• Tim Hoffer on surviving and moving on as an advocate

    Editor’s note: This is the the fourth story from a brain injury survivor and the first advocate. To read more personal stories, please visit the index.

    My name is Tim and I am a survivor of a traumatic brain injury. I suffered a TBI in 2006 due to blunt force to my head from a fall. Emergency surgery was required to save my life. Although the injury I suffered should have taken my life, I believe God had plans for me to live. After my injury I spent nearly two months at the hospital in recovery prior to attending outpatient therapy for TBI patients.

    A very critical part of my recovery was time spent in an outpatient therapy clinic two and a half hours from home. I faced many neurological challenges which I needed to deal with in order to get back to the life I had prior to my injury. I was analyzed to see what deficiencies I needed to treat in order to get back home and be the person I was. The challenges I faced included but were not limited to mental awareness, mental flexibility, executive functions for planning and scheduling. In addition I have had to face the challenge of a vision loss in both eyes called a left field cut. Therapy was very important to my recovery in providing the skills I needed to work with the effects of my TBI.

    I was in therapy for nearly five months prior to returning home. With the skills and treatment I received at therapy I have been able to go back to work and function back into society. I am not always able to do things as I would like but when I’m able to focus on my therapy lessons I find a way to get through my day.

    I realize that I will never be quite the same as I was before, but working in therapy has done a lot to help me get back to my family and job. I am actively involved in brain injury support groups and visit my therapy unit on occasions. I am aware enough now to see how therapy does help those recovering from TBI. Also, I see how those suffering from TBI and have not had the access to the therapy that I received are still living with a deficit that could or can still be addressed with this type of therapy.

    I mentioned earlier that I believe that God had plans for me to live. Part of those plans included recovery through therapy. I did survive from my injury and I continue to live with my TBI. However, the lifestyle I have today is greatly due to having the therapy I received. I am very grateful for the therapy work I had and wish that those others who I share TBI with can have the same. I am a witness to the opportunities one with TBI can achieve with therapy and the opportunities lost to those who don’t have that experience.

    A life with TBI is very difficult. But with faith, hope, courage and the love of family and friends one has the foundation to a successful recovery. Access and use of therapy is a great tool to go along with these things and can allow a TBI patient to strive to live a life of fun, fulfillment and satisfaction.

    — Tim Hoffer

    Would you like to submit your own story of surviving and recovery? We are accepting both written and video submissions! Just sent it along with your name to Grace at gconyers {at} insanitek {dot} net. We will assume that any submission has your expressed permission to share it.

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