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  • Writer's pictureSurvivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Erin Dykstra

Hello everyone my name is Janell and my daughter’s name is Erin. She is a TBI survivor.

On May 15th of 2021, she was coming home from work and on her way to pick up her kids 5 & 4 years old when she was hit head on by a drunk driver. Her injuries when she arrived at the hospital seemed minimal at first (badly broken ankle, and the dash tore through the muscles of her leg). After about 10 minutes of arriving by ambulance she told the father of her kids she didn't feel right & then she started slurring her words. The hospital said that she had probably been drinking & they did nothing (she had a massive stroke).

They took her into surgery to repair her ankle and fix the tendons in her leg. She kept having additional strokes, then she had a seizure. The hospital realized something else was wrong & took her in for scanning of her head. That when they saw she had a brain bleed and discovered that her corroded artery had been torn by the airbag. They immediately took her to ICU & put her on life support. She was on life support for about 3 weeks, she had 3 brain surgeries and fought for her life. I never left her side and talked to her telling her to fight for her babies, every time I said their names her monitor would show activity.

When she finally woke, the doctor realized that she was paralyzed on her whole left side. To keep this shorter, she pulled through and went on to inpatient recovery / therapy. She spent 2.5 months inpatient occupational & physical therapy learning how to do talk, walk, and brain exercises. They never thought she would be “normal” ever again, not able to walk again or do much of literally anything.

Erin’s response to others when informing of limitations to the “new her”: "watch me, ye who have little faith in our God". Boy did she show them (or should I say God showed them through her).

Now let’s fast forward 11 months: April of 2022. She is walking (with assistance from a prosthetic). She is still trying to get her left arm working (the only limb that has not come back), plus she has not had a seizure since March 2022 which is awesome!

Erin is very active at her church in Fayetteville, NC and she is now talking to her Neurologist about speaking at the meetings of those that had DUI's, and at the hospital where she spend months at to give other Neuro patients hope.

Thank you TBI One Love for all you do and the opportunity for us to share Erin’s story of hope to the Brain Injury community.


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1 Comment

Richard T. Curry Jr
Richard T. Curry Jr
Apr 29, 2022

Keep fighting it, dont give up on yourself. A, TBI takes time, patience is needed. I suffered my TBI on May 9, 1994. It is a long journey. God bless you.

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