I attended the annual Brain Injury Association NYS conference last Thursday and Friday. It always proves to be the highlight of my year, two days with people who 'totally get it' because they have indeed 'been there'; priceless to this survivor! What always impresses me is the human need to meaningfully connect with other people. I guess since my aneurysm/TBI I feel like I lost some of that because relating just seems so much more exhausting than it ever used to! Every year, at this conference, I am reminded that I still long for this connection to people around me. It is almost as if I feel more like my old self around people who only know the new injured me; maybe I just don't have to 'try as hard' when common struggles and experiences are all around me!
Our speaker was Kevin Pearce, the Pro Snowboarder who suffered a TBI after an accident training for the 2010 Olympics. His presentation was short and sweet. It was real and easy to relate to, his fame seemed to melt away and was replaced by the common stories of survival with a sense of humor!!! I even had the opportunity to speak with him the next day as he was waiting outside the hotel. I had already had enough language processing for that morning and took a walk. I couldn't resist thanking him for his transparent honesty and even chatting about our recovery. I have no idea how he is able to travel and talk and sign posters a year out; six years later and I would have a hard time with that! Good job Kevin, keep up the good work!! It doesn't seem to matter how many doctors tell me that the fatigue is "completely normal", I always feel better hearing it from other survivors!!! I am thankful for these unique experiences to connect with other survivors and their families!