Finding My “Why” for Treating My Traumatic Brain Injury
Experiencing a few car accidents throughout her life, Maureen is no stranger to sustaining and then recovering from a multitude of neck and back injuries. However, her accident in 2014 would lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI), with symptoms that couldn’t be healed with her usual treatments.
We sat down with Maureen to understand how and when she found her “why” to start and complete PoNS TreatmentTM and what she would say to other TBI patients who are considering a new form of treatment to address their balance deficits.
Recognize When it’s Time to Try Something New
Immediately after Maureen’s accident, it became apparent things were not normal. Experiencing chronic dizziness, exhaustion and lack of balance, Maureen struggled to walk on her own.
For 15 months, Maureen worked closely with an Occupational Therapist (OT) to improve her balance and vision issues, even taking a trip to the optometrist to look into improving her vision impairments and nausea using glasses. Knowing Maureen’s health history, her optometrist introduced her to Norman Doidge’s The Brain That Changes Itself and the concept of neuroplasticity. From that moment, it became apparent to Maureen it was time to address her chronic TBI symptoms and try something new.
Knowledge is Power
Upon completing Doidge’s The Brain That Changes Itself, Maureen was ready to learn more and understand how neuroplasticity and neuromodulation could improve her TBI symptoms.
She began looking into studies related to neuroplasticity and came across video footage of research participants at the University of Wisconsin going through PoNS TreatmentTM. Watching these individuals with similar symptoms go through this transformation was enough for Maureen to seek participation in the ongoing PoNSTM device research.
After reaching out to the Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic, Maureen became a research participant and started to see improvements in her symptoms. From this point forward, Maureen continued to advocate for herself, beginning PoNS TreatmentTM as soon as it was authorized in Canada.
A Strong Support System is Key
While Maureen was motivated to begin the 14 weeks of PoNS TreatmentTM, she acknowledges that beginning a new treatment was all the easier with support from her friends, family and clinician.
After first learning about PoNS TreatmentTM, Maureen was eager to share research papers, articles and videos on PoNSTM with her clinician, who was equally as excited about this treatment.
Having friends and family in her life acknowledge her improvements was another great motivator for Maureen. Each time someone commented on how far she had progressed with PoNSTM, she knew she was doing the right thing for her wellbeing.
“Other people noticed me improving so quickly. I would get comments from family members or friends I hadn’t seen in a while and that was very motivating!”
Never Settle if You’re Not Happy
After her accident, Maureen recalls many people in her life telling her “this is the new you,” in response to her TBI symptoms.
Unable to reconcile with the idea she may never be able to walk without aid or engage in a host of activities again, Maureen was determined to prove everyone wrong. She knew she had to make a major change to be able to live the life she wanted.
While Maureen acknowledges it can be scary to begin a new form of treatment and get out of your comfort zone, it is worse to be stuck in a state where you are unhappy.
Remember Your Passions
From the very moment Maureen recognized her TBI symptoms would hold her back, she was determined to find a treatment that would allow her to engage in the activities she loves.
As an avid cross-country skier, swimmer and paddleboarder, Maureen utilized these passions to keep her motivated. Watching herself become more balanced and stronger with each session of PoNS TreatmentTM, Maureen knew she would one day return to her favourite activities.
Now that she has completed her 14 weeks and her balance has improved, Maureen is no longer missing out on life and can engage once more with her loved ones and her favourite pastimes. When Maureen was asked what advice she would give to others considering PoNS TreatmentTM for their TBI symptoms, her response was simple, “Bite the bullet and do it.”
Don’t let a TBI stop you from living the life you want. To learn more about available TBI support near you, check out our Community Support Page for TBI. To stay up-to-date with PoNS TreatmentTM, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn or subscribe to our newsletter here.
The device is intended for use as a short term treatment (14 weeks) of chronic balance deficit due to mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury and is to be used in conjunction with physical therapy. Individual patient experiences and results may vary. Contact your physician to determine if PoNS is right for you.