8-Year Anniversary Post

By Joanne Phillips, MS, RD

Written April 15, 2015

Thank you all for the text, phone calls, FB posts on my 8 year anniversary.

This year, I spent a good part of today reflecting on my 8 year journey and how far I have truly come.

In the world of brain injury survivors there are terms that are associated with our injury.  One such term used in the TBI community is called “the new normal”.  For many years I struggled regularly with trying to get back to who I was before my accident, never wanting to entertain or admit that a “new normal” was going to be an option for me.  Actually, this term kinda bothered me; I mean how could I not be the same person?  But with time comes acceptance, the truth is I will never be the person I was before my injury. I move forward in my life as a brain injury survivor and that will never change.  I feel my brain injury every day, I just got a lot better at understanding, managing and coexisting with it.  While I am considered “highly functional” I still have my challenges, I just learned how to work with them.

Here is the truth….Yup, I am a badass, just like my post says! Trust me, it’s not easy to come back and create a “new life” and “new you” after the level of injuries/trauma I sustained on April 15th 2007.  My starting point?  A decompressed skull fracture, subdural/epidural hematomas, broken neck, back and left leg, shattered left eye orbit and torn ACL/PCL/MCL of my right knee.  I went through 2 craniotomy surgeries, removal of part of my skull, reconstruction of my left eye orbit and check bone, multi ligament knee and left leg surgery as well as the loss of my smell and taste.  A brain MRI I had done in 2012 showed significant scarring in my brain, around 3 inches in depth throughout the entire frontal lobe as well as areas of necrotic (dead) tissue in the left temporal lobe, not exactly the news one ever wants to hear. But it is what it is.  As much as I struggled over the years, I NEVER gave up and I am VERY proud of myself.  I have come so far since that day 8 years ago and each year I WILL continue to move forward.  I am so grateful that with all my hard work and dedication over the last 8 years to my various therapies, I have healed to the level I have.

My niece said to me “Aunt Bo (her name for me), scars are like tattoos, just with better stories”.  

Yes indeed they are Kasey and have I got the stories!

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