Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

September 28, 2018

Excited to Share :)

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 10:08 am

I always come here when I’m so excited to share something new.  A next step.  Some kind of victory over my injury.  And yours.

We have all learned, excruciatingly well, how life events bump us and nudge us in new directions.  As I’ve reported here before, I’m still suffering the daily dizzies of a new neurological condition that has been complicated by my brain injury and is now passing the nine-month mark.   The last neurologist I saw said, “Yes, you have something wrong with your brain but we cannot help you.”


With my new limitations that have cost me one of my jobs because I cannot stand and look down, I’ve had to reinvent myself again.  I’ve begun to narrate books for audio “readers” and it’s a thrill when so many of us with brain injury have a heard time now reading.

I’ve had to learn so much about recording and editing audio tracks and it’s a new challenge to stay in the game when the work is so tedious and exhausting and difficult.  There are days when my brain injury makes my voice recordings flat or my editing such a tangled abyss that I have to install my strategies of time, patience, new ways to look at it and, of course, chocolate chip cookies.

But, I’ll tell you…..It’s also such a thrill!  Even after 20 years with this injury, to keep charging.  To keep testing myself and proving to myself that I’m more than just an old dog struggling with new tricks.   I feel alive.  I feel inspired with the new.

I know how I’ve said so many times that, this second life after injury doesn’t just have to be about trying to do what we used to do and being frustrated by that.  For me, it is to tally how many things I am able to do in the time I have left.  To try everything and gorge myself on the possibilities.  I hope you are too :)))))

And so,  I am entirely excited to present, “Hasten the Rising-Empowering Women In Love & In Life” on audio formats now available on Audible, iTunes and Amazon. On the shoulders of the Me Too Movement, in this contentious time and, more importantly, when we have the opportunity to save women, younger ones especially, from dark people and dangerous relationships, join me in helping to boost their self-esteem and to empower all of us. If you go to Audible and join through my book there, you can get it free with the free trial. In the back of the softcover book, I put a place where you can sign a heart when you hand it to a young woman, any woman, you love and want to keep safe, empower and show your support for. Let’s replace the Me Too Movement with a next generation of the safe, the powerful, the RISING.

Hasten the Rising: Empowering Women in Love & in Life by Kara L. SwansonHasten the Rising: Empowering Women in Love & in Life
by Kara L. Swanson
Link: http://a.co/d/7tkWxC2

September 12, 2018

That Link Some Of You Requested

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 1:19 pm

Hi there!  Many of you wrote asking for this same link so I figured I’d just post it:

I’ll Carry the Fork!  Recovering a Life After Brain Injury is now on Audible.  With this link below, you can sign up for Audible with the free membership and get my book on audio file for free.  Hooray!!!!!!

They give me 25 free clicks with this so use yours fast!  Just click on the link below or copy and paste it (when I clicked on it, my audio book came right up on Audible).  Use it to get your free copy of the original Fork, now available.  Hooray.  Enjoy  :)))



Back To Homework

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 12:47 pm

As kids return to school for a brand new year, I take some time to recall the school years of my youth.  Parents are surprised to find their kids, seemingly all of a sudden, in middle school or almost through high school or graduating from college.  The year do fly by.

As we watch the kids in our lives get older and more mature in those front-of-the-house first day school pics, we are not shielded from getting older too.

Some with brain injuries and most with not, we all age and so many of us become quiet in our heads.  LOL.  We run almost on auto pilot, directed by rules and schedules and routines.  There’s always something next to do or somewhere next to go.  We don’t really engage our brains as much as we allow them to bow to the tech devices which rule our worlds.

For those of us brain injured, and for all of us as we age, we have to continue to engage our brains and wake them up and stretch them out and feed them with learning.   We have hallways and doorways in our brains that need us to walk down and to fling open and to flick on the lights of.

In honor of all the kids returning to school, I invite you to join me, just for a few moments….

Think back to your days in elementary school.  Go past the easy memories that you have told and retold.   Start, instead, at the slide on the playground.  Remember how the metal steps got slippery with sand?  Remember how hot that slide got in the afternoon sun during recess?

Picture your merry-go-round.  Remember the color?  The ruts in the dirt from kids dragging their feet?  Can you feel the whir as you flew around, faster and faster….?

Picture your desk in first grade.  What was in your schoolbox?  Can you recall books at the library labeled E for easy when we were kids?  Can you remember learning cursive? Can you bring back memories of clapping erasers or the smell of dittos?

We have to fight to keep those doors open in our brains.  All of us, as we age.  We have to go further than the easy memories we’ve told again and again.  Try to exercise our brains by reaching and stretching our ability to recall.

Start with a lunchbox.  An umbrella.  Your winter boots.  Your scarf.  The stickers your teacher used to put at the top of your page.  Shopping for school shoes….

All of these have memories attached to them that, for most of us, have been locked behind doors for decades.   Let’s find them again.  Let’s breath fresh air into our brains and feel them opening and growing again.

A little homework never hurt any of us.  :))))

September 9, 2018

It May Look Different But It Feels The Same

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 3:04 pm

The fans screaming and cheering in the Big House in Ann Arbor for their Michigan Wolverines are as rabid about their football Saturdays as those who cheer for Texas and in Arkansas, Ohio, Washington and California.

The young married couples in the United States who offer their vows and begin their new lives together are as hopeful and eager and smitten and excited as those in Ireland, Mexico, Singapore and France.

An awed, grateful set of parents, gazing at their newborn in a hospital in Montana, has the same dreams, fears and wonderment as those who welcome babies in Canada, New Zealand, Hawaii, Buffalo and Niger.

People try to shield their children, purchase new homes, land new jobs, bury parents, meet up with friends, adopt dogs and cats, and ponder old age in Boston, Algiers, Luanda and Stockholm.

My point is that living may look different around the world because we get caught up in colors, in group names, in sides, in teams, in parties…

But most everyone, everywhere, simply seeks happiness, fulfillment, purpose, fun and love.  Most everyone, everywhere, simply seeks to know happy days and peaceful nights.  Most everyone, everywhere, simply seeks life and the best things of it.

There are a million ways to invite, enlist, gather and produce happiness, joy and love.  Just look at how many beautiful places we can travel to, how many instruments we might take up, how many different animals we might adopt, how many different shows we might watch.

The ones who feed their empty places with only the dried-up crumbs of how things used to be, will always be hungry.

We cannot grow using seeds already skeletonized.  Already dried.  Already gone.

We can only fill the ache of hunger with the vibrant promise of things alive.  Things still here.  Things still available to consume and to be filled with.  Nourished with.

We are all in the same place, everyone in the world, even when our lives look wildly different.  We all go forward with the memory, the ache, of losses we did not choose.  Of losses that broke our hearts.  Losses that changed our lives.

You’d think people would be kinder to each other, given the knowing of how much life can hurt.

All we can do then is to create light where darkness lingers.  All we can do is to create warmth where we have been cold.

Instead of punishing those around us with our heartache, our resentment, our anger, and our feelings of being stolen from and victimized, let’s gift them, instead, with the healing seeds of investment.  Investing in those around us-our time, our love, our best efforts, our best selves.

For they are here.

And so are we.

If regret and loss and heartbreak and disappointment are understood, simply, as the price we pay for the privilege of living, then maybe we invite ourselves to be ever-more determined to make the rest of our time better.   To put as much happier, brighter distance between us and our worst as we can.

There are lovely people everywhere.  There are beautiful places everywhere.  There are wonderful opportunities and funny moments and needy animals to adopt and hopeful children to guide and great causes to join and worthwhile organizations to serve and people people people everywhere who need a little something good.

There aren’t enough hours in today to spend so many in yesterday.

Let’s make tomorrow eager to get here.  Let’s entice her with our promise that we will honor her, love and respect her.  That we will not shun her for a yesterday that we cannot change.

Let’s promise her our good.

September 4, 2018

Bigger Than We Imagine

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 3:31 pm

Look out your front window.  Just for a moment now….imagine King Kong coming over that row of houses in front of you.  Or above that tree line.  Or across that free way or over that lake.


You look out, tiny you, and you are stopped still in your trax by the site of King Kong coming toward you.  Wowowowowowowoow.   Or more like, What the……….

The other night, I caught a spider outside my window, creepy crawly in against the gold lighting at my condo.

Now, to him (or her), I am that King Kong.   Coming toward that tiny spider, I must have looked like big old King heading over that tree line.

But what did I do?

I sure didn’t act like King Kong.  LOL.

I was freaking and squeaking, barely reaching to hurry and shut the window in case that teeny tiny spider decided to swing on over from the tree branch, find a hole in my screen and proceed to attack me in the night.

King Kong King Kong King Kong…

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we are bigger than we feel.

So many things seek to diminish us in our lives.   For some it’s the sagging and receding and paunching and slowing of age.  For others it is the failing measures of status, income, credit or popularity.  As we know so well, for many it is the implications, both real and assumed, that hang upon the differently-abled like a sodden cloak.

How teeny do we become?

We don’t even see all of those who have been diminished.   Compacted.  Shrunk down.  Pushed back.   They are there, all around, though.  See them quiet at the end of the bench, alone at a table in the lunchroom, holding cardboard signs at the intersection, curled up under the overpass.

So tiny we don’t even see?

When we are brain injured, so much of our experience, post-injury, is diminishing.  So much scrapes away and chips away and tears away and melts away.

What is left?  Naked go we, the survivors.  Naked go we, the new.

We don’t even realize how big we still are because we imagine that injury to be King Kong more than we imagine it that teeny spider.

Let’s be big.  Let’s be big for ourselves.  Let’s be big to our kids.  Let’s be big with our partners.  Let’s be big in our communities.

Let’s be big.

Let’s find all the ways that we can love and support and assist our loved ones, despite our injuries.  It’s not about how many of our needs are not met because of injury.  It’s about being able to meet the needs of those we love in spite of it.

We can be big in so many small ways.  Ways that matter.  Ways that count.  Ways we may have overlooked before, back when we knew we were King Kong.

Too many of us become bitter, asking why the world and our people don’t get us, don’t help us, don’t accept us, maybe don’t even love us…

Let’s ask, instead, how can we be big for everyone around us?  How can we quiet what we cannot do any longer by making our abilities shout?  How can we be big in terms of goodness, in terms of kindness?  How can we be big to the smaller people in our lives in terms of mentoring, tutoring, supporting, loving?

That isn’t prohibited by a broken brain.  That is missed by a broken heart.

Let’s be big.  I’ll be smiling when I see you coming over the tree line.  I’ll be smiling when I see you coming across the lake.

Let’s be big.





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