Alyssa's Breath™ Breathing hope into traumatic brain injury

About Alyssa's Breathâ„¢

About Traumatic Brain Injury

The human brain controls who and what we are. When the brain is injured, our ability to function can become severely impaired. Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, results from sudden damage to the brain caused by a blow or jolt to the head or by a penetration of the skull and brain; for example, by a bullet. TBI can be the result of an auto accident, violence, falls, sports injuries, lightning, electric shocks, or blows to the head.

What are the symptoms of TBI?
  • Headache
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Blurred Vision
  • Light or Noise Sensitivity
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Attention Problems
  • Memory Problems
  • Problems With Finding Words
  • Trouble Focusing
  • Drowsiness and Excessive Sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Waking Up Tired

Download Traumatic Brain Injury Checklist

Download a copy of Alyssa's Breath™ TBI checklist. Post a copy in your home on the fridge – keep a copy in your purse or wallet – keep a copy in your car. Please feel free to print and share this with your family and friends.

About Alyssa

At 17, Alyssa was preparing for college, planning her future as an attorney, and dreaming of a trip to France. A serious auto accident late one night changed all that. Allysa suffered severe brain trauma, known as TBI – traumatic brain injury.

Allysa's mother, Connie, tells Allysa's story…

OK....This is hard.  Very difficult to put into words the feelings of your heart, I think, especially when describing your child.  This is the story of ALYSSA and a story of  WAITING.
Many of you can remember the nine long months of waiting and dreaming about the new life you were going to bring into the world.  So excited to meet the little person that had already made her presence felt in the womb.  Then long last, you finally meet and the smile and the personality and the touch of your baby melts your heart.  The wait was well worth it!!!
Before you know it, you're waiting for her to get ready for school so the two of you won't be late.  Her makeup and clothes had to be just right and she was quite the fashionista in Jr High.  She was very smart and was proud that she had two years of college classes  behind her before she graduated.  She had a dream of going to France and later becoming an attorney.  She was 17......but...........She has to wait for that dream to come true.
The worst nightmare of any parent is when you receive a call saying your child has been in a car accident.  She's been taken to a nearby hospital but it's too foggy for their "care flight" to fly to the trauma hospital so they will transport her "in the morning".  Trouble is, she's in Kentucky and you live in Ohio. get in your car and you pray all the way and you finally make it to the hospital and you WAIT!!!!!!  What seems like FOREVER!!!
You're finally led to her hospital bed and you know that's your daughter but you can't see through your tears.  The swelling of her brain, the breathing tube in her throat, the monitors showing you're not really sure what.  You just know that's your baby laying there and all you can think is I just want to hold her and tell her it's going to be ok.
Then you meet the doctors and they have no encouraging words..only that she had suffered a severe brain injury known as a TBI.  "We just have to wait" they would say.  Wait for the swelling to go down.  Wait to get her off the ventilator.  Wait for her to come out of the coma and wake up.  Wait for her eyes to open and hear her say "Hi Mom!"
Living this experience is a lot different than reading about it so I'm sure some of you will understand our story.  We learned to Wait,  most of the time,  patiently.  Some times, not so much.  We grieved, we screamed, we cried out to God for a reason.  Those were long dark days the first two months.
Alyssa finally was no longer comatose and able to come off the ventilator.  She couldn't walk and could barely talk and had other brain injury deficits.  She still had a long way to go but we were feeling some stronger ourselves and were anxious to get her home.  But.....we couldn't bring her home.  She needed extensive therapy and we weren't able to accomplish that at home so she was transferred to a rehab in Ohio and we waited some more.  Meeting new staff, new doctors, new therapists.....all those people we entrusted our daughter with.  We came to love some of them because they recognized early on that Alyssa was special...a fighter!  She gave all she had to try to get better and amazingly, always with a smile on her face.

We tried later to get her closer yet to our home so we could see her more often and with that came new doctors, therapists and staff.  Sadly though, with each year that passed since her accident, the prognosis was always "She's not going to get any better..just accept that".  But....we refused to believe that because they just didn't know our Alyssa!!  We would continue to WAIT.
It's so hard to watch your child or any brain injured survivor for that matter, learn to become "compliant" to their injury and to the staff that cares for them.  They can't tell you they want to get up out of that wheelchair and go to school or work or to the store or out dancing or WHEREVER!!!!!!!  They can't tell you they hate to watch football and they hate getting up at 4:30 and they hate wearing a diaper and they hate eating pureed food!!!!!!!!!!!  They're just not being heard and sometimes in our busyness we forget to ask..."Alyssa, what do you want to do today?"  or "Alyssa, what hairstyle do you like best?"  It's just easier to go along and get along, right?  WRONG!!!! So many TBI survivors are screaming inside because they want their lives back but it seems like they're all just going to have to sit back and WAIT!!!!
Well.......Alyssa is stronger than that and so are we.  We, her family and friends, have never given up on the hope that Alyssa will some day be able to enjoy her life again.  We never accepted the prognosis and did research for years in the hopes that one day we would meet someone or hear of a new treatment that would let her walk again.  Research is difficult when you're not sure who you can trust and who you can't.  There are many "doctors" out there that advertise "miracle" therapies and they have testimonials from people who have been "cured" and you find out later those same people were the doctor's staff. have to fly your loved one to Europe or Asia and it will cost a bazillion dollars!!! think about it for 30 seconds then you know in your heart that your loved one isn't well enough to make the flight and you don't have a bazillion dollars so you wait some more!!!
Then, one day, you stumble upon a website that offers TBI therapy.  Hmmmm...that sounds really good.  You've heard of stem cell therapy but what in the world is Hyperbaric Oxygen and ketogenic diet and what's a Quadriciser?????? Stirs your interest,  so you make a conference call and talk to the doctor and his staff and you have one of those "out of body experiences" cause you just KNOW this is what we've all been (you got it)...waiting for!!!  (Did I tell you the Dr is in Colorado?)  Oh well...that's ok.  No problem.  We can do this!
Now.....Alyssa's excited, her family and friends are excited and we're working diligently to get her to new and exciting forms of treatment.  After months of gathering and scanning medical records for the doctor, and trying to accomplish preprotocol therapies, we are getting closer to giving Alyssa her life back.  After all, it's only been 24 years and we're REALLY NOT GOOD AT WAITING!!!!