A HEALING JOURNEY
COMMUNITY STORIES | 7.15.2015 | BY KIMBERLYANN MARSDEN-TCHIKATILOV, Ph.D.
I am a clinical psychologist, mother of 2 blessed children, and a woman on a healing journey with a TBI. My background as an All-American swimmer, researcher in sports psychology, and coaching experience combined with my accident and the accident of my son, himself an exceptional high school athlete, have led me to want to help people, especially athletes suffering from brain injuries. There is a tremendous need for information/awareness on the effects of concussion and post-concussion symptoms and how to help people heal whether they are athletes, parents, etc.
On December 12, 2012, my son and I were struck head-on when a woman driving another vehicle suddenly veered across the middle of the road and rammed into us. My son and I were both briefly knocked unconscious. At the time all scans were clear, but after a few days passed where I was sleeping constantly and felt tremendous pressure in my spinal cord, I suddenly began having trouble walking and my right eye developed ptosis (the eyelid would not stay open). A few days later I tried to sit down at the computer to work on the online classes I was teaching and immediately became nauseous, developed a horrific headache, and became disoriented, etc.
My condition worsened tremendously. By the beginning of January, I was wearing a neck brace to help take the pressure off my neck so my eyes could stay open, wearing sunglasses, getting assistance to walk and laying in bed at all other times either sleeping or in an altered state of consciousness because I could not handle any stimulation. My body was completely shut down. With assistance, I would get up to eat and go to the bathroom and then would have to lie down again.
The last two and a half years have been a tremendous struggle, but I have learned so much. I am still working on my recovery and appreciate everything. I will never again take for granted the use of my eyes, standing and walking with balance, my neck holding my head up, thinking clearly and so much more. Today when people see me they have no idea how much I am working on (reading, memory, eyes twitching and working together, body awareness, coordination, etc.)
I have been blessed with many tools from various health professionals (functional neurology, manual therapy, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, homeopathy, breathing techniques, the Alexander Method, vestibular therapy, physical therapy, vision therapy, neuropsychology, network chiropractic, vitamin and herbal supplementation, and energy medicine). All of the people I have met on my journey have given me the resources to take charge of my healing and develop a new life very different from prior to the accident. Since then, I constantly remind myself I can still give and receive love and that is what is most essential for me and those I love. It’s not about what I used to be able to do. It’s about remaining grateful, joyful, hopeful, loving and assisting others on their healing journey.