Survivor Story: Better is Better with Lea Damata

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By Mariah Morgan & Eryn Martin, Mariah Morgan, and Eryn Martin. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Recovery is a journey. It is not an event with a defined end-point. The road can be hella hard! Fortunately, there is help out there! Lea Damata joins us in this episode to talk with us about her experience with post concussive symptoms. She shines a light on all the different types of therapy that have helped her. Riding on this twisting path is filled with ups and downs. Self-compassion, mindfulness, self-awareness, and perspective make it more bearable. Better is better no matter how it looks; join us to celebrate all our wins!!

Topics covered:

  • Lea’s PCS journey
  • Concussion with PCS after a whack on the base of the head and neck, coming up from the floor where she was cleaning (should this be our warning to not clean?!?!?)
  • Initial symptoms were dizziness and an out of this world feeling
  • Tried to just push through for several days until she got really sleepy, had loss of energy, struggles with driving, and experienced headaches, sound sensitivity, and irritability
  • Lea went to her PCP who advised rest. Lea couldn’t tolerate any stimulation or physical activity, and needed darkness and rest for days (she did not have a knowledgeable provider that was able to guide on the detriments of this approach)
  • Even as a healthcare practitioner, Lea struggled to find providers who knew how to handle post concussive symptoms
  • She struggled with insurance and return to work guidelines having to constantly prove that there was something wrong
  • Fighting with insurance can be enough to make you feel crazy
  • Getting help
  • Not having the connections with the right provider giving the right care in the first two weeks set Lea back
  • She eventually found providers to help get her on the right path. She still has symptoms 2 years out
  • The hard days
  • You go through a grieving process of your old self
  • The hard days can lead you to comparing yourself to others. It takes self-love and compassion, being ok with you, setting boundaries, saying no, and celebrating what you have achieved
  • Better is better regardless of how better it is (11:50)
  • It's a journey, not a recovery. Everyday is a new day. It is never a linear trajectory. The downs are hella crappy but you have to remember where you started, how far you have come and all the little wins
  • Neuropsychology really helped Lea--it provided tools for reframing and grounding. It required a lot of work and wasn’t easy but crucial to her journey
  • Remember, not everything does suck, even if it feels that way.
  • Helpful therapies
  • Physiotherapy (physical therapy) trained in PCS
  • Lea had to find qualified providers, navigating the system and finding people who know how to treat PCS was hard
  • Neuropsychology: really helped to validate what Lea was going through. It gave visibility to the invisible injury.
  • Validation from a provider gave back hope
  • Neuro-optometry: eye exercises and glasses. The exercises can trigger symptoms but build pathways to help you overcome it.
  • Vestibular therapy (through physio)
  • Occupational Therapy for return to driving and return to work. They broke down the tasks into manageable, bite sized pieces
  • Return to work: a gradual desensitization process. Very short exposures to work with long rests. She had to keep a log to figure out what her triggers were, what was fatiguing, what types of rest were helpful, and how to work back up to a full caseload
  • Energy conservation: she still has to be very conscious of her “battery” levels
  • Need to give yourself the time to check in and remain aware of your symptoms to not crash.
  • Be careful of comparisons
  • Words of wisdom
  • Better is better
  • The journey is never linear
  • Know when to ask for help
  • Accept where you are
  • Yin yoga, mindfulness, and self-compassion to help learn to be where you are
  • Your perspective has such a huge influence on where you are putting your energy. The hard pieces of mental work help you to learn who you are, accept it, and overcome plateaus.
  • Finding the right mindset and people to guide you along the way help to make the journey better
  • Learning mindfulness and self-compassion
  • Yin Yoga: a place to learn self love
  • Mindfulness course
  • Connect with Lea
  • Find Lea on Instagram: @Leadphysio
  • Feel free to DM her through her Insta

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43 episodes