The TBI Chatroom
Hi, my name is Kelley Parker, I'm a 20 year old survivor of a Traumatic Brain Injury. The accident which caused my TBI also shattered my right femur, broke my pelvis, cracked three ribs, broke my arm, broke my jaw in two places, fractured my vertebra, amputated my right ear, fractured my skull, and I received facial lacerations. It does not stop there. It robbed me of one of my best friends, my Grandmother Troup.
I really do not remember the incident that had such a great impact on my life, but I was 18 years old at the time. The accident occured as my mother, my grandmother, and I were traveling home from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, while on Spring Break during my freshman year at Eastern Carolina University. They tell me that a young man by the name of Brady Paul Swartzle crossed the center line causing a head-on collision.
From that day forth my life has been completely altered. It has been much more difficult, but after two years of rehabilitation, I am now continuing my education in the field of music at our community college. I have wholeheartedly been working for a career in music since I was five years old. As I grew up my vocal talent kept me very busy. I performed at various charities, benefits and fund raisers. I participated in pageants, talent shows and school plays. I was a singer/dancer for the 1995 cast of Totally Television at Bush Gardens, VA. Although I studied Opera at ECU, in my dreams I was a country music artist in Nashville, Tennessee. Now my dreams are more challenging than I could ever imagine. I am now facing my future with problems such as difficulty in walking, speech, fine motor skills and short term memory.
The song "I Dreamed A Dream" from "Les Miserables", means a lot to me because it describes my story. The words consist of "I dreamed a dream of time gone by when hope was high and life worth living. I dreamed that love would never die, I dreamed that God would be forgiving then I was young and unafraid and dreams were made and used and wasted. There was no ransom to be paid, no song unsung, no wine untasted, but the tigers come at night with their voices soft as thunder as they tear your hope apart as they turn your dreams to shame."The irresponsible Brady that crossed the center line on March 10, 1996, was the tiger that turned my dreams to shame.
I work very hard to get my normal life back. I attend class with Pat, my tutor, and have a 4.0 GPA. My days are still filled with therapy; P.T.,O.T., and Speech. Two days a week I workout at the local gym with Mariska, my personal trainer. Weight lifting has really increased my range of motion, my strength and coordination.
I believe you can do anything you put your mind to if you believe in yourself. That is especially true if you have others that believe in you, such as my boyfriend Joseph, my parents and my friends. I once sang the song "Believe In Yourself" now it sums up my feelings. "Believe in yourself right from the start and you will have friends and you'll have heart, and you will have courage to last your whole life through. If you believe in yourself, if you believe in yourself, as I believe in you."
Believing In Myself,