A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a type of injury that happens to roughly over 1 million people each year. Of those injuries, about 1% of them are considered severe TBI. They are normally caused by car accidents or other high-impact injuries.
Before I was thrown into the world of TBIs, I knew hardly anything on the subject. My dad’s identical twin brother, my Uncle Lee, was one of the only people I knew that had had a TBI. He fell down a flight of stairs at a mall in 2004 and severely damaged his brain. He had died, came back to life, and still has issues up until today.
I knew what a coma was and I knew that the brain was very VERY delicate. I did not understand that people who are considered in a coma do not magically “wake up” one day like they show in the movies. Instead it is a very long, painful process that slowly happens over time. I compare it to someone trying to lose weight; a person loses about one pound a week but no one notices any results until 20 weeks later and that person has lost 20 pounds and is considered thin.
Sherrin’s injury is one of the most severe and devastating. She was diagnosed with diffuse axonal injury (DAI), meaning that there was injury throughout her brain and not just one spot. Because of this, the doctors were not able to alleviate the initial swelling in her brain by removing part of her skull- her injury was too severe and too delicate. It would have killed her if the doctors removed part of Sherrin’s skull.
What I also learned is that over 90% of people with DAIs will remain in a vegetative state for the rest of their lives, and of those 10% that do rise from a coma will live with significantly impaired lives.
After 5 1/2 months of being in a vegetative state, my sister beat every odd against her and was considered awake. She is getting better, she is coming back, and she is my miracle.
I love you Sherrin.