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Living With Brain Injury.. and Hope

March 3, 2021 Emily Aisner
Living With Brain Injury.. and Hope

I thought it all started in January of 2018 when I was in a major car accident. I sustained both head, neck and shoulder injuries which have caused a variety of symptoms.

My doctors and I realized shortly after the accident that my 20-year hockey career as an ice hockey goalie contributed to my head trauma, and that my recovery would be a lot slower. As a goalie, I took many pucks to the head and intentionally saved the puck with my face. That was my instinct, which unfortunately helped lead me here today.

I went through physical therapy, speech therapy, different types of nerve blocks and injections for both my physical and cognitive deficits. Without my medical team’s support, I wouldn’t be here today.

After working hard in PT and speech therapy, my progress has improved. However, the physical symptoms, cognitive fatigue and pain are still debilitating. With the help of my incredible medical team, we have found a regimen to keep me stable most days and implemented lifestyle changes to promote brain hygiene.

I’ve learned to be patient with myself, take breaks and find new outlets (such as new tv shows, nature walks, writing and coloring).

Brain injury is something you think will never happen to you, but nobody is immune to it. Life is different now. Most days are exhausting, but I have to keep fighting. We have to keep fighting no matter what. Why? Because we as humans are built to be strong.

I recently went back to school for my Natural Science degree and will be pursuing a career in radiology technology. With every MRI I’ve had, hospital staff has always been there to keep me calm. I hope to give back in that regard.

I have learned many things since my brain injuries. Hope is one of them. And hope is real. There is always hope for better days ahead. Our brain injuries don’t make us less of a human being. We still matter and we will fight this battle together.

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Picture of brain injury survivor Cathy with quote that says I am grateful to have had resources and support early in my journey.

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