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About the Author

Mark Kerrigan, a head injury survivor, has come almost full-circle since his brain trauma. Since April 1989, he has finished high school, graduated with a 3.3 GPA from Belmont University, and has founded his own business called On the Mark Writing.

Mark has relearned how to walk, talk, hold his head upright, and has learned how precious this life really is. He loves flyfishing and spending time with his wife and son, has a great sense of humor and a firm grasp on the benefits of social networking.

Having lived in Nashville, Tenn. since 1985, he is a self-professed grammarian, which is only fitting since he graduated with a degree in English and Journalism.

Mark spent four weeks–most of April, 1989–in a coma, during which time the doctors didn’t know if he’d ever be able to take care of himself. (At least that’s what they told his parents.) After being comatose for a month, his muscles had begun to atrophy (get smaller from inactivity), and he’d gone from a lean 125 lbs. to an emaciated 80 lbs.

Mark’s closed head injury left him with two epidural hematomas (blood clots) on the left side of his brain. The surgeons removed part of his skull on the left side of his head to relieve the pressure and hopefully prevent any brain damage.

As a result of his motor vehicle crash, Mark lost the ability to walk, talk, swallow, and even to hold his urine. As he emerged from his long “sleep,” he quickly realized he couldn’t do what he had, only weeks earlier, been able to do without even a second thought.

It was the grace of God, the loving support, unwavering patience and the kindness of Mark’s family that brought him through and now allows him to serve as a beacon of hope for others who are in a similar situation or have family members who have suffered some sort of head trauma, either from an accident, multiple concussions, stroke or hypoxia.

What Mark plans to relay to readers in this blog, are stories of pain—some of which still make him wonder, “What the Hell was I thinking?”—and stories of triumph and hope. From years in neuro rehab, he feels that though there isn’t an M.D., a Ph.D., or other letters following his name, he’s an expert about what Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivors commonly experience.

We welcome whatever comments, questions, and personal experiences you’d like to share.

102 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. RAndy May / Sep 6 2009 12:17 pm

    Mark, glad you’ve waded through the shadows and made it out the other side…
    As for me , I hope to get there and say hey!
    Maybe some day…

  2. Raesin Caine / Sep 15 2009 6:12 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Congrats on your accomplishments and this great blog.

    I first found you on Twitter and was wondering if you could send a tweet about my research on handwriting and written expression after brain injury? I’m interested in learning more about people’s post-injury experiences.

    [text deleted]

    My contact info can also be found there if you have any questions or want to get in touch. I apologize for the public post. I was looking for a way to send a private email but was unsuccessful. (Feel free to delete this message from public view.)

    Thanks for your time and consideration.

  3. jim / Sep 24 2009 2:07 am

    Mark,

    Great site. My wife is recover from a brain injury received two years. We can relate to the struggles. Keep up the good work.

    • onthemarkwriting / Sep 24 2009 3:41 pm

      Jim – I’m glad that you can relate to the struggles I experience since my head injury. (Well, I didn’t mean it the way it sounds.) I’m sorry that you and your wife have sustained brain trauma — and that’s exactly what it is — You both are dealing with the injury.

      One reason I started writing this blog was to provide encouragement to other people who, like your wife, have sustained brain injury AND their families.

      I relate the stories, many of which I’m not proud, to let people know that their “survivor” is not the only person in the world who takes inappropriate actions.

      How is your wife doing? Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about her recovery or if you just need someone to talk to.

      Thanks for your comment,

      Mark

      • Kathy Waterfall / Oct 30 2010 1:01 pm

        Mark,
        I sustained a severe TBI 6 years ago. I have four children 18 and under to rear. My family didn’t know if I’d live or die. I’ve written a book FORGOTTEN which covers those terrifying years in fiction form. I believe God spared my life so that I can relate to and be here for all other TBI victims. God bless you for sharing your story with the world. 🙂
        Kathy

      • Terry Conner / Dec 14 2010 9:17 pm

        13 yrs ago I fell 38 ft.,and spent 28 days in a coma. I was at that time married 7months. My wife kept telling me, “we both had experienced this injury”. That was not a good thing to try and get me to understand,less that 2 years post injury.Do you think I should take resposibility for my behavior during those years.I know this sounds like I am crying. I now see this as another one of those troubles that this world hands out to see what kind of metal this brothers made of…

  4. Lon JonLuke / Nov 14 2009 5:56 am

    Greetings. You people seem fresh out of the isolation of disability. It is good to find you now that some glimmer of brain science is starting to show that your brain is not an impossible machine to understand. I have never been much of a reader but I have read a few books on neurology. I started with Eric Kandel’s “In Search Of Memory” which I thought was a the best, most readable brain book around. He gave human feeling to it with his stories of being a Jew in the war but his biggest discovery was that you use proteins to connect neurons that make long term memories. Then I went back to Julian Jaynes’s “The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind” which I tried to read in high school. I know it now as a great romp through ancient history but quite naive and to a large part neurologicly wrong. Then I read Joseph LeDoux’s “Synaptic Self”. Half of his book was a list of what books and research reports he has read. In the end he comes to the blindingly obvious conclusion: your brain is what it is. He left out the chemistry of how it gets there.
    Like I said I don’t read a lot of books. I got a degree in chemical engineering without reading the books – I listened well to the lectures. We are so close to knowing how the whole brain system works. From what I have read it seems obvious that your brain is a coincidence machine. Things have to come together at the same time to have an effect on your brain. But there is all the details. How short a time is the “same time”? How big a thing is a “thing”? And how big is an “effect”? There is an electrical wave that travels across your brain. Does that push a few things coming together to enough to cause a reaction? And how big is the reaction? Big enough to move a muscle (or two) to make you talk or run or blink?
    This is more than I would usually take time to read so I will stop my two-finger typing with the thought of my mugging and the lymphatic system.

  5. Clifford Wedgewood / May 7 2010 3:15 am

    Hi, Do you know if you’re able to break down your RSS feed by post cateegory. I would like to include it to my rss reader but I’m not sure if you have a dedicated rss url to acommplish this or if it’s just a sytanx that can be added in order to make this happen?

    • onthemarkwriting / May 7 2010 10:55 am

      I’m pretty sure I cannot break rss feed down to post categories. I’ll check with a programmer I know and see if I can do it. Thanks.

  6. secondchancetolive / May 21 2010 9:21 pm

    Hi Mark,
    I hope you are doing well and having fun with life. I wanted to let you know that in my most recent article, Traumatic Brain Injury and Creating Community Part 7 I introduced your web site Sir with several other web sites. Keep up the great work Mark. You are helping our brothers and sister who are living with brain injuries to create community. Thank you Mark!

    God bless you as you continue in your work and on your journey. You are doing a marvelous job my friend.

    Craig

    Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
    Second Chance to Live
    http://secondchancetolive.wordpress.com/

    Our circumstances are not meant to keep us down, but they are meant to build us up!

  7. Onida Dorrell / Jun 27 2010 7:38 pm

    Greetings. You people seem fresh out of the isolation of disability. It is good to find you now that some glimmer of brain science is starting to show that your brain is not an impossible machine to understand. I have never been much of a reader but I have read a few books on neurology. I started with Eric Kandel’s “In Search Of Memory” which I thought was a the best, most readable brain book around. He gave human feeling to it with his stories of being a Jew in the war but his biggest discovery was that you use proteins to connect neurons that make long term memories. Then I went back to Julian Jaynes’s “The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind” which I tried to read in high school. I know it now as a great romp through ancient history but quite naive and to a large part neurologicly wrong. Then I read Joseph LeDoux’s “Synaptic Self”. Half of his book was a list of what books and research reports he has read. In the end he comes to the blindingly obvious conclusion: your brain is what it is. He left out the chemistry of how it gets there. Like I said I don’t read a lot of books. I got a degree in chemical engineering without reading the books – I listened well to the lectures. We are so close to knowing how the whole brain system works. From what I have read it seems obvious that your brain is a coincidence machine. Things have to come together at the same time to have an effect on your brain. But there is all the details. How short a time is the “same time”? How big a thing is a “thing”? And how big is an “effect”? There is an electrical wave that travels across your brain. Does that push a few things coming together to enough to cause a reaction? And how big is the reaction? Big enough to move a muscle (or two) to make you talk or run or blink? This is more than I would usually take time to read so I will stop my two-finger typing with the thought of my mugging and the lymphatic system.
    +1

  8. Dorrin Rosenfeld / Jul 8 2010 2:39 am

    Hello Mark,
    It’s nice reading your website. I’m in the process of creating one, as I am a chiropractor who specializes in TBI’s. (I listed my general site, but am in the process of making a specific one for the unique specialty work we do for post head-injuries.) I had one 25 years ago (I was walking in Belize, Central Am. in the Peace Corps) when I was crashed into by a tortilla truck. How many people do you know who can say that? I was in the hospital for nearly 2 years (a head injury facility for long-term “hopeless cases”). I finally wrote to the Pres. of the US (G. Ford) and demanded to be let out of the hosp. to continue with my life. I returned to Belize, and met the one Chiropractor in the country. Right then, I decided to go to Chiro school when I returned to the US. While in post-grad school, I met my husband, who had a TBI about 30 years before. (He has a nice dent in his skull.) We stumbled into some specific upper cervical work which made a night and day difference for us both. My business coach pointed me at your website as we are trying to develop a site to drag head-injuried folks and other disabilities into our office. You know, the people who most need to come here, but don’t realize it. While on the subject, I suggest you look at http://www.upcspine.com . It’s impossible to bash your head and not damage the relationship of the skull & spine. This site is written by a patient and lists all the upper cervical DC’s in the country.

    Anyway, I’d like to talk to you, as we’re doing the same thing on different levels. Please write back. Dorrin Rosenfeld.

    • onthemarkwriting / Jul 8 2010 12:37 pm

      Dorrin–Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, and you are the only person I know who has been hit by a tortilla truck!

      Congratulations on your recovery–that shows you are a fighter who doesn’t give up easily.

      I will send you a direct email a little later today…

      Tight lines,
      Mark

  9. Duncan Edwards / Jul 27 2010 9:31 am

    Hi Mark

    Best wishes on your recovery and I hope you find the use of social media to be really beneficial, it really opens out a world of communication with others.

    My son has dravet syndrome a severe epilepsy which has meant he has global developmental delay. My wife also uses a wheelchair. She has developed a new product that has been very helpful to people with disabilities, it is a new light weight lap tray or wheelchair tray. http://www.trabasack.co.uk

    Best wishes

    Duncan

  10. James Diviney / Jul 29 2010 1:24 am

    Hello, My name is James Diviney and on Jan 1 2009 i Suffered a Traumatic brain injury, I was hit in the head with a crowbar, I also had a blood alcohol of .36. I was in a Coma for 21 days. Woke up laying in the hospital with a head full of staples. I had to learn how to walk talk and eat all over again. I guess i just learned how to adapt I finally came to terms with the fact that I also have a traumatic brain Injury. I can’t smell, and I have limited hearing in my right ear. And of course i have cognitive issues, But I would like to know how I can help others. If you have any suggestions just let me know!!!!

    • onthemarkwriting / Jul 29 2010 1:33 pm

      James – I’m so sorry to hear about your unfortunate accident, but it’s good to see that you have relearned how to walk and eat again. Could you maybe go speak to a high school about the dangers of alcohol? Maybe a group of other TBI survivors?

      Personally, I’m trying to help as many people who have acquired, personally or someone in their family has, a traumatic brain injury. I want to show them that they are not alone, and although they feel like this is the end of their lives, it’s not. And “This too shall pass.”

      I applaud you for your decision to help others! It took me nearly 20 years before I got to that point.

      Good luck, and may God bless you and your endeavors.

      Mark

  11. Kathy / Sep 21 2010 4:45 am

    Sometimes we feel as parents of a brain-damaged teen, that we’re at the end of our rope. This helped. Thanks.

  12. pamela / Sep 30 2010 4:50 pm

    Its been 30 yrs since my TBI and I’m still finding out things I can’t do- so frustrating!

  13. Anthony Aquan-Assee / Jan 21 2011 9:23 pm

    Congratulations Mark – Namaste – the spirit in me honours and recognizes the spirit in you.
    I, too, sustained a traumatic brain injury and have written about my experiences in the 3 books I have published. Check them out on my website:
    http://www.anthonyaquan-assee.com
    You and I may not have an academic Ph.D. but we have the other kind of Ph.D. – Personal Health Diploma 🙂
    All the best.
    Anthony Aquan-Assee

  14. Mary Knutson / Feb 25 2011 8:02 am

    Dear Mark,
    I would really like to be able to use some of your website’s information and pictures as I make some workbooks and presentations for teens and adults in the inpatient psychiatric unit I work in. The pictures I like are at https://lifewithheadinjury.wordpress.com/.
    Please let me know if they are copyrighted to you and whether or not I have permission to use them. The recovery education materials I am developing may be published someday online or in print. Thanks for considering this.
    Mary Knutson, RN

  15. reema / Apr 11 2011 2:18 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Congrats! you are doing what so many people could not achieve spreading the word around. You are living my dream. I sustained TBI two ago in MVA and it wad devastating I live in canada and very little knowledge and awareness is spread is here regarding brain injury it has been a struggle and I know how other TBI patients feel. Keep up the good work.

    Reema

    • margaret green / Aug 18 2014 4:46 pm

      Dear

      • margaret green / Aug 18 2014 4:47 pm

        Dear

  16. Katherine / Jul 20 2011 8:19 pm

    Hi, Mark,

    I am contacting you from the Brainline.org team. I am interested in interviewing you about your blog for an article for our website. Please contact me via e-mail and I will send you the details.

    Best,

    Katherine

    • onthemarkwriting / Jul 21 2011 1:30 pm

      Katherine, thanks for connecting with me about my blog. I’d love to be featured on Brainline.org. Feel free to contact me via email, but I’m out of pocket the rest of this week.

      Thanks, Mark

      • Katherine / Jul 22 2011 5:00 pm

        Thank you, Mark for your interest. If you could pass along your contact information (your e-mail address) I will get in touch with you today. I have listed my e-mail address within the comment.

        Best,

        Katherine

  17. Kristin Cresswell / Jul 26 2011 8:51 pm

    Dear Mark,

    I, too, am a traumatic brain injury survivor. I was in a severe car-accident just before I was about to be a freshman in high school. Also, I was supposed to play varsity soccer there. But the accident changed my life forever. I was in a coma for two-weeks, which I don’t remember. And I had to relearn how to talk, read, and write again. I had intense therapy for about a year, but I recovered quickly. I still graduated from high school a year later, then went to college. I have two college degrees: an Associate’s degree and a Bachelor of Science degree. But I will never be that same person before that accident. It is still difficult for me to bare. I have written a book about my life and experiences before and after the accident. Maybe a publisher will be interested to publish it? I wish you well Mark. Thank you for sharing your life. Kristin

  18. Stephanie / Oct 4 2011 9:39 pm

    Hi Mark, Hope you’re doing well! I’d like to ask you a few questions about TBI. Would you please email me at sladue@rlapr.com? Thanks,
    Stephanie

    • Imgur.com / Oct 4 2014 10:44 am

      I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all
      is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a
      blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not
      very internet savvy so I’m not 100% certain. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.
      Appreciate it

  19. Everyday Psychology / Nov 16 2011 1:27 pm

    Awsome blog! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am bookmarking your feeds also

  20. Michele Rausch / Feb 23 2012 6:43 pm

    Hello Mark! I am working on a project for Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness month in March and we are asking people to share their stories in video form for our YouTube Channel as well as join us on Facebook for discussion. Would this be something you are willing to do? If so, please email me!

    Thank you,

    Michele

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    I agree completely with what you said. Excellent Stuff. Keep it going..

  23. laurance b. / Apr 20 2012 6:36 pm

    Hi. I had a severe traumatic brain injury 20 years ago. People would say I am “normal” but are unaware of the difficulties I live with. i live in nashville, too, and wondered if you know of any support (group?) In nashville for people like me. Thanks.

  24. onthemarkwriting / Apr 21 2012 6:08 pm

    Laurance B. — Congratulations on your recovery. I know what you mean about being considered “normal” but feeling that there is something drastically wrong. There are some support groups for survivors of brain injury in Nashville.

    Contact: Lisa Howser Phone: (615) 248-2541 E-mail: Coordinator@BrainInjuryTN.org

    Nashville
    Vanderbilt Stallwork Rehalilitaion Hospital 1st Tuesday of the month from 6-7:30 pm.

    Madison
    Skyline Madison Campus 3rd Monday of the month from 6-7:30.

    Hope this helps, and I hope to see you there!

    Mark

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  25. Ash Jackson / Jun 18 2012 10:57 pm

    Hi Mark. Great site!

    I am a fellow Tennessean living with TBIs. In a sense you were lucky. The trauma team and doctors recognized your situation. My forehead hit a hard steering wheel on a Saturday afternoon in early May 1986, They gave me nearly 100 stitches leaving three prominent scars across my brow and forehead. I was in such shock they didn’t even use anesthesia when stitching me. And they just let me walk out. I was 17 and my parents just picked me up and took me home and expected me to go back to school the following Monday, never mind the fact that I was slurring my speech, could not walk straight, and could not find words for common objects like “door” or “cat” or “school.”

    The ironic part is that my mother was a psychiatric nurse at the regional mental hospital (LMHI). I would often go there to see her and drop lunch off for her and the doctors would tease me and call me “punch drunk” – regardless of the fact that I was behaving in such an awkward way three years after the injury, and had become wildly emotionally and behaviorally unstable during that time. I wish that just one of the doctors, or my mother, or ER staff at the hospital would have had even the slightest clue of what a TBI was and had been able to recognize it. Big scars and strange irrational behavior just weren’t on their radar screen. East Tennessee had not discovered the brain at that time.

    Knowing the myriad effects of TBI I am sure you can connect with me when I say that having an unrecognized TBI has long since wrecked my life. Employment is hard to hold when one is prone to behave like a madman just out of the blue. I had scholarships when i graduated, but I also had a newly acquired TBI. Thus college didn’t work out very well either. Professors don’t like to be told off in front of their class, my impaired memory issues wrought havoc on my tests and assignments, I would forget to go to class or get lost on my way to UT, et cetera et cetera. And nobody noticed or put two and two together.

    Fortunately for me I like to read, and I enjoy exploring a diversity of topics. December 2010 I had picked up a few books on the interrelationship between consciousness and the brain. One of the books described a young woman who received a TBI from her head impacting the steering wheel of virtually the same car I had my accident in. It marked the first time I had ever heard of the term Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I immediately recognized the symptoms and the similarities between the young woman and myself. I then began searching the Internet and a picture began to take shape. My erratic behavioral issues and emotional problems and social dysfunctionality now had a Name: TBI.

    It was not until late 2011 that my primary TBI was finally recognized and diagnosed.(I actually have a collection of 14 TBIs that I have had happen to me). 26 years without any recognition, nor treatment, nor therapy; and most of that time without stable employment, without being able to keep friends, and with a family that has long since written me off as the local village idiot. Thankfully I have a marvel of a woman for my wife and she has saw fit to educate herself and become my very outspoken advocate. We are now in the second stage of endeavoring to receive Social Security benefits for my TBIs. Wish me luck.

    Anyway, this all only represents the smallest tip of the iceberg of my ongoing TBI story. I am glad that it is at least now recognized by my primary care physician (of whom had never even heard of TBIs until I alerted him to it in 2011. As I said before, East Tennessee has only very recently discovered the human brain and is still very confused regarding what it is and what purpose it may serve. Many physicians still do not believe the brain is of any particular importance. No joke. I went to a neurologist (Dr. Darrell Thomas) just last week and he told me, categorically, that he considers that the brain has nothing to do with diabetes, and that in his opinion TBIs are little more than an insurance scam.

    Is it any wonder that my primary TBI – three big scars across my brow and forehead – took 26 years to be recognized and diagnosed? As I said, please wish me luck with getting help from the Social Security Administration.

    I will stop being a blatherskate now.

    All the best to you.

    -Ash

    • onthemarkwriting / Jul 22 2012 1:22 am

      Ash — Thank you so much for sharing your story. Being from Tennessee, I can say that it’s not just EAST TN which has only recently discovered the brain! I don’t have horror stories I can relate to you, but the brain is an incredibly complex organ and many doctors think that if they don’t know it all, it’s not significant.

      Keep going with you SSDI/SSI. Sometimes it takes up to three years before you get approved, and they always deny benefits to first-timers.

      Anyway, I look forward to writing you more in-depth, but as of right now, I am having difficulty in constructing sentences. This is my first day off in a month–seriously.

      Will talk to you later…
      Mark

  26. Dorrin Rosenfeld / Jun 19 2012 4:14 am

    Ash,
    If you’re interested in taking the next step for you brain, please contact me – Dorrin Rosenfeld -drdim@comcast.net . I have had 2 TBI’s. (Nothing like your 14, but I was in a hospital for 2 years after the 1st one when I was 21). I have since gone to Chiropractic School and specialize in Upper Cervical Chiropractic. I’d like you to look at my website: http://www.miraclechiro.com . It’s set up for people in your circumstances!

    I am an upper cervical Chiropractor because that allowed me to eliminate my “punch-drunkenness” as you say, or as I say, “Post-concussive fog.” I am aware of a few doctors who do similar work (to what I do in your area), so please contact me.

    -Dorrin Rosenfeld, DC

  27. Trina Chambers-Bradlee / Feb 20 2013 3:18 pm

    Mark, Thanks for your blog and your inspiration…I have a small support group through Facebook, and I have shared your blog with my group. All Best and God Bless-Trina Chambers-Bradlee

  28. BI Awareness / Mar 7 2013 8:42 pm

    Mark,

    Great blog; thank you for sharing your story and creating such a valuable resource. Please check out the campaign for TBI Awareness we are running and feel free to share any information you find!

  29. Sarah / Mar 28 2013 3:53 am

    Mark,

    Thank you for providing such an enlightening and valuable source of information for people living with TBI! Your post, “Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors and Keys to Success” gives a useful overview of how survivors and their families can move forward after injury and improve daily life. I thought you might be interested in BrainLine, a site dedicated to increasing TBI knowledge and awareness: http://www.brainline.org/ Please let me know what you think, and keep up the great work!

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  30. Ram Meyyappan / Apr 23 2013 3:43 pm

    Hello Mark,

    I came across your site doing a google search and it seems to be a useful resource for those with Traumatic Brain Injury. I was wondering if I could potentially contribute by writing a guest post for your site’s blog on the process of applying for Social Security Disability with TBI?

    I manage a site called Social Security Disability Help (www.disability-benefits-help.org), which contains information on how to apply for disability with over 300 conditions.

    Please send me an email to ram@ssd-help.org if you would like a guest post.

    Thank you for your time and consideration,

    Ram Meyyappan
    Social Security Disability Help

  31. Dana / Apr 24 2013 2:40 am

    Mark – this is your cousin, Dana. I didn’t know you had a blog and stumbled across this almost by accident. What a good surprise for me. I remember seeing you in the hospital when you were in the coma and how shocking that was for me since we are almost the same age and we were so young. I wish I had understood more about TBI then, not that I know much about it even now. I have always known how remarkable your achievements are and how proud the extended family is of you. Reading your blog has really given me insight into the specific difficulties people with TBI have. Thank you for enlarging my world a little bit. From reading some of the other comments, it seems that you are a very valuable resource for others with TBI and even other healthcare workers and family supporters. There is nothing better than feeling needed and able to help so I hope you are feeling good about that. Congrats.

  32. craiglock / May 22 2013 7:29 pm

    Hi

    Mark
    Came across your blog in my research for a new book. A great resource which I linked to on my head injury blog (I too was in a coma for a month (or so) many years ago)
    All the best

    craig
    Don’t worry about the world ending today…

    it’s already tomorrow in “the little scenic and tranquil haven” that is New Zealand (or “Godzone” as it is sometimes affectionately known)

    “Everyone has some talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads.”
    ― Erica Jong , author of Fear of Flying

    • onthemarkwriting / May 22 2013 10:30 pm

      Thanks, Craig, for your comment and your kind words. I really appreciate you linking to my blog, and if you give me your address, I’ll be glad to link to yours also!

      • craiglock / May 23 2013 8:04 pm

        Hi Mark
        The blog is headbraininjury.wordpress.com

        All the best
        craig

        “Just because a brain has been damaged, does NOT necessarily have to affect the human mind…and so the quality and height of our thoughts!”
        – craig

        “Do not let what we can’t do so well, limit us from doing what we CAN do best.”

  33. Kathy Waterfall / May 22 2013 9:25 pm

    Mark,
    Thank you for your insights into TBI’s. I commend you for your positive outlook on life. I was in a car accident 9 years ago which left me with diffuse axonial injury. I am among a very small group who emerge from their coma’s and recover enough to be released from hospitals and rehab centers. I am the mother of 4 children and the wife of an incredible husband who has been beside me from the beginning I praise God for keeping me alive through this ordeal. I read on your website that you learned to walk again among other accomplishments. May I be so bold as to ask how you accomplished that? I can walk with a walker but can’t seem to move my feet if not holding on to something. The doctors can’t give me a reason why i’m unable to walk independently. My highest goal is to walk again independently so I can take my children to the park, to the beach, to amusement parks. I want to take my dog for a walk, hold my husband’s hand while we stroll along, simply be able to walk anywhere without assistance. Will you please tell me what you did to regain your ability? Thank you and God bless you and your family.
    Kathy

    • onthemarkwriting / May 23 2013 2:38 am

      Thank you for you comment and kind words Kathy. Honestly I can’t remember what it was like bit being able to walk, it all seems very foggy now. I do remember that maintaining my balance was the hardest part for me, and even now 24 yrs later can be tough. I walked a lot with a gait belt and a therapist or family member there in case I tipped one way or another. Dr. Dimmie, who recommended the chiro, is very on point. I’ve known her for several yrs and have written press releases for her. She knows her stuff. Good luck, and NEVER GIVE UP TRYING!

      • Kathy Waterfall / Jun 3 2013 6:54 pm

        Marc, Dr Dimmie,
        I went to meet Dr Andy Gibons this morning. He was extremely nice, very knowledgeable and will try to help me which I greatly appreciate. Thank you both for listening and steering me in the right direction! Have a wonderful day! 🙂
        Kathy

      • onthemarkwriting / Jun 3 2013 11:31 pm

        Kathy–it makes me smile to hear you say that! Phenomenal! Glad we could help!

  34. Dorrin B. Rosenfeld / May 23 2013 1:04 am

    Kathy,
    I read your post. I’d like to offer a suggestion – go see an Upper Cervical Chiropractor. They are not the same as general Chiropractors. They specialize in traumatic brain (and other) injuries which affect the balance apparatus of the brain and the more primitive functions of our bodies. I changed my plans and went to Chiropractic School to discover more about this after my injury in 1985 which left me unable to walk for nearly a year. I was helped tremendously and this care is underutilized and unappreciated. Please look at this website: www://upcspine.com/links1.htm.
    Dorrin B. Rosenfeld, DC

  35. Kathy Waterfall / May 23 2013 10:32 pm

    thank you for the information! i know my balance is horrible but I always thought it was something I’d have to live with. i found an upper cervical chiropractor about a half hour away from where i live. i’m so excited to go meet him and see if I can learn to walk again. As soon as I can save up the money i’ll be calling for an appointment! i’m so happy and have lived with this condition for almost 10 years so having to wait a few more months to find the possible answer to my mobility problem is entirely feasible. Thanks again!! Have a wonderful nght.
    Kathy

  36. Dorrin B. Rosenfeld / May 24 2013 3:48 am

    Good luck!!!! I still struggle with balance issues, but they are relatively minor. I’m not trying to be an acrobat, but at least I can walk or run in a relatively straight line now…
    DrD

  37. Dorrin B. Rosenfeld / Jun 4 2013 5:25 am

    That’s great that you went. I don’t personally know Dr. Gibbons, but I hope he has the key to help unlock your balance. GOOD LUCK!! Keep us informed!

  38. Ron Jordan / Jun 28 2013 8:20 pm

    Mark, I found your site by accident,as I was doing a websearch f/something else,(which has happened SO MANY OTHER TIMES,since I was hurt @ work,in Aug 2000,I truthfully believe that there’s an “intervention” going on! More on this later…),and right away,I knew I had to get connected w/you,this site,& all the others who’ve come here! I think my experience,w/not only getting hurt,but the legal issues,the medical issues,California State Law,family & friends,on & on… may help SOMEONE,just as reading some of the other people’s stories here,has already helped me!
    Forgive me f/not remembering names- I can’t remember sh*t now,especially names… but I got a gigantic sense of relief,reading other’s stories,some w/1 problem that was like I have,some w/more than 1 problem,maybe 2 or more- but,suddenly I didn’t feel SO ALONE! I have a boatload of abilities that went away,over a period of the 1st couple years,BUT- I GOT TO LEARN ABOUT EACH LOST OR CHANGED ABILITY ON MY OWN! WHY? As it turned out,my employer’s Work Comp insurance co.,Superior Nat’l,one of California’s largest,if not THE largest work comp insurer’s,had gone bankrupt,the state tried “rehabilitating” the insurer,it didn’t fly,so,the state seized SupNat’l,along with every they owned,in order to pay all existing claims! The state’s Insurance Guarantee Assoc’n was the agency that basically “runs the bankrupt insurer’s business”,with all money coming from assessments added to each employer’s premium they pay,just for the purpose of paying an injured worker’s medical bills,and/or lost wages,if unable to work. This is where my nightmare began… I DIDN’T KNOW ANY OF THIS,BUT THE EMPLOYER DID! NOT ONLY BECAUSE HIS WORK COMP INSURER WENT AWAY,BUT THE STATE REQUIRES ALL EMPLOYERS TO HAVE W/C COVERAGE,BY LAW. EXCEPT,MY EMPLOYER THOUGHT HE’D SAVE SOME CASH,& NEVER RE-UPPED WITH ANOTHER INSURER! PLUS,THE STATE DIDN’T POLICE IT’S OWN LAW,SO EMPLOYER HAD GOTTEN AWAY W/THIS FOR OVER 6,7 MONTHS!
    I was hurt in an upstairs mezzanine,while looking f/ a part,(this was an industrial truck/forklift co.),hadn’t been up there more than 2-3 times prior,we were shorthanded that day,phones ringing,& the parts mgr,younger than I was @ the time- 45yrs old,had a thing about yelling @ everyone. He decided I was taking too long,yelling starts,I asked him to help,so don’t have to look later. Nope! So,I said some choice words to myself,spun & went towards the stairs- but i’d lost track of where I was,& never saw the steel I-beam f/the roof of the building,& hit the bottom edge of this beam,just above my right eyebrow! I was almost running when I hit it! Next thing I knew,3 or 4 guys f/shop,are carrying me downstairs! I’d been “out” maybe 2-3 minutes… @ emergency,was checked out,basic stuff,told I had concussion,to go home,but no work restrictions,only “if you can do your work,fine. If not,go see your regular doctor”,so following day,I returned to work,heck- i’d had concussions before,2 minor car accidents,& a bunch from playing sports all my life- maybe additional 5 or 6. So,worked for next week. BTW,my injury date- was on my birthday! Aug. 2nd!
    On the 9th,I’m told to do shipping,w/the regular guy,ok- I do this. Within 5 minutes,after I grabbed 5 or 6 orders to pull parts for,this guy starts screaming @ me,name calling,you name it! He grabs me by shirt,& is poking me…!!?? And no one comes to see what’s going on! The owner’s office was ? 15-20 ft away! Yet no one! I got lose,& thought,”screw this!”,& went back to my area @ parts counter. No one there either! I’d sat down,& “felt” someone there- look up,it’s shipping guy! Next thing I knew,WHAM! HE PUNCHES ME! Right on the button- left jaw! Then,he walks off! And,parts mgr,owner,etc.,all come strolling back,without a word! I KNEW SOMETHING WAS WRONG,BUT ?? I went home,wondering.
    I got up,w/alarm “next morning”,w/worst headache of my life! Threw up in shower twice,another time on way to work. Only reason I went,was due to what went on- “they’re looking f/reason to fire me! Get there,punch in @ timeclock,look @ card,& learn right then- it wasn’t “next day”,IT WAS 3 DAYS LATER! I immediately went into shock! The owner comes up,FIRES ME,& escorts me off the property! Went straight to emergency,where I learned I’d been in a coma those 3 days,I could’ve died,just go home,come back in a week! From then,Aug. 9,2000- to now, (6/28/2013),I’m still fighting Worker’s Comp,or I should say the state Insurance Guar.Assoc,their 3rd party administrator,(another insurance co,Broadspire Svcs),my case actually settled in Oct.2007,with 100% Permanent Totally Disabled,I’m paid 2/3 of weekly wage f/rest of my life,plus SUPPOSED to get medical care,FOR THE TBI & ALL RELATED ISSUES! I have NOT seen a Work Comp Doctor,since mid-2008! I also receive SSDI,which is reduced down,since law allows me to only receive 80% of my working wage as of 8/2/2000! Medicare WILL NOT cover any TBI medical issues. My settlement says I have TBI,Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,vertebrae damage in upper neck,severe Tinnitus in both ears,balance/equillibreum disorders,cognitive disorders,and for past 2yrs,I’m now losing the ability to walk,I can’t do stairs,have trouble sitting down,(I kinda fall down into chairs,etc.,then can’t stand back up! Sleep 2-3 hrs a night- maybe,my vision is lousy,especially @ night, I could go on,but… I’m gonna find out in next few weeks if I have Rheumatoid Arthritis,already told I probably have Psoriatic Arthritis,I have a serious vascular problem w/lower legs,which I go next week f/a ful blown ultrasound evaluation f/hips down,in Feb. & March this year,(2013),was in hospital f/the ugliest ulcers on both feet you’ve ever seen,now I can’t stand more than 10mins,w/o feet & lower legs swelling to twice their normal size!
    What’s happened to me,& which I wouldn’t wish on anyone,(and,this STILL isn’t everything,fighting the state,guarantee assoc,their doctors- it would take me another hour to MAYBE tell about THAT!),HAS CAUSED MY FRIENDS,FAMILY,EVERYONE,TO ABANDON ME! Ican’t qualify f/low income services,I make too much f/my work comp cash benefits & SSDI benefit,but I can’t afford to pay for home care svcs.,trnsportation svc,& anything else that becomes necessary! Can’t walk w/o using a 4 wheel rollator(walker). But,I don’t have a choice- I HAVE to fight in order to receive the benefits I’m due,I’m determined to go back & play golf again!
    Thanks f/a website,”PLACE” to “go to”,somewhere that I don’t feel so alone at! Bless all of you! Ron

  39. Christy / Jul 8 2013 10:03 pm

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back
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    • onthemarkwriting / Jul 9 2013 1:49 am

      I would be honored! Let me know what you site is and I’ll get a crosslink thing going.

  40. Jean / Oct 19 2013 2:51 pm

    Mark, just found your blog. I believe this is going to change my life. Please comment on why the psychological manifestations of a TBI often come later, or down the road. I have found this to be true with several TBI people I know including someone very close to me.

    • dorrin rosenfeld / Oct 21 2013 2:16 am

      Hello, this comment is from Dorrin Rosenfeld, DC – head injury victim from 1985. The psychological manifestations of a head injury often show up later for a couple of different reasons: 1) the physical damage often doesn’t manifest itself for years, and 2) the effects come as the body and mind adapt themselves to the changed person. To explain more fully 1), I developed gran mal epileptic seizures 5 years after my accident occurred. This was due to scarring and shrinkage of the brain which developed long after the actual injury occurred. There is no way one can psychologically adapt to something which hasn’t happened yet. And 2), as I lived with my unpredictable (approx. bi-weekly ) seizures, I was forced to go through the normal stages of grief and loss that accompany such a trauma (I was in a coma for 3 weeks and hospitalized for 1 & 1/2 yrs.). The full magnitude of my injury only became apparent to me gradually – a protective mechanism surely… This became apparent to me only after my body went through the physical healing; then I became ready to take-on the subsequent challenges.

      This mechanism is going on in everyone, but in different forms. That is why we often react psychologically in stages to our injuries.

  41. Jean / Oct 21 2013 12:48 pm

    A friend of mine did not start the mood swings, anger, etc for about a year and a half even though the physical symptoms were immediate. Please explain this further.

    • dorrin rosenfeld / Oct 21 2013 2:43 pm

      Some physical symptoms may be apparent right away, but as scar tissue forms, and the body gets used to the new state, the symptoms change form and degree.

      Also, there are complicating factors such as medication. Anger symptoms are often very interrelated to the B vitamins (a fact of life with various seizure medications). Take a multi-vitamin daily and see if that helps.

  42. Kathy / Nov 30 2013 10:51 pm

    I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for telling me about upper cervical care!! I did a little research and found Dr. Andy Gibson about 30 minutes from my house. I had my first visit back in October, he adjusted my first, second and third vertebrae and my pelvis. I’m all straightened out and can walk completely lifting my left foot which i haven’t been able to do in 10 years! (since a severe TBI from a car accident) I’m regaining my balance and am able to relearn how to walk. I have no doubt in my mind now that with enough determination, hard work and time that I’ll be walking on my own again!! Have a blessed holiday season! 🙂
    Kathty

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      Thank you,John, for the compliments. Its been a long and crooked road to where I am now. I have never tried, or heard of, brain optimization, but I would love to learn more about it. Let me know what I can do to help you.

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  68. Lupe / Mar 22 2016 4:02 am

    I’m 43..I had a TBI sometime before I was 9yrs don’t remember i was in a coma for 2wks..my mom died when I was 9, I don’t remember her…I was ok most of my life…in a bad abusive relationship in my 20’s..best part of my life 30-40’s..found god,life was great…now,depression,always had weak lymp arms,often confused,and major weakness or fatigue.. I need to know if this can be from that

    • Mark Kerrigan / Mar 22 2016 1:24 pm

      Lupe, I’m sorry to hear that you sustained a TBI 9 yrs ago.I wouldn’t wish one on anyone. Sounds like you’ve gone through a lot in the past 20 years. I think the symptoms you describe sound exactly like they are from the TBI. I, too, deal with depression. I recommend you find a qualified psychiatrist to help you deal awith depression and/or a psychologist for someone to talk to who can offer suggestions to help with your other issues.

      Although it’s counter-intuitive, if you get some exercise, even walking to the store or a coffee shop, that may help both with your fatigue and your depression. I have heard that a lightbox can help with depression, which, I suspect, will help with your fatigue. Good luck. Let me know if any of my suggestions help.

      Mark

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