My Brain Injury Roller Coaster Ride: Damaging Effects Of Noise 🎢

March is brain injury awareness month. Fitting because this past March my TBI took a critical turn for the worse leaving me unable to walk very well, weak, and in more pain than my body was accustomed to.

My downward spiral actually began with the stress I had thrown at me last fall when my life got put back into the instability of job loss.

With the stress and worry of where would our money come from, I chose to play mommy martyr and carelessly went off my blood sugar supplements (chromium) and muscle strengthening potassium in order to save money. Bad idea….

In mid-February our neighbor decided to clear a large amount of acreage directly across the street from our house and for 5 weeks planted a massive chipper about 50 yards from my front door. The noise was so loud that at times it shook the house.

My nervous system became overloaded and my brain went berserk. The hypothalamus gland is located right where my injury is. This section of the brain regulates blood sugar. I could not get it under control. For weeks my body woke me up at night every two hours, sweating, heart racing, and crying out for food.

I then became unable to sleep.

Psalm 119:73a, “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me…”

Looking back I should have tried to go stay with a relative but by the time I was in trouble, I was way too weak to leave the house.

When we got my blood sugar stable my brain was so confused as to how to function it continued to keep me awake thinking I still needed to eat. I couldn’t recover because my nervous system (now in a dangerous overloaded mode) kept me awake sometimes for 2 days at a time and couldn’t calm down.

Brain injury is no picnic!

Because of the damage to my 10th cranial nerve, the vagus nerve, which is a parasympathetic nerve, my mouth had stopped producing saliva which made eating extremely difficult along with an upset stomach from the noise. This was hard because I needed to eat to stabilize my blood sugar but with a dry mouth I just couldn’t. Finally, once I started eating and sleeping again my body was able to begin to heal.

That’s when my legs went.

Unfortunately, my legs took a beating from the ordeal which caused my peripheral nervous system (branches out from the spine or CNS) to become damaged. The issues from my blood sugar instability was certainly a contributor to the nerve damage. My Dr. has said it may take 6-12 months for the nerves in my legs to heal. That prognosis feels like bad news but it’s not really because at least I will heal right?

My husband has found a new temp job and seems to like it well enough. We pray the company hires him on soon so he can receive good pay and health benefits.

God is still in control.

So, that sums up my “upheaval in March” as I now refer to it as and as I wait for my legs to heal I’m reminded that God only sends us trials in love. This ordeal I do believe was sent to test me. Am I going to give up? Or am I going to continue to trust the God I love knowing He is good no matter what happens to my life? I’m in His care and He will make perfect all those things which concern me (Psalm 138:8). He sees the future. I refuse to believe my decline was a random act of chance. God’s sovereign hand allowed every detail of my set back for a reason. He knows my lot. He knows what I need spiritually and physically. He’s in control of my health, and finances. He is to be trusted.

TBI is like a roller coaster ride with ups that creak along slowly, peaking for just a short time, then crashing down so fast all you can do is trust in God as you hang on and scream….weeeee!

The comfort of it is that Jesus is sitting alongside of you in that roller coaster car and you’re never ever alone. 🎢

Much love,

Viv 🙌

You Don’t Look Sick

Has this been said to you? Those of us chronically ill or injured have probably been given this all too common line, “You don’t look sick.” Or how about this one, “Well, you look good!”*

If we look sick, we are sick, if we don’t look sick we aren’t. Right? No!

Most people have five senses; taste, touch, see, smell, and hear. Now, we can mistakenly use our sense of sight to judge someone’s sense of touch.

An injured brain can not be seen. The brain is enclosed by the skull and a protective water layer called dura matter (both of which are damaged on me). Injured brains are felt.

Fatigue can not be seen, it’s felt.

We can’t judge a person’s sense of feeling based on our sense of sight.

This is why invisible illness is so misjudged ending up with the ill feeling very much alone.

I met a lady in my brain injury group whose teenage son suffered a severe traumatic brain injury after being struck by a car and then run over by a second car which dragged his body underneath it before stopping. When she arrived at the hospital she told me he looked to her like an alien. His brain was actually visible and he was so beyond recognition, she could only identify him based on the fact that he bit his nails which was the only recogizable part of him. This is probably the worst case of TBI I have ever heard of, and by some miracle, her son survived his brain injury but with many many deficits.

Yet, this is not the norm. TBI is typically an invisible malady. It effects all of life in so many various aspects most of which go unseen to onlookers. TBI is felt. Chronic fatigue is felt. Autoimmune diseases are felt.

We want to be well. We don’t want to wake up every day wondering what we have to do to just barely get by. We don’t want to tell our best friend we can’t receive her visit because we are too weak. We hate missing church. We want to get up, feet hit the ground running and get everything done while having strength and energy to play with our kids and make chocolate cake for dessert.

Not all ilnesses are visible, rather, they are hidden inside the intricate workings of our very fragile bodies that can easily become disfunctional living in this fallen world. While we may not look sick, believe me when I say we are bravely fighting every day and never, ever giving up….. and are courageously smiling and enduring through the pain.

Much love,

Viv 😍

*This post was written a long time ago. I’m no longer frustrated over the way people respond to invisible illness, but I still feel this post holds a few valuable insights worth sharing with others. ~Viv