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Blog: Survivor Stories

Resource Facilitator MenDi McCuiston shares about the work that she and Shir are doing with justice-involved individuals in Lincoln County.

Lea shares the impact a traumatic brain injury had on her dad and their family. She also shares the important facets that her dad's injury could never steal or take away from their family.

Dale shares about his injury, his road to recovery, and the challenges he faced as a young college student after his injury.

Shir shares about her adventure to and in Washington D.C. and the lessons she learned along the way.

Jeremy was in a car accident 20 years ago that changed his life, and quite possibly for the better. Read about Jeremy's journey and his inspiring positivity.

Patrick shares his story of a devastating motorcycle accident and why he advocates for the Helmet Law and motorcycle safety.

An individual shares how a brain injury resulting from a car accident in college changed and shaped their life going forward. Read their inspiring story. 

Resource Facilitator and mother of an individual with a brain injury, MenDi McCuiston, shares her reflections from the year and for the holiday season.

Rhonda and Luke have had an incredible journey to reach a place where they feel positive about their quality of life after Luke's brain injury. Read their impactful story.

Jessica, a poet, advocate, and domestic violence survivor shares an impactful poem about struggling in silence and the power of being seen and heard. 

An individual shares their story of being diagnosed with brain cancer and how that has impacted their life.

A survivor tells their story of coming to a place of acceptance in their brain injury journey. Read this powerful and impactful story of their journey.

Mike shares his story of how his brain injury affected his childhood and some of the challenges he faced later in life after serving in the military.

When Alexa suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of domestic violence, it felt like life had started over. Read Alexa's story and her experience navigating "starting over" with life after a brain injury. 

Jason's life changed in an instant when he lost control of his car on a back road in Kansas. Read about his experience and how the resulting brain injury impacted his life.

Greg shares an excerpt from his book, Rise Above: Conquering Adversities, detailing the car accident that left him with a brain injury.

Cynthia's experiences with brain injuries began in her childhood, though she didn't realize it until much later. These experiences influenced her teen and early adulthood. Read Cynthia's story and learn how brain injuries have shaped her life behind the pane.

After falling from her horse, Judy suffered a traumatic brain injury. In the days and weeks that followed, she experienced struggles with activities she once loved, sudden exhaustion, and emotional shifts. Experience Judy's journey as she shares how her injury affected her life and how she is adjusting to those changes.

In May of 2018, Debbie suffered a brain injury from a car accident as she was driving with her husband, Scott, causing her to be put into a two-week, medically induced coma. Recently, Debbie participated in an autobiography workshop offered by the Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska and shared a part of her story with us.

As a teenager, MenDi's daughter suffered brain injuries as a result of separate car accidents. Experience MenDi's story as she shares her journey of caring for her daughter and learning how to cope with the effects of the injuries on her daughter and family.

Jessica went through intensive rehabilitation after sustaining a traumatic brain injury from domestic violence. As part of Jessica’s recovery journey, BIA-NE encouraged Jessica to share her story with others. She has developed a gift to write her feelings through poetry. Listen to her latest poem here.

Chris Stewart, Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska Resource Facilitator, sits down with a PA student and Amanda, a mother to two children living with the effects of brain injury.

"The nurse comes in.  Strangely, she has two eyes, a nose, and a mouth, but I cannot figure out what she looks like.  Panic seeps into me.  What have I lost?  How much have I lost?" Read on about Kris' experience while on vacation, after being diagnosed with an aneurysm.

Jessica’s professional experiences include helping others in crisis find their voice and strengths.  On May 25th, 2017, Jessica suffered a TBI resulting from severe domestic violence.  

Our system is so broken. I can't imagine what people in Sean's situation face with no support at all. As his mother, I worked tirelessly to help him. He fought so hard to get his life back but could never understand why nothing worked when in his mind he was doing everything right. He did very well in treatment and when on meds but needed more help than that. He needed long term structure with addiction treatment, mental health, and neurological treatment. He said he would never stop trying to get better for his kids. That’s all he lived for.

"I remember rear-ending another mom in the car line one morning while dropping my girls off at school. I was mortified. I played it off like I wasn’t paying attention, but the reality was, I fell asleep. I became a hazard to myself and others. Intervention was necessary but finding a doctor willing to perform the delicate and controversial surgery proved to be nearly impossible."

It took over three years, but I am now able to bake my traditional arsenal of holiday cookies with relative ease. I can even sing along with favorite Christmas songs as I stir the dough. I have never enjoyed singing and baking more! Until I reached this point, however, I had to adjust my plan. When I didn’t have the cognitive energy to decorate the house, I asked for help. When I couldn’t shop at the noisy stores, I shopped on-line. When I couldn’t bake and sing, I just baked a little and took long breaks to recharge. I didn’t like making these adjustments, but I did them. Mostly to prove to myself and the world that I was still in here somewhere and I was not giving up.

"Although I have very limited memory of my past altogether, I have been blessed in so many ways in this life! I'm a loved child of God, have a loving and supportive boyfriend and family, and have a good job. I'm able to work part-time coding medical reports for the government as a contractor. I also enjoy ministry work helping the widowed. I am a mother of three who enjoys music, painting and writing poetry."

School continues to be difficult, from kindergarten through high school; with many office referrals, detentions, and adults not providing my IEP accommodations even when I attempt to self-advocate. Calling me names has been acceptable, with adults often telling me it wasn’t that bad or that we didn’t report it correctly. I often beg my parents to not go to school or allow me to leave school early. The underlying feeling is always that my disabilities aren’t real and I’m just not trying. My parents often meet with teachers and administrators to explain my brain injury, provide materials for them to read, and request extra IEP meetings - inviting additional people to help expand understanding. Sometimes the school backs off the punishments for a while, until I switch teachers and the process starts all over.

We did this several times until Etta decided to change it up. She went after the ball, and instead of bringing it back to me and dropping it halfway for Simon, she ran past me and promptly dropped the ball right on the edge of the bank of Salt Creek, otherwise known ominously as Dead Man’s Run.

In all my years of playing fetch with dogs in that field, none of us had ever had occasion to go that close to the creek. So I had no idea how steep the drop off to the creek was. As I leaned forward to pick up the ball, my left foot stepped in a small hole that I had not seen. It wasn’t very deep, but it was enough to pitch my balance forward and hurl me off the cliff head first.

Previous entries are in the process of being migrated to this new format. To view older stories, for now - click here.

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