In the 70s and 80s when I was a kid (Shhh! Don’t tell!) no one really paid attention to concussions the way we do now. Today, after two school concussions, the students in our district are no longer able to play sports. Doctors used to just advise a parent to wake the child up every hour when she was sleeping and she should be fine.
Now we know that concussions or even repeated head trauma or blast trauma that does not rise to the level of a concussion can cause damage to the brain in all kinds of ways. We also know that the damage adds up – there is a proverbial straw to break the concussion camel’s back. You can be living your life, functioning as you always have, sustain one last concussion and that’s it – your brain is stuck in a post-concussion pattern – it’s called post-concussion syndrome.
The most difficult part of this is thinking that you will just get better with a little more time, and a little More time, and a little MORE time, until you realize it’s not working. Never one to simply accept defeat, I’ve been doing what I always do – fight. Since I am not a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, or any other neurological specialist, that means I’ve had to research, research, and research some more.
You might think, “That’s easy enough to do.” True, unless you’re suffering from a concussion and all those words are too much too much to handle. Following the ideas, the theories, the protocols is very difficult when you are having a hard time processing each sentence. So, my research has been limited by my day to day condition. I first began trying to read again in May but could only do short spurts. Writing, incidentally, was more accessible. Proofreading and revising were a nightmare!
Over the last eight months, I have managed to get through a few scientific journal articles and a variety of websites dedicated to concussion recovery. Most recently, I purchased two books focusing on brain regeneration, and recovery. Slowly muddling through, I’m taking notes in the margins and trying to retain what I’ve read in note form.
These are some of the things I’ve learned:
1) Sugar is poison to your brain but a ketogenic diet can help to rebuild neural pathways and generate cell production;
2) Sleep deprivation is detrimental to recovery;
3) All people suffering from a decline in cognitive function are also suffering from a deficiency in vitamins, hormones, or both, caused by a variety of factors;
4) Brain injury causes a cascade of problems that build on one another to create a perfect storm of brain problems;
5) Your lifestyle can dramatically impact your cognitive function;
6) Eating well, exercising, drinking water, and de-stressing, aren’t just good for you physically but improve your cognitive function as well – so do brain games!
7) There are no one-size-fits-all remedies or pills you can take to fix it, only a carefully planned, multi-front attack addressing each of the contributing factors will do.
8) Finally, if you want to get better – don’t be afraid not to listen to any doctors or therapists who say, “This is your new normal” or “There isn’t much more we can do from here, just wait and see. ” There is always more you can do. Many western medical professionals believe that if a drug hasn’t been created to treat the symptoms then, there is nothing you can do. However, the body is amazing. Many of the best modern drugs were created from natural remedies. Medical researchers are now looking back at those old home remedies, ancient Chinese medicine, and homeopathic treatments and finding that, far from being untreatable, brain injuries and various types of cognitive decline can be improved or even reversed.
To that end, I am starting on a program of finding a way to heal myself – I’ll update you on my journey from time to time. I’ve started a Keto 12/3 diet meaning – ketosis diet with a minimum of 12 hours of fasting and no eating three(3) hours before bed. This is supposed to remove nutritional and digestive hurdles for my brain to begin the process of detoxing and regeneration.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.