Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

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Musings by Donna #39 TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury – One Size Does Not Fit All

There are several books published about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Of course there is Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey, which is amazing. It took Jill nearly eight years to regain her near-normal self after suffering a stroke. She has been a speaker about this subject for TED talks. Her talk, called How It Feels to Have a Stroke, is worth every minute of the nearly twenty minutes. Dr. Taylor is a neuroanatomist, a scientist, who studies the nervous system of the brain.

There is also a book by Valerie Greene, another stroke survivor called, Conquering Stroke. Though doctors told her she may never walk or talk again, Valerie had other plans. Her determination, and about ten years, propelled her to writing her book to raise the awareness of stroke and giving hope to stroke victims and their families.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was written by ELLE editor, Jean-Dominique Bauby who survived his stroke with a totally paralyzed body. His only functional part was his left eye. With this eye and a system of blinks, (ex.: 2 blinks for A, 3 for B) he wrote the account of his stroke. He died shortly after his book was published.

Lee Woodruff wrote In an Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing. It’s a book about her husband, Bob Woodruff, a news corespondent for ABC News, the TBI he received while on assignment in Taji, Iraq when a bomb struck the tank in which he was riding, and his journey to regain his life.

There are other books out there, but these are, in my opinion, the best. A new book, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope, will be published later this month by Mark Kelly, Congresswoman, Gabrielle Gifford’s husband, which will recount Gabby’s struggles after being seriously injured by a gun shot to her head near Tucson, Arizona in January 2011. I am eager to read this book.

And if this is not enough, then wait for my book to be published. My book, title to be announced, is an account of my husband, David’s, traumatic brain injury, his fierce dedication to recover, and his return to his Columbia University lab – all the while living as normal a life as possible. I am within site of the completion of the second editing of my book. Copy editing to follow – then on to the tedious process to locate a publisher. Wish me luck!

I hope that my account of David’s determination, perseverance, and healing in style and with grace, will stand proudly on the shelves of libraries and book stores around the world. I hope that it will be an aid to others who  suffer from or will suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury, for their families who tenderly care for them, and for the thousands of professional caretakers in hospitals and nursing homes who daily tend to the needs of their brain injured patients.

Neuroanatomist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor; Businesswoman, Valerie Greene; ELLE Editor, Jean-Dominique Bauby; ABC News Corespondent, Bob Woodruff; Congresswoman, Gabby Giffords; and Columbia Professor of Microbiology, Dr. David Figurski share a commonality … the will to live and the determination to do it well and with grace.

I salute each of you.


November 4, 2011 - Posted by | Musings by Donna, Traumatic Brain Injury - TBI | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Another good book is:

    Where is the Mango Princess? A Journey Back from Brain Injury Paperback
    by Cathy Crimmins

    I read it while my hubby was in the hospital. I loved it!

    Comment by Bridgett | March 18, 2014 | Reply

  2. HI Bridgett,
    I agree. I also read “Where is the Mango Princess” early on. I could relate to the story even more because I knew where it actually happened in Ontario, Canada. Another sad story!
    But did you figure out how the title applied? I totally missed that.

    All best, Donna

    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | March 19, 2014 | Reply

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