The Masks

Ontario

Name: Pauline R.

City: Belleville

Brain Injury: Blackout

Explanation of Mask:  The left side of the mask indicates how I felt from December 2013 to March 15, 2014. In December 2013, I was finally free from debilitating back pain. I was free to live again. Things were looking great. I could now volunteer as I had planned to do in my retirement years.

The right side of the mask indicates how I felt after March 15, 2014. I blacked out and fell and hit my head on something very hard. I was partially in and out of consciousness until the paramedics arrived, and gave me oxygen. Then my life changed dramatically. Everything seemed overwhelming – overwhelming was a word that became a major part of my vocabulary. I was not able to carry on with my normal activities. I had to back down from responsibilities. I experienced extreme fatigue but tried to stay positive (bright purple mask and earrings). I had to learn to pace myself (indicated by the black lines). I remind myself that although my life is different, I still have family and friends. Such a blessing in my life.

Name: Barry D.

City: Belleville

Brain Injury: On June 7th, 2009 I fell down a flight of stairs and cracked my skull open.

Explanation of Mask:  I get overwhelmed when I get frustrated, and I get tears coming from my eyes. I feel proud of myself, and am satisfied when I get creative, inspired, zestful, enthusiastic, terrific, and passionate. I am grateful when everything is going my way.

Name: Gary S.

City: Trenton

Brain Injury: MVA, July 28th, 2011

Explanation of Mask:  My brain injury took away my ability to speak, walk, and live the way I was used to. I had to work very hard to re-learn to walk and talk again. The white on my mask represents the portion of my life that I never got back! My eyes see the pain that my accident causes me.

Name: Sylvin P.

City: Belleville

Brain Injury: MVA

Explanation of Mask:  ???????? I feel that I never really know what is going on in the future. I feel lost at times. I received a severe injury on the left side of my head. I try hard to enjoy life! I like music, fishing, bowling, and playing pool.

Name: Leslie L.

City: Belleville

Brain Injury: MVA, January 2003

Explanation of Mask:  Brain injury is an invisible illness. My mask symbolizes that I may “look okay” but I am “broken”. I am living life to the best of my ability (with Band-Aids). The symbol on the right cheek is called a “Dagaz”, which means an awakening, enlightenment, and the “concept of becoming realized”. Learning all that we can and sharing what works always helps.

Name: James B.

City: Belleville

Brain Injury: I had an injury at work which caused my ABI.

Explanation of Mask:  My ABI has changed my life in many ways. I aim to live my life with compassion. I am at peace with myself and the cards that I have been dealt. Life isn’t as easy as it once was, but I am thankful to be alive.

Name: Cindy R.

City: Belleville

Brain Injury: Suffered a stroke while riding my horse, and fell off on September 1st, 2009.

Explanation of Mask:  I spent time in the hospital wondering what would happen. I had to learn to walk and move my right side with a broken shoulder. My injury has affected my vision, and is deteriorating more and more everyday. As a result of my injury I could not find work, and nobody would let me volunteer. My horse is my saviour! We go for walks, and she has been great therapy for me. I love her!

Name: Melinda C.

City: Belleville

Brain Injury: I was diagnosed with a brain tumour in October, 1991 at 9 years of age.

Explanation of Mask:  I have daily headaches that shine out of my eyes, primarily out of my left eye. I have had many brain surgeries, with 31 days of radiation therapy on three sections of my brain. All of this has caused considerable nerve pain over the years.

Name: David J. L.

City: Belleville

Brain Injury: Complications during surgery 1984.

Explanation of Mask:  When a person has healthy lips, the lips are a reddish colour. When they are purple or blue, it means a lack of oxygen or hypoxia. I am healthy now so the lips on the mask are bold red. There are seven red hearts and they represent the seven surgeries that I have had, and lived through. The nine black hearts represent the hypoxia, and the lack of oxygen. All the black dings to my head represent the life that I am now living. I am having to work through the dings to my head the best that I can. I try to be as bold with life as I can be.