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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

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From Medical News

When Maria Ross' husband found his healthy and active wife unconscious on the bathroom floor, the pair had no idea they would embark on a journey into the world ofbrain injury, learning more about how trauma affects the brain - and your identity - than they ever cared to know.

Ross, an entrepreneurial branding consultant, speaker and writer, nearly died in 2008 at age 35 when an undetected brain aneurysm ruptured, causing a severe brain hemorrhage. Luckily, her husband happened to be home and called 911. She was rushed to the emergency room where doctors performed emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. The Subarachnoid Hemorrhage she suffered is fatal in about half of all cases and 10-15 percent of victims die before reaching the hospital.

We rarely get to hear firsthand what it's like to experience a near-fatal brain injury because, sadly, many survivors don't recover enough memory and cognitive function to tell us. Not so with Ross. In her new book, "Rebooting My Brain: How a Freak Aneurysm Reframed My Life" (May 1, 2012), Ross offers readers hope, advice and inspiration about the surprising effects of brain injury and shares how she got back on her feet after this unforeseen crisis

Brain injuries account for 22 percent of injuries to troops returning from Afghanistan andIraq, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. And every 45 seconds in the United States, someone suffers a stroke, the American Heart Association reports.

Ross impressed doctors with her amazing recovery. She did not come out unscathed, however: after surgery, Ross was delusional for several days and blind for six weeks– all part of her healing process.

While Ross looks fine physically, unseen cognitive and psychological impairments are present even today. After setbacks and a stubborn road back to health, Ross learned a lot about the brain and uses this knowledge today to reframe her life, work and identity. Now Ross is a patient advocate, using her amazing recovery story as a voice for brain injury awareness.

"The brain is a place of mystery, but scientists are learning more about it all the time," says Ross. "Many effects of brain injury are the same no matter whether you have a ruptured aneurysm, traumatic brain injury, a stroke, or a tumor. Through amazing resources, combined with stubbornness, curiosity and fighting spirit, my family and I learned about what was happening and how to adapt to it."

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