Rubber bands

I am so excited that I can still function well cognitively after a brain injury.  I can function so well that I can dissect the Bschelorette and I can go to the library with booksthe young boys across the street the same day.  Then take my dog Chazz out on a long walk and appreciate nature.

I watch the Bachelorette, and analyze it all week; Or it seems like I find an excuse to re watch it again almost each night on my DVR.  This season of the Bachelorette is turning out to be the best:

bachelorette

  1.  it is a historic turning point in the bachelor franchise: the one whom everyone’s heart is set after is BLACK.  [The bachelor and bachelorette has always had the main star to be the same type of stereotypical Caucasian person.

  2. 31 YEARS OLD (more appropriate age to get married)

  3. a LAWYER [more of a stable occupation]

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I am thankful for even after my traumatic brain injury I am able to appreciate different things in life.  My mind is flexible like a rubber band; able to appreciate all thingIMG_20170601_123902560-1s in life and not take for granted even the small things that most people would.  

Something as simple as birds singing a song, freshly cut grass, or the flowers in my own neighborhood.

 

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Up in the air

Coming off a dream trip in Florida, with my husband in my family’s cute vacation home, the day we returned turned into a nightmare.

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Starting out super great, we found a little restaurant in a beautiful area that we haven’t been before with a great view.  

The next day was MY BIRTHDAY! (May 18) 36- the best year so far! IMG_20170518_101856579

celebrated with my gift of a FREE starbucks drink- and the hubby got me a new cup!!

My husband and I went down to Lido Beach in Sarasota Florida and took the day to rIMG_20170518_122520222elax.

Beautiful sky and beautiful weather.

We went to my favorite restaurant by Lido beach in St. Armands Circle, Cha cha coconutswp-1464892184360.jpg, a very tropical restaurant serving up food with a “Floribbean” flare.  

We indulged in Conch fritters, with a cute little drink Limin’ da coconut in a monkey head shaped coconut that also doubles as a coin bank.

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There was so much great seafood that we had to indulge in, and we were so in the mood for seafood, being at the beach.  We got some oysters at the Siesta KeysIMG_20170523_133317319_HDR Oyster Bar that were done perfectly, the Oysters Rockefeller.  Never giving oysters a real chance, I went into the experience with an open mind, and they actually taste pretty good.

All was great and gorgeous down there, until the last day when storm clouds rolled in.  The beach wasn’t such a welcoming spot with red “DANGER” flags warning all inexperienced swimmers away from the water.  

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 And that was only the first foreshadowing event before the return flight.

That afternoon, and the next morning were bright and sunny.  “Turn back,” I told him, “let’s go back to the beach…”  but we were already over the Siesta bridge and close to our temporary ‘home’.  Everything was bright and sunny, until after we arrived at the airport.

The heavens opened up.  At the Sarasota airport, it was just rain; heavy rain.  That delayed us; we didn’t leave Sarasota to get to a big Atlanta airport for 6 1/2 hours after we were initially supposed to leave.  On the first airplane I felt we were hijacking onto, we got put on the standby list, after calling us up to see if they had enough room for us they then assigned our seats.  It made me feel incredibly uncomfortable to “squeeze us on the flight”; we literally got the last row in the back of the plane, with no windows so my sense of claustrophobia took control.  I was so dehydrated, I drank 2 separate liter bottles of water waterand a half before being ushered onto our connecting flight from Atlanta getting us back to DC.  Without time to run to the restroom-like I could go anyway- (sarcasm) we had no time even if I did have to go!  I held it until our 11/2 hr flight was over- but by  then I was pretty positive I would toss my cookies anyway from all the turbulence.

LOST 

Matt said it, and he put into words exactly what I’ve been feeling, he said ‘It only took me a week away to remember how much I appreciate our home’.  That is SO what you have to do all the time though (or should do, anyway)- you need to think about what you have, and appreciate it.  Sure, you can go off to sunny Florida or another different place for a week, but then you come back and return to what is your “normal”.  Burke, Virginia is much more my style than the tropical summer all the time Florida; I am so thankful for my NORMAL.  

 Plus, if you think there are some crazy drivers in N. VA- you need to check out all the drivers in Florida.  Much crazier.

 

On the bright side, it was VERY  nice to see the tropical side and get the mood for summer

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heros

hero

 

Do you know of any heros?  Please comment on the heros that have touched your life…

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#UNSTICKYOURSTUCK

WHY MELISSA IS MY HERO

She actually did it!  She actually wrote a book- she didn’t just talk about it!  Accomplishing her dreams…setting plausible goals…and deadlines…THAT IS WHAT I HAVE STARTED DOING- my new goal for the end of May is to have the rest of ‘my’ account completed.

UNSTICK

…And now I better get to finish reading it!  It’s a great book, especially for me, who is a little without direction…

But at least I know what to do, after I finish writing/ babysitting/ caregiving- I am a great caregiver and I plan to return to that once I am done with my other responsibilities.  Although as my friend reminds me, I do have many other responsibilities other than working in a traditional day to day job (which is extremely stressful).  I am very active at my church,

I am a writer, I am a TBI advocate, I am a wife, I am a babysitter and caregiver, a mother to a precious fur baby, CHAZZ!

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One heck of a hot day

As taken from the Longwood University Alumni & Friends website:

 

“Oh my god, Oh my god, oh my god,” were the only words that were coming out of my mouth. As soon as I came out of the doors, my hand flew up to my face in disbelief, dropping my cane and sinking to the floor. This is not something that happens in real life, they must be shooting a movie.

Like a surreal bad dream, I couldn’t move, even if I tried I’d be too unsteady to even walk without the use of my cane. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and wait for this to pass over. We should have known something was up when out the window we kept hearing the wailing of fire engines and the racing lights, but actually seeing the buildings up in flames in combination with all the other stimulation would be enough to make anyone’s head spin. And it was my dorm, my part of the campus.

 

The day began like any other regular Tuesday in the middle of the ‘crunch’ week at Longwood College, the week before review week for final exams.

Content 1April 24th, 2001, when all the assigned papers and projects are due for the classes. I was so behind in studying, and writing papers; I had hit a writing block, so I decided to go to Lancer gym, to work out the frustrations. Upon walking across campus back ‘home’ (to my dorm room in South Ruffner) I was a big sweaty mess, having just worked out on top of the 3 week long heat spell that had been going on in Farmville, VA. It had been so dry, not raining in many weeks and was hot, even in the evenings.
Friends were going to a bible study, in Frazer Hall, and saw me approaching. Even though I had many assignments due, and gave excuses, (“I need a shower”, “no Bible with me”) they relented until I consented. You only go to college once, right? It was our last Bible study session until school let out, and all of the girls in the small group had become really close.
The Bible study session was pretty much a reflective session on the year, where we all shared important scriptures that stood out to us. We took an extremely long time praying, and kept on hearing the sirens of firetrucks passing by Frazer, not even thinking to look what was happening outside, but just continuing to praying about the firetrucks and who they were helping.

Finally exiting Frazer, ten minutes later, we saw my dorm building, South Ruffner, and the three neighboring buildings on FIRE! I don’t mean just a little fire, literally everything was up in flames. The fire had spread incredibly quickly and it was so hot outside that everything seemed to be ablaze.
Looking like a scene in a Terminator movie, it was incredible to see; I couldn’t believe this was the building where I live – my things were inside! As soon as we exited Frazer, out of the sliding glass doors, we saw everyone. All of the people standing on the steps, just watching the oldest buildings on campus as they were burning.

The over 150 year old ‘heart’ of our school was up in flames.

Danielle Karst ’05

Content 2I know it’s selfish, but the part that was the worst for me was that it was MY part of the school, my home, where I lived for so many months. The part of campus with which I was so familiar, I lived in South Ruffner, the freshmen female dorm building. The Great Fire destroyed West and Main Ruffner, as well as Grainger Hall, plus the fire on the top floor of South Ruffner, the dorm where I resided. However, the students living in the Colonnades (which included the original dorm buildings Hull and Tabb) were not allowed back into the building (duh, because they were on FIRE) and since I was living in South Ruffner and it was on fire, I was one of the students who could not get back in.

Here I was, a mess having just worked out, having a panic attack, and I was carried away by a friend – the students had to keep moving back, away from the fire.

Danielle Karst ’05

It was 12:30AM when I returned to campus in a friend’s room on campus. I was a big sweaty mess who smelled like smoke, I had to take a shower. The fire was still blazing, I don’t even know when it was finally extinguished, and where was my cane? A whole classroom building had burned to the floor, some students (like me) weren’t allowed back into their rooms; the administrators had no choice but to cancel the end of the year finals. We were left with the grades we had at at our interim review, and sent us all home. It’s a good thing, because I performed a lot better during the first half of the semester.

I don’t know how long I’ll live, but I will NEVER forget that day.

 

– See more at: http://www.longwood.edu/alumni/articles/2017/one-heck-of-a-hot-day/#sthash.O4b0Pf68.dpuf

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determination

#flashfriday

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Just like the determined little turtle, I must go on.  This little guy may have pulled his head into his shell as my dog passed him and wanted to get at him while crossing this bridge (I had to Keep his leash so short and hold on to Chazz the dog so hard while he wanted to lunge at that turtle) but that turtle inspired me to actually open the Word document on my computer and get to typing my story.

[Which will be the first part of this book that I’m writing] 

 

 

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speed of race

 

#MondayMotivation 

But what is God’s path for me?

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Anyone have any answers? (I’m really wondering; this is not just a rhetorical question)  Let me create a list:

  • I’m currently writing; writing my personal story, for publication, (hopefully) to let others know what I have been through, and how tough the road can be.  If nothing else, for catharsis- but I think I have a plan for a guidebook for what to expect from a brain injury, or possibilities, as there is no constant answer as every brain injury is just as different as every person.
  • I am a compassionate person, 
  • I get paid for:
  • I babysit
  • and fill in on caregiving occasionally for an adult with an early onset form of dementia
  • I get a monthly paycheck for writing articles for the Longwood University alumni association website
  • I am scheduled to attend to a training course in June to volunteer at Fairfax hospital.  There I will be talking to other people in the trauma unit (it’s scheduled for every other week, but you just come when you can) 
  • I take care of Chazz my dog, but that isn’t a big deal, he’s just getting older and now needs to go on a midday walk
  • I try to clean the house and do all the laundry

 

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Please comment on this blog to let me know what you think God’s path is for me, email me:  daniellekarst920@gmail.com, FB me, whatever

 

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Dreaming

Trevor the Otter

Never give up on something you really want. It’s difficult to wait, but worse to regret. – Unknown

Peace out
Trevor the Otter

 

This is exactly the reason that I must get my book written- and written like now.

otter

The book that I am now planning on writing will share my in depth personal journey; and then it will focus on other traumatic brain injuries, as each injury is very individualized; none are the same.

Trevor the Otter says so.

Here’s too fulfilling dreams!
You can it! 

 

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Outdoor Beauty

What a beautiful day to be alive! 

I am very thankful for being alive after all I have been through!
Read my story right here

I am now much more admirable of the breathtaking aspects of nature of which many people take as commonplace, or wouldn’t give any thought or appreciation.
Walking Chazz is my favoririte timre of day

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I love it, because that’s the time of day I actually wonderfulwalk outdoors and admire God’s beauty.
Just walking through the neighborhood

I am so grateful for the opportunity to walk this great neighborhood, admire nature in all it’s beauty
and

just
breathe

Life is full of beauty if we stop and
SMELL THE FLOWERS

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#staytrue

As Icabod Crane reminds me:

It is seeing images as this to remind me to get myself BACK ON TASK,  and to do a lot less talking, AND A LITTLE MORE ACTION.

WHAT IF I THINK I’M STUCK?

Haven’t I been saying that a lot lately?

I have a good friend, who is a life coach, and is about to have a book that she wrote published.  She’s trying to help people (LIKE ME) find their purpose, and I need to find mine, after something life altering happened to me [ie…a car accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury].  Although it’s not like I need to RE-PURPOSE, because I was so young and still in high school, I didn’t ever figure out what I was doing.  The nursing home was a good place to start for me, although I was not aware that it would be so physically challenging.  Maybe I’ll revisit that option after I try something different.

Well it sounds just exactly she’s talking about me!  When she asked me if I could do anything I desired, without fear, what would it be?  It took me a while, but I remembered what else I’m passionate about: dog rescue.  Money automatically gets taken out of my bank account monthly to be donated to the ASPCA.

She suggested I think about volunteering at an animal shelter.  I contacted a woman whose mother was a resident at my nursing home a few years ago, who I knew was a prominent figure in the dog rescue and always ends up fostering dogs.  She told me that an orgainization to go to to help is the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.  (Which I was already thinking about since my good friend goes there and volunteers with the bunnies)

bunnybread

Last night I looked on the website, which said they are currently not looking for any volunteers, but referred to a facebook page where they will post the positions that are available to volunteer.  The only  thing that makes me nervous is that this is not based on what I continued my education, my major at Longwood University was Therapeutic Recreation.  But there are different types of animal therapy, that are very beneficial for all sorts of populations.  Children and people of all ages benefit from animal therapy. 

My friend also has suggested that I try volunteering at Fairfax hospital, where I was in the Intensive Care Unit after my car accident 20 years ago. You can volunteer to talk to patients in a trauma unit, and there is also a group of people who speak with different groups of people wanting to learn about the traumatic events that happened, and the injury resulting in order to better work with patients like us.  That seems gratifying to me. 

I need to get involved with something I am passionate about.  I already have a part time job, writing for Longwood University, and I am working on spreading traumatic brain injury awareness through my personal blog, and working on a memoir- or a “memoir” in quotations; there is always seems to be something that becomes a more urgent matter in the nearsight view.  It’s like memoir, ya, someday… Until then I’m keeping myself busy with church obligations, babysitting for my neighbors and caregiving.  Plus I like to stay  in shape by walking Chazz.

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 Chazz the dog.  My own sort of pet therapy, who is a true member of my family.

#3 Surround Yourself with people you love and respect.

 

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