July 29, 2016

     Seven years ago on July 8 2009, our lives came to a complete halt. Almost non-existing. A day that I try so hard to remove from my mind. But unfortunately, it continues to haunt my every breath. Whether it’s a siren of an ambulance, a helicopter flying past, the smell of uncertainty like those in a hospital, or a gut wrenching pain in my stomach because of fear. Yet, here we are seven years later still pushing forward, looking for new treatments or therapies. Hoping that something would help Mike to get his independence back. So many times people asking “How do you do it?” In reality……I don’t know how we’re doing it.
     Michael is our son. You just can’t give him back and say; “He’s too tough for us to handle”. You try to adjust the best way you can. Difficult for sure. Sometimes, even feeling impossible. Many times thinking…..I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE. Taking care of someone who suffered a traumatic brain injury is exhausting physically, mentally, and emotionally. Your thoughts going in multiple directions, while trying to keep a balance for your own sanity. Yet, always encouraging the TBI individual, and never knowing any outcome. Prognosis: UNKNOWN
     Many, people look at us thinking, why do they continue to do all these different treatments or therapies? Can’t they see that this is how Mike will be? It took a long time for me to accept what happened to Mike, even though my haunting memories from that date still exist. To this day, my husband still struggles with acceptance. But one thing we both can agree on, is we will do whatever it takes to give Mike the best life he can have. A life for him filled with many uncertainties, while people his own age have gotten jobs/careers, in a relationship, getting married and even starting their own families. These thoughts give us the most pain because of what his life could have been and yet, struggling with what lies ahead.
     Struggles continue on a daily basis. Never knowing what may trigger an outburst, an inappropriate behavior, or deep depression. Sometimes my own struggles appear out of no where and I try to regroup my own feelings and thoughts to keep strong. Many times feeling alone with no one who understands. Understanding how Mike feels. ALONE….Socialization is key part of recovery for anyone going through a catastrophic journey, especially a TBI. Sad to know that most or all of Mike’s close friends have vanished. Using many excuses why they are not around. Sometimes, turning the table around that it was Mike who turned them away with his blunt and often times rude texts or facebook post. Mike telling the truth on how he feels and asking the question, WHY? However, sometimes not being politically correct with his writings. But, they never wanted to understand what happens to someone who suffered a traumatic brain injury. Relearning EVERYTHING……and that means socialization with friends and society. Even my husband and myself have lost friends. To this day we still don’t understand. At times we feel the same as Mike. WHY?
     Our son will never be the same, as much as we want to believe it. A hard thought to accept and even harder to live with. However, my instincts as a mother kick in and I become a crazed mother bear protecting her cub. There is no one or nothing, that will stop us to give Mike the best life that he can have. That is why we know what the answer to WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Everything that we have done since July 8, 2009. With no regrets!!!!!
     Mike has progressed where he is today because of all that we have done. He had finished a college class at Elmhurst college, endured another fat stem cell treatment with hopes of improvements, enrolled in a computer class to enhance his skills and maybe have a future in writing. Our next venture is traveling to Miami to the Brucker Clinic for biofeedback. Never knowing with each treatment or therapy that we try will be the one with success. Life is about many unknowns, and challenges. However, we try to live each day to hurdle those unknowns and challenges. But to those who have a suffered a traumatic brain injury, their hurdles are much bigger. So many of them trapped inside their own bodies or minds. With no hope within themselves to escape the life they didn’t request.
     So my question to all is…….WHAT WOULD YOU DO if your loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury?
A  Tribute:
     On Father’s Day we lost one of our board members. Dr. Thomas Lawless. My brother-in-law, my mentor, my go to guy for answers, a rock to our family and foundation. A man who had passion for his family, his faith, his career, and most importantly, life. He lost his courageous battle with pancreatic cancer after a strong battle. I saw his family by his side every step and they didn’t question “What should we do?” Tom always having a good attitude to what he was dealt with. Leaning on his strong faith to get him through every obstacle that he faced. Making the comment that he was in a win, win situation. “Either I stay here on earth and be with my family here or meet my other family, who have gone before me.” So Tom, until we meet again…..You will always be in my thoughts.
Debbie DeStefano www.MADTBI.org
By | 2016-07-29T15:13:41+00:00 July 29th, 2016|Mom's Blog|Comments Off on July 29, 2016

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