Portrait: Mary

Mary experienced a traumatic brain injury aged 2 years old. She tells us about the lifelong impact of a fall as a toddler.

A Little bit about Mary 

My name is Mary and I had a traumatic brain injury when I was around two years old. I have had to deal with the effects of that injury all my life. I was in the yard playing and fell and hit my head on a tree stump.

Little did my parents know at the time I had developed a subdural hematoma on my head and had slipped into a coma.

I had to be air lifted to a bigger hospital where they did a craniotomy to take the blood clot off of my head that was the size of a tennis ball. They told my parents that they did not think I would survive, but if I did, I would be a vegetable.  


Ongoing challenges 

I did survive and I’m not a vegetable, but now aged 47. I have lasting effects of this head injury to this day. I had difficulty learning in school and was in special classes. I attempted college but it was super difficult and ended up quitting. I still struggle with things and it’s hard to help my kids with their homework, which gives me anxiety. As a kid, I was on medicine for years which wreaked havoc on my teeth. I’d often be at the dentist and required root canals. Now that I’m older, I have major anxiety over going to the dentist. 


Celebrating my strengths 

What I lack in reading comprehension skills, I make up for with a higher sense of emotion. I have a deep sense of feeling and compassion. I love music: it’s my soul food! Music has gotten me through so many things in my life. I really listen to the words.

I am so happy to connect with others because it is very difficult sometimes and people don’t really understand unless they have been through it.

I have never had a support system like the one I found within the brain injury community, and I am so grateful to have found one! Thank you for allowing me to share my story. 


What the future holds 

The last MRI I had was about 5 or 6 years ago and the dead spot on my brain is about the size of two walnuts, which I didn’t realize was that big. The doctors said they don’t know how I’ll be in 10 years or 20 years, which is pretty difficult, but I live for today and enjoy the present. Life was so hard for many years. But I’m grateful now having my boys and a wonderful husband. 

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