Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

March 25, 2020

Just Checking In With Everyone…

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 1:29 pm

How is everyone holding up? I realize this is a stressful time for everyone and, for those of us with brain injuries, the disruption to our routines and, perhaps, being sequestered with too many people can lead to an uptick in brain injury challenges and symptoms.

Last night on TV I saw actual graphs of counties where their virus arc leveled off almost immediately after the implementation of stay-at-home orders were set in place. This is great news. It works!

For those of us who, because of our injuries, have felt less than so many things since we were hurt, this is our opportunity to achieve and rise and accomplish amazing things as much as anyone else who uses their full-healthy brains.

By staying away from each other and by staying home, we join the fight of the good. We share the burden of those seeking to ease the burden of healthcare workers and first responders in our communities.

It’s not a hardship to stay home. It is our tool to fight against losing our lives and the lives of those we love. That is a wonderful thing when we have such an available option.

Hang in there, everyone! For those of you confined with too many people in your home and no relief, try to carve out private and quiet space in the basement, in a spare bedroom or on the back patio. Every day. Every day.

For each of us who doesn’t have to be admitted to a hospital in the coming weeks, we are allowing a nurse or a doctor to maybe return to their family an hour earlier at the end of a 15-hour day. That’s my incentive. I have loved ones on the front lines who are already weary and worried and hoping we all try our best not to appear in front of them on a hospital bed.

When this situation gets tough, and it does for all of us, remind yourselves and let’s remind each other how many obstacles we have toughed our way through already.

Wishing you and yours continued strength and good health and patience and determination. Love you.

March 13, 2020

What a time to be alive…

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 11:34 am

For those of us with brain injury, routine and stable environments with no drama and no upheavals usually do us best.

In the last couple of weeks, this COVID-19 virus, Corona Virus, has really shaken our lives and our world like a snow globe.

With so many conflicting reports and confusing directions, it is hard to figure out exactly what the heck we are supposed to be doing for ourselves and for the people we love.

Our lessons in successful brain injury recovery can really aid us here: identify what you cannot control and get busy working on the things that are within our power.

A lot of us do not have the financial freedom to stock up for months at a time and just stay in and away from everyone. But it is our individual ability and power and responsibility to do what we can.

While routines are likely tossed like salad this last week and going forward, be sure to set aside quiet time and schedule in lots of sleep to keep your immune system up and to keep the fear and stress levels down.

Do what you can in your own environment to keep yourself safe with sanitizing and germ-killing wipes and sprays. Do wash your hands many many times a day and utilize hand sanitizer. Try to do your errand-running at off hours so that you are away from crowds and lines at the store.

In addition to these, I’m also taking versions of Airborne and drinking teas made of natural elements known to kill viruses like green tea and ginger. I’m also taking a garlic tab each day.

We cannot control everything and the fear will paralyze. Do enough in your own life so that you can rest assured that you are doing your part and trying your best. That’s all we can do.

Know I’m thinking of you and wishing you and your loved ones safety and good health. As we rely on routines to keep us sane, let’s rely on these new cleaning routines to keep us safe.

We can do this!!!! Love you guys. Wishing everyone well. xo

February 14, 2020

I Listen To You, Too!

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 2:22 pm

Some of you, God bless you, have been reading my blog now for more than ten years.  And I’ve known some of you since my first book came out 20 years ago.  We have navigated this remarkable journey together and true kudos to all of you who have been returning to read my blah blah blah every month all these years.   LOLOL   God knows how I love you…  You have no idea how your kind words have soo inspired me and how the wisdom and information you have shared here have helped so many, all around the globe, in return.

Us, together.


I just wanted you to know that I have listened, too.  Over the years, countless people have told me how their copies of, “I’ll Carry the Fork!  Recovering a Life After Brain Injury” were ear-marked and full of highlighter pens or notes.  Filled my heart. 🙂

Many of you know how, when my publisher went out of business, so, too, did my Fork book.  Soon pirates were stealing the book, copying it and selling it on Amazon for ridiculous prices.  That really upset me.  Nothing like taking good folks who have sustained a blow to their entire world and try to scam them for $ 600 a copy.


I decided to slay the pirates.  🙂

It’s taken me more time than I want to admit to navigate the demands of editing and figuring and measuring and repeating steps a hundred times.  Thankfully, I am dogged when it comes to you.  When it comes to us.


I tweaked the 3rd Edition of my book so that people searching for useful information can identify it now quickly and know that it is safe and not pirated.  Because I have listened to you all these years, I changed the interior paper to white for easier reading.  I added blank pages for note-taking.

And, because I know, too well, how brain injury often dismantles us financially, I made it less expensive so that it can better reach those who need it the most.

While it is surely a personal achievement, I wanted you to know how much a part you played in helping me to shape it better for those coming behind us.

Thank you.

Look for the version with the 3rd Edition and the purple border around the cover.  Harder for pirates to hijack this time.  🙂


Wishing you all a day of love on this day of love.  Know how much I appreciate you and hear you, even when it seems I’m the one doing all the talking.

Happy Valentine’s Day.  Thank you for everything.

I love you.  Kara


January 29, 2020

Thankfully, Things More Important

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 1:25 pm

Usually I wait until January 31st to write my January blog.  That is the anniversary of my car crash and brain injury.  This year will mark 24 years…

But I wanted to send a shout out to our friends in Australia.  Here in the States, we have watched with heartbroken horror as the wild fires burned your gorgeous country.  I know there are a lot of blog readers from Australia and I wanted you to know how much you are thought of, prayed for and cheered for.

I also had felt the need to mention the death of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant…

Like so many, I have been deeply moved by the loss of so many great lives in that one awful tragedy.  I’ve been hearing a lot of clips and quotes from Kobe these last days and he really made me think.

Of you.

Of us.

You wouldn’t naturally or quickly think of Kobe Bryant when considering inspirations for those of us with brain injury.   He had a sharp and eager mind that allowed him to learn multiple languages and create rap lyrics and poetry as well as to break down opposing defenses and basketball schemes.

His body was fluid and amazing as he soared and darted and stopped on a dime.

Not a whole lot like my mind and body, now at 55, slowed by 24 years of brain injury balance and two years of dizzies and a bumpy turn off the smooth path I once I blazed as an athlete…

But there is a lot of us there.  Right there.

It’s amazing and outstanding and inspiring.

After twenty years in the NBA, Kobe realized that a nagging injury and the toll of so many seasons were telling him his body just couldn’t do it like he had.  A wife and four young daughters growing at home had made the demands of NBA travel more arduous.

He was changing.  He was evolving.  He was readying for life after the NBA.

What do any of us do when we can no longer do what we did at our best?  When we can no longer do our passion like we once did?

Kobe created a short animated film about his love of basketball and won an Oscar with it.  He opened up gyms for kids.  He wrote lyrics.  He talked to young players about preparing financially for life after the NBA.  He did things he hadn’t been able to do before like spend more time with his family.

We could argue that having fame and a gazillion dollars makes any transition easy but you can bet it still hurt.  You can bet it was hard.

We know, like he found, that it is really hard when you realize you can no longer do what you did before.  We know that intimately.  We know it’s breath.

But Kobe reminds us that time and life don’t skip over anyone.  We all face the aging of bodies and the loss of abilities, one way or another.

But, like the millions of clips of his moves and his shots and his passes, we, too, can leave that time to its more-perfect past.  We can prize it for its beauty and hold it as our own.  No one can take that away from any of us.

And then we, too, can get busy.  What next?  What next?


Usually I wait until the anniversary of my injury to blog and to post.  But, thank God, I couldn’t wait.  Thank God, life is in the way.  Life is happening.

Thank God, life is more important these days than my injured past and all the trappings and markings of it.

Thank God.

December 31, 2019

Stoke and Poke

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 8:28 am

As we get set to usher in a new year, I was thinking about how exciting New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are to some people while, for so many others, this is a time of somber sadness.  For the excited and the celebrating folks, they possess something so crucial and so vital to any of us.  They anticipate and THEY ARE LOOKING FORWARD…

They have hope.

Hope is like love and friendship.  We can live without it but there isn’t much joy in the existence.

So many of us lose our hope when our injuries linger.  When stubborn symptoms refuse to release their stranglehold on the lives we had created.  When we start to run out of things to try in order to enjoy further healing.

Over the years of my life, I have found that hope is like a campfire that needs stoking.  We have to keep feeding it, tending to it, poking at it from time to time.

Do you have hope?  Are you feeding it and tending to it and poking it?

My one brother likes to say, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.”


We can’t hope for love and yet never go meet anyone or try a dating site or go to a club or accept a date invitation.  We can’t hope to get in shape and yet never start walking or join a gym or go down into the basement where that old treadmill is collecting dust.  We can’t hope to save a bunch of money if we never trim a cost or look at our budget.

We have to do our part.

When it comes to brain injury, I hear of so many who are downtrodden after hoping for months, or even years, that their injury was going to heal itself.

We have to feed it, tend to it and poke it a little.

There are a lot of ways to improve our lives after brain injury.  There are a lot of different and complicated challenges with this injury where we can find ways to get better.   Sometimes it can feel hope-less because we ball it all up under one umbrella of brain injury and we think that one act of healing will solve all our problems.

That doesn’t usually happen and the success is usually tucked in the muck, tangled in the details somewhere.

Can we do it?  Heck, with all we’ve been through, I’d bet on every one of us.

So, how do we feed hope, tend to it and poke at it a little?

We tailor-make our lives to succeed around our symptoms.

Try to identify one area surrounding your injury that is causing you the most grief.  Is it that your disability check doesn’t cover enough?  Is it that your family and friends have abandoned you because you cannot control your rage?  Is it that you suffer such maddening brain fog by the end of the day that you cannot even function?

What would make your life better?

Too many times we tend to think that, all of a sudden, our injuries will heal and everything will return back to normal.

For most of us, however, the reality is more about finding solutions to particular problems, allowing us to reduce the impact of our injuries on our lives.

We can still hope for overall healing but, in the meantime, we can create our own success stories.

Perhaps this is the new year to fashion a little extra income to help with the bills.  Maybe you can find a smallish job that doesn’t jeopardize your disability status.  Or maybe you can sell off some things lying around the house.  Perhaps you can downsize your car or your cable bill.

If you are struggling with your anger, maybe this is the new year to get some help from a therapist, to reach out to a doctor for new medication options, to research homeopathic strategies or to really investigate what or who is making you so angry.

Too much brain fog at the end of each day?  Maybe this is the new year to rearrange your schedule, to really look at all the things that drain your cognitive energies like too many options, too many devices on at one time, too much stimuli or a job that just takes too much out of you.

It only takes a little progress to reveal the giggling hope hiding underneath.

I hope you will treat yourselves.  I fear that you have no idea how powerful and remarkable you are.  When you’ve been through so much already, I hope you will treat yourselves to a new year that washes over you with hope.  Hope that you have fed and tended to and poked at, creating your own wins and your own evidence of hopeful you really are.

I have known you now from around the world, battling your battles, making your better ways.  You stoke and poke my hopes every day and I hope you will receive mine in return:  I am hoping that you are about to greet your best year ever, in every meaningful way.

Happy New Year!  Love, Kara


December 12, 2019

How Do We Do It Now So We Can Enjoy It Best?

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 11:57 am

I often hear, and I know myself, how the onrush of the holiday season can overwhelm and confound for most, no matter their brain and brain injury status.

Circumstances dictate change, certainly.  But change is not the awful word we often cringe and cower from.   It simply means:  how do we do it now so that we can enjoy it best?


There’s no sense failing at a Christmas, or any time, that no longer is realistic.  Whatever the reason, we do best when our strategies take into consideration our capabilities.

There’s no secret as to why all the news shows caution against snow shoveling for people who are normally non-shoveling adults, those who are overweight or who have health conditions.   A strategic change, in that circumstance, would be to hire a teenager to shovel the snow.  Or a professional snow removal company.

We don’t get extra points for miserable, careless, dangerous or dead.

How do we do it now so we can enjoy it best?

Some of us get caught up in how we used to pull off Christmas.  Whether it was the hundreds of cookies we baked or the parties we hosted or the presents we could afford to buy….

It’s super-great to have those memories.  But, for most of us who now suffer restrictions to our abilities, cognitive, physical, financial, social and otherwise, the best gift we can give is the one to ourselves.  And to those who love us.

Change the now so we can enjoy it best.

I love the memories I have of childhood holidays.  I love the recalling of full homes and lots of relatives and neighbors, food and drink and good cheer.  Boisterous celebrating.

Those are awesome memories.

But most of the people have gone now.  Our family is smaller.  My home is smaller.  We no longer drink and drive.  We barely drink at all.  We don’t require mounds of presents and we understand that most of us no longer send out holiday greetings cards.

And that’s OK.  What now?  What next?

I love my Christmases now.  The strategies I enlist to accommodate my brain injury allow me to fashion a wonderful holiday season without suffering regret or remorse for what can no longer be.  I have changed my now so that I can enjoy it best.

I still go to the same Christmas Eve party I’ve attended since being a freshman in high school.  Only now I drive myself so I can leave when I need to.  I don’t drink there.  Where I might miss my parents being gone, it is the drive to that party on Christmas Eve when I spend special time with them.  I talk to them and sing to them and just sing and be grateful for all the ways they gave me a past I adore.  And all the ways I still insert their best into mine now.

The things I miss from people now gone are like the things I miss from a me…now gone.  It is a wonderful, healing truth.  A warm salve.  A gift beyond any.

We look to the past and treasure it’s gifts.  We move on then.  We step to the future to create more memories that we will, one day, recall in fine measure.

Nothing has to be the same forever.  Nothing can be.  Brain injury or not, we all change and move and age and lose those who created our first memories of Christmas.

Celebrate them.  Take what you can from the best of back then and honor it in your unique way.  Take the best of who you were back then and honor that, too.

We are terrific.  We are alive.  We are given this time to live.  To really live.

Don’t change because ill-intentioned Fate held you down and force-fed you change.  Change because it’s OK and healthy and wonderful to do things differently so we can enjoy them best.

See those people but maybe do it for a shorter length of time.  Bake those cookies but maybe a single batch instead of the hundreds.  Hire the snow removers.  Have a single cocktail instead of the pub crawl.  Slim down the menu.  Have celebrations on different days when you can’t all make it for one.  Steal moments of joy for yourself.  Moments of peace and glee and warmth.

I wish you and yours the simple, delicious gifts of warmth.   A safe nest.  A full belly.  Music that moves.  Memories that enrich.  Activities that bring joy.  Moments that delight.

I wish, for you and for yours, wonderful days of choosing ways to enjoy this time best.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Love you.




November 23, 2019

Choose Thanksgiving

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 10:18 am

You may prefer the grilled hot dogs of the 4th of July.  You might treasure a mouth-watering Christmas roast or Easter ham.  Ahhhhhh, the glorious smells!

And maybe you don’t even like turkey and pumpkin pie is not a favorite….

But choose Thanksgiving!!!  Make it yours.  Make it you.

Choose Thanksgiving every warm morning in August and every rainy evening in April.  Choose Thanksgiving on New Year’s Day and for Valentine’s.

Make it yours.  Make it you.

There’s not as much time as we think.  There’s not as much time as we’d hope.

Our time is now.

Wake up each morning and, even before that first cup of coffee, begin the recitations of Thanksgiving.   Leave not a smidge for those thoughts of doubt or despair.   Begin each day reciting to yourself everything and everyone you are grateful for.   One after another.

Leave no room in the morning.  Leave no chance at night.  Little by little and more and more, make grateful win over anger, over loss, over missing lives that are no longer for you.

THIS life is for you.   This life is FOR you.  This life IS for you.  This life is for YOU.

However you want to say it, just say it.  Take it and run.  Take it and dance.  Take it and soar.  Take it and love.

Be a great moment in everyone’s day.   Everyone you love.  Everyone around you.  Everyone you meet and pass.  Seek in them something to treasure, to compliment, to cheer and to love.  Express to them something on the sunny side of right.

Choose Thanksgiving.  Be Thanksgiving.

Love you.

November 5, 2019

Fighting For You

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 4:20 am

Imagine yourself at 99…

Picture the silver, shiny hair.  Thinning.  Imagine the colors less vibrant.  Imagine the sounds less clear.  Imagine the movements less spontaneous.  More measured.  More careful.  Imagine the activities not for you, then.  Imagine the considerations.  Imagine the knowing that the majority of life is behind you already and not much, realistically, is left ahead.


When so little is left ahead, most look back.  We look back and measure.  We look back and treasure.  We recall and we celebrate wonderful memories.  We judge our time.  Our time spent.  Our time lost.

In silence, surely, we regret some.

When time has all but entirely flown, we will surely regret the time wasted and lost.  Misspent, forsaken, given away to those we wish we hadn’t.

Though none of us can know how much time we have left, most of us forge on believing we have good amounts ahead of us.  Years and years and years.

We might one day, on a last day, regret time spent with a him or a her who mistreated us, abused us or took us for granted.  We might regret a relationship that was unhealthy or dangerous.  We might regret those we didn’t try to keep and those who we tried to keep but couldn’t.

Some of us will regret bellies too big and savings too small.  Bad investments, lousy jobs, rotten neighbors, fights with loved ones that went on for too long…

What will we regret of brain injury?

Let’s not regret one more minute of it.

I look back and I recall that early time of hopeful healing, of confused floundering, of determined learning, of re-making.  I don’t recall exact dates but I recall certain signposts, private moments, when I knew this particular thing or that had changed for good.

All told, was it more than a year?  I’m not quite sure but it was less than two.  Less than two and I was on my way.

On my way to better.

Too many of us regret it all.  Every inch.  Every day of this.  I fear there will be too many of us who, at 99, will look back and still regret everything that came after the day of the injury.

I hope not.

I believe the key in looking back from 99 is to know, right now, there is still a lot of living ahead of us.  When the colors are still vibrant, when the sounds are still clear…

I believe that, when each of us looks back, any of us, we may regret a bad relationship but we will never regret leaving it.  We may regret a fight, a squabble, course words…but we will never regret the actions we took to make those right somehow.

We’ll never regret fighting for ourselves.  That’s the whole difference there.

Are you fighting for you?

I know, if we do nothing after brain injury, we will regret that one day.  We will likely have a lot of time to regret it because most of our loved ones will have given up and left us by then.


Fight to keep the good.   Fight to make the good.  Fight to make better.

Of everything.

Strike out into each day without the injury.  Leave it behind.  No matter how it comes with us in terms of considerations and limitations and planning and strategies, leave the nag behind that tells you any of that matters to our loved ones.  Our best ones.

Fight to create a rest of days that you won’t regret.  Imagine what that looks like and start off in that direction.

People can be soured by lousy childhoods, terrible partners, rotten jobs, starving lots in life.  There’s all kinds of reasons to stop fighting for ourselves.

But all of that will be regretted then.  One day, surely.

Let’s, instead, take this time between now and the fading.  Let’s take this time and fight for ourselves, for our happiness and for the happiness of those we love.  Let’s fight to make everything better, knowing how sad and how disappointing it is to watch so many keep choosing to make it worse.

What’s the point of aiming for worse?


October 16, 2019

How Much Time Does Brain Injury Take?

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 9:02 am

I routinely spend a few hours a week on a couple of TBI support group sites on Facebook.  There I try to lend support to those, especially, who are early on in their recoveries and who are struggling with the overwhelming time this injury gobbles up.

I looked at my own life and my own routines just to loosely tally the amount of time still spent on my brain injury.    After more than twenty years, it isn’t much.

How much do you spend on your injury?  How much in a day or a week?

In that first year or, even, two, we spend a ton of time on our injuries.  We are measuring the lost and counting the cost.  We are seeking help and going to, seemingly, endless amounts of doctors’ appointments, rehab and such.  We are researching and learning.  We are struggling to keep employed or start paperwork for disability benefits.  Our people are still invested and interested and helping.  We are talking about it and, really, living the brain injury life.

But, for those of us who are fortunate enough, that early overwhelming time loses steam as we begin to know our bugger injuries.  We heal some.  We recover some.  We adapt and change our paths and our routines in order to make things work.

After all these years, maybe I spent a few hours a week on those TBI sites.  Some time invested in other people’s injuries and in supporting them.  I spend time each day creating a list when I’m rested and clear-thinking of things I have to do and carefully allotting the time needed to do them.  I plan.  Maybe that takes an hour?  Maybe.

When I announce football during this fall season, there is a little extra consideration when I walk up those bleachers because of my balance.  I spend extra time typing up my announcing scripts because I don’t trust my memory when there is a lot or late in a game when I’m cognitively fatigued.   Maybe my consideration of my injury is another hour then, on those days?

I guess my point is that….as we get better at these injuries….As the years go by and we have made changes to how we live and what we do in order to find happiness again….We need to be mindful of all the time we have freed up so that we don’t keep spending all of it on TBI.

We can spend that freed-up time living happy, successful lives.

I think it’s important for each of us to take a look every once in a while to make sure we aren’t still giving too much time to TBI.  For me, because I use that time early in the morning to map out a smart, efficient cognitive day, I don’t have to struggle with my injury much later.  I trust the plan I made and I go out and execute it.  That way, I rarely get caught in situations where I’m too tired and can’t think and get myself into an awkward, stressful or, worse, a dangerous situation.

See if you have or can now pare down the time spent on TBI each day.   Focus on what is still prickly to you and see if it is time to tackle that particular issue.  Continue to assess and trim off that TBI wherever you can.

And then enjoy that freed-up time on a good, happy, successful life.

Reconnect with people miss or strike out and find others if you are feeling lonely or left behind.  Invest in the lives of your people.  Do for them.

Start to identify what parts of your day are TBI parts and gift yourself the determination to enjoy all the other hours each day.   Challenge yourself to spend less and less time on that injury that stopped you and more and more time on all the ways it cannot.

Love you.

September 5, 2019

Joan Rivers, Really

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 9:42 am

I’ve long-made it a habit to be inspired every day.  To make sure I seek out or welcome at least one story of strength, of overcoming, of successful thinking…

Last night I caught the life story of Joan Rivers.  I thought I might just take a peek at this over-the-top icon, not expecting anything more than a glimpse and a glance at her outrageousness.  But I was struck and glued.  What a fascinating story!

Because of hardships, quick-changes, doors closing, opportunities drying up…Joan Rivers reinvented herself over and over throughout her lifetime.

Her life story is a great example we can all take from.

When she was Johnny Carson’s permanent stand-in on The Tonight Show, she felt she was at the pinnacle of her career in a stand-up comedy world long-run by men.  She had made it.   She was a star.

But, apparently at some point, she caught a glimpse of an internal NBC memo naming ten possible candidates to replace Carson after he retired.  Her name was not on it.  Though, later, it was rumored that the list had been a ruse, NBC extended Carson’s contract by two years and only extended Rivers’ by one.  She felt the writing was on the wall and she took a huge gamble and grabbed the opportunity to go up against Carson in that premium late-night slot from an fledgling Fox station.  It was a huge gamble, going up against Carson.  A gigantic risk.

She and her producer husband were fired before a year was up.

From one of the pinnacles of any entertainment career, permanent guest host on The Tonight Show, to being fired from Fox and, eventually, black-listed by Carson, Joan Rivers found herself at an abrupt dead-end with nothing that looked like any kind of hope.

Like so many of us find ourselves after we are first-hurt.

And then it got worse.

Her husband, devastated after the firing from Fox and already long-suffering depression, took his own life.

What then?  What would she do?  What would any of us do?

What have we done now?

Black-listed, unemployed, grieving, alienated from her only daughter, Joan Rivers scratched and she clawed.  She swallowed her pride and she took small gigs anywhere and everywhere, just to try and keep the lights on and the roof over her head.  She called up every name on her Rolodex and asked, “What can I do?”

What can I do?

In the years that followed, she slowly climbed back from sleepless nights catching an hour of sleep between flights to uncountable and modest gigs in cities she hadn’t heard of.   From sharing the spotlight with comics who were half her age and who had no star power.

She did what she had to do.

Even as she reclaimed some of her star power, there were new opportunities and new failings.  A new nighttime talk show.  A morning show.  She started writing books.  She took a gig interviewing stars on the red carpet.  She starred in a show set in California where she would fly out there from New York, tape the show, and fly back.   She went on the road more.  She made guest appearances.  She accepted the new opportunity to sell a clothing line on a fledgling network (back then) just starting to sell clothing on TVs.  She helped establish a charity.  She won Celebrity Apprentice.  She wrote more books, 12 in all.

Joan Rivers’ life lessons often get lost in the outrageous quips and over-the-top comments she has been quoted and known for.  But she gave us so much more.

What an extraordinary lesson in not giving up.  In how to rebound.  In how to change direction after hitting a frustrating wall.  In how to be open to any opportunity and how to be courageous enough to try anything new.

Too often, brain injury or not, we get stuck or scared.  We start to cling too tightly because something is all we’ve known, because of expectations, because of perceived insurances and assurances.   And, when that comfort dries up or gets snatched away by circumstances in life, we are decimated.

Joan Rivers’ life story reminds us that our lives are big enough to dare broadly.  To strike out new.  To try anything and everything.

Our lives are big enough to hold a lot of new directions, new dreams, new starts and new ways.

Let’s not spend one more day anchored to what we cannot do.  Let’s, instead, embrace each day and challenge ourselves to find what more we are capable of.

In every direction.  In every area.  In every way.

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