• Survivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Amber Luedke

Hello everyone! My name is Amber.

As you read my story I pray that you learn to Trust in Jesus throughout any circumstance thrown your way like I have.  As you are thinking about different moments in your life, I pray God is helping you embrace your identity. Without my Faith and Trust in Him, I am not sure where I would be today.  

I was headed down to the basement, I was carrying my porcelain turkey.  Mid December 2013 taking down Thanksgiving decorations, I was being very careful already because I didn’t want to risk dropping the turkey and breaking it. These stairs were very steep, too narrow, and very uneven. 

I remember being halfway down the stairs and within a split second my life changed forever.  I vaguely remember myself tumbling down the rest of the stairs. The porcelain turkey flew clear across the room; I remember hitting my frontal lobe (forward) against the concrete wall of our basement.   Then somehow, I stumbled on the landing, down a few more steps, and onto the tough concrete floor.  

 I remember as I was laying on the cold concrete floor my fiancé (at the time) saying my name repeatedly.  Moving my head checking for blood. I lost consciousness, but I was never taken that night to get medical attention. The next few days, I went to work and started to realize something was off. Talking on the phone with clients and not being able to think of words (word finding), being late to meetings (this never happened). Three days after falling down my basement steps, my manager said it was probably best for me to seek medical attention immediately.  Little did I know what my brain was doing during those 3 days, severely swelling, turning into a severe traumatic brain injury.  

Doctors said this would ultimately take six, (6) years to make a complete full recover! In my mind, when I heard that I was like sorry but I don't have time for that. I just graduated from Purdue University and had a wonderful start to my "real life career." I can't put that on hold.  As life goes, there are bumps and turns and accidents and this is the story of mine...  

I suffered from significant memory loss and the inability to do simple tasks. Not only that but during the next several months and years, doctors said I would need extensive therapy, vestibular therapy, cognitive therapy, memory therapy, balance therapy, speech therapy, memory therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and a therapist for me to make a full recovery.  

Four months after the fall, I was beginning to have gran mal seizures and Opsoclonus Myoclonus seizures also known as "Dancing Eyes Dancing Feet Seizures." Where my entire body would shake/ seize for hours and my eyes would move back and forth.  I had no consciousness and had no idea what was going on when I had the seizures.  I was hospitalized for over a week or so while the doctors could figure out what was going on and what types of medicine to put me on.  The seizures Opsoclonus Myoclonus were due to the fall, I had injured my brain stem.  

I was still trying to find myself even after the brain injury. Everything about Amber was gone. Jesus showed me my real identity which is found in Christ and that Christ loved me enough to die for me. I didn't need to keep searching for myself.  I knew who I was.  I was so lucky to have a supportive family who loved me. My amazing parents: Stacy and Dan Luedke, my sister Britney who would come home from college just to make sure I was okay when I was in the hospital all taking turns driving me to my appointments, completely altering their life to make sure that my health and well-being was first and foremost taken care of. 

My Leavener - church / community of believers who prayed for me, my friends who were scattered all across America praying for healing and comfort.  Daily I could feel being lifted up by everyone's prayers!

In my mind I was determined to prove the doctors that they were wrong.  I took my therapy seriously.  That's a very special thank you to being able to get in to see one of the top Concussion Specialists in Indiana: Dr. Terry Horner, Indiana University Hospital Dr. Paul Bustion, Balance Institute of Indiana, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana Outpatient Therapy: PhD. Ibarra, Elizabeth Strong, Susan Crane, PhD. Trexler, and Indiana University Sports Performance Physical Therapy.

 I ended up making a full recovery within just 2 years after my Traumatic Brain Injury of falling down my basement stairs in December of 2013.  It just took a little hard work and determination! 

It isn't easy living with a brain injury.  I have learned I will have to always live with these effects the rest of my life.  There are days when I sometimes  have problems finding the right words  or sometimes I am slow at processing things.This is just the new me! 

Over the past four years throughout my Traumatic Brain Injury journey, God laid it on my heart to turn my journals, my thoughts, experiences, the good, the bad, everything I have learned into a book. A memoir, a book that can help caregivers, inspire Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors, just like me, encouraging others to know that you are NOT and NEVER will be alone! You can beat this. 

When a someone tells, you can't do something, try to prove them wrong. Shoot for the stars - this is your life. I realize that Jesus has a purpose and a plan for my life, this includes a brain injury.  Writing a book to share with you and others about my Faith and Trusting in Him throughout my deepest darkest trials He allowed me to overcome every circumstance thrown my way.

He taught me how to love and trust in Him in the midst of a trauma even when you feel like there is nothing you can control, He has allowed me to heal from my Traumatic Brain injury and Post-Concussion Syndrome!

Thank you for letting me join this Family! I love what TBI One Love  is doing for survivors and caregivers - its amazing!  

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