Hi Everyone,

Today was a good day for the Beattie woman. Caitlin and I headed to North Jersey to attend the BIA-NJ annual Conference and Corey worked hard at Bryn Mawr. I called to check in every 45 mins during the day and each time the staff shared she was asking for me but they were able to distract her. Late this afternoon, Corey’s two girlfriends Selina and Elaine came to visit until she went to bed. The girls had a great time visiting and started decorating her casts. Her graffiti will be the envy of the other patients in the gym!

The report on therapies went well including a Cooking session with OT. Tomorrow BMRH will be hosting a bake sale to benefit BIA National Association. Corey and Amanda made Double Chocolate Chip cookies for the event.

While Corey worked hard at her therapy sessions, Caitlin and I were busy attending seminars. Our day started with a private breakfast with Marilyn Price Spivack, co-founder of BIA. Marilyn and I have been talking frequently for more than a year. Although we never met face to face before this morning, when we looked at each other we instantly recognized one another! Marilyn is affectionately known as the Godmother of Brain Injury. I’m so honored to call her my adopted Godmother. We chatted about the conference and becoming a professional advocate. We discussed the presentation we are giving as well as future speaking opportunities. She is an inspiration to me and I feel privileged to have her as a mentor in my life.

Marilyn was the Keynote speaker for the opening of today’s conference. Her topic was Resilience – a Process or a Trait? In her opinion it’s a trait turned into a process. Part of that process is willingness to be open minded, finding humor everyday, communicating and sharing your feelings, staying optimistic because it keeps you hopeful, thinking creatively as it will help you be resourceful and tenacious, trying to be empathetic and generous with your spirit, maintaining your social capital ~ networking is crucial to survival and most important; never stop questioning and searching for new answers.

Marilyn’s talk energized us. It was time for classes. Caitlin and I divided to conquer the conference.
Our courses included;
~Cognitive Rehab – is there an APP for that?;
~Successful Treatment of Post Traumatic Headaches and Dizziness;
~A Music Centered Approach to Neuro-Rehabilitation;
~Outcomes Research – data collected by acute care rehabilitation and how it’s used;
~Neuropsychiatry, Behavioral Neurology and TBI Rehabilitation ~ a study in Neuropharmacology for TBI treatment. (The last drug class Caitlin attended was DARE in 5th grade. She was surprised that this class actually encouraged drug use!)

I’m very happy to report that Caitlin takes great notes! Many of the topics were detailed and quite serious. However, going to school with Caitlin keeps the facts in perspective and there was just enough laughter, giggling and note passing (via text) that we enjoyed each session, learned a great deal and didn’t get sent to the principals office.

Corey one of my favorite speeches today was given by a woman that received an award for her work with TBI patients. She explained that TBI patients reminded her of butterfly’s. They didn’t start in a cocoon. They were living their lives as caterpillars enjoying their world until one day a force of nature changed the life they knew.

They became encased in a dark foreign world. They struggle and fight to work their way free from their binding. When they finally emerge, they still can’t fly. The butterfly continues to flap their wings until one day they catch a passing wind, and then another one, until they are lifted to fly away.

No one can do this for them. They must find it within themselves to break their way free from the obstacles that restrict them in order to learn how to live again.

This story made me think of you. There are days you are still in your cocoon. You are struggling to relearn so much. I believe you are slowly breaking free. There are moments you can feel the wind. Although you can’t be lifted up yet, it’s coming. You are still evolving and before you realize it, you will take off, xoxo