Making Lemonade after Brain Injury

After someone is blind-sided by trauma recovering a sense of self, and purpose in life, can be over-whelming.

Six years ago, a brain surgery to remove a malformed cluster of blood vessels in Sara’s brainstem, irrevocably changed the direction of her life.  Due to the disabilities the surgery caused, she could not return to her job at a local university – the difference in her physical self, abilities and self-identity turned her world upside-down.

“I dwelt on how awful this change was when I had too much idle time or felt adrift.  I didn’t want such constant negativity.  Nor just to exist.  I needed a new life purpose and direction.”

Sara enjoyed writing but never had time to devote to it when her life was divided between working and raising a young family.  She learned Simon Fraser University offers an eight-month online creative writing program which Sara just completed.

Janelle Breese Biagioni, who has been working with Sara through The Cridge Brain Injury Services, believed learning how to use social media might reduce isolation and help Sara gain confidence by interacting with others.  Through the generous funding of the Zoie Gardner fund, Janelle arranged some in-home social media tutoring sessions.  In addition to learning some basics of online communication, Sara started a blog about making life easier and more accessible through her experiences.

“I am thrilled to have an outlet that gives my life purpose and meaning. I’m so thankful to Janelle and The Cridge Centre for the Family for helping and supporting me.”

Helping a survivor find a new purpose in life can help their resiliency and recovery. Social media doesn’t replace face-to-face contact, but is a step in the right direction for Sara and finding a new place in her community.  In this case, establishing and designing a different direction after an unpredictable trauma has been paramount to rebuild self-identity and integration.

To learn more about Sara, visit her blog at