Laura Russelle’s Concussion Story
This was my 6th known concussion and by my far my worst with 4.5 months of PCS. My previous concussions were obtained by playing soccer and off-road mountain bike racing through crashes. I picked up bodybuilding as a suggestion from my husband 3 years ago. I started prep for a bodybuilding show in November of last year. Two weeks into this prep I was accidentally hit in the head with a door. It was an acceleration/deceleration impact as I was running out of the room and the door was swung at full force. I didn’t loose consciousness, but the whole event from the time I was hit to the hospital for stitches and home is vauge.
I had vertigo, nausea, and vomiting. I slept for days. Then the symptoms never really went away. I started noticing cognitive deficits. I was aware I couldn’t think. A mental block to the most easiest thoughts. I couldn’t find words, make sentences, I would forget the conversation mid sentence. The smallest tasks would make me sleepy. I was irritable and my husband and family started pointing out personality changes. The more I tried to concentrate and focus the worse I felt. It was absolutely the worst thing I have ever been through. I could go on and on with things that had happened with my PCS. Loss if identity, isolation, confusion, frustration, anxiety, depression…When I am stressed, anxious or tired my PCS symptoms are bad. I have to wear my glasses all day and when I don’t, I notice my PCS symptoms slowly get worse the longer they are off. All this being said… One of the only things that got me through and that I had control of was that I could control my diet and 1 hour in the am, sleep all day then 1 hour in the pm I went to the gym to train… Then slept. It was frustrating listening to people talk around me saying that I looked fine. “She’s at the gym”, “must be nice to have the summer off”. I missed family weddings, vacations, concerts, events with my friends, drinks. I couldn’t drive.. I sat alone at home and that is what people don’t see.
I am an RN who works in an ICU. With the amount of brain injuries we treat from patients with strokes and brain injuries, one would think my fellow nurses would understand. Quickly, I realized that as much as we treat it no one really understands it. The research and education regarding concussions is very minimal. By sharing awareness and education is how people will learn that this could happen to them, their children or a family member. Have some insight. My family and my husband didn’t know what to say or how to help me. I want to help those who are suffering so they know they are not alone
Through Molly Parker (@mollyparkerpt) I found great information that led me to find help. I had my eyes checked and had accommodation. My pupils were sluggish to adjust from near to far which led me to progressive lenses with a blue light filter. At the same time I found a chiropractor that understood me and treated my whip lash that I wasn’t even aware I had. She used cranial sacral therapy. With a combination of treatments and neuroplasticity activities my symptoms started to resolve.
Midway through November, I was slowly increasing my hours at work and always buddied with another person. On November 24, I was able to compete in my BodyBuilding show. I wore glasses and ear plugs, slept between stage time, everything to make sure symptoms were minimal. I ended up winning both my classes, and won the best poser award. This was my gold lining to my very black cloud. I felt like I had control and my life, but I had to make the huge adjustments.
Since I have been at work, I crash when I get home. The fatigue can be overwhelming. Just last Tuesday I got home and laid on the bathroom floor nauseated, headache and dizzy. Each week I have noticed that I am recovering faster… But every day is different. I went to work today and was tired when I got home but it was nothing like last week. This gives me hope. I am aware I am not me. I can tell at work people don’t trust me. But at least I am there and that brings me some sort of comfort that I am close to being me. In some aspect I may never be the same again. That is a huge realization, but every day I am hopeful.
I am lucky. No one understands what you are going through and you can’t explain it. I never want anyone to feel the isolation and loneliness, the loss of identity. I will talk to anyone just so they know that they don’t have to do this alone.
Back to other Real Worlder Concussion Stories.