Brain Injury Awareness Week runs from August 15-21, 2016.
In Port Macquarie, Kerry Fisher and Kurtis James were invited to share their inspiring stories of recovery from brain injury by joining what the Mid North Coast Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service (MNCBIR) has labelled their ‘Gallery of Greatness’, which is made up of a series of inspiring client stories, all framed and hung on the main office wall.
The unveiling ceremony for Kurtis and Kerry’s stories was timed to coincide with Brain Injury Awareness week, which aims to transform this often invisible disability into one that is better understood.
Here is Kerry’s story.
“On September 2014, I was on a long walk with a friend, we were coming off the beach after deciding not to swim due to bluebottles.
As I sat down to put on my shoes I was thrown back in a tonic clonic seizure that continued for approximately 5 minutes before it slowed and became less violent, but continued for at least another 4 minutes. My poor friend had to tend to me until I stopped seizing and then try to get help. I was intubated in the ambulance as I suffered another seizure on the way to Port Macquarie Base Hospital and then transferred to John Hunter Hospital Neurology Ward as the doctors were unable to control my seizures. Family were told my condition was quite serious and my daughter flew back from London!
In hospital I was diagnosed with parasites in the brain and had to have brain surgery in February 2015. I was amazed that I was in and out of hospital in 4 days. I was found to have a Grade 2 Glioma, so I am still visiting specialists and at this stage no further treatment has been necessary. I have had some physical deficits which have improved but I still have to take care if I get tired as I become unsteady. Cognitively and emotionally has been a much longer haul and I have become quite frustrated and sad at times but I have found my Psychologist has helped with this.
In August 2015 I was able to volunteer at playgroup and the church op shop in preparation for my return to work. I managed to return to work for 1 day a week with the wonderful support of Michelle Cramer and Jennifer Hill from Chess but was unable to continue due to medication changes so therefore I decided to leave teaching, it was a very emotional and difficult decision for me to make.
This has been the most defining event in my life and it is great that I can remember so many funny little stories that have happened along the way (far too many to tell).”
Kurtis’s story – read Kurtis James’ story in his own words, as he shares his determined path to recovery, and the good times planned in the future.
For information on support services for people living with brain injury in the Port Macquarie region, phone (02) 6584 3300.