By Joanne Phillips, MS, RD

Written March 5, 2018

Second Stem Cell / PRP Update

NOTE: People ask about my smell and taste and I will address that in a different post as it is a more complicated subject.

For those who really know me know that I am a straight up and honest person and when I decide to write and share about my TBI it is 100% the truth.  Nothing is candy coated or exaggerated, it is my real life journey through this injury, the good, the bad, the ugly and the VICTORIES!  I am now officially 5 weeks post intranasal/IV stem cell and PRP treatment and the results for me have been are nothing short of MIRACULOUS!  Over these last 5 weeks I have thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of my brain and body, basically my entire central nervous system getting stronger and stronger every day!  

A little background: 

For the last almost 11 years I have struggled with some very big demons from my brain injury that included a very serious depression where far too often I didn’t want to be here anymore.  I have dealt with levels of PTSD on a handful of occasions that sent me down dark roads that I didn’t think I could ever come back from.  For the last 11 years, my body has been in a constant fight or flight  response, always ready to engage whether I needed it to or not. Day in and day out, year in and year out this has become a mentally exhausting existence for me that after all these years I started to lose hope it would ever truly get better. Over the years I’ve had good days and happy moments but nothing ever felt “normal”.  My brain NEVER felt normal, my body NEVER felt normal, I and I stress “I” NEVER  felt normal after my brain injury. I would tell a good friend of mine that “I just don’t feel like I am in my body anymore” and what bothered me the most is that despite ALL my efforts and the years of hard work I put into my recovery I still could NOT for the life of me figure out what it would take to feel “normal” again.  

I am going to try to explain something, you see there is a big difference between having a “highly functioning” brain and having a “strong” brain (btw, in case you were wondering, it’s best to have both!)  My TBI was very severe but by the grace of God I came out highly functioning despite how bad the damage was.  I could still hold a job and be successful in my career, organize things, pay my bills, cook, plan my day, week or month, follow up on things that needed to be done, live independently etc. However despite being “highly functioning” my brain was NOT “strong”.  My brain no longer had same resilience it had before the injury.  The self-assured, confident Joanne was gone, instead my brain was now plagued with insecurities, self-doubt and at times emotional turmoil, it changed aspects of my personality and I felt weak and disconnected in my body, mind and spirit.  Trust me when I say that losing who you are from a traumatic brain injury is absolutely devastating!  Over the years I learned how to coexist with my brain injury and the issues that came along with it but only a select few close to me could tell I was still struggling at times. 

Until now…….

Popeye may have his spinach but I have stem cells and PRP!  I am still in the early stages but there is NO doubt that this treatment has given my brain and body the building blocks it needed to hit that next level of healing and regeneration.  I can feel less inflammation in my brain with more blood flow, my brain and body are now calm and are no longer in a “reactive” state. I feel I got a HUGE part of my life back and an even bigger part of ME back!  For the last 5 weeks I have not looked back once, only forward.  My self-confidence came back in full force like it was before my brain injury and my body, mind and spirt have been reunited once again. Yes, my brain is strong! 

No longer do I feel my brain injury defines me, it is now something that happened to me.  

To my brain injury……I will always stay humble and respectful to how powerful you are but I will no longer be your prisoner. After all these years, I FINALLY  figured you out and got back to feeling NORMAL!  

Welcome back Jo, oh how I’ve missed you!!

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