The Masks

Arizona

In partnership with

 Stormy Seas

Stormy Seas

Name: Susan N. 

City: Flagstaff, AZ

Brain Injury: (Wife of TBI Survivor) My husband fell while ice skating. He had five hospital stays within two months. Holes were drilled into his head to relieve the pressure and later he needed a craniotomy. One year after the injury he was hospitalized again with the chronic pain condition, Trigeminal Neuralgia. He has daily headaches and anxiety. Since the accident he has had difficulty in doing tasks that came easy to him during his building career. 

Explanation of mask: Life after brain injury is a stormy sea sometimes, but there is also light from the sun breaking thru. Grateful that it’s not worse, but he lies with daily pain and a crazy “spinning feeling.”  

 Hand to Hand

Hand to Hand

Name: Joshua L.  

City: Flagstaff, AZ

Brain Injury:Multiple concussions while skateboarding. 

Explanation of mask: The mask represents my multiple concussions. The red pipe cleaners are in the exact locations where I have shed blood from falls and hits to the head. The back hand covering my face symbolizes “blacking out” and what one does when they hit their head- rub their head. The mask also symbolizes the frustration that this has happened multiple times. I have been skating since I was five years-old and I have had too many concussions to count. I have lost years of my life to memory loss,, but I accept the risks of skateboarding because I love it. 

 1 or 2???

1 or 2???

Name: Bill N.  

City: Flagstaff, AZ

Brain Injury: I was ice skating and fell on my chin. I have no memory of the day or anything until a week later. I was in the ICU five time for Burr Holes, drilled to remove blood clots and then finally a craniotomy.

Explanation of mask: My mask shows the drill for the Burr Holes and the metal plate for the craniotomy. When I close my eyes I would see orange dots. The 1 or 2 ? represents figuring out problems which were easy before. The WHIRLWIND is the crazy feeling that never goes away now. The lightening bolt represents the pain in my head and face The carotid artery shows the tear that has not healed. 

 Not Letting PTSD Defeat Me

Not Letting PTSD Defeat Me

Name: Amy L.

City: Flagstaff, AZ

Brain Injury: I have post-traumatic stress disorder from childhood abuse and sexual trauma that occurred while I was in the military. I have symptoms including hyper-vigilance, flashbacks, anxiety, and depression. 

Explanation of mask: The words represent all the negativity associated with living with PTSD. The rainbow colors represent hope and not letting PTSD defeat me.

 Miracle After Miracle

Miracle After Miracle

Name: Leah B. 

City: Flagstaff, AZ

Brain Injury: On January 19, 2008 I was in a near-fatal motor vehicle accident. We rolled eight times and I was life flighted to St. Joes. I had multiple skull fractures and ended up with 45 staples in my head. I also had traumatic brachial plexus injuries (BPIs), which is an injury to the nerves in the neck and shoulder. 

Explanation of mask: Before my accident things were in order and controlled. Then, after darkness. Thru the darkness the light came back slowly. Even though my life is different and difficult, I feel that is when my life began. My healing story is full of miracle after miracle. My faith in God has brought me through and all the doctors and therapists he put in my path. The continued love of and support of my family and friends makes me grateful every day. Even through things are fuzzy, painful, and confusing, I continue to choose joy because I am alive and loved. Thank you. 

 Bright Future

Bright Future

Name: Tim P. 

City: Flagstaff, AZ

Brain Injury: Caregiver

Explanation of mask: We use to travel to Mexico before my wife had her TBI. On the right our future is unknown, but it will be beautiful once we figure it out.

 The Mask I Wear

The Mask I Wear

Name: Margarita 

City: Flagstaff, AZ

Brain Injury:  I rolled my car off a hill four times. I hit my head in the process and received a TBI. Additionally, genetic testing revealed I have a progressive neurological disorder, Ataxia.

Explanation of mask: I am no longer the person I was. I am broken. I am stuck between the person I was, who I am now, and who I will be when my disease progresses. I fear for my future and for those around me who love and care for me. What will happen when I am no longer able to be a professional, wife, or mother? But, every day I put on a mask and keep going. I will keep doing this for as long as I can. 

 Self Portrait

Self Portrait

Name: Sean K. 

City: Flagstaff, AZ

Brain Injury:  I have had several concussions from multiple activities, including car accidents, cycling, basketball, racquetball, football, and softball. I have never had a brain scan to understand the damage.

Explanation of mask: I could only think of the realities of all that has happened so I did a self-portrait. I have items to represent each injury. The red and white flag represents the glove box I dented with my head when I was at the age of two. The band-aid is something I always wanted so that people would have a visible cue to know about my disability. The injuries have made me the person I am today. I am thankful for all of the lessons throughout my life, but I would prefer to have had them without the brain damage.

 Energy

Energy

Name: Susan I.

City: Flagstaff, AZ

Brain Injury:  I most likely had an anoxic brain injury at birth.

Explanation of mask: The forehead represents connection to the source of energy and my 3rd Eye. The right cheek represents waves of energy and the left cheek is the moon, stars, and universality. We are star dust. The chin is the Tree of Life.