Sunday, September 17, 2017

balance.

We have had a rough couple of months, as you may have seen from my recent posts. Troy and I have always been really good at balancing each other out. When one of us falls, the other is there to pick up the slack. I truly felt the load was too much to handle and Troy wasn't able to pick up anything for me. This is life for us now. There are more times Troy isn't able to pick up the slack and the load continues to fall heavier on me. I had many months of "too much" and finally broke. I called our "911", also known as, Doctor Vandenberg. He was able to get us in fairly quickly which NEVER happens so we are extremely thankful for that. We switched some meds around a few weeks ago and life has been significantly easier ever since. Concerta is known to have some crappy side effects which we were experiencing in full force. Since Troy's head injury one of the many issues he faces is just plain irritation with everything and everyone. He gets so unbelievably frustrated with things that don't go his way and quickly becomes unreasonable. If he is set on it, it will be that way. His high dose of Concerta really heightened his irritability and made life just miserable for himself and for us. With the lesser dose, I feel like we are in working order again praise Jesus!

Overall, Troys appointment went well on wednesday. I feel like we are getting back on track and reevaluating some necessary things. This TBI life is a continuous balancing act. Doctor Vandenberg discussed options for us going forward. One of them being scheduling some sessions with a Psychologist through Mary Free Bed who could help teach Troy how to better his social skills while also managing himself and others a little better. He seemed interested in giving that a try. Many of you who knew Troy before the accident know how social he was. The kid was friends with everyone. Now, things are a little different. Socializing doesn't come as easy as it once did. Dr Vandenberg told us that this is 100% due to Troy's injury and is quite common with TBI survivors. I think this may be one of the more frustrating life changes Troy has had to cope with since his TBI. He often times feels like he has lost friends because "no one wants to hang out with him anymore". Although this particular situation could be far worse, like not being able to communicate or socialized at all, he does struggle with this. There are many times he claims he is too "awkward" in conversations with people. I recently read online about the "Twelve things you need to know before loving someone with a brain injury". One of them being; "We feel disconnected from people" Not being able to fully participate in activities sometimes shuts them out from their peers. That could not be more accurate for Troys situation. This is one big change he notices and feels really uncomfortable with at times. We're going to work on it and see how it goes.

One thing that Dr Vandenberg talks about every time we visit with him is his disbelief with where Troy is now compared to where he started. He reminds us that he never thought Troy would be back to work again. Which is one of the many huge blessings we are able to celebrate. No matter how hard days are at work or how frustrated he gets, he's there and we are so grateful for that! We are so thankful for Troys recovery and I'm so thankful for Troys drive to be the best Dad and husband he can be with his circumstances. This is no easy journey; we work extremely hard on ourselves to be better for each other to be the best for Brody.  We have an incredible bond that we wouldn't have had without this journey. Our love for family and appreciation for health has quadrupled over the last three years. We have it good, even when it's hard!




Sunday, August 27, 2017

Thank you.

I just wanted to quick say Thank You to all of you. There were so many of you who messaged me, offered to take Brody off our hands, invited us for dinner, delivered flowers, etc. Seriously, I'm brought to tears just thinking about it. You guys broke our funk this weekend. THANK YOU.




Friday, August 25, 2017

a simple reason.

This will be a bit unusual for me. Back to back blog posts but I kind of feel this one is necessary.

I want to share with you my reason for this blog. Its pretty simple. I just want to help people. Having been dealt the unfortunate card of TBI and trauma to our lives I want to let people in on our reality. Our reality with a TBI may differ from others but I think we can all relate in the fact that there are times that it just simply sucks. And it's ok to express that. Im not putting blame on Troy or shaming him in any way. What I am saying is that our situation is not exactly ideal. There is no one that would agree with me more than Troy himself. Our lives can be messy and that probably holds true for any person or family, TBI or not. But, I'm here to express how I feel and my experiences in hopes that others feel open to share their stories as well. Sometimes we need people in our lives to journey with; whether we have known then ten years or ten minutes. Having a relatable friend is incredibly helpful.  Especially with sensitive situations such as this.

Judgements and opinions have come with the territory of sharing my thoughts "publicly". Let's face it, they aren't always happy thoughts. However, at the end of the day if I helped or reached only one person. I've done my job. The rest doesn't matter. I have made many dear friends through sharing my story and I wouldn't trade that for anything! I love that Troy and I have been able to journey with others and share our experiences. There is and always will be a special place in my heart for not only people with TBI's but family members too. It is no easy walk but helping each other through all stages of recovery sure makes the load a little lighter!

I will end with...There is nothing I love more in this world then my boys. I am so proud of Troy. His incredible drive to be and do his best despite his circumstances is truly incredible. There are not many people that can appreciate that the way I do. He gives his all at work and at home. We are a team and have worked extremely hard navigating this new way of life, together. I feel we have done a pretty good job thus far. We're far from perfect and that's ok. I would hate for people to buy into the very common misconception that people live "perfect" lives. I'm here to give you the good, the bad and sometimes, the ugly. This is us. This is our life. We try are hardest to be real and honest. Sometimes honesty isn't so pretty. But one thing is for sure, my honesty doesn't change my love for Troy ever. He can be a pain in the drain, so can I. That is just apart of our imperfection!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Things could be worse.

I have been finding myself lately wondering what life would be like if October 11, 2014 never happened. If I could erase that day, I would. In fact, I'd like to erase that day and the six months following it. What crap. That brain injury robbed us of ever having a "normal" life. It's so unfair. I've been struggling lately. For the longest time I have really held it together. When it comes to my emotions or feelings in regards to Troy and life after a severe head injury I tend to push those deep down to the pits where I hope they go to die. It seems that when I finally fill up that pit, it all comes rushing to the surface accompanied with uncontrollable emotion. A few weeks ago I sat quietly in bed, trying to organize my thoughts before having a very well, thought through conversation about where we are in life and what things I've really been struggling with.  When I just started crying, uncontrollably. I don't typically talk through my struggles with Troy. For many reasons. One big reason being, he doesn't understand. That is really, really hard. Although we are on this journey together we are journeying very different situations. Our conversations often end in; "You don't know how hard this is." And is quickly returned with a, "You don't know how hard this is for ME". Followed by silence. Both statements 1000% true to us. How do we find that way of coping and dealing together? We are still working on that.

Conversation is hard when people ask how Troy is doing. Good, yeah. Were managing. It's easier left there. Sometimes I even add in the, "things could be worse, I guess" Which is true but things could also be better. And truly there is nothing more discrediting to my feelings when someone says those words to me. It's basically saying, "It's not that bad". Well, sister. I'd like to tell ya, it aint all that easy either! For future note: please refrain from; "things could be worse". Thank you from all fellow TBI survivors and their family who deal with a lot behind the scenes. 

Now that I have officially let off that load of emotion I can tell you that my life isn't the worst like that probably read. Yes, I struggle and Troys glorious TBI really adds a nice touch to our struggles but we do OK. We have been in a rut lately and have been trying to figure out how we get out of it. Troy has been working out of town lately and hasn't been around as much as were used to. Playing single mom while the terrible twos slowly overtake my perfect angel child has been, a pleasure. Along with a thousand house projects that were trying to complete. Our life is chaos. But, when isn't it. I have become the queen of chaos. I should be good at this. I'm still very much looking forward to the day when Troy works close to home and I can actually sleep through the night again. Also, stress ulcers are no joke. Starting my count down to when this job is done for him! This has really helped me realize and appreciate the help he is around here with Brody. There is no sleeping in for me or donuts delivered in the mornings when Dad's not home :( 

Anyway,  another thing. Troy has been on Concerta for a while now. I may have mentioned he is on a pretty hefty dose. A dose I'm not sure is necessary for him anymore. He has become a bit out of sorts lately and its been very trying on my patience. I probably have also told you before about how our roles have completely flip flopped. I'm no longer the high maintenance, freak out over every little thing kind of person. That would be Troy. And man, he can put my work to shame in that department. I just really hope this is all a med issue or a phase. We are headed to Mary Free Bed in a couple weeks to get some things straightened out. I might even throw around the idea of some anti-anxiety meds. Troy claims those would make him "not care that much" and I say, perfect, where is the sign up sheet? :) We will see how all that pans out. It will be nice to see Dr. Vandenberg again. Poor guy usually has to deal with a full blown therapy session while we visit. We are very thankful for him and extremely lucky to have such good hospitals so close to home! 

As for Brody, terrible twos are in full force here. Send wine. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Have I told you?

Have I told you yet, how much head injuries suck?

They do. 

I don't live the brain injury but I live with the brain injury. And honestly, sometimes I wonder what's worse. It's tough and I hate that these things happen daily and families need to live this. It's hard everyday and what is  worse is that is usually gets worse before it gets better. Troy and I have really tried our best to journey with people who are entering the brain injury world. We have made many trips to Spectrums Neuro floor, introduced ourselves to strangers and really tried our best to love on as many people who get to join the "Brain Injury Club", 

A few days after Troys accident I had a couple come to visit. I had never seen or heard of them before this. I actually told the nurse they were at the wrong room :) Both of them, along with their son had been in an accident and all suffered severe head injuries. They came and just offered to help me on my journey whenever I was ready. They left their number and I never called. However, I talked about their visit for days. I told everyone about them. They gave me HOPE that there was a future for not only Troy but for me and for us. Just seeing them and hearing their story gave me more than I ever could expect at that time. That is the moment I decided I was going to be them. I needed to be that for everyone who needed hope when they feel like there is none. 

As we started visiting we realized how truly frightening it was to visit a family who is new to this TBI journey. For many reasons but mostly because of the unknowns. I feel anxious thinking they might not want me there or they may feel like I gave them false hope if things don't turn out as good as what's a Troy's did.. So many thoughts go through my head.. I'm so acutely aware of the high  emotions that run wild in times of trauma. It took many months of therapy for me to balance myself again. Trauma breaks you; emotionally and mentally. There's the question of, what's too much information?. I'm always so careful to stay focused on the now. For me, my story got worse before it got better.  I went from literally willing to give anything for an eye to open to literally willing to give anything for one eye to shut, just for one minute! But is that the worse part or was it when he said "I hate you for letting me live. You did this to me." 

Have I told you yet, how much head injuries suck? 

They do.

What's too much? What's not enough? I look back and try to think if I really wanted (my) full story when I was in their shoes. I don't think I would have. It's too much and really quite overwhelming to think that your situation could be any worse then it was at that exact moment. Also, who's to say that every person with a TBI will act the same? They may never need a posey bed or restraints. They may never blame anyone for their injury. It would be unfair of me to "warn" them of a future that may not be theirs. 

Also... what are the right words to say? I wish I knew. Having lived this I should know. Which leads me to believe there are no "right" words. It is what it is whether you say your sorry for me, whether you try and crack a joke or talk about the weather. Hugs. Hugs will do. 

There is so much that goes into this. It's a journey that isn't measured in days or weeks, but rather, months and years. And that's something I'm just now understanding, two and a half years later. I prayed so hard for time to fly. At that point I was desperate, desperate to know the outcome. Desperate to not feel the way I did. I just wanted everything I couldn't have then. My thoughts were killing me. I asked myself every possible question under the sun about my future. I'm sure I didn't miss one. It hurts me to know this though. I can almost see people's wheels a turning when we visit; Will I ever see my daughter or son  get married? Will I ever sleep next to my husband or wife again? Will my kids ever know their father or mother, sister or brother? No matter what the circumstance, piles upon pile of questions are being asked. And they don't need an answer, or opinions they just need to pass through your thoughts here and there. The biggest thing that has changed for me is that I rarely ever leave Troy while either of us are upset. That was one of my biggest questions: When was our last fight and what was it even about? Stupid, I know but you have a whole lot of hours to sit and drown in your thoughts . Whatever it was, it wasn't worth it knowing it may have been the last time I talked to him. Yes, i think that way and still do at times. Some say it's that crap called anxiety. I like to call it a new appreciation for life. I got a second chance. I may not get that again.

I  often times give the people we visit, a journal. Writing for me was therapeutic. It helped take my mind off of all those questions. You never know how much it will effect you when you are no longer able to talk to a loved one. You miss them, immediately. I started talking to Troy through writing in my journal. I left nothing out. The good, the bad and the ugly. It became like homework. I took notes throughout the day just to be sure I had everything right for my journal entry for that day. I'd date and time each time I started and stopped. There were times I'd laugh thinking of how Troy would react if I had actually been telling him these things. Anything to help the days go a little faster. It's hard waiting for something, let alone not really knowing what that "something" is. 

So, hows that for a jumble of thoughts for the night?

I usually go back and try and piece things together so it makes it look like my mind works in an organized fashion but truth is, it is what it is! No true direction with this post other than reminding you how much head injuries suck. Because... THEY DO! 

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend! 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Moving into May!

Good morning!

So a little update on us.

We have been incredibly BUSY. Is it just this time of year? It always seems that spring comes and all of the sudden the "to-do" lists triple. Hey, I can't complain. I've been so impatient waiting for this sun!

Troy is just finishing up a project for work that has taken a pretty good toll on his attitude. He has been pretty hard to live with these last few weeks (This will not be news to him). He handles stress very differently now and the control he has over his emotions are... well, minimal. Most days he comes home and just completely loses it. It's really hard to have to handle that everyday when he comes home. I'll be honest, it's draining because those emotions then flood into home life. Troy is known to have unrealistic goals which, at times has been good for him. It's helped him get this far recovering from a brain injury. However, when it comes to work, it's hard to tell him to just take a breath and slow it down, not to worry and just to do his best. Mostly because I don't think the words, "slow", "breath" and "best" ever fall into the same sentence for him. I love him for his drive and appreciate his work ethic. He is an incredible electrician but his brain is often times his worst enemy in more ways than one! His personality to the core is still the same Troy I met years ago. There are just things that are different now. Emotions running wild is one of them. Tack on stress to that and we get a mess. So, if you wouldn't keeping him in your prayers to ease his mind and emotions. He could use a little uplifting :)

As for Brody, he is a handful of perfection. I'm so obsessed with him, I'm sure other moms can understand! Each stage I love more and more. He is so curious, loves to read books, play with his tractors, watch movies and the latest, playing outside. He is the sweetest little boy. I just want him to stay this little forever! He has been getting better with his words. It's crazy to me how quickly they learn and catch onto things! We have the word "tractor" down. It's tractor, everything! This week we have been working on our animal/vehicle noises. My kid is a genius (said every parent, ever). HA! Brody has one speed everywhere he goes and it's always 100. There is nothing I love more then the sound of his little feet running back and forth through our house, often times with a giggle. Brody has taken a liking to Benson. He enjoys sitting on Benson and violently "patting" his head (still working on petting nicely). Benson loves to reciprocate the violent pats with "kisses" all over Brody face which Brody thinks is the funniest thing! Those two... best buds! We are looking forward to summer and spending time at the lake. The kid LOVES water. Shower, bath, washing hands, brushing teeth, truly any form of water involved activity is his favorite.

I don't feel like we live a very exciting life right now which is just fine with me! I've learned, boring is good! Troy takes the cake for making life exciting for us. Just a week ago I got a phone call from him that stared with "so....." in which I usually respond with "what happened?". Typically hearing his voice calms me down enough to still think straight but I knew something happened. This time, he hit a deer. Ok, he hit a deer. Not really that big of a deal but he had just made it a year with no accidents. Can't say that anymore! He had to remind me earlier this week that he "almost died 10 years ago". (He was in a pretty severe car accident when he was 16) Yeah, he's  truly almost died many times. Troy and his nine lives. He's getting to the point where a bubble needs to be made to preserve his last 4, or whatever it is he has left. He has given me my fair share of  gray hairs in the last (almost) five years of marriage. Yes, five years. Time sure flies when your wrapped up in life!

We have been in the painfully slow process of selling our home and getting into our new home. This whole process started in February. To say we're ready to be out of our current home and into our new home is the worlds greatest understatement. We're very excited to finally be settled and enjoy the summer with a nice big yard to play in. Living out of boxes is tough, especially with toddler who loves to unpack!


That's all on our home front! Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November Update

Earlier this week I received a phone call from Mary Free Bed, reminding me I had to schedule an appointment for Troy. I couldn't help but think, where has the last year gone? Our physician, Dr. Vandenberg has been on a six month sebatical and plans to return beginning of the year just in time for our annual check up. It's quite amazing the relationship we have created with Dr. Vandenberg. We have been through a lot with him. He has stuck with us through our every struggle in this journey. There were times where I wanted to drop kick him but he has really done so much in getting Troy to where he is today. For that, we are so grateful! 

As many of you know, Dr. Vandenberg didn't ever promise us Troy would go back as a journeyman electrican. In fact, he let us know many times that it may never happen. (That was one of those times drop kicking him sounded real good) Today, Troy has been working as a journeyman electrician for several months already. Even running the job at the new Golden Corral that is currently going up in Holland. I wish I could explain well enough for you to understand how much goes into a job like this. Many, many hours of planning and prints that just look like a a big headache to me. Doing this has been a dream of his for as long as I've known him. When he works he puts in 110% and still comes home frustrated he couldn't give 120%. This has been a huge growing experience for Troy; physically, emotionally, and mentally. I can't tell you how many days he has come completely overwhelmed and mentally spent. I often times have to remind him that his expectations are usually unrealistic for any normal person, let alone someone wth a TBI. He can be extremely hard on himself. He likes perfection and even more so, likes to make sure others see him as good enough as well. This leads to lots of long pep talks after work. I'm turning into quite the therapist over here :) 

As far as Troy goes in his recovery we have noticed huge gains even in the last year. One  thing Troy has struggled with is exhaustion which leads to twitching episodes. We seemed to find a fix for the tiredness by having him go on Concerta. That has been a major life saver for us. The twitching episodes are very sporadic and come and go throughout the day as they please. It seems to me the more tired he is, the worse his episodes are. However, they have improved greatly from what they were before. He has gone from full body twitching spasims to a hand twitch on occasion. What a relief to have that somewhat resolved! He is much more present at home after work now  a days. It was always tough having him go right for a nap when he got home when I wanted him to spend time with Brody and I, or take Brody off my hands for a bit. Troy is much more involved with life and it's so good to have that back. 

Since Troy's accident we have made it our mission to walk along side others who have to journey through this life experience of a TBI. We have met some pretty incredible people and what a huge blessing it has been to be able to share our story with others. This past August we introduced ourselves to a family who had just entered the TBI world. For some reason, this was differentt. I tried introducing myself to his wife but couldn't fight back the tears as all the emotions crept back in of how I felt after Troy's injury. There really are no good words to say and I knew that. I knew I had come to "help" but quickly realized I couldn't really help with anything at that time.  Since that day we have met up almost every week and really become good friends. I think as much I'm "helping" her, she is helping me. She knows and understands like no one else what I went through with Troy. It's so therapeutic talking with her because we both GET IT. I haven't had that and what a breath of fresh air it is to finally feel like I'm not alone in this. She holds a special place in my heart and I'm so very thankful for her! 

In other news, Brody is turning one this weekend. How this happened so quickly, I have not one clue. He has been the definition of a perfect baby. I would sit here and tell you every thing he does that makes him the perfect baby but we would be here for days. He is so happy and full of smiles everyday. Popping through teeth like they are nothin', 6 now and working on the 7th. I'm not sure I've ever seen a baby drool more than he does. My word! Buckets and buckets of drool! He loves playing tractors and has the truck noises down to a tee. He has been walking for a while now, his latest adventure is trying to run, mostly away from me. That had ended in many bumps and bruises. The kid is non stop, on the go. We hear a lot that he looks and acts a lot like Troy. Which couldn't be more true. Those two... I'm going to have my hands full later on in life with those mischievous boys! I'd like to say I see some resemblance of me in him too but so far, our mutual hate for vanilla yogurt is the only similarity. 





Drool 
Halloween 2016
Loves watching the wash.
Frosting!
Riding in the combine.

Checking out dad's job.
Mowing the lawn.


balance.

We have had a rough couple of months, as you may have seen from my recent posts. Troy and I have always been really good at balancing each o...