Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year's Resolution - don't be like the Scarecrow

In 2017, I am proposing - don't be like the Scarecrow, who kept telling himself he was a failure because he didn't have a brain.  We may not listen to everybody, but we do listen to ourselves.

I am giving a gift to all of you and that is invisible pesticide.  When those ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) show up, you can state "I am good as I am.  I am precious to the Lord."  When you think this thought, you will spray the ANT killing pesticide.  I pray that your negative thoughts will decline and you have a fulfilling and productive year.

I cheer you on for getting on your own side!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

LoveYourBrain launches in San Diego and North County!

  1. A very genuine presentation by Kevin and Adam Pearce and the LoveYourBrain team!

They are offering Yogic instruction (i.e. Yogic Therapy) as a complimentary service for brain injury survivors!

This event was the launching of their program!

Kevin Pearce

Adam Pearce

Kevin and Adam

Part of the LoveYourBrain team.

Allison DeRose, Heidi and Stephanie
of the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation

Thursday, December 8, 2016

What is LoveYourBrain

Kevin Pearce and his brother, Adam talk about LoveYourBrain

LoveYourBrain launches in San Diego and North County

LoveYourBrain is launching in Southern California! 


Please join us on Friday, December 16th from 6pm-9pm to celebrate the launch of the LoveYourBrain Yoga program in San Diego and Carlsbad. 

Museum of Photographic Arts
1649 El Prado, San Diego

What to expect:
  • Film, meditation and discussion on the impact of yoga on the traumatic brain injury community
  • Live auction in support of LoveYourBrain
  • Light bites and beverages provided by awesome local companies
  • Casual dress (we're pretty laid back people)
Sponsorship opportunities available! Please contact for more information on how to support this wonderful evening.

                                       RESERVE YOUR SEAT

Home away from home - THE WATER MATTERS

Monday, December 5, 2016

Holiday Potluck

Our Holiday get together will be on December 6th, 5:30-7:30 at SHARP Rehab Hospital, at 2999 Health Center Drive in San Diego.  We will be in the Conference Room.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fitness Genie visits Gray Matters

David Lee ( talked with us about his 3 injuries (1990, 1999, 2012);  this includes 3 TBIs and 2 spinal injuries.  He has known what it means to be in the healing mode and when to go at ehabilitative exercise full speed ahead!

Nevertheless, David has found strength within himself.  He started with his commitment to his own recovery through exercise.   He set goals for himself and worked diligently toward his goals daily.
David set goals for his hand-cycling and went out on his bike 4-5 times a week. His daily workouts aimed at competing in a 10K race and then, on.

David Lee, in 2008, was a participant in the Paralympics in Beijing.  He is an inspiration; he is the "Fitness Genie"!  David was an inspiration to our group, simply  demonstrating a will that is focussed, determined and powerful!  We are even more respectful of him, because we know a lot of what he goes through, and to stay so focussed and determined is that much more an accomplishment!

Gray Matters thanks you, David.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

LoveYourBrain launches in San Diego and North County!

LoveYourBrain launches in San Diego and North County!

This is announcing that one of the Directors of LoveYourBrain will be the guest speaker at Gray Matters Support Group on January 3rd, 2017.  It is funny that we were scheduled to have a speaker from Love Your Brain speak last January, but a storm got in our way!  Now we have a second chance!

The good news is that Love Your Brain is starting a San Diego chapter!  The Manager, Kim explains the opening event and their coming programs: 
LoveYourBrain will be holding a community event to raise awareness around TBI, the evening of Friday, December 16th.  Kevin Pearce will be there speaking, and it will be a truly inspiring and special evening.  The direct link to reserve tickets is here, We are offering a reduced admission price of $10 to anyone with a TBI.  We want to ensure the cost is not prohibitive to our community.

Starting in January, the LoveYourBrain Yoga program will be offered in 2 locations in San Diego - Mosaic studio in Golden Hill, and Yoga Bound in Carlsbad Village.  The program consists of a 6-week series that is completely FREE to anyone with a TBI and their caregiver.  The classes are 90 minutes, and consist of yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and group discussion.  After someone completes the 6-week series, they have access to "LoveYourBrain friendly" classes at the yoga studio for a discounted rate of $5.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Gray Matters Support Group - Writing assignment on the Loneliness of Brain Injury

Last month I did a writing assignment with our support group on the Loneliness of Brain Injury.  Michael Murphy wrote the following
noteworthy article:

I have two ‘brain-injury’ heroes: Gabby Giffords and Bob Woodruff. Both suffered severe TBIs  and have displayed remarkable stamina and fortitude in the wake of their injury and throughout their immediate and ongoing recovery. I am humbled to group or associate any portion of my experience and trials as an ABI survivor with these two. However, even though m injury was considerably less severe, l I can identify with their tribulations as a result of my stroke and successive recovery.                                                                                  

Gabby, a member of he US Congress an Arizona State Senate, had been married to astronaut, Mark Kelly for four years prior to her attempted assassination in Tuscon, AZ.  Both Gabby and Mark had high profile and public lives. The strength of their commitment and subsequent support to each other easily surpassed any mandated support that may have been expected of a couple with this sort of public scrutiny  and exposure  in the national spotlight.

Bob Woodfuff was a co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight. While on assignment in Iraq, he suffered a severe head injury when a roadside bomb struck the vehicle he was riding in. His wife, Lee, is a noted author and commentator. Together they co-authored and chronicled Bob’s recovery. They eventually founded the Bob Woodruff Foundation, an organization that aides and assists injured or wounded veterans and their families.  Both couples demonstrated remarkable resilience and commitment to what must have been both physically and emotionally difficult times and a fantastic strain on their relationship.
I would like to ask both Caretakers, Mark Kelly and Lee Woodruff, more of the conventional type of questions; The primary ones being:
            * How did they do it,
            * Did they ever have any short-comings or doubts,
            * What circumstances tested the strength of their commitments
Even though I’m considered to be ‘higher functioning’ and relatively unscathed from the more traditional /stereotypical effects of having a stroke; I am not void of the psychosocial sided effects of a brain injury.

This article was brought about by a writing project in the Gray Matters Support Group on the topic of The Loneliness of Brain Injury.  Around the time frame of my suffering the stroke, I was involved in what most would describe as a committed, long-term relationship. The strain of surviving and recovering from this injury proved to be more than the relationship could endure; breaching her expectations and the parameters of her tolerance, capabilities, or so I surmise.  There was an abundance of help available for me, the ”survivor” and unfortunately little left for the Caretaker, supporter, and partner. Needless to say, we were left to our own devices, and we bore the brunt of the affects of my injury being uninformed and alone. The consequence seemed inevitable and definitively absolute.

I have navigated most of my recovery journey solo and alone pining for my lost companionship and engaged in what I feel is a futile, sometimes emasculating search or endeavor to find a replacement. San Diego, is a very disparaging little town for someone who no longer is permitted to drive or disabled to any degree. Many of the effects of a brain injury/disability lack transparency, thus the adage, “a hidden disability”. Barring some obvious physical deficits, an ABI survivor might present as someone void of any physical inadequacies/ challenges, and functioning with normal ambitions or desires, yet sometimes oblivious to the ‘fog, lack of clarity in the thought processes   I have learned to put a cynical spin on the old adage, “The body is willing, but the mind is weak. “
Gifford, Kelly, and the Woodruffs continue to be activists for the advocacy of people with brain injuries through speaking engagements and have authored several books about recovering from  a TBI; its effects on one’s self , spouse or partner and family.  I have always contended that in the immediate or interim aftermath of a brain injury there is an inordinate amount of attention given to remediating / ‘rehabbing’ the physical deficits and that attention to the psychosocial side effects should more equitably assigned. This could easily balance the recovery  processes by making those aspects of the disability that are considered ‘hidden’ more transparent AND RECOGNIZABLE. If treatment for the psychosocial effects of an ABI would’ve been on parity  as that applied for the physiological impairments, the demise of my former relationship may not have been so unavoidable.

Michael Murphy,  MACP

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Why you Need to Give Your Brain a Break

Beyond work, these days, there are things, consciously and subconsciously, pulling at our attention. This article elaborates on this and gives suggestions in how to take breaks.

Good info!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Depressive thoughts can be "rogue waves" appearing and disappearing instantly

Life After Brain Injury — Watching Out for Rogue Waves

                                                                                           David and Sarah Grant

Occasionally, rogue waves make the news here in New England. For those unfamiliar with rogue waves, they are solitary creatures, spawned many miles offshore. They roll in catching unsuspecting sea-goers by surprise. Not your average wave, these enormous waves have been known to wash innocent souls out to sea. 

They come out of nowhere, crash our shorelines and recede as quickly as they rise. They are simply part of life for anyone with coastal roots.
And just like seaborne waves can wreak havoc, so can the emotional waves that come with living as a brain injury survivor. Like their aquatic counterparts, they originate out of nowhere, offer a bit of emotional catastrophic damage, then recede, sometimes as quickly as they came.

As the four-year anniversary of my traumatic brain injury nears, an emotional rogue wave has come close to swamping my boat. And like those caught unaware at the seashore, I have been caught completely off-guard.

The last couple of weeks, I have seen a huge resurgence in the overwhelming sense of loss and grief. Shared before, my hope was to be that one-in-a-million person who completely recovered from a brain injury. For so many years, my "plan" was to wake up one day, wipe the sleep out of my eyes, and like magic I would be who I was before my brain injury—whoever that was.

Ever so slowly, I am letting go of that secret hope. Sometimes, I am okay with the fact that this is my life and that I have to make the most of it. At other times, the dark thoughts come back. The rogue wave that has crashed over me tries to pull me under. 

During the first year of my new life as a survivor, a therapist saved my life.  She made me promise that if I ever considered looking for a “fast pass” to the finish line of life, I would call her first. "If I suspect that you are going to harm yourself, you know what I have to do," she said with the civility of a drill sergeant. At that point in my life, a locked psychiatric ward with no doorknobs and the removal of my shoelaces held no real appeal.

Feeling the weight of it all, this past week I Googled "brain injury and suicide." No, I have no intention of cashing in my chips. Rather, I was more than a bit curious about how many others died from traumatic brain injury long after the initial injury. The numbers were staggering.

My new life these days is defined by living close to complete transparency. I share more than most ever will, knowing that my own complete disclosure will help others to feel less alone and less isolated. As my wife Sarah has shared since life forever changed in November of 2010, "the curse will become a blessing."

The process of evolving from one person to another almost completely different person is often hard to describe to those who have not lived it. But it is a process. There will be good days, and there will be tough days. On the tough days, it helps to remind myself that I have a 100% track record of success in making it through the tougher days.

And that rogue emotional wave that came crashing down? Unlike solo beachcombers, I don't have to ride that treacherous wave alone.  In the years that have passed since my traumatic brain injury, I have met many others who have successfully navigated the unfamiliar waters of life after brain injury. Their support and success gives me hope that I can find a way, however haltingly, to live this second life I now have. 

If today is one of "those days," where the wave looks too big, too much to handle, too overwhelming, try to remember that you are not as alone as you might think. Others are there to help you find your way.

P.S. from David: “If suicide ever seems like a real option to you or a loved one, please seek the help of a medical professional IMMEDIATELY” .

It is important to be aware that these waves come out of nowhere and can disappear just as quickly as they appear (if we allow them to).  If we fester on them, they will stick around and can even turn into a riptide!  

Monday, April 4, 2016


This is Gray Matters Survivor Outreach

Survivors reaching out to survivors

Gray Matters

More to come...

Please pardon our slow cadence.