The Team Seth Traumatic Brain Injury Foundation
Call Us At: (318) 884-3133

What We Did to Help Our Son's Brain Heal
Disclaimer:  This is not a medical reference and we are not medical professionals. These are some helpful tips that we used to help our son's recovery process to heal his brain.
Seth’s mantra is “Quitting lasts forever, Pain lasts for a moment, so PUSH THROUGH IT!” That is something you will need to learn to do... Push Through It. While focusing on how far you have to go, don’t forget to look at how far you have already come. On the days you are weary... keep pushing. When there’s no one around to encourage you... keep pushing. When you are angry and frustrated, use that frustration to keep pushing. No matter how hard it is or how much it hurts — don’t stop fighting to get your life back. Push Through It! 

The following are some things that were very helpful during Seth’s recovery:

FAITH...
My Faith has been the most instrumental part of my recovery. Having faith in Jesus Christ, my savior and my healer, and having confidence that He hears me and is able to heal me helps. All through the day, I pray and give thanks — especially when I’m frustrated. It helps me calm down and give it over to God.

ATTITUDE...
It is imperative to have a Positive Attitude and to remember that if you want your life back, you will have to FIGHT FOR IT. No one else can fight for you. They can only fight with you. It will not be easy, but it’s your life and your recovery and only YOU can determine the level of commitment you give to rebuilding your life.

SENSE OF HUMOR...
Laughter really is the best medicine to help you focus forward and make the best of what is. It helps to learn to laugh at your mistakes or what you have to relearn. Laughter will also help keep you from falling into depression and feeling like a colossal mess-up. Watch funny shows or listen to a comedian; it is proven to release.

ATMOSPHERE...
The power of a positive, uplifting atmosphere is essential to healing and recovery. Surround yourself with people who are encouragers. Try to limit those who are negative and who stress you out. Music is great to help set your atmosphere. Seth starts out every morning with high- energy, upbeat music. When he is stressed, ‘chills-out’ to spa-like music and sleeps to something similar.

LETTING GO OF THE PAST...
The person you were before your accident, and the person you are now after acquiring a brain injury, are two different people. The ‘essence’ of who you were remains, along with some of the memories of your past, but understanding that you are different and accepting that will help you move forward in your recovery. This is true for both the patient and the family members.
(I tell Seth he is the new and improved Seth 2.0 version) ;)

GRIEVE...
It is a normal part of the recovery process to feel sadness and a great sense of loss for the person you once were and of the life you would have had. The grieving process is actually a continuation of letting go of the past. Until you and your loved ones allow yourselves to grieve, you will remain stuck in an in-between place and unable to move into your future.

EMBRACING AND ACCEPTING THE ‘NEW YOU’...
This stage will be difficult for those around you. Although they are grateful you are alive, it is still difficult to see their loved one in so much pain. It will hinder your recovery if you are constantly trying to ‘become the old you’ everyone knew.

SUPPORT BASE...
Surround yourself with people who are patient and encouraging — those who will give you a good motivational speech and keep you focused forward. You will find that many of your old friends and family will not be strong enough to stay in your life. Many people you were close to will abandon you because they don’t have what it takes to stand and fight this battle with you. Get mad, and then Get Over It!!! Don’t waste your energy or lose your focus trying to figure out ‘WHY’ they no longer call or visit. Make New Friends by getting involved in Special Olympics or finding a support group. You only need a couple of true blue, stand-by-you friends.

EXERCISE...
Do what you can with what you’ve got! Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Don’t be discouraged — the recovery process is slow. If you do a little everyday, then every day you will be one step closer. Set small goals and then work hard to achieve them. Brain injury will cause you to feel very tired quickly, but using your energy to exercise will actually produce energy. It is medically proven to help to grow brain cells, especially in the hippocampus area, which affects memory. Exercise also releases Serotonin which helps you feel happy and optimistic. And when you exercise outdoors in the sunshine you are getting a double dose of the ‘feel good vitamin,’ Vitamin D.
When Seth came home from the hospital, he would have to use his wheelchair because he could not walk long distances. He wore a brace on his right leg to walk short distances and he needed assistance. We began with two people, one on each side of him, holding onto his arms and walking him down the street we live on. Once he could walk unassisted, we began working with him the same way to be able to jog... then able to run. He still had to wear a brace on his right hand, which was still closed into a fist. We bought tiny dumbbells and would help him lift them. We took a tray and put nuts and bolts on it and had him put them together and then take them a part. Think outside the box and do something — anything — just don’t sit idle waiting on the perfect therapy to ‘fix you.’ Work hard to fix yourself.

BRAIN GAMES...
The great thing about technology is that you literally have Brain Games at your fingertips any time of the day or night. Seth was still unable to use his right hand, and was not too coordinated with his left, when we begin downloading some brain games in the hospital. Card game and board games were also great — anything you can do to force the brain to process and think strategically is helping it to get better. For example, if you struggle with Speech, as Seth did, we found it helped him to practice a page or more of handwriting each day. This process helps rewire and rebuild the Language Center in the brain.

NUTRITION...
Nutrition and vitamins are very important for your brain health. The following are all very beneficial for new, healthy brain cell growth and improvement in memory and cognitive function:
Blueberries - While Seth was still in the hospital, we put blueberries in everything as soon as he was able to eat real food. He ate tons frozen or fresh blueberries and he drank gallons of blueberry juice. We put them in oatmeal, yogurt, ice-cream, etc. Seth continues to eat 2 cups per day in oatmeal or a smoothie.
Coconut Oil - We would give him 2 tablespoons a day of cold, pressed coconut oil. We also used this as a lotion massage his body after showering. Coconut oil is proven to bypass the blood-brain barrier to give the brain energy. Seth continues to take 2 tbsp per day.
Fish Oil - In the beginning, we would give him 12 a day (6 in morning and 6 at night). He now takes half that dose.
Turmeric Curcumin - He takes one a day.

GRATITUDE...
Be grateful to God for a second chance at life and be fully aware that every day is a gift. Take notice of all the small things in your life that remind you that YOU ARE ALIVE. You are less likely to be depressed when you begin to give thanks for everything in your life, no matter how big or how small. They are all reminders that God sees you and you are important to Him.

PURPOSE...
Be confident in this... You are still here for a reason. Now it’s up to you what will you do with your life. Will you waste it or make it count? You can bring Purpose to your Pain by using what you came through to encourage others who are going through a difficult or traumatic situation. One way we do this is by going back to hospitals and visiting TBI patients. We also volunteer with Special Olympics and participate in community events. Helping others serves as a reminder there is always someone fighting a battle more difficult than yours. It is empowering to know that you took what was meant to destroy you, and used it to give someone else Hope that they can overcome their own struggle.

Your story is not finished. There is nothing stopping you from going back to college to get a degree or maintaining a job. You may have obstacles in front of you resulting from your brain injury, but they can’t stop you unless you let them. You will have to be creative in figuring out a way around or over those obstacles, but you can overcome them if you don’t quit. No matter what the well-intended experts say you can or cannot do, it is up to you to prove them wrong. It may take you longer to do it, but if you fight hard enough and long enough you will succeed.

One of Seth’s tattoos is the Latin phrase “Carpe Diem,” which means “Seize the day!” It is 
more than a saying, it is a philosophy of life that means, “Live your life today, with no regret for tomorrow. Don’t waste a breath God has given you.” I pray you Live your life in a way that inspires others.