Thursday, April 21, 2011

Welcome to a new guest - Tori Martinez

Today's guest Tori Martinez writes a blog called Fractured: Life with a Head Injury and tells her experience of living with an acquired brain injury after a fall at home.....if you'd like to check out Tori's blog you can find it here:

My Two Birthdays

When I started writing this blog last December, just before the one year anniversary of my traumatic brain injury, I knew no other TBI survivors. That all changed with my first blog post when I suddenly connected to hundreds of people like myself.

Since then, the world has opened up to me with a wonderful group of people who support and love me, even though they've never met me.

Through them, I've learned that I have two birthdays. The day I was born, and the day I survived my TBI. As my actual birthday nears, I can't help but think more about my TBI birthday - December 23, 2009 - and how important that day is to remember.

I didn't recognize my first TBI birthday, partly because it was too upsetting and partly because I didn't have the perspective on it my new friends have given me. But now that I approach my 37th birthday on March 30th, I realize that I might not be here today had I not survived my TBI on that day in December when I was still just 35.

One of the few memories I have immediately following my fall was when the paramedics were in our home. I'm told there were seven or eight of them. I don't remember their faces from that day, but I did hear some of their voices. One was asking me questions. Another, somewhere else in the room, was talking to someone on a walkie-talkie, and I remember hearing him say something like "35-year-old female... head trauma..."

Hearing those words scared me and I suddenly thought I was going to die. I kept thinking of Natasha Richardson. I remember saying to the paramedic tending to me, "I'm only 35. I don't want to die like Natasha Richardson."

Those of you who read my blog regularly or talk to me have heard me relate this story before, but it's a significant memory to me, as I was suddenly faced with my own mortality at a young age. I really didn't want to die.

Sadly, there were times not long after my TBI that I DID want to die because the pain was so intense and I felt so miserable, emotionally, mentally and physically. But with the passage of time, I cherish my life - even on the really bad days - and am so grateful to be here to celebrate another year of life.

My TBI has changed my life - in both good and bad ways. There's no doubt about that. It's so hard to say this without sounding cliché, but I think the struggles have made me appreciate what I do have, and I believe I have more meaningful purpose and direction in life now than before my TBI.

None of us ever knows when it's our time to go, but I do know that December 23, 2009 was not my time. So on March 30th, I'll be celebrating both my birthdays - my first and my second.

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