• Survivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Gianna (Anna) J. Link

Hello my name is Gianna.

I grew up in Michigan. Now, I live, on the Appalachian, mountains in WV, after living in many places in the US and abroad. I had 2 major TBIs (which I rarely talked about before). My initial head trauma and illness that led to the life-altering event which occurred in association with it & that was my near death experience (NDE).Before my NDE, I was a high achiever (personality type A). I was self-righteous, high strung and pre-programed for earthly prosperity. I had anxiety for the future, depression from the past, and many fears of the present. Most of all, I feared death. The thought of the unknown, horrified me.

All that changed one day, after my (NDE).  This happened during my early university-student days. 

(TBI #1)

That was the 1st head trauma which I sustained, as I fell unconscious onto a cement floor; resulting in a black eye, bruises on my face and forehead and scalp. The CT scan showed brain contusion and edema. The reason I fell unconscious to begin with, was due to a massive internal hemorrhage. In the ER, I regained some consciousness as the resuscitation team was working on me. (NDE). And I remember thinking then, & with great certainty “I am going to die!” Just as I heard the heart monitor alarm and the flat line sound; petrified I thought, “My Dear God, I am dying!” I tried to hang on to; who I was; where I lived; what I was doing. My thought responses were slow and inaccurate at first; when the correct answers arrived, each one disappeared as I could not hold on to them.  

But still I kept trying; and I was frantic! Suddenly, I was engulfed by a kaleidoscope of the most beautiful colors. I floated within this brilliant light!  My panic was replaced with Peace & joy as the colors disappeared; --in an instant-- my entire life flashed in front of me; leaving me alone to judge myself. This was truly, an agonizing moment!Then, the crystal clear thought of who I was, started fading away, as I became diffuse within the vast universe which was me; and I was a part of it.  At that point, I did not know where, who, or what I was.

From a distance, I saw a radiant light that was rapidly approaching me; Illuminating the limitless space in its path; releasing such infinite love. I felt true bliss that intensified as I became closer and closer to the Light. There was harmonious telepathic communication. Instinctively, I knew, that this, was the right way,  to return “home”!. Later, I was informed that I had to return. A feeling of disappointment and despair overcame me. ( which cannot be described).Unexpectedly, I felt my boundless form, squeezing into my tiny physical body,  with such intense pain;  that I hardly felt the electrical paddles used to jump start my heart.

The rest of my hospital stay was forgotten. All my memory was erased. My gait was unsteady, my speech slow and I had weakness.  Gradually, I regained all my previous abilities.Yet, every moment of the day, my deepest thought, my greatest wish was to return “home.”My personality had changed drastically. (& This was  really a great thing!)

All my fears especially the one of death vanished. I became peaceful, harmonious, caring, generous and wanted nothing more than to help others in need.My perspective on life also changed. I saw that Earthly possessions are pointless. The past and future, matter little. I noticed a heightened intuition, and premonition.

This awareness facilitated my work in my profession so I could help those in need.

It also guided me to deal with what was coming next & That was my major head trauma #2.

TBI #2.

Just before I received my second degree, I sustained an intracranial (within the skull), a subarachnoid hemorrhage (a bleed around the entire brain) from a closed head trauma/(a TBI), I have no memory of what really happened, as I was unconscious, for about two weeks. After I regained consciousness, I realized I had lost my cognitive abilities. My recent memory was gone, my remote /(past) was fogy, my speech slow and slurred. I had double vision, I could not look upward, I could not see, hear, swallow, walk, smell or taste well. I had constant ringing and other sound effects in my ears, and still do.I had loss of balance, my hands were shaking I was weak and numb on one side of my body. The worst were the severe daily H/As which would awaken me early every morning, I was losing time (which is c/w Seizures) and I would suddenly drop off into a deep sleep at any time. (& this is c/w Narcolepsy)A few months after the subarachnoid hemorrhage, I was gradually getting worse. The H/As were merciless & accompanied by nausea causing loss of apetite and weight loss. My eyesight & memory were vanishing.  I was unable to walk; I had vertigo and all the previous symptoms kept getting worse. I was confused and disoriented I became unaware, and only craved sleep.  I was hoping that my time had come to return home.

The brain MRI showed the hydrocephalus, that had developed from the subarachnoid hemorrhage. It was compressing my brain causing it to malfunction.  The treatment was placing a shunt (VPS). But I did not want the surgery to correct it. All I wanted was to end my suffering and to finally return home. However, a caring friend and colleague (with whom I was working previously around that time). asked me: “and who will take care of your baby son?” There is nothing in life that I love more than my son. So, I had to step up to the challenge. Yet, I was thinking “I may want to; but how, am I going to do this?  “I can hardly care for myself.”I really didn’t know, if I could do it. So, I searched within and followed my intuition:!!

I did have the ventricular peritoneal shunt (or VPS), inserted in the right ventricle of my brain, and the hydrocephalus resolved. Ultimately, I learned to 1st,  walk & swallow. Later, my eyesight and my ability to  look upward returned. Gradually my memory returned. First the long term and then the short term. I was able to think clearly, walk normally and had no H/As. Eventually all the major symptoms resolved. 

I still had the partial complex seizures and the Narcolepsy, which were not diagnosed.

Finally, I was able to return to work fulltime. As I became more aware of what was happening to me, I was feeling very self-conscious. So I went overboard with my work preparations and was teaching myself all the new developments in my field. I went to conferences to further and update my education. The only thing I could not control was my Narcolepsy. So the stress would cause me to fall asleep on major exams & often, I had to pullover on the side of the road to quench this overwhelming urge to sleep. Another symptom which I still had, was that I would occasionally, be losing time during the day and I became suspicious that I was having nocturnal seizures as well.

Knowing I needed help, I trusted a supervising colleague in a major institution. Who told me: “If you think you have seizures, you should not be working and I have to report you to the Board”.

Well, that ended my ventures to get help. 1st,  because, I managed my work extremely well (according to the hospital reports I worked in) & the awards I would  receive & 2nd  because I could not stop working. If I did, I would not be able to support my young  son.

I had been a single parent since he was 2 years old & he had medical problems also.     

I had little choice in those days, so I tried to help myself as much as I could.   

The treatment for Narcolepsy was a Narcotic medication. & there is no way I would ever go there. So I found herbal supplements instead, which often worked for me.

A medication for seizures was difficult to obtain as it would be a telltale sign.  However, I did discover an excellent seizure medication which was also used for mood stabilization & my mood needed major adjustments.Since my early head trauma days, I had explosive, volatile episodes which would just spring out, at the drop of a hat. This is due to neurotransmitter imbalances & it is called “Pseudobulbar affect (PBA)” I could not control these episodes and the worst part was that initially during stage 1 of the TBI, I was oblivious to them. In this 1st stage of injury, the brain is ailing and lacks the ability to self-check.So many people with silent head traumas (Concussions, closed head injuries) unknowingly, destroy their relationships, lose their jobs, their families and often become a menace to their microenvironment, because they look physically “just fine” and people don’t understand what is happening to them.

 During the 2nd  stage,:as the brain heals;   self–awareness develops.

When I became aware of this handicap, I was embarrassed with my behavior. Therefore,  when the urge to explode would arrive, I quickly fled to a nearby place usually the bathroom. where, I would bite my finger take a deep breath and calm down. My paranoia was another menace I had tried to deal with it, by convincing myself that I was being delusional and try to reason it away. (I t worked;  Sometimes ! )

This awareness as great as it is, also brought the devastating feeling that I was a fragment of my previous self. I had to work harder, keep journals to monitor my actions and schedules to remind me of my daily events. I became depressed and dared not show it. I would smile &try to keep cool, calm and collected at all times. I focused on my work and took care of my little boy. That was my life.

Until the VPS Malfunctioned. Once again, I was comatose in the ICU for weeks. After 3 attempts the shunt was replaced & functioning. I went through all the symptoms I had before; only a little worse this time. I was in Rehabilitation for weeks & a few months later I was fully functioning & returned to work,.

Life hurled at me many blows,  which I was only able to survive, (each and every one of them); because I kept in tune with my inner voice; That is the vivid intuition, which has guided me every day since my NDE. Throughout my life, I have been researching this phenomenon and found that many scientific  studies report that all those with NDE exhibit a sharp intuition and premonition.Personally, I know if I followed my intuition things went well!  If I bargained with it and ignored it, disaster always took place. I have developed profound respect for my inner voice and always keep in tune with it. 

I took the multitude of trials in my life, as they came, knowing there was a reason for each & every one of them, & I had to find the right solution. My life has also, been filled with tremendous peace and happiness.  The greatest joy in my life is my son and the deep love I feel spontaneously, for all life. If I had been the person I was before my NDE, I am certain I would not have survived.Because of this incredible benefit I received; I wanted to share it.  So, those who may be interested; could profit also.  This insight I gained, (as many others did, from their NDEs), has given me many possibilities to help those in need, during my professional career. For this reason, I wrote my book: “ONE”; which is a step by step manual, --(a guide to enlightenment)— It is for those who may be interested, and want to discover their true mission in life and  want to know how to find the right answers.The readers will be guided with methods to help them tap into their inner universe and to obtain self-discovery.They will know their relationship with the cosmos and beyond.  This book’s purpose is for thought provoking purposes. ”One” (AGTE) has no connections to any religions or philosophies.

It is just a manual, a road map, to help the reader, think individually; so if they wish they can liberate themselves from society’s subjugation; while maintaining their beliefs, their culture and individuality, by allowing others to do the same. They will clearly see the power, each one has within.

The reader is given objective scientific data from (quantum physics) and they will realize how united with all the people on our planet; our strength is unbeatable.This supreme strength we can only have, if all the earth citizens (individually, united), become one global citizen.Because the Earth belongs to all alike and equally,there is immense power in unity that is fastened with love.Death is not to be feared. It is an evolutionary achievement, & it always arrives at the right time. (It cannot be rushed) A few last words for those of us, who are TBI survivors.

Although, we all might have heard these items before: however, I it helps to reiterate them,

in order to incorporate them into positive habits for life.

  1. You know, that your life’s mission was incomplete, at the time you had your head trauma, because you did not achieve death.

  2. You & only you, know your mission in life; (deep within you).

  3. No matter what your deficits are now, as your brain heals; you become more aware & At one point, you will be able to tune in to your inner voice (your intuition) and know the truth.   That is your guide in life.

  4. Do not blame yourself or others.

  5. Do the best you can for a moment at a time each day. 

  6. Looking back wastes the present.

  7. Exercise your brain as if it was a muscle with repetition and practice. 

  8. Keep journals to monitor your progress.

  9. Learn something new every day, (whether it is learning to communicate, by speaking, or using sign language; or by memorizing phone numbers. Later on, you can try acquiring a new skill or learning a new language.

  10. Keep healthy, eat wisely, maintain a low-normal weight,

  11. Always have a positive mood & outlook on life,  --No matter what--.

  12. Stay away from toxins (alcohol, tobacco, drugs and toxic people.)

  13. Get help! The (PBA) pseudobulbar affect (which is volatile emotions) is treatable.  You & your family do not need to suffer.

  14. The brain cannot heal, if it still has seizures, infections, or any other factors (such as toxins) preventing it from repairing itself.

  15. Keep searching until you find your bliss in life.

  16. Tell yourself you have a mission to complete in life and just go on (Develop patience and persistence)  

  17. Agonizing about the future is useless. Take care of the present moment, and by doing so, you have prepared your share of your future.

  18. Above all, let go of all negative feelings, especially fear.

  19. Learn to respect and love first yourself, and then all life unconditionally on the planet, including mother earth.

  20. Stay away from all negative people and events. Stay close with the positive, loving people in your life and participate only in positive events. You are not alone. Connect with others for moral support, like tis great talk show.

Final NOTE:

 To avoid being deceived (In this “Age of Deception); search for the right answer only from your inner voice (your conscience). Then, you will know, the reason why, all the events in your life, took place, (including your TBI). So, develop your intuition, and always follow it! 

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