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Traumatic Brain Injury

Will I ever be able?

Hi all,

I was wondering - my girlfriend and I cycled from China to Ireland in 2017/18. 14,500km before I was knocked from my bike suffering - 5 brain bleeds, broken bones and a collapsed lung - 6 months in Hospital and 8 days in a Coma. I survived and am doing okay now. However I am itching to go again and I am not sure of my limitations just yet.

Do you think in your opinions I will be able to undertake a mammoth cycle in the future - thinking Alaska to Bottom of Argentina. 35,000km. I am considering attempting this with my fantastic girlfriend in 2 years time. It will take us 3 years. My girlfriend thinks this is not feasible so I just want your thoughts.

Thanks in advance.
M

Hey Mike,
Your question is a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ sort of question, there are just too many variables. Every TBI is different, some people can have what is considered to be a minimal injury but the effects can be devastating, others can have a major injury but have minimal effects. So trying to gauge your personal situation is impossible.

If you do decide to go travelling you need to be asking some serious ‘What if’ questions. In your travels what if you have another injury? Can you get the care you would need in some of these countries? I doubt you’d be able to get comprehensive travel insurance, especially to cover your head (Most exclude pre existing conditions). If you had health issues would you have the funds to medically evacuate from anywhere on your route? Medivac is REALLY expensive and I’d question whether such a service would even be available in some South American countries.

A very common occurrence with TBI is over estimating our new abilities (Well, it was with me anyway). I thought I could just do as I had before. OHH BOY, was I wrong. I tried to push myself to reach my goals. BAD IDEA. With any TBI, recovery is a slowly, slowly process. My last neurosurgical procedure was back in '13 and I’m still battling with some deficits. Alaska to Argentina is a huge ask. For a starter, post recovery, try some smaller trips, see how that goes before you try such an arduous journey.

There are many, many things to be taken into consideration here and you’d be well advised to sit down and think of all of the worst case scenarios before even going near such a trip IMO.

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Hi, this is Gail.My son lives with a TBI. I don’t see here what you list are your difficulties or changes since the brain injury. For instance, my son Josh has impulse control problems and always had attention problems. His memory is quite bad, and there are others. Before his TBI he was an accomplished chef, now he can barely handle being a prep cook.
so, what is different about you now than before the injury! What will you need to make allowances for that may be difficult far from home. Maybe you and your girlfriend should sit down and make a list of issues, and maybe she has some that you aren’t aware you have.
Gail

Welcome to the TBI community, Mike! I read your post *slackjawed. What an amazing story, and how impressive that you are well enough to want to go again.

The obvious question, I guess, is “Have you discussed this with your rehab doc?” They might have some insights or suggestions for you.

Reading your post, I can’t help but ask: where were you when you were knocked off your bike?

All the best to you and your GF. Let us know how you’re doing!

S

Hi Gail,

Thanks for your reply and I hope your son continues to improve.

I thought about this a lot in the last few months and my Neurologists advised against it and said I am getting ahead of myself. Baby steps. So I have scraped it for now. Some day hope to be able to do it. Fatigue is probably my number 1 issue. So just have to set smaller more attainable goals.

Thanks
Mike

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Hi ModSupport,

Thank you for your email. Yes I discussed with my Rehab team and I was politely told - Not a chance. Ha ha. I think I was getting a little ahead of myself for now. Some day I hope to be able to do it.

I was knocked off my bicycle in France. its funny - I traveled through China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, UAE, Oman, India etc. and people thought we were mad. I heard so often - oh you will be okay once you hit western Europe. ha ha Not so!! But look everyone has their story. Just wrong place at the wrong time. My GF laughs - we topped at a shop beforehand to get some yummy french rolls and cheese… And she wanted to eat them asap. I was adamant we continue for a few hrs and then eat. IF we had stayed we’d have completed the trip with no accident. Ah well.

I am doing okay now. A long long road to be fully recovered. I have therapy every week for the foreseeable future but one thing Covid19 has shown me is I am standing and I can see my family and friends which to me is the most important thing in life.

Hope ye are all safe during this Pandemic.

All the best,

Mike

It’s unfortunate that this happened to you while enjoying your life on the road. PArt of the goal now is to determine what type of issues you are left with and what can help in part, or fully.
With Josh, it was another route that caused his TBI. There is certainly a lesson there for kids wanting to do drugs.

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Yes, well, French drivers tend to be a bit crazy :crazy_face: but they are no contest for the ones in India! And at least you’re not sharing the road with camels.

The good news was that you did have your accident in France: my experience with emergency health care there (limited as it is) was very positive. I’m guessing that they were generally very competent and very, very kind. And look: you are here, and well enough to think about more adventures. Well done, you!

Thank you for telling that part of your story: it adds depth and perspective to your story.

Seenie

PS I’m with your GF: French rolls and cheese need to be eaten asap. LOL

Yes, and wouldn’t I love to be able to talk to a group of young ones and explain Josh’s story. Today, he is in a mess in Colorado. His girlfriend has her own addiction problems–apparently diploids. She delivered her baby 7 weeks early and it spent weeks in the NICU–am wondering if baby is addicted now. She is as impaired as Josh. They argued, he threw beer onto her and she had him arrested and a restraining order. Where are the mental health people we need to go out with police? That could have been averted. Now he is out of the apartment and homeless. He can’t work for another week due to a broken foot. Where’s Jerry Springier when you need him?!