• Survivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Sierra Badgley

Hello, my name is Sierra.

It was a bright sunny day, and I was enjoying a beautiful ride on my dirtbike. It was just a month after starting tenth grade, and this ride was all it took to relieve my stress. All it took was 5 seconds for a bright, happy day, to turn dark and frightening. On October 4th 2015 I was riding my dirtbike in an open field. I was practicing  my skills, gained some confidence and took it up a notch. I sped up, clicked it in fourth gear and for a few seconds everything was fine. Next thing you know, I hit a groundhog hole and flew over the handlebars across the field. I was knocked out and unconscious for what I felt like was a couple of seconds. I woke up covered in blood and completely out of it. 

My dad grabbed me, placed me in the back of the truck (from what he tells me, I can't remember) and he drove me as quickly as he could to our local hospital. They couldn't do much for me there, and sent me in an ambulance to the children's hospital in the city. 

A result from this accent was, a shattered & fractured elbow, a broken nose for the second time, a neck injury, damaged nerves in my mouth, a broken tooth, and the most crucial injury, my 6th concussion. This started the beginning of a very long and scary recovery.  Nobody knew how bad my brain injury really was. They knew I had a concussion obviously from the second I crashed, but the added stress of my other nasty injures was what everybody figured was prolonging my concussion symptoms. I had surgery on my elbow and due to my anxiety it was considered that the fear of surgery was worsening my symptoms.

After months and months of symptoms not improving, I ended up being diagnosed with post concussion syndrome. It was a sense of relief to get a diagnosis, but it was really hard to deal with. Since my accident took place at the beginning of the school year, it affected my entire work ethic. My mom was at my high school every single day. She tried to explain to them what I was going through, and how I could barely get anything done. They didn't believe me. We gave them various doctors notes, personal notes, we had meetings, I talked to them myself, and nothing worked. Trying to do well in school along with feeling horrible 24/7was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. It's been a hard year, my teachers don't like me and they're going to give me a hard time from here on out.

After 9 months, I'm so much better. I'm not going to say I'm 100% recovered and healed, because I don't believe we ever are. Today, my doctor told me that starting September, I can get back to full activities. Obviously I'm always going to have to take extra precautions because I can't afford to hit my head again, but I'm so thankful that I survived this brain injury and accident. I was born with brittle bone disease, so it made my recovery and chances of surviving much  more difficult. 

Everyday I've been running and exercising. I have my good and bad days. These past couple days have been hard for me because I know I'm different from the person I was before my brain injury. I get misunderstood and the aftermath of brain injuries never go away, and are hard to deal with sometimes (headaches, fatigue, memory loss). I also get a lot of negativity towards me. I struggle, but I fight too. 

My doctor once told me that 10% of our happiness comes from having money, what kind of house we live in and what we wear. But more importantly, the other 90% comes from how we look at something. Our perspective defines our happiness, not material items. That being said, as hard as this recovery has been, I'm looking at this as a positive thing. I got to live to see this day, and that's all that really matters. 

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