The Masks

Pennsylvania

Name: Eric G.

City: Brodheadsville

Brain Injury: Snowmobile accident, I was drunk.

Explanation of Mask: My mask is my face after my brain injury. The groom with his mouth open represents anxiety because I don’t want people to treat me different. The guy with his finger over his lips symbolizes me being quiet so I won’t be judged. “What’s wrong with me?” represents my thought when people don’t treat me the same anymore! The word family crossed out means I wish I could be with them. The thought cloud is blame because I’m always bored. Home is there because I miss it. The flag represents the freedom I’ve lost, and the #7 because I am hopeful.

Name: Kira K.

City: Shoemakersville 

Brain Injury: On December 26, 2012 I was coming home from work and I must have slipped on black ice.  I went across the highway and was hit in the passenger side door which got pushed into my head and gave me a brain injury.   

Explanation of Mask:  My right side of my head was shaved many times because of surgeries I needed.  I kept my long hair because I couldn’t stand to have it all shaved off.   I have strong/positive on the shaved half of my head because I had to stay strong and tried to always stay positive.  I put creative on the other half because of my brain injury gave me the time to let my creativeness out more.  I put the word determined on one check because that is what I am and I think one of the reasons I made it as far as I have.  I refuse to give up.  I put the word fabulous on the other cheek because that is what I am and strive to be.  I always need to dress to impress, which is why I have earrings and colored lips.  I put that I have a good sense of humor on my lips.  I often laugh about so many things.  I always say “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry!” Crying is necessary sometimes, but I would much rather laugh than cry. 

Name: Kevin M.

City: West Chester

Brain Injury: Fell down steps 4/19/09 

Explanation of Mask:  Trauma sadness and fear that transitions to a different life can be good.  Trauma creates fear, uncertainty and depression.  Let God carry you thru.  The left stimulates the storm.  The black line simulates the transition period once your new life is accepted.  Upon acceptance, it is easier to realized life is still good.  It is different, but not over. God pulled me out of the water into safety.  Be sure to live the new life.  Don’t look back – you are not going that way!! You did not suffer set-back, but a set-up for new things.  Make the best of the new you. 

Name: Mark M.

City: Norristown

Brain Injury: Skull fracture with bleeding on the brain.  Left craniotomy 

Explanation of Mask:  Playing soccer, I went to head the ball with my opponent beside me.  I hit the ball and instantly my opponent hit my head with his head, crushing in my left temple.  Imagine reaching for your temple and it not being there, where you have to push your finger in deeper to the distance of your fingertip to your second knuckle just to touch it.  My opponent was injury-free.  On the ground, my first thought was, “That was badass!”  I was choppered to Penn Hospital in Philly that evening where it was still sunny.  Surgery was performed the next morning and I now have 10 plates on my skull.  Post-surgery I had 60 temporary staples where a headband might go, basically from ear to ear.  I also had 2 black eyes from the injury.  During the hospital stay I had family, friends and teammates visit me.  That’s the reason for the heart.  My dad mentioned that since my girlfriend came everyday while in the hospital, she’s my angel.  So the heart is also for her along with the wings and halo.  She helped me get through the stay and was/is there for me.   We’re now married. 

Negatively, I feel irritated and anger that it happened, as well as tired. 

Positively, I’m a brain injury survivor.  I’m alive!  I’m lucky too as everything could have been much worse. 

Name: Amber V.

City: Telford

Brain Injury: Car Accident 

Explanation of Mask:  The blue shows that my friend frontal lobe in my brain was involved.  Saved = saved spiritually and physically.  Hide = I was embarrassed and did things I tried to hide

Name: Paul S.

City: Downingtown

Brain Injury: Stroke, occured October 2006 

Explanation of Mask:  Basically, my mask displays my orderly life before having a stroke and the state of disorder it is in after having a stroke.  In October 2006 my life changed forever.  From that point forward, my entire life was altered.  I was no longer the person I had been.  I was someone “new”!  At that time of my stroke, I didn’t know what was happening with me.  I tried to get ready for work and that morning my wife even went to a school meeting for one of our daughters.  When she returned home, I was sitting on the foyer steps and said as best I could that something was wrong with me and she should take me to the hospital.  I will always wonder if this delay in diagnosis and subsequent treatment had an impact on me fully recovering from this incident.   Several weeks after my stroke, I wanted to go back to work, determined that I could improve my mind and my abilities.  Yet after about four months of trying and failing, my job became something I could no longer do and I needed to leave the company.   Since the time of my stroke, my mind has gone through numerous changes.  One of the biggest changes is that I cannot fully focus my mind.  I cannot remember multiple things at one time.  If I have to focus on “one thing”, but then become distracted, I completely forget about that “one thing” unless something occurs later to remind me of it.  It is very frustrating and after almost ten years since my stroke, I feel I have failed in life.  Yet, I pull up my socks and go on, and strive to make some kind of contribution to this life.  I am still not sure what that is or what it will be, but I fully believe it is out there for me…somewhere. 

Name: Jan

City: East Goshen

Brain Injury: Subdural hematoma, brain bleed. Tripped-whiplash. 

Explanation of Mask: Gold because I love gold!  Positive thoughts coming from brain.  Emotions – tear drop now and then. 

Name: Joyce A.

City: N/A

Brain Injury: NMDA receptor encephalitis

Explanation of Mask:  Joyce completed her mask with her Recreational Therapist.  Due to Joyce’s injury she has difficulty communicating her wants and needs.  Joyce showed individuality and creativity through this mask.  She was able to select feathers, stickers and decorations with field of two or three choices which is often a challenging task for her.  She selected purple and pink as her primary colors.  Through her husband, we know that purple is a meaningful color to her.  The color purple is known to represent creativity and wisdom.  Additionally, purple combines the calm stability of blue and fierce energy of red.  All traits that explain and define Joyce along this journey. 

 

Name: Carol

City: Malvern 

Brain Injury: TBI

Explanation of Mask:  The orange represents my many crazy moods.  The blue represents stability.  Heart over my eye reminds me to look at things more positively.  Keep it simple!

 

Name: Claire L.

City: Newton Square

Brain Injury: Aneurysm/Stroke

Explanation of Mask:  The aneurysm is the defining episode of the mask that delineates between before and after. That is, before the event, I was married, had a job and was happy.  After the event, I was disabled, divorced and angry.  Bravery and healing throughout and the end result is I’m HAPPY!

 

Name: Becky R.

City: Narvon

Brain Injury: MVA when a man ran a red light

Explanation of Mask:  The gray represents depression, the red is anger, and the blue is the beginnings of good feelings.  The zipper and lock on the mouth are for how lonely and unable to communicate my pain I felt.  The lightening stroke is for the years of post-traumatic seizures and the cross is for my deepened faith through this experience.  The green represents my mind where I can still think complex thoughts (e=mc2), but they are jumbled and when they leave my mouth they are often simple and wrong after going through the TBI filter.  The words around the outside are my new reality after the accident with doctors, meds, hospitals, lawyers, depositions, aphasia, apraxia and feelings of guilt, loss, depression, anger and finally empowerment. 

 

Name: Steve G.

City: Marcus Hook

Brain Injury: Fall with multi-compartmental hemorrhage 

Explanation of Mask:  Steve felt a lot of anger and disappointment following his brain injury.  On the mask, red represents anger and blue represents disappointment.  Honesty and building relationships has been important to him during his recovery process, represented by light blue.  Yellow represents his recovery process and the knowledge that he is getting better. 

 

Name: Angelina L.

City: Drexel Hill  

Brain Injury: Brain aneurysm that ruptured

Explanation of Mask:  I chose “start each day with a grateful heart”, “look on the bright side”, “choose to see the food” and “stronger than yesterday”.  I picked the quotes because they are optimistic and motivating.  I picked the four leaf clover because I feel lucky to be alive.  I also picked a cross because I believe in God.  I picked a hear to represent the love I have for my family and friends.  I picked the muscle to represent “stronger than yesterday”.  I picked the teardrops to represent the emotion that came with the injury.  I also picked the music notes because listening to music has made me feel stronger through all of this. 

 

Name: David G.

City: Norwood  

Brain InjuryTraumatic brain injury from car accident

Explanation of Mask:  I have placed a beer bottle and police car because I was the passenger in a drinking and driving accident.  The police car is also placed due to the first responders which I appreciate the most for getting me to the hospital.  The blood is from the car accident and the gauze is from being in the hospital.  The black eyes are for “blocking out” from drinking and not remembering everything right away.  The word “destination” is because we were driving home.  “Family, friends, faith and friendship” are all the things that have been affected by the accident.  Mostly I am “grateful” for the places I have been treated by and my recovery. 

 

Name: Katie R.

City: Skippack  

Brain Injury: I was in a car accident in November of 2003 and have diffuse axonal injury

Explanation of Mask:  I chose sunrise colors to represent rising up for a new day.  A fresh start every day.  The song lyrics are from my favorite song.  The words I picked; Believe, Hope, Journey and Imagine are important words for my recovery. Don’t stop, keep moving forward and smile!

 

Name: Randy A.

City: Malvern

Brain Injury: TBI

Explanation of Mask:  I was a member of the police, fire and EMS all at the same time.  I used red, white and blue because they are patriotic.  

 

Name: Tammy P.

City: Broomall

Brain Injury: Meningioma on the left side of my brain for 8-10 years

Explanation of Mask:  My mask has a small black spot where there is an injury that now is healing from the past.  The other part of my face is yellow filled with new life and hope.  This area is for friends, family and joy.  I have found myself the person I was in the past and felt my life was darkened and less able to be happy or give to others as I am able.  My life will need to have help from others so I can return my love to others.  I had my first grandchild four weeks before my diagnosis of meningioma and she made me want to get better and live for her, her mom, my son in-law and my husband plus continue to live for myself. 

 

Name: Mark Y.

City: Phoenixville

Brain Injury:

Explanation of Mask:  I really like nature, it’s amazing watching things growl.   I drew sunglasses to shade myself from the sadness around the world.  The logger represents my love for outdoor maintenance.  The dinosaurs and the bears are from the childcare facility I work at, plus I love those animals. 

 

Name: Josh B.

City: Coatesville

Brain Injury: Diffuse axonal injury from car accident in 2010.

Explanation of Mask:  This mask represents my brain injury.

 

Name: Dana B.

City: N/A

Brain Injury: Pedestrian hit by a car, traumatic brain injury

Explanation of Mask:  My mask represents me.  I feel invisible to the world NOONE sees me (with my brain injuries), hence my mask is all white, but the inside of my brain is a lot going on.  My love of God and life, power of prayer and quotes of life.  The two roses on the rights side are in honor and memory of my Mom and Nana who went to heaven while I have gone through traumatic brain injury.  I always try to be in the zone and am always brainstorming and love the beach and water.  Purple is God’s color and help and knowing Christ and making Christ known is my church’s saying where I currently attend. 

 

Name: Caton D.

City: West Chester

Brain Injury: I was travelling at a high rate of speed when I hit an embankment.  My car flipped six times as I was ejected from the vehicle.

Explanation of Mask:  Weakness on my left side of body and face resulted in left neglect as the saliva (the blue drops leaving the left side of my mouth) and two offset eyes.  The red in my eyes represents the ruptured blood vessels.  The direction sign on the forehead of the mask represents indecisiveness and lost direction in my life.  The blue bubble wrap is to be the P.E.E.K. (plastic) piece that was implanted on the seventh surgery.  Making music was my therapy in helping me to cope with my life, hence the note on the right side of my mouth. 

 

Name: Charlene T.

City: Southeastern

Brain Injury: March 18, 2006 – DAI/TBI

Explanation of Mask:  Sparkle and bling of my life.  Job positions – computers.  Habits – Diving.  Travel – vacations.  My Catholic upbringing. 

 

Name: Brandon T.

City: Collegeville

Brain Injury: My injury happened 3 years ago and ruined my life.  I was just starting college and modeling.

Explanation of Mask:  I painted it that way because the blue expresses how I’m sad and the red expresses how I’m mad and the yellow hair represents a Super Saiyan (a strong warrior) because I’m strong like a Super Saiyan!!!!!!

 

Name: Cynthia B.

City: West Chester

Brain Injury: Brain Tumor

Explanation of Mask:  The mask explains the “Up and Down” emotions I have been through with my sickness.

 

Name: Bryan T.

City: Frazer

Brain Injury: I’m not really sure.  TBI

Explanation of Mask:  Different feelings.

 

Name: Michael K.

City: West Chester

Brain Injury: June 2, 1986

Explanation of Mask:  White=unknown, Red=confusion, uncertain, Blue=work, accepting of future

 

Name: Joseph D.

City: Honeybrook

Brain Injury: I had a heart attach and died five times.  My brain was deprived of oxygen.  I have issues seeing and walking.

Explanation of Mask:  The heart is how I became injured, but also part of how I am fighting to recover.  The blood and tears represent the hard work I do every day to get better.  Logan is my son and represents my love for my family.  Superman represents my hero in my life.  I love karate and have a 2nd degree black belt.  The blank eyes represent my impaired vision. 

 

Name: Dominic A.

City: Radnor

Brain Injury: Severe TBI 9/4/97.  Frontal lobe. 3 week coma!

Explanation of Mask:  It’s me, but the damage us all under the skin.  That’s caused tears, sadness, but has resulted in a big smile overall.

 

Name: Bobby B.

City: Coatesville

Brain Injury: Drinking and driving accident

Explanation of Mask:  I wouldn’t be this far without the support of my family.  Also wouldn’t be this far if I wasn’t positive.  I am very blessed to come this far and to be doing what I’m doing.  The date of my accident was March 5, 2006.  I am currently a speaker for Crusin’ Smart for Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital.  I have found my passion to help people after going through my TBI, whether it is speaking or when I volunteered for the hospital.  The life is dedicated to change. 

 

Name: Sean J.

City: Berwyn

Brain Injury: Diffused brain injury from lack of oxygen to the brain

Explanation of Mask:  This mask represents my past life before injury to now.  I like to go camping (tent).  Flowers are for landscaping.  I like sweets always (candy).  I like to go fishing (fish).  I like swimming at the beach. I have an Irish family.  Yellow sticker represents “I am always wondering what’s going on”.  I have short term memory loss.  I am very friendly (Hi).