TBI Awareness: 30 Days of Gratitude, Day 10

IMG_2361_Fotor 11 2015

brain injury awareness button

Day 10:  Today I am grateful for TBI Awareness.

In 2007 when I was hit in the head and face by a heavy, malfunctioning steel door traveling at great speed, very little information was known or shared about concussion, post-concussion syndrome and acquired traumatic brain injury. Thankfully, a good deal of progress has been made; yet, we still have a long way to go so that we can help patients, family members, employers, colleagues and even physicians control suffering, save lives, and improve treatment.

Even now, though I write to raise awareness, the audience beyond the afflicted is a small one. People naturally aren’t  interested in challenges they feel immune to…they do not imagine head trauma ever could or would happen to them, and who wants to think about unfortunate afflictions, anyway?

Today I am so grateful for awareness, for the surge of interest in concussion and even brain health. Even if no one else pays much attention, those of us who have survived are still trying to piece together what we experienced, what we continue to experience. The resources available to us help us forge forward in an otherwise isolated, sometimes dark and lonely sort of suffering.

Here is a video that tries to express what life after head trauma is like:


Traumatic Brain Injury comes in all forms. In the grand scheme of things, my injury was not as severe as many, yet still it was enough to change my life forever, if not end it.

Attached here is the story of a man who was not hit by a fast-traveling door as I was, but rather by a fast-traveling car. The difference in the tonnage of the vehicle and its impact is visible–but of course it is not a contest. Suffering, debilitation, fear and panic have no measure. Patrick’s story shows along with my own both the journey and the determination survivors fight with to return to their pre-injury status. It is hard work, and occasionally discouraging, as I am feeling a bit frustrated with my current plateau.

While you may find it within your means to contribute to Patrick and Anj’s Go Fund Me campaign, I hope that you will also find a moment to send out some good thoughts for my continued healing as well. Your support on any level is greatly needed, felt and appreciated.

With love and gratitude,

Thank you for reading Stumbler.



copyright © debra valentino, www.firstlightofevening.com, all rights reserved

11 thoughts on “TBI Awareness: 30 Days of Gratitude, Day 10

  1. Your post today of TBI Awareness was excellent, especially the video and charts, so much easier to understand. I am so sorry for all the negativity and pain it entails but your ability to overcome so much is such joyful news for others to know that it IS Possible!! You have certainly been thru a devastating trauma and I am so happy for how far you have come. AND now it looks like you may have fatigue licked!

    • Thank you, Judy. My fatigue has improved! It still exists, but for the first year since the injury, I am experiencing whole days of being active, productive, or otherwise engaged. I still have some challenges I’d like to improve, but this fatigue thing is monumental. The answer must be to stay on the path and never lose hope! ~ xo

  2. Deb, this is incredible. I do not think people realize how debilitating and how permanent the damage is from TBI, and how many different ways there are to have an injury of this magnitude. In your case, was it a door like in a building, those ones that are automatic?

    • Hi, Cindy. Yes–I was “at home” for our collective 50th bday party…I’d taken my mother to a store she shops at but I don’t, and was exiting to get the car to pick her up at the curb (since she wasn’t feeling well). I saw the woman ahead of me struggle with the store door, so I exited cautiously. I received the impact from the struggle she indicated–the door snapped from its opened expanse, and hit me like gunshot, as if a strong spring uncoiled–super fast and super hard…plus it was very heavy. I don’t know how I survived, but nearly died on the spot. It was one of the flukiest things ever. So, I just want people to realize that even when they are being cautious, things can go wrong…and what the outcome might be. It’s like the people walking downtown when something falls from a building above. They never knew, as we say, what hit them…or, people who fall while inebriated…it happens more than you might think. I know one lady who fell two stories out of her own bedroom window while cleaning. All kinds of wild scenarios that happen all the time. It’s a larger community of people than I ever would have imagined.

    • P.S. As to the frequency of head trauma, one woman said this about her family: “My daughter sustained her TBI in a car accident 12 years ago at the age of 27. Her dad’s was 14 years ago in a motorcycle accident. Mine was 4 years ago when I fainted hitting my head on tile floor..also causing 2 skull fractures. My son sustained one so massive, he didn’t survive; he was only 16. Four family members. Four TBI’s.” True story. Life can be a challenge and a veil of tears. Rejoice in your blessings of today, and please take good care, my friend.

  3. I just read Patrick’s story and I will read yours too. So sad to think so many people have to go through this and continue with pain and suffering the rest of their lives. They deserve all the assistance which can be provided. I wish you and him luck with your futures.

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