Living with a Borrowed Brain

According to CNN, she was “traveling on a highway in the Blue Ridge Mountains” when her car “hit a patch of black ice, skidded across three lanes of traffic and crashed into a median.” She walked away from the accident, but a week later Lindsey Corley stated experiencing additional injuries.

The effects of brain injury largely depend on the location and severity of damage. No two injuries are exactly alike which means that the symptoms experienced by one person may be different than the symptoms experienced by another person. Although the degree of injury may vary from person to person, there are a few symptoms experienced by many brain injury survivors. My injury was the result of brain cancer and treatment of the cancer, but some of the symptoms I experienced are similar to those described by Lindsey Corley in the following video.

During her interview with CNN, Corley revealed that due to the concussion she forgot how to perform basic tasks such as:

  • Brushing her teeth
  • Combing her hair
  • Feeding the dog
  • Driving
  • Typing
  • Cleaning

I believe that two of the most important comments made during her interview are:

  • She “mistakenly thought concussions only happened to people who lose      consciousness.” She did not lose consciousness, yet she had a concussion.
  • She felt she could “push through the pain” and everything would get better. She was wrong.


1. True or False: It is possible to be happy while recovering from brain injury.

2. True or False: Brain injury can result from internal and external forces.

3. True or False: Concussions only occur when a person loses consciousness.

4. True or False: Getting back to normal is likely by doing nothing aside from pushing through the pain.

5. True or False: Some brain injuries cause people to forget how to perform basic tasks.

Thanks to CNN and Lindsey Corley for their contributions to this post.



  1. Hi Scott,
    This article is excellent in how you word the difficulties and accomplishments of dealing with brain injury.
    You have such a positive attitude with REAL ideas and strategies on how daily life can be changed with knowledge and most importantly attitude.
    1. TRUE – It is definitely possible to be happy while recovering from a brain injury. Being happy needs to learn to use the strategies learned in the ABI program (also college, if applicable) and by taking this information home with you when you are alone, with friends, or family. I think the most important thing for me is: practice, practice!

    2. TRUE – Brain injury is not selective in cause. It can come from anywhere. It can effect both physical and emotional reactions to everyday life.

    3. FALSE – Concussions can apparent right away, or a later date. It can also be invisible. It can be a one-time incident, or it can come from continual attacks to the brain, like in sports.

    4. FALSE – Doing nothing will probably result in nothing. You should try to do everything possible to help yourself. Having a person or persons to give you feedback on small or big improvements is very helpful. It is so easy to see someonelse improving, but they don’t see it at the same pace. I think of it like exercise. “use It or Lose It.” Improvement in cognitive skills and tools don’t come automatically, I wish it did. Reality is, repairing brain damage isn’t really repaiing, but rather trying to help lessen the deficits. There are a million different incapacities that come with brain injury. Some small, like being able to walk, talk, drive a car, etc. Some big, like different forms of aphasia.

    5. TRUE – I have problems with being confused quite a bit, and my short-term memory isn’t very good. that’s the bad news, or reality. But reality doesn’t have to be permanent. Some times it can be improved with time and working on the problem. Having faith in yourself should never be forgotten. You can learn to appreciate the help and love you receive from others; which might have happened before you had the brain injury and didn’t need somelse’s help so much. It sometimes takes a lot of thought and remebering the steps you learned to do something that wasn’t given a second thought before the brain injury.

    Thank you for the information and inspiration you have given to many of us. Family members and friends can be compassionate; but they don’t completley know how it feels to lose a big part of your daily life & how you function, because they have “normal brain functioning” whatever that is!

    1. Bob,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your comments. I agree with your answers.

      1. Many people who experience brain injury are mad that brain injury happened to them. The anger builds and overflows into many other areas of life such as relationships and communication. Since a negative attitude is more likely to cause problems and it will do nothing to eliminate brain injury, people might as well learn to think of brain injury as an opportunity rather than an event that took everything from them.

      2. Your answer is perfect as it is.

      3.Concussions may or may not result in someone losing consciousness

      4. There is no question in my mind that doing nothing results in nothing, and that pushing through the pain is equivalent to doing nothing. Pushing through the pain is really avoiding the problem rather than addressing the problem.

      5. After surgery, I forgot how to eat, drink, and walk. I forgot basic words and could not complete sentences. My memory was, and still is, bad. The problems have now disappeared, thanks to therapy.

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