On 26 July 2006, I suffered a severe car accident near my parent’s house in Acton, Maine. I was spending the summer at home before my senior year at Brandeis University. Instead of moving into a rented house near campus with seven of my college friends, I was moved from Acton, Maine to the ICU at Maine Medical Center. In the ICU, the attending physicians gave me a ten percent chance of functional recovery.
I’m working on a book about my experience recovering from a traumatic brain injury, when I came back to college, and the time immediately following my graduation from Brandeis University. The book is about how, at a certain point, I was able–and required–to take over and direct my progress, and it is about the way I used guided reflection to observe and direct my own development. This is a story about personal triumph over adversity. But it’s also about the triumph of the network; the web of family, friends, doctors and therapists whose support and input contributed, built, manipulated, and ultimately made my future possible: a future that was initially very uncertain from the sterile confines of the ICU.
Traumatic brain injuries affect thousands of people, from soldiers returning from the Middle East to victims of catastrophic accidents. Furthermore, recovery from TBI is very difficult, as is the adjustment to life afterwards. Getting accustomed to a new life with a brain injury is difficult for both the victim as well as for their support system: the person looks O.K., no major body parts are missing…. So, why is everything so different? This book will be helpful to people who are dealing with brain injury, either personally or as a supporter. This compelling story will provide an interesting perspective because parts of my medical team, my mother, and my friends contribute to the book: they tell the parts of the story that I can’t tell, highlighting the network that makes the story possible. Like any major medical event, a brain injury happens to a family, not to an individual. For this reason, contributions from my friends and family will be an important element of this book.
We are in the initial phases of planning for the project, and I am still starting to figure out the publishing world. We have a third of the book complete, and are currently looking for an agent to help us to connect with a publisher. I am working on a proposal, gathering information about how it should be formatted so that our ideas and intentions are most clear. It is our first book!
Evan Sweeney is great to work with me as my editor; he had an article published in support of this project in Brandeis Magazine, available here, A Small Miracle. A draft of my proposal is available here, Book Proposal_9.1.12, and will be updated as I get more input and put some more time into it. Thanks to all who have read parts of this draft for comments!