A time to speak

The following post is my story in a nutshell which a dear friend has strongly encouraged me to share. We all have a story. We all need to share. There is healing in sharing. There is healing in reaching others with our brokenness and pointing up to Jesus who heals and restores. Thank you for reading and blessings on your 2021!❤


I have often heard it said that brain injury comes in all different shapes and sizes. Whether it’s mild, moderate or severe brain injury, they all hold a very similar characteristic; they are all traumatic.

My traumatic brain injury occured as a child of barely thirteen years old. On the summer of 1991, the minivan full of us five church youths rolled down a steep embankment after missing the guard rail by just a few feet. The seventeen year old driver spaced out at the wheel. Tragically, two beautiful girls went up to heaven that day due to massive head injuries. The investigators of the accident guessed that the 1980s van didn’t explode due to a malfunction in the van’s interworkings, but I know it was God who spared us passengers and it was a miracle any of us survived.

My vague recollection of that frightening day remembers passing out when we finally came to a stop but how long I remained unconscious I do not know. Being the last person to be pulled out of the wreckage and the first to be put on an ambulance, I was taken to a small hospital in the middle of nowhere to be looked over. Surprisingly, I could walk, talk and though suffering a few bumps and cuts appeared to be relatively normal. However, the discovery of my brain injury came many years later.

Fast forward to a mother of four in her mid-thirties who was starting to fall apart physically but had no idea why. Sure there were plenty of signs that something serious was going on but where do you start to get to the bottom of so many crazy symptoms?

I went to the Dr. who ran a plethora of tests and said it’s hypothyroidism. Okay, that’s easy enough to deal with, just take a small white pill and there, no biggy right? Nope. While hypothyroidism is a very serious condition in and of itself, for me it was just the tip of the iceberg.

In 2016 I went completely numb from the waist down. My husband dragged me to a chiropractor who after tests and taking imagining discovered the root cause: head and multiple spine injury. She told me my condition was progressing and we began the journey towards healing through cranial and spinal treatments. These gentle care adjustments for accident survivors are designed to restore healing to the central nervous system while drawing out the injury so the body can heal and gain strength, mobility, and function.

Nothing can fully prepare a person for the emotional, physical, and spiritual impact a broken brain and body brings into one’s life. The hard months of physical pain, exhaustion, and frustration are not the only challenges but also how a TBI effects a person socially. Therefore arriving at the discovery of my head trauma in 2016, I had no idea then that the overall response from others would be……indifference. Thinking maybe it was because in my case my injury went undiscovered for so long, that people just didn’t or couldn’t understand that yes, there are cases in which trauma shows up years later. Yet, upon further reading and researching I’ve learned that sadly the majority of TBI survivors live socially in solitude. This is because friends vanish, relatives are distant, and acquaintances judge which is heartbreaking.

Taking all my emotional and physical pain and sadness, I decided to begin blogging my thoughts in order to speak out in the hope that it would help people understand and offer support. This did not work either because then I couldn’t get anyone to read or follow my blog except for my best friend and parents who always supported me anyway. After a few posts my mom, being my number one fan, told me that reading about my faith was an encouragement to her and gave her hope. It was at that point my mom’s words spoke to my heart whispering gently that my writing endeavour wasn’t about me anymore. It was about bringing hope and encouragement to others and that was when my blogging purpose changed.

Writing words of encouragement in a blog to others who battle brain injury, MS, Chiari, and other chronic illnesses or injuries has been a amazing way to help others which in turn has brought the same to me. While old friends vanished like soap bubbles, I found a few amazing new friends through the blog who have been overwhelmingly supportive of me and a huge blessing to my life.

I don’t know why God allowed me to survive the accident that tragic day when my two friends died, yet I do know God is good and wise and has a plan for my life. I thank Him every day for a chance to grow up, marry, and have my four beautiful kids who bring so much joy. While there is no known cure for a TBI, I have heard that there can be improvements with proper therapies and treatments which gives this brain injured mama a whole lot of hope.

Written December 27, 2020 by vivjoywriter

A Birthday Tribute to My Mama

I had planned on writing a Mother’s Day post prior to my one month sabbatical this past spring and am now getting to it as we near my mama’s birthday here in November. Better late than never!

My mama is my very best friend and closest sister in Christ. Every Sunday morning she phones at precisely 10:30 a.m. for our weekly visit and chat. I can’t begin to relate how much her love means to me, but I humbly will attempt to as I blunder my way through this seemingly inadequate post.

“Mama”, as I call her, was the oldest of four girls with a single mom who reared them up in the age when being a single mom was shunned and frowned upon.

When my mama was a little over one year old she suffered a high fever that left her with a rare case of cerebral palsy. So, my grandmother had four small girls to bring up by herself with a handicap to try to figure out and understand which road of proper care was best.

Doctors assured my grandmother they knew what was best and convinced her to put my mama in an institution. (In those days, group homes and in-home care didn’t exist.)

While at the institution my mama was put into a padded room with no books or toys and left alone in seclusion. When grandma discovered this tragedy she wanted to pull Mama out of that dreadful facility but it wasn’t so easy to be done. Amazingly she ended up kidnapping my mama out of that horrible place and never looked back!! How she did this, I don’t know, but I do know she had help orchestrating and carrying out this desperate plan of getting back her precious little girl.

My mama (left) and her sister in the mid-1950s.

My mama was a few years old by now and had to relearn talking since the months of seclusion ripped away her ability to verbally communicate. She did very well and went on to becoming a well educated student and staple in her family of five. Her mom and sisters loved their “Mel” and she enjoyed a happy adolescence and many fun memories growing up.

Fast forward to her college years where at San Francisco State University she met my dad, the handsome, funny, Hispanic guy who won her heart and led her to Christ. In the late 60s they married and in the 70s had my brother, a rainbow baby, which is a baby after a miscarriage. Four years after suffering another miscarriage, they had me, another rainbow baby.

Mama at the Philadelphia zoo, feeding the animals.

Mama told me I was always a fighter since 4 months into her pregnancy with me she started bleeding. Her doctor told her, “If you want to keep this pregnancy then you need to rest!” So rest she did! “You hung in there” she later told me…..lol, I still am!

Mama would stay on the sofa all day and then fix dinner for my dad when he got home. How she managed with a four year old boy is beyond me but I see God’s hand in every part of her life as I still do now.

Mama is a trooper and a fighter and one tough cookie!! She is such a powerful example of what it means to persevere in trials. She never complains and is always more interested in others’ lives than she is in going on about herself. She lives in a lot of pain due to over 70 years of cerebral palsy and presently is battling adrenal fatigue otherwise known as chronic fatigue syndrome. Yet, she continues to minister to me and other ladies while enduring these crosses and faithfully speaks the truth in love from God’s word.

Nine years ago. My parents with me holding my youngest.

For years my mama led the women’s bible study at her church and was a prayer partner to the pastor’s wife. She knows how to pray and I believe it’s her prayers that have kept me alive to this day. Her example of godliness has had a powerful impact on everyone she meets and she is loved by many.

I’m so thankful and blessed to have you in my life dear Mama and I love you beyond what these feeble words can express. Happy birthday to you and thank you for your love and for being the amazing woman and mother that you are!

Much love,

Your Vivie😚🤗🍁🍂

The gang taken in 2018. Mama is in front with her two sisters behind her, then me and my four kids.