Portrait: Hanna Maria
At the age of 29 I survived a head-on collision. My brain moved around so much that the mid-line shifted entirely.
A little bit about Hanna
My name is Hanna Maria and in 2022, at the age of 29, I survived a head-on collision with a truck to no fault of my own. I suffered punctured lungs, brain bleed and around 20 broken bones, my skull included. All of this gave me the horrific diagnosis of TBI. In addition to the brain bleed the force of the accident meant that my brain moved around so much that the mid-line shifted entirely.
My prognosis wasn’t good but after 10 days in coma I woke and started surprising everyone with my recovery. It wasn’t easy by any means. My speech was slurred and a regular occurrence for my family was to hear me repeat myself again and again. I was not able to watch tv because of my brain fog and the simplest of tasks left me exhausted. Doctors described me as “simple-minded” and mentioned that this was how I was going to be my whole life. If anything, I knew it was not going to be my destiny.
Challenging status quo
I fought and I was so motivated because from the moment I woke up, I wanted to go home and that wish never left me. Fast forward 8 months and I have now returned to living independently. I count myself as incredibly lucky as I experience very few symptoms related to my injury. My memory has almost returned, but there are moments where I cannot remember words and what happened at a specific point of time. My speech is almost back to normal, but in myself I can still tell the moments where it’s not perfect. Speaking in some situations makes me uncomfortable so it affects me socially. I experience some mild issues with my balance and my eyesight, too.
I am diligent with my recovery and always analyze myself in case something new comes up.
I have a wonderful team around me to support me through this and give me the best chance to live a full life for many more years to come. I do believe that physical therapy plays a role in my brain recovery. I read a lot, solve crosswords puzzles and even use brain developing apps and games on my phone to keep challenging status quo.
My support system
I get support from my case worker and a therapist. I work with a team of neurological specialists and have previously used speech therapy. My family is one of my biggest sources of support. I have a wonderful boyfriend, Sandeep, who made me cry by dedicating his half marathon to collect money for SameYou. Life is never going to be the same living with a brain injury, but I am so glad of the support received. I am grateful to the people out there working to make sure we live our best lives!
Words of wisdom
”We can do hard things” stemming from the writer, Glennon Doyle.
A friend of mine, as a surprise, made an illustration of my broken thigh with how it looks now with all the metal, stating that quote. It’s something we often say!