In the early eighties, I was in a car accident, which resulted in an emergency brain surgery and a coma. When I woke, I found I had forgotten how to speak along with the rest of my memory. For various reasons, I fell through brain injury support cracks in society, allowing me to never acknowledge my handicap.
Despite this burden, I have a long list of accomplishments in my life. I was an actor and received the first theater scholarship ever awarded from Olympic College and attended to Cornish college of the arts. I Learned technology and satellite communications. Was involved with three successful start-up companies. I even designed, built, and maintained a global satellite internet network. Which, by the way, is the network the soldiers are still using to contact their families from the Mideast.
Never acknowledging my handicap. I lived a life full of social communication issues and an inability to form lasting relationships. There is a long list of associated symptoms of brain injury that I simply accepted as who I was. Unknowingly, I would use each of them to describe myself. Around twenty years ago, the effects of aging with my brain injury began. Inevitably increasing the symptoms. The effects on my memory, mood, and focus could not be ignored.
That was when I found the Kitsap Brain Injury support groups. I learned to identify problem areas and develop my own personal workarounds. With the tools provided by Kitsap Brain Injury, I was able to become a good student and earn my bachelor of arts and science at The Evergreen State College. My MBA from Western Governors University was my next accomplishment. Most recently, I earned my MPA from Wichita State University with certifications in nonprofit management and economic development.
I am now over 40 years into my brain injury journey. What keeps me moving forward is the thought that I can make recovering from a brain injury easier for others. My experience as an older traumatic brain injury survivor will be valuable as I assist new survivors in navigating life, ultimately giving my scars value.Roberta Dueno - Co-Chair - Secretary
In processDonovan Viet - Co Chair - Treasurer
In March 1969 I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury due to going headfirst through a VW windshield. At this time vary little was known about Brain Injury and it was thought if you could walk and talk that you weren't seriously injured (which isn't the case). I was in a coma for six weeks and in the hospital for another week.
I had to relearn how to walk, talk and eat (it was easier to learn the second time around). I knew something was wrong with me though I didn't know what or how to express it. Later I learned it was mainly emotional handicap that resulted from my injury. I am still emotionally liable, though I have gotten a lot better at controlling my emotions. I was only 11 when I was injured, so I still in my developmental years. I was in the fifth grade and finished high school with my class in 1976.
Despite the injury I have an extensive college education: two Bachelor of Business Administration degrees, two Masters degrees (M.S. in Business and MBA), and a Doctorate in Education (emphasis Brain Injury Awareness). While getting my second Masters I joined a Brain Injury support group in San Francisco, CA and started writing my book on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI As Seen Through the Eyes of a Survivor, available on Amazon.com)
After moving to Washington I joined the Brain Injury support groups in Kitsap County. My 53+ year TBI journey makes it easier to share with other brain injury survivors the journey ahead.