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Trying nerofeedback

22 Jan skiing_photo

skiing_photo

Thanks to the High Fives Foundation, I’m trying neurofeedback. My dad met some people who’s son was hit in the head by a baseball when he was pretty young, and they’ve seen a benefit to neurofeedback for him. The guy who’s “doing” it to me is his father. It won’t hurt my brain in any way, so I might as well try it.

There’s a chance it will improve my writing. As you probably know, I was right handed before my accident and now I’m a leftie, so there’s a possibility it will help with my handed-ness so I might be able to write with my right hand again. To write this, I’m using an iPad, and to type (because you have to do that on the screen), I’m using my left hand. Neurofeedback has helped me in “small” ways, like I used to get up to go to the bathroom twice while I was sleeping, and now it’s only once. So I’m hoping there’s a chance it will help me with my coordination, too.

My friend Nick Mercer, who also suffered a TBI, has written this post about why exercise is so good for the brain. He teaches Pilates, so I tried that, but it was difficult for me because there was something made of metal (or something similar) that you have to push with your feet before you switch to another move, and the fact that my right side has less coordination meant it banged into the metal thing before I could do the next exercise. So, I don’t think that was for me. I work with a personal trainer, Trista, on trying to keep my body strong. This is the third time I’ve applied for a grant from the High Fives Foundation, and they didn’t approve it (darn!), but I find it so important to keep working with her. I worked out with her again today, because she had to skip last Tuesday, and I find it really beneficial (and important!) to have her twice a week, so I might just pay for it myself.

That’s all for now- my brother just bought a house nearby very expensive Boulder, so I’m happy to help him “design” the place! And that is a photo is of me skiing with Steve Hemphill (aka Steve Hemp) and Kait Rohlfing at Copper!

High Fives Foundation

26 Dec unnamed

Merry Christmas, everyone! I was sick on Christmas Eve, and felt a little better on Christmas Day, and I’m still getting better. I thought I would take this time at home to do some blogging, because it’s been a long time since I’ve done that.

I think it’s important to talk about the organization that has been so helpful in my recovery- the High Fives Foundation. I would in no way be where I am today without their support. They have selected me as a Winter Empowerment Athlete, and they’ve been so gracious in supporting what I need throughout my recovery. LearningRx brain training, a personal trainer, massages, speech therapy and neuro-feedback is what they’ve supported me with so far. I did the brain training almost right after I got out of the hospital, which was maybe too early for me because I got too easily frustrated. But my massuese said that I wouldn’t be as far along if she didn’t work on my body so soon. Also, the personal trainer has been great for me, because she’s helped me get stronger (duh) and has helped work on the parts of my body that were effected by my ski accident.The speech therapy I went through at CU Boulder was monumental in improving my speech..

I cannot say enough good things about this organization. I’ve kind of reached a point, though, that in my recovery, things will only get better if I work on them and force them to. My brother and my mom said last night that the only way my right hand will get better (I’m left handed now after the injury) is if I make it do simple things. For instance, last night, we were playing Mexican Train, which is a game using dominoes, and once we were done, they challenged me to put them back with my right hand, instead of my left. That made me angry, but I did it anyway, and now I realize how important simple things like that are after my injury.

After I get home from the holidays, I will try yoga at home. Many people have suggested that it will be beneficial, and I tried the laying down kind- yin, but that wasn’t hard enough for me. It was almost like I could take a nap. But since my balance is off, I got a few Christmas yoga dvd’s to try at home. When I’m at home, my balance won’t matter, because there’s no one watching, so I can try and fail as hard as I want to. I will set a regimen for it, like going to a class would, and hopefully my balance will improve if I really focus on it.

A fellow High Fives athlete, Jocelyn, posted this video of her skiing recently on Facebook. Since she’s a much better skier than me after our injuries (and hers caused her to be a paraplegic), that is the inspiration I need to re-focus on my recovery.

https://vimeo.com/115455844

Headed Home From Jackson

24 Nov Kevin Pearce_20141122_5D_0019

I spent a long weekend in Jackson, Wyoming. My friend CD (aka Chris Denny) invited me up to the Watershed Jackson event, where Kevin Pearce would be the lead speaker. I watched the movie about him, “The Crash Reel,” and I was so excited to hear him speak. He also ha a TBI, so it was great to hear someone else speak about his TBI.

What I found interesting was that he still found ways to ski, just safer ways. As long as there’s powder or soft snow, he can ski. After watching his film, I thought you were actually not allowed to go skiing again. Doctors in his movie said it would be life-altering if he had another TBI, and I thought that meant never go skiing again. But it was good to hear him talk about going skiing again, but in a safer way than the halfpipe was.Kevin Pearce_20141122_5D_0019

That gives me hope. I fell on a pretty steep tun, and I stopped by hitting my head on some rocks. Luckily, the helmet I was wearing saved my life. Even though I can’t ski like I used to, hearing him say he just has to find a different form of snowboarding and not stopping was good.

The right side of my body has less coordination that the left, so that means I have trouble controlling my skis. I talked to a guy at Watershed who has trouble with his left side, so that ski is much shorter. He said he has trouble knowing exactly where to go, so a person skis in front of him to tell him exactly where to go. I don’t have that problem, but he’s figured out a way to make it work.

Through blogging for Copper Mtn, I have earned a season pass as compensation. And since skiing is still possible for me, and I used to love it, I will try it agin. It’s kind of exciting for me that after a TBI, people still ski, just in safer ways.

Going back to Jackson was great, because I still love it, but I used to be a much different person before my ski accident. The snow they have on the ground here makes it difficult to walk. I also saw some of my close friends up here last night, but I met them through skiing. So it will be hard if I moved back here, because I might have to make new friends that I didn’t make through just skiing. Don and Shea luckily hosted the dinner party that I planned on last night, and my other trends Jeff, Patrick and Kendall, and Karissa came. It was great to be up here and see all those people, and learn that I can still ski, just in a different way.

Speaking Publicly about TBI’s

14 Nov kevin-pearce_73136_600x450

Well, I haven’t written in a long time, so I figured I should. I’m much more glad being at home in Colorado Springs- when I was in Boulder, I had a lot on my mind that stressed me out, like getting a job, to help pay for my rent (and I was dipping into my savings, which defeats the whole purpose of having it!). I found some people to rent my apartment in Boulder, so I’m saving quite a bit of money by living at home. Plus, groceries are way cheaper here!

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Being at home gives me more time to publicly speak about TBI’s, which I think is so important. My former boss (and good friend) in Jackson, Wyoming, Chris Denny (aka CD) invited me up to attend Watershed Jackson event, where Kevin Pearce will be the lead speaker. CD knows just about everyone, and I was asked to speak for a few minutes before Kevin does. Kevin Pearce seems like a big name, so the fact that I’m able to speak before him is truly a gift. That has got me thinking about supporting organizations like Watershed. Since I loved Jackson so so much, and I was only there for a month and a half before my accident, knowing that things like Watershed are there that are spreading the importance of being safe while you ski is so important.

I’m also speaking at the Summit Medical Center TBI Support Group event in Frisco, Colorado. I will show photos, this video, and speak for about 30 minutes describing my injury and recovery, and why it’s so important to wear a helmet while you ski.

If I was still in Boulder, I wouldn’t have these abilities. Yes, I world still be asked to speak at them, but being at home gives me more time to come up with my story and photos. In Boulder, I was stressed about finding a job, and my friends from college had other things going on in their lives and I felt like I was stuck where I was, and not moving on. Being at home has made me realize that yes, I do have time and energy to speak about ski accident stuff.

My parents (well, my dad) have decided to “remodel” the second floor of our house- that means new carpet, and new trim and doors. Dad has realized it’s much cheaper to buy stuff at Unfinished Furniture Warehouse (like he did for our main floor), and sand them and stain them himself. This really shows how talented my dad is and that he can sand/stain and then install them himself. I have helped some with cutting the pieces of our trim, and sanding and staining the wood, and helping my parents decide on the carpet, but I feel like I’m not much help. But I have supported them by cooking lunch and dinner, and they say that has helped them a ton.

I will take over the guest bedroom as my bedroom, and use Chris’s bedroom as my TV room and desk space, so it will be nice to have my own space that I can retreat to and get work done. We aren’t finished with the remodel yet, though, so I haven’t quite “settled in.” But everything is going well for me here at home!

(The image above found here: images.nationalgeographic.com)

Pumpkin Bread

27 Sep

Oh, and I forgot to include this- this Betty Crocker Pumpkin Bred recipe is really tasty. I knew I had all the ingredients but the canned pumpkin, and it was incredibly delicious! Here’s the recipe.

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose or whole wheat flour (I just used regular flour here)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins, if desired
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions
1. Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2×4 1/2×2 1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan 9x5x3 inches, with shortening.
2. Stir together pumpkin, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into pans.
3. Bake 8-inch loaves 50 to 60 minutes, 9-inch loaf 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

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Moving home

27 Sep IMG_0190-0.JPG

Although I love living in Boulder, moving home is what I need right now. I’m lonely being away from my parents (and my dog!), and living in Boulder had me worried about things- mostly, finding a job. If I move home, I will save some money and be able to focus on recovery.

I had lunch with my friend Andrew Hyde yesterday, and he asked if I had fallen because my walking was funny. No, I haven’t fallen, and that’s just more proof that I need to go home and focus on the things that make me feel, and look better.

What’s hard for me about living in Boulder is that my good friends lives have moved on- they’re enjoying their jobs, have a boyfriend or are married, and/or expecting a child. While I’m so incredibly happy for them, it just reminds me that I’m not progressing in the working world, I don’t have a boyfriend, and this ski accident has affected most everything with the way I live. I used to find great joy in my job, and since that has been affected (is it “affected” or “effected”? I’m an English major and I don’t even know) by my accident, that’s really tough for me. It is proof that I shouldn’t have had that much joy in my job, but I did, and there’s no way to change that now.

Hopefully moving home will give me the rest I need. Oh, and since I’m renting my apartment out for the month of October, I will make some money- another great step about moving home!

Oh, and I’m covering the “Pretty Faces” premiere at the Boulder Theater on Tuesday for Skiing Magazine. I’m excited because this will be the first all-female ski film our there. It was made by my friend Lynsey Dyer who lives up in Jackson, WY, and asked ski film companies if they had female ski footage that they weren’t going to use in their film, and she incorporated it into her film, without having to go out and film everything. I’m excited to see great female skiers in this film- and only females!!
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It’s chilly here…

27 Aug

…which means fall is coming!! I love fall- I love that it transitions from summer, and you can wear more things- my wardrobe has expanded.

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The reason I’m writing is that I’ve realized that life isn’t the same as it used to be. I absolutely love Boulder, but my parents live in Colorado Springs, so that’s hard. I either need them to move to somewhere up here, or I need to move back to Colorado Springs. Boulder is great because I have so much more independence than in Colorado Springs- since I don’t drive right now, I can ride the bus most everywhere I want to go, and I have a ton more friends in this part of the state. But I’ve kind of realized how important having them nearby is- like today, my mom is skipping her haircut and driving the hour and a half to come get me. Something needs to change here, so I’m not so lonely.

Although my friends should do what they want to, no doubt about that, it was just hard for me when I saw on Facebook them doing something I used to be a part of. It has kind of overwhelmed me lately that my life is in absolutely no way like it used to be, and I haven’t gotten used to that yet. I haven’t gotten used to the fact that there are different, “adaptive” ways that I can do things. I have put my fingers up in an “X” when I hear the word “adaptive.” But maybe that’s a way to keep doing what I love, but in a kind of different way.

I’ve realized that my balance and my coordination gets in the way of things I like doing- like cooking and exercise, for example. I used to be right-handed, and since my accident caused hemiplegia on that side, I’m now left-handed. And my balance gets in the way when I exercise. For instance, I’ve noticed yesterday that when I do spinal balance, I am on my knees, and the opposite leg and arm operate together. That’s fine when I lift the right leg to use with the left hand, but when I switch and use the left leg with the right hand, I notice it’s much more difficult. I never used to consider it, but your balance plays a huge role in the things that you do.

Having a TBI has made things extremely difficult. I can’t do the same things I used to, I’m not the same person that I was, and my dating life is absolutely null. I didn’t think that mattered, but having someone else to talk to when you’re going through a change is extremely important. I’ve relied on my parents, which has been great, but I would like someone my own age to go through this with.

If you have any suggestions on how to deal with these things I’m experiencing, I’m all ears.

 

(Image found here. I love the pattern of many photos, etc. on the wall over the couch.)

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