INNOVATION & GADGETS

How I Advocate for People With Traumatic Brain Injury

Cognitive Disorder

Kellie Pokrifka

Broken Brain- My Traumatic Brain Injury Story

Chronic illness took over my life at age 19 when I fainted due to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme. This fall resulted in a Traumatic Brain Injury. I was so debilitated that I had to drop out of college (UVa, Go Hoos!) for two years. The TBI wreaked havoc on my entire body, allowing for a laundry list of disorders to accumulate--  chronic migraines, seizures, POTS, CFS, gastroparesis, fibromyalgia, autoimmunity, and almost every cognitive symptom.

Instead of viewing this event as a dramatic ruining of my life, I realized it was the perfect opportunity to research solutions and get them out to others in my situation. Patients should not have to work so hard to find treatment options. I am trying to bridge the gap of knowledge from researchers and doctors over to the patients. Self-advocacy is critical, especially for brain injury recovery. I want every patient to be able to be his/her own expert.

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