My mom has always called us kids headstrong and stubborn. It fit all of us. Especially me. We drove her crazy. Well you know what? When you have a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), you have to learn to be headstrong in a whole different way! Headstrong can be a good thing, mom!

Since we started our blog at the same time as my Nutcracker surgery, we have only been talking about that part of my health journey so far. I haven’t even gotten to my TBI yet. My accident resulted in two completely different, yet also oddly related health paths:

  1. Compression syndromes. These series of syndromes include my Nutcracker, May-Thurners and MALS. They compressed various arteries and veins in my body, not allowing the blood to flow correctly and causing ridiculous amounts of debilitating pain.
  2. The TBI. Which led to my Craniocervical Instability (CCI), Chiari Malformation, Cerebral Medullary Syndrome and more. My brain was actually sagging down into my spine. Ugh! 

I mean geez … you have to be headstrong to deal with all this @#!*$%, right?

Like my mom said in one of her earlier posts, connections are everything. Especially connections that are able to relate with you in a way that most people can’t. We have been incredibly fortunate to meet Abby Jarman and her mom, Heather, recently. Abby has a TBI and we have so much in common! Our moms have so much in common, too!

They recently started Headstrong Stories to share Abby’s illness and bring awareness to the numerous and devastating effects of these kinds of injuries. They work with SameYou, started by actress Emilia Clarke after she had two brain hemorrhages while filming Game of Thrones. That sounds like a pretty cool charity!  

They interviewed my mom for a story on their site yesterday, and it was actually kind of hard for me to read. As I have struggled to survive the past forever years, I get caught up in my own misery and haven’t taken enough time to look at things from her point of view. I’m her daughter and I didn’t know she had all of these things rolling around in her brain. WOW. I mean, really — WOW.

She is always telling me that the best therapy for my pain is to stop thinking about myself and try to help other people instead. You need to go read this interview and stop to think about how you could use this peek behind the curtain of tremendous suffering to help someone you love with one of their monsters, too. We can all be headstrong when we put our minds to it.


You can follow Abby and Heather on Instagram.

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