Happy New Year | Reflections on an Amazing 2016

I wanted to take a moment to reflect back on all that I experienced and accomplished in 2016. It is sometimes easy to lose sight of all that we have done in the past 12 months, and I wanted to be sure I documented it all for my “memory”!

My year started off pretty amazing as I received a silver medal in the Midwest Book Awards for my first book “Life With a Traumatic Brain Injury: Finding the Road Back to Normal”.

I spoke to about a dozen different local Rotary groups about my experience in an effort to raise continued awareness about TBI.

In March I headed to Washington DC for Brain Injury Awareness Day at the Nation’s Capitol, thanks to my many donors through GoFundMe and offline who helped cover my expenses! I was joined by my fellow TBI friends — new and old. While I was in DC I took the opportunity to speak to about a dozen groups including Argosy University, the ADAPT Clubhouse, and Brain Injury Services. And of course, no trip to DC is complete without a day of fun touring the monuments (thanks Paul!). 

In June and July I took an incredible road trip out West where I spent some time with fellow survivor Peter and his amazing wife Sarah in Los Angeles. I spoke to a group in Ventura, before heading to Arizona for a few days where I spoke to the We’re Moving Forward group, Health South, and the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona. (I want to make sure I take a moment to thank those who were generous enough to offer me a place to stay, take me out for meals, and help with many of my expenses on this trip ….. you all know who you are!) 

In September I began my journey back to wellness after I started treatment with Dr. Jeremy Schmoe at MFNC Brain Rehabilitation in Minneapolis. Within two weeks he had my vision, dizzy, and balance issues under control!

In October I was a presenter at the Minnesota Bloggers Conference talking about “Blog to Book”.

I launched my second book in November, “Surviving Brain Injury: Stories of Strength and Inspiration” which is an anthology — a collection of 87 stories written by survivors and caregivers from across the globe. This book was published in collaboration with 197 backers on Kickstarter who raised the funding needed to edit, format, design, print, and ship the book!!! 

In December I was a presenter at the Texas Brain Injury Symposium in Austin, Texas and met some amazing vendors and fellow survivors, as well as healthcare professionals.

Throughout the course of the year I continued contributing to the Huffington Post, and also had articles published in: Yoga Life Magazine, The Challenge, Wagazine, and I also contributed to three separate anthologies (2 on brain injury, and 1 by a NY Times best selling author!).

I was a guest on WCCO radio several times, as well as Sun Sounds of Arizona while I was in Phoenix. I had a television appearance on a local tv show:  “It’s a Woman’s World” and also had a lot of media coverage in local newspapers.

I was a part of four different online business summits, all bringing my experience of TBI, running my business, and writing a book — with the message of how to turn a trauma into something bigger than myself as an advocate.

In my business, I had numerous new coaching clients that I had the honor of helping achieve their goals, after not being able to work for almost two years!!

My podcast series has consistently had over 1,000 listeners each month, and I had some amazing guests on my show including Ben Utecht and Cyndy Feasel.

Overall, 2016 pretty much kicked ass. My TBI message is being heard across the world through all different mediums, and I know that if my story affects even just one person, I have done my job!!

Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement! It is because of YOU that I keep doing what I do, even when the haters start talking loudly and call me names. I know that I am doing good in the world, and won’t stop until the Universe tells me it’s time to turn over the reigns!!

Look out 2017: Washington DC or BUST!!