Living With Traumatic Brain Injury: An Interview with Lynda McGuirk
Meet Lynda McGuirk: a real champion on overcoming a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her new book, Survive and Thrive: My Traumatic Brain Injury Survival Guide, is a personal guide to dealing with traumatic brain injury. This book gives inspiration and demonstrates the tenacity of the human spirit which can bring positive change to adverse and difficult situations.
One of the first things that stuck out in my mind about her journey was TBI patients are not considered disabled. Regardless of the various forms of occupational and physical therapy TBI suffers endure, the diagnosis never qualifies as a disability. Now I see why Lynda refers to a traumatic brain injury as the invisible disease.
What isn’t invisible is the way TBI, which resulted from an automobile accident, radically changed Lynda’s life. Instantly she went from a full-time graduate student and manager of two restaurants to a person who didn’t much remember what she did or who she was. An over 12 week hospital stay was necessary for rehabilitation and training in basic life functions and habits.
Survive and Thrive: My Traumatic Brain Injury Survival Guide, is not a sad story; rather it is a story of inspiration on how to rechannel your life and business goals into a new fulfilling lifestyle after trauma. Lynda shares three components of recovery that she suggest every TBI patient keep in mind. A strong support system, openness to opportunities and a willingness to think outside the box were key to managing the three basic areas of your life (finances, housing and work).
Ms. McGuirk credits her support system including amazing health professionals with providing what she needed to physically heal while learning to walk, talk and regain her strength. She also credits her recovery to good friends who looked after her and ensured that basic things like grocery shopping, paying bills and necessities were taken care of. She highlights the importance of this part of your support system: if you don’t have money saved to hire people to care for you, the result could be financial bankruptcy since there are no financial assistance programs for TBI since it is not considered a disability.
Lynda also stressed the need to be open to accepting offers of assistance from others because your need for provision and resources is greater due to your limitations to provide for yourself. During this time, you must think outside the box and accept that things have changed in your life. Lynda attributes changing her career as what gave her a new prospective on life, courage and a sense of accomplishment.
McGuirk also wants readers and sufferers to know that TBI never stops affecting you. She still only has 95% of her memory, has to do regular self-monitoring, suffers from treatment side effects including seizures, is on medication and lacks verbal discernment of what to and not to say. Regardless, she has completed her Master’s Degree in Hospitality Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst since being diagnosed with TBI. She is also the owner of McGuirk Management Small Business Organization Service.
Lynda has developed a diet and exercise program for TBI sufferers and it is her dream to open a retreat in Belize for TBI survivors and their families. To learn more, please visit www.lyndamcguirk.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Get a copy of her book, Survive and Thrive: My Traumatic Brain Injury Survival Guide on Amazon and Net Galley.