Posts by Suzanne Tobin

Hi, I’m Suzanne… I may be disabled, unable to return to work, but I hope I can still be of service to others. I had always been blessed with good health until the fall of 2013, when I began to have stroke-like symptoms. After months of misdiagnoses (you can read the whole story here) I was diagnosed with ICL (idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia) and PML (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy) and began to trudge my road to recovery.. This blog is for all who have survived a brain injury of any type as well as their loved ones, caregivers, or those trying to adapt to a "new normal" after brain injury. hope it might help anyone with TBI, MS or Parkinson's or any other brain injury because although your will never be the same, there is always hope of improvement. I hope you'll join me on my journey.

Thanks, Mom

When I was growing up in the early 1960s in Washington, DC, it was nearly impossible to find a Mother’s Day card for my working mother.

The cards all talked about moms who  did not work outside the home; but my mother didn’t have a choice whether to work or not. At  43, she became a widow with five children, ranging in age from 12 to 4.

And as my sister said in her eulogy, our mother was no saint. Like far too many in this world then and now, she self-medicated her depression with alcohol.

But now we live in a world with antidepressants and 12-step programs of recovery  for any addiction, from anorexia to spending. AA was just 18 years old and  no women in it when my father died suddenly from a heart attack in 1957, sending my mother into a lifelong depression that was never treated. The Social Security death benefit is what kept us afloat.

As my oldest brother put it, “No matter how bad things are, I just think about how our mother woke up the day after he died, with five kids,  no savings and a Grade 4 government job; life will never be that hard for any of us.”

Since  this brain injury gradually sent me from healthy to wheelchair-bound within five months, I realized that my mother had modeled a kind of  strength that I had never really appreciated until now.

So once I beat the odds and survived,  I was determined to get my life back to as “normal” as I could. And I have never worked so hard in my life.

I have set and achieved many small goals from being able to stand, then walk, to being  able to safely be home alone. But the changes  are so gradual, it often takes the reaction of a person who hasn’t seen me for months to make me realize how far I’ve come.

Thanks, Mom.







My Motivation

You’re lookin’ at them….my sons are in the center with their wives (wearing teddy bear headbands in keeping with the “teddy bear picnic” theme of the lbirthday party for — you guessed it– the kid holding the his teddy bear on the right. (Poor bear he looks like he’s had enough for one day.

The boys sitting on each end were born B.I.(before illness) The little girl with the bow came in April 2014, four months after my correct diagnoses.

As I embarked on yet more therapy at Johns Hopkins in Feb. 2015, I put this in my clear folder I carried with me to an from each make me smile after the frustration and exhaustion of each session.

What motivates you?