4 out of 4 stars
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But My brain Had Other Ideas: A Memoir of Recovery from Brain Injury is a touching and inspiring book written by Deb Brandon.
Just when she thought she was going home with hopeful anticipation that she would be reunited with her family after two painful surgeries to fix her cavernous angiomas, author Deb Brandon was scheduled for a third surgery.
Cavernous angiomas are defects in the smallest blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord. They may develop, grow and bleed. Bleeding may subject a patient to brain surgery or not, depending on the location of the angioma and the possible consequences. Candidates for brain surgery are considerably lucky compared to those who are not.
With thirty one chapters and with foreword by Connie Lee, president of Angioma Alliance, the book starts after Deb’s two brain surgeries and a week of intensive rehab. The story then proceeds to flash backs depicting the early manifestations of symptoms, including dizziness, problem with balance and tingling in the left arm, that lead to the author’s consulting a neurologist. The MRI shows bleeding which originates from cavernous angiomas.
The book, which basically features a life-threatening condition, also describes one courageous person’s fight for life (both personal and professional), independence, and sense of self after a life-changing medical ordeal. With gargantuan level of determination and perseverance, the author refuses to just give up on everything that is important to her. By knowing the nature of her condition, she is able to prepare for possible attacks of sensory overload and find immediate albeit temporary relief. By accepting her disability for what it really is, the author is able to live a more meaningful life with new appreciation for everything the world has to offer.
The book is an easy read with a touch of humor and, at some points, even sarcasm that lighten up an otherwise serious narrative. The author is able to portray in vivid details the pain, discomfort, fear, anger, hope, disappointment, joy and other emotions she felt in the roller coaster ride that her life has become. Every page gives the readers a jolt, a reminder of how beautiful a pain-free life is. The story makes the readers feel thankful for things they don’t know they are lucky to have like coordination and the ability to speak, and things they take for granted that the author cherishes like independence, family, friends, work and hobbies.
However, I had a little difficulty in following the timeline of events, when the author discussed something that happened pre-surgery and post-surgery probably because the story is not told in chronological order. Other readers, though, may not find it difficult at all.
I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It is well written, informative, inspiring and encouraging. I recommend it to family and friends of brain injury survivors and to brain injury survivors themselves. This book will help family and friends understand what their patient is going through, will validate the patient’s feelings and will make him/her feel he/she is not alone.
But My Brain Had Other Ideas
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