My Trip to Brazil
Traveling with a Brain Injury and the Miracles of Integrative Approach, LENS and NeuroField…
Well, I was off again traveling, this time to Sao Paolo, Brazil to attend the wedding of my friend and team member (Nutrition Educator), Martha Lindsay’s daughter. .
Traveling for the average person is tiring; a person with a Brain Injury needs to be aware of the extra fatigue factor along with the confusion and chaos at the airport. So, once again I had to make my list and pre-plan a rest day prior to the wedding on April 16th. In addition, I knew I had to prepare for the inability to communicate, as I do not speak any Portuguese. Since I have food allergies, I was prepared with a written document in Portuguese of these allergies.
I left on April 13th, and arrived in Sao Paolo at 7:30 a.m. on April 14th. I was warmly greeted at the airport by the parents of the groom. Martha and her husband, David arrived an hour later. By the time we arrived at the hotel, it was time to eat. Having flown for more than 10 hours along with the time change and the heat (I went from 35 degrees in Boston to 90 degrees with 80% humidity) my exhaustion really hit me.
As mentioned, my trip to Brazil would be exhausting to the average traveler, however with a Brain Injury, the changes in taking off and landing, which I did twice on the trip, really affects the brain and is more fatiguing than for people without a brain injury. Along with this was the daunting task of trying to sleep on the plane.
What I did notice was that as tired as I was, it was less than I had anticipated. In fact, it seemed within the norm for such a trip. I did register this, yet I didn’t make an “ah” moment.
Over the next two days I was kept busy socializing with the family and friends of the family. I must confess that I did NOT stay on my Brain diet, because I truly wanted to experience the life and culture of the people of Brazil. So, except for foods that I’m allergic to, I embraced the total culture. Also, NOT partaking in the foods and customs of the host family would have been insulting , as they had accepted and embraced me as one of the family since I was Martha’s friend.
Why I’ve included all this is because what occurred at the wedding for me, as a person with a Brain Injury, was next to a miracle.
Now my stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury occurred 21 years ago. Ten years prior, I started having symptoms of the cerebral leak, which eventually bled out on March 5, 1990.
One of the significant symptoms was my inability to be in a noisy, chaotic place. For years I’ve had light and sound sensitivity, which is a common symptom of a Brain Injury. Along with this is the symptom of auditory figure ground problems that include the inability to focus on conflicting sounds. I’ve had all of these for the past 31 years, especially after 1990 and then more so with the recent 2 TBI ( 2008 and 2010).
Since 1994, I’ve been using an Integrative approach to my recovery that includes proper nutrition for the brain, ( My Brain Diet), exercise, cognitive training, cranial sacral therapy, massage therapy, psychotherapy and neurofeedback to re-regulate my brain, all of which have been enormously effective. Prior to the use of this integrative approach and neurofeedback, my symptoms were vast and are well documented in my book, Coping with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. The results of my 7 neuropsychological tests showed I was in the 6% in the areas of deficit and in the 99% in all other areas. After 1 year of neurofeedback, I went from the 6% up to the 88% in areas of deficit! Still some symptoms remained, including my sound sensitivity, especially going to parties or big functions with noisy crowds and loud music.
The wedding in Brazil was held at the largest restaurant in all of South America, Sao Judas Tadeu. The hall held 3 weddings downstairs and 3 weddings upstairs, each area with its own band. Each wedding had 200 people, which amounted to about 600 people on EACH floor! You can gather the noise level was very loud with music and 600 people interacting.
Now in February 2010 I attended family functions where I could not even sit in the hall with the live music due to my lasting Brain Injury Symptoms. And the number of people there surely was nowhere near 600 (more like 150 total plus the band). At this particular event I had to eventually be seated outside of the dining area to have dinner. I never was able to dance and enjoy the function.
In July 2010, I was trained in the use of LENS and have used it on my patients and on myself several times. I have seen almost remarkable results with my patients with severe anxiety, depression, PTSD and, of course, Brain Injury.
Then in January of 2011, I got trained in NeuroField, which has been extraordinary for my patients with chronic pain, PTSD, abuse, anxiety, depression, Brain Injury and Locked-In Syndrome.
At a family event in February 2011, I noticed I was able, for the first time in 31 years, to sit at a table in the function hall for a reasonable period of time. However, I still could only tolerate the music for but a brief duration.
On April 16th, with more than 600 people in the hall and a very loud band, I suddenly had my “ah moment”. I became aware that I was not bothered by the sound, commotion or acoustics. This was a Brazilian band playing Samba music and I totally enjoyed dancing all night long. I can’t express the joy and the feeling that I was being reborn. The wedding went from 7p.m. until 2 a.m and I never left the room. I remember at one point that I sat there and I felt I was transported back to some 31 years ago, prior to any injury, where I would go out dancing and enjoying life. All I can say is…..
Thank You…Integrative Approach…. Thank You….Neurofeedback. Thank you Zscores. Thank You LENS…Thank You.. NeuroField. This combination has, after 31 years, given me my life back.
I was a dancing fool….All night long.
I went to sleep at 4 a.m., only to be on an airline at 3 p.m………..
Next episode…Rio….Boston….FT. Walton Beach, FL.
A Very Happy,