook (click below):


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Be Your Brainy Best! Do you have acquired brain injury symptoms? Do you have life stressors that impact your daily functioning? Are you interested in improving your cognitive skills? Crystal Willms - Certified Power Coach® Reiki Master Practitioner, Alberta ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Coaching and consultation for brain injury management   

Brain Gym® strategies for improved cognitive wellness, athletic and academic skills Reiki sessions to promote physical healing, relaxation and improved mental clarity Whole-life coaching to assist with improved skills in problem-solving, planning and follow-through (for individuals with or without injuries)

TheCrystalFactor.com crystal@headwaycoachingintl.com


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Pool Therapy: ABI Survivor Makes Waves By Alisha Lundgren-Drinkwater. Exec. Communications Coordinator for Strive Living Society

Weekly pool therapy has changed Kevin Fuson’s life and restored his mobility. Exercise has been and continues to be an essential component in Kevin’s recovery process. His dedication to recovery, positive attitude, and volunteering efforts are exemplary. Kevin sustained an Acquired Brain Injury and experienced significant memory loss. Eventually his memories returned and became a source of motivation. For two and a half years he didn’t even consider getting out of his wheelchair. The return of his memories changed his perspective, especially when he could recall playing hockey from 2 a.m. until 6 a.m. prior to his injury. Kevin played sports his whole life and considers it an important social and physical activity. This compelled him to look online for potential exercises and he discovered pool therapy. “Exercise was the one stimulant to evolve the brain. Exercise is paramount. The more exercise I did, the more memory I got back,” Kevin said. A lady bought raffle tickets for pool therapy and put his name on it. His name was drawn and he received one hour of free pool therapy with a therapist. After his first session he said, “Hey, this

will work for me.” After five visits Kevin was able to throw his walker away. He paid for the lessons out of his own pocket at the Aldergrove heated pool and continues to attend once a week. Pool therapy allowed Kevin to walk again and became the key to his recovery. Kevin is a member of Strive Living Society’s Assisted Independent Living (AIL) program and resides with a Home Share provider. His progress has been in learning tasks such as cooking and cleaning and has been progressing to more independent tasks on a regular basis. He continues to volunteer his time regularly and pool therapy has made him completely mobile. Kevin is driven to utilize the program and all that it has to offer. His positive attitude and dedication towards fitness is inspiring. Kevin says that his experience in AIL has been fabulous so far and that his care providers are a great fit. They joke around all the time and his cooking, household tasks, and cleaning abilities have improved noticeably. Everything has been a big learning experience and he continues to explore his newfound freedom. He has some advice for others going through a similar journey. “I would say don’t be so concerned about the memories. It was like I was living it but I couldn’t put names or faces or times. The


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Kevin says that his experience in AIL has been fabulous so far and that his care providers are a great fit. They joke around all the time and his cooking, household tasks, and cleaning abilities have improved noticeably. Everything has been a big learning experience and he continues to explore his newfound freedom. He has some advice for others going through a similar journey. “I would say don’t be so concerned about the memories. It was like I was living it but I couldn’t put names or faces or times. The hardest part was when the memories came back. Memories turned into motivation. I’m getting better and braver every day,” Kevin said. Kevin recommends asking about pool therapy right away in order to expedite the process of receiving funding. He prefers heated pools because it is harder to pull a muscle. Kevin has volunteered his entire life and started out by coaching sports, police runs, and walks for multiple sclerosis. He enjoys assisting people at Brookside on and off buses, and to pic-

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He wants to help people experience things they may not be able to without his help. “I’m gung ho and geared to help,” Kevin said with a smile. “I’ve had such a great supporting cast throughout this journey, including family, Brookside, and Strive. This team has made my journey a lot easier.” What compels him to keep volunteering? “Maybe my volunteering is a way of giving back because I have an appreciation of people in those positions. Living through it gave me a chance to speak one-on-one. Prior to my disability I didn’t even know these places exist. That’s what makes me come back. I get a chance to give back,” Kevin said. * Strive Living Society is a non-profit registered charity serving children, youth, adults, and seniors with diverse abilities. Strive was founded in 1988 and is CARF accredited. To learn more about Strive, visit www.striveliving.ca. * To learn more about Assisted Independent Living or becoming a Home Share provider, visit: http://striveliving.ca/ adults-services/assisted-independent-living/

Your Global Brain Injury Community www.thebirg.org

SUBSCRIBE...It’s FREE ABI Recovery Magazine

Visit our Web Site today! A US 501c3 Registered Charity


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t... Visi

Five Benefits of Being Silent for Mind And Body Improves Memory ~ Stimulates Brain Growth ~ Relieves Stress Fights Insomnia ~ Heightens Awareness in Other Areas (Find out more!)

ABOUT E M K S A EFITS N E B E TH

Deborah@abirecoverymagazine.ca

Find the Qcard APP available for download at the Apple App store. For more information about the Qcard App contact sergio@qcard.ca or visit www.Qcard.ca


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Returning to Work After a Brain Injury By Crystal Willms - Founder of TheCrystalFactor.com

Returning to work after a brain injury is hard. I’ve been supporting injured people with this process on a professional basis for fifteen years, employers included. I also walked this journey with my former commonlaw spouse after he sustained a severe traumatic brain injury. Hiring an injured person is risky business from an employer’s perspective and complicated on many levels for the person wanting to return to work. It’s an absolutely massive topic that cannot be fully examined in a simple article. I’m offering some points of consideration and it’s up to the individuals impacted by these circumstances to explore the points that best fit with their situation. I cannot stress enough the importance of the injured person taking time to acknowledge how they feel about returning to work. Without addressing negative feelings, one is already facing barriers to handling this challenge competently. Some of the negative feelings a person may be experiencing while unemployed:  Lack of confidence, clarity, embarrassment  Fear of change, anxiety  Fear of failure, powerlessness  Fear of pain (physical, emotional)  Separation/disconnection  Judgment/blame  Frustration and/or anger Another important exercise for the brain injured person is to fully understand what symptoms are disruptive to emotional, physical and/or cognitive functioning. Based on my observations and client feedback, there are symptoms that will go undetected or only mildly triggered because the injured person hasn’t been exposed to a work environment An effective way of evaluating one’s functional capacity at a higher level is to be working or simulating work tasks. Volunteerism, job shadowing and/or participation in a gradual return to work plan is invaluable. I would never rec-

ommend a person return to work “cold”, but I know many have done it. I’m sure there are successes, but I haven’t had the privilege of hearing about them. The best case scenario for someone returning to work after a brain injury is working for the same employer doing the same job. Another great option is to work for the same employer but in a different position. If you must build a relationship with a new employer, there are choices to make regarding disclosure of shortcomings. If one chooses disclosure in any fashion, skillfully executing this difficult conversation is an art form that requires guidance and preparation in advance. There are many reasons for a brain injured person to utilize professional support during this transition phase. Assistance before, during and after returning to work can be provided by (and is not limited to) one or more of the following professionals:  Psychologist (provides stress management strategies, etc.)  Life Coach (provides support with problemsolving, goal setting, accountability, may act as an advocate, etc.)  Occupational Therapist (provides ergonomic assessments, task analysis, functional capacity evaluations, assistance with return to work planning, guidance regarding any additional assessments that may be required for cognition, driving, etc.)  Family Physician (addresses medical barriers to returning to work, etc.) Ideally, if the injured person has a spouse, there is support and education for them as well. New challenges and change can make for a tumultuous time at home, so understanding how to handle this in the healthiest way possible will make a big difference. I believe it’s worth mentioning that the definition of return to work success should be clarified by the injured person, who communicates this with their support system. It’s helpful for people directly and indirectly impacted by this process to understand the steps required for the achievement of the person’s return to work in whatever capacity is considered realistic. Offering hope, encouragement, patience and listening skills are valuable ways to support an individual. If the injured person is receiving any kind of


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financial compensation while unemployed, returning to work will impact this income. Some people struggle with putting their disability income at risk. One must take the time to consult with the necessary professionals to clarify how working will affect their current income. Not everyone has access to resources or funds for appropriate supports. If this is the case, it’s not meant to stop anyone from attempting to achieve their employment goals. However, the right information along with the right support at the right time will contribute to better coping and a higher probability of long-term success. My former spouse is a success story and a good example of what some specialized knowledge and support can do. He emerged from three weeks in a coma to

JOIN B.I.R.G. Come visit us at www.thebirg.org Become part of a growing global BI community!

For more information please write us at info@thebirg.org

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return to full-time employment in his pre-injury field in nine months. We utilized professional help, my pre-existing knowledge of return to work processes and he volunteered beforehand. Additionally, we both were driven and positive. No one will ever convince me that success after a brain injury isn’t possible. All people are valuable and a job does not define who we are as human beings. Nevertheless, if you’re unemployed post brain injury and aspire to work, believe you are capable of productivity and that you will find a meaningful way to contribute to the world if you have a healthy mindset and a strong support system. *


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‘The Mosh Pit’ ~ Blogs, Newsletters, Podcast & Video Resources Chronic Pain and Depression. What’s the Link? Adventures in Brain Injury!

Informative Blog: Visit Webster & Associates, Vancouver …” If you suffer from hypersensitivity to touch, or a never-ending pain to an area of your body, or altered sensation to heat and cold, you may be well aware of how this type of chronic condition is debilitating not only physically but also to your motivation and mood.”

Arm recommends site for awesome Blogs and Podcasts! (Psst...Apparently, Healthline does too!”) :-D

MY BROKEN BRAIN Putting the pieces back together again after encephalitis

Life After Encephalitis ‘Visit her blog’ - LIZ MOLLY OLDERSHAW …”Throughout my journey through recovery, I truly believe that by being able to share my knowledge of my own personal story has enabled me to gain a better understanding into my own illness.”

Hosted by Stroke Survivor, Aaron Avila (Pls Subscribe)

Visit Aaron’s You Tube Podcast Channel By a Survivor for Survivors

Illustration by Jason Schneider

For the inquisitive among us...

By Daniel Engber Source: Popular Science (PopSci.com)

Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Brain Damage? “Psychiatrist Philip May specialized in treating schizophrenia, but proposed a radical shift: How, he wanted to know, might an animal that repeatedly slams its head into a tree trunk at 16mph keep from getting brain damage?”...


Province & Territories: Association Listings - Links

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Alberta

British Columbia

First Nations BI Services

Manitoba

BI Information, Events and Resource Access by Province


Province & Territories: Association Listings - Links

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New Brunswick

New Foundland & Labrador

Northwest Territories

Nova Scotia

Ontario

BI Information, Events and Resource Access by Province

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Province & Territories: Association Listings - Links

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Nunavet

Prince Edward Island

Quebec

Saskatchewan

Yukon BI Information, Events and Resource Access by Province

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Conference and Community News

Coming Soon

20-23 September

Rome, Italy

2017 Second International Conference on

Paediatric Acquired Brain Injury New Strategies to Improve Outcom and Quality of Life For more information, visit: www.internationalbrain.org

October

Watch their website for details: 2017 Brain Injury Canada Annual Conference, Ottawa CA

*July 2017 - BIAC Welcomes Michelle McDonald ‘New’ Executive Director Submit events, news listings to: Deborah@abirecoverymagazine.ca


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October

American Congress on Rehabilitation Medicine October 23 - 28 ACRM 2017 94th Annual Conference Atlanta, GA USA

November Presented by Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA.ca)

2017 Acquired Brain Injury Provincial Conference November 1-3, 2017 Theme: Making A Difference Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls (Across from the Rainbow Bridge) 5875 Falls Avenue, Niagara Falls, ON

December Brain Injury Assoc. Sudbury & District 2750 Bancroft Drive, Sudbury, ON

~ Holiday Gala for ABI Survivors ~ Thursday, December 7, 2017 @ 5:00 - 9:00 pm

705-670-0200

info@biasd.ca

For many years, BIASD has partnered with March of Dimes Canada to host a holiday gala or ABI survivors, their families, friends and advocates. What started off as a small get together has grown in to the most anticipated event of the year. ‘YOUR DONATIONS WELCOME’

Global Conferences & Community News

Contact for more information and registration


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BI In The News Concussion Affects Children in Sports Too! Parents in the dark about concussions, research shows An excellent read per this study co-authored by a faculty member of UTA's College of Nursing and Health Innovation. ..."But we need to be just as mindful about the kinds of dangerous, unseen injuries that come from playing sports. This study is a useful tool for building awareness and arming parents with some really good information" Statement by Anne Bavier, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Concussion services launched in Oakville Source: Insidehilton.com By Marta Marychuk Writer for Oakville Beaver

…”Kim Delahunt, Senior Director, Health System Integration, of the Central West LHIN pointed out that concussion is more than a sports-related injury. “

“Domestic Violence & Brain Injuries are Linked,” says researcher. Source: CBC News By Flora Pan,

…”There has been increasing awareness of sports-related concussions. However, Haag pointed out that people aren't making the connection that victims of domestic violence also may be suffering lasting physical damage in their brains. “

Global Conferences & Community News

Source: ScienceDaily per: Original Story: University of Texas at Arlington.


s r o v i v r u s y r u j n i n Brai . . . t a h t d n a t s r e d n u o t u o y want 1. Their brains rewired differently and will never work the same again 2. Survivors live with feelings of fear and feel they are all alone 3. Daily suffer with chronic pain, feelings of isolation and abandonment 4. Fatigue and inability to sleep properly is now a way of life 5. They feel they cannot cope with life 6. Survivors experience anxiety and depression for long periods of time

INFO: Recovery after brain injury (BI) is an individual process and can take years—not months. Family members need to be aware of the effects of BI on their loved one through all recovery stages. Work with their doctor and therapists closely to help ease some of the distress and confusion the loved one is experiencing.

ABI Recovery Magazine - Summer Issue 2017  

Welcome to the Summer Issue 2017 of ABI Recovery Magazine (Canada). We serve the brain injury and stroke community: a quarterly publicatio...

ABI Recovery Magazine - Summer Issue 2017  

Welcome to the Summer Issue 2017 of ABI Recovery Magazine (Canada). We serve the brain injury and stroke community: a quarterly publicatio...

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