Survivor or Caregiver
TBI One Love Survivor Lael Lloyd
Hello. My name is Lael Lloyd. My story is an example of how a TBI doesn’t have to come from a hit to the head but instead could be from any sudden deceleration. I did receive an initial hit to the head-on November 25, 2015. I was accidentally pushed and hit my head against a brick wall!
Looking back now, I can see that this caused a concussion, but at the time I was not sure if it was a concussion or not. I had a constant headache after this. This did not cause my TBI though. It was not until a week and a half later that I sustained the TBI through sudden deceleration that happened while I was riding in the back of a truck on a camping trip in the desert. I emerged out of that truck feeling like I was swaying on a boat. I went to sleep that night with a loud ringing in my left ear that sounded like radio static.
The next morning, I tried to go to work like it was a normal day, but I was struggling to function. I felt dizzy and nauseous. I went to the ER but they couldn’t find anything wrong with me and sent me home. The ER doctor even told me I was okay to run a 5k that weekend! The doctor said it was okay so I ran that race. It was the San Diego Santa Run so while I tried to run through crowds of Santa costumes, I was fighting for control of my own body. I had fuzzy vision as I tried to drive home after that run.
I am a school teacher and I like to be busy, so even though a neurologist finally told me after two months that I had post concussive syndrome, I still did my best to go to work every day. Each day I would start off feeling alright but after only a few hours, I would begin to feel spacey. My mind would become blank. After 4 months of stubbornly trying to keep up at work, I finally had to admit that I just couldn’t do a good job at work at that time. I felt guilty leaving my students with a substitute teacher who didn’t know how to teach them the material. I went on disability and was away from work for 4 months.
When I returned to work the next August, I only worked until noon for the first two months back. Each day back at work was such a challenge that I would drive home and immediately sleep for two hours. My dark bedroom was a place of solace. The doctors that I went to told me to go home and rest and my brain would heal itself. I began to realize that these doctors did not have the answers for me. I began to seek out the answers on my own.
In January of 2017 I found a chiropractic neurologist who gave me hope. He tested me for 2 hours the first time I went to see him. The very next time I saw him, he had a detailed action plan for me. Finally, someone was on my side and giving me active strategies to foster healing. I still see this chiropractic neurologist every two weeks. I am back at work now, but I still wear sunglasses while indoors because the fluorescent lights bother me. I take naps whenever I can get them.
This brain injury has opened my eyes to the difficulties experienced by people with chronic health issues and I am passionate about helping others through nutrition now. I am going to school to become a nutritional therapist. I want to help others feel better by helping them choose the right kinds of foods. I teach writing to middle school students and I would like to share my own experience with you about what it is like to live with post concussive syndrome!
I will be starting a blog soon and you can be one of the first to read it by connecting with me on Instagram at @headingtowardhealing.
I am thankful to be able to share my story and to learn from other stories, thank you TBI One Love for this gift!