1/ My journey to the World Congress on Brain Injury

Three of us entered the therapist’s office that Monday morning: me, my brain-injured self and my pre-injury über-me. I guess it’s obvious from the words I’m using who was on top that day. Also, that we weren’t a coherent whole. When the session started, Dr. Bicycle could barely keep up with us.

“I’d been thinking about attending the World Congress on Brain Injury for a while,” blurted out pre-injury me. “I love conferences! I used to be the Twitter queen!”

Post-injury me was more reserved. “I wasn’t sure,” she said. “A weekend at the cottage is more my thing.”

I wanted to intervene (who’s me?) and explain how the negotiations played out. How my daughters had finally flat-out refused to go to the cottage, so post-injury me signed up for a brain-injury survivor’s workshop. How pre-injury me’s interest was piqued by the Pink Concussions summit, not to mention a session on sex, gender and brain injury.

I got to work obtaining a press pass.

Collage of papers collected at the conference.

Vision boarding has been a big thing for me over the past year. So here’s another one – with bits and pieces from the conference.

“Just send in your credentials,” the media person wrote in an email. (Credentials? I haven’t worked for almost two years!) I Googled myself. It’s true: when you don’t publish, your online persona gets all messed up. I could barely find myself.

Sometimes I tell people what I do for a living. (I’m an editor and writer.) Other times I admit I’m on disability leave. But I have a constant feeling that I’ll be back soon, so I’m unsure of my status. I’m working at getting back to work, but I’m not working. Who am I?

The organizers granted me a press pass, and at the time it all made sense. I’m a female writer living with a TBI (traumatic brain injury). My first reporting job was at the Medical Post. Who could be more suited to writing about women and brain injury?

Before my bicycle crash, I could pull off three consecutive eight-hour conference days. No problem! Now I’m limited by how much my brain can manage, so I planned for just three sessions* over five days.

I didn’t pitch any publications. (I don’t trust myself with deadlines, not to mention completing something.) But the plan was to write one article on what it was like to attend the conference and a few on the presentations.

For two days before the conference, I rested up. My planner’s full of “nap,” “nap,” “nap.” On Wednesday, adrenaline took me downtown.


*Pre-conference Pink Concussions summit (Wednesday); 13th World Congress on Brain Injury session on sex, gender and brain injury (Thursday); post-conference brain-injury survivors’ workshop (Sunday).

1/ My journey to the World Congress on Brain Injury

2/ Press, no press

3/ Don’t look back

4/ Pink concussions, Clark Kent and social isolation

5/ Pink survivors

Next: 6/ Sex and the brain


3 thoughts on “1/ My journey to the World Congress on Brain Injury

  1. Thank you very much Mara for eloquently expressing your perspective. I can relate to your experience of determination and discipline mixed with anxiety and insecurity rising to the surface at these events. I would like to stay in touch and hope you will continue to work w/ Pink Concussions to increase communication, awareness and access to care for girls and women.

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