• Kristy Barkley

When Concussions and/or Traumatic Brain Injury Take Away All Of Your Hope To Live




My hope in sharing with you today, is to offer you hope, if yours is dwindling.

I got my first concussion in high school while cheerleading, and then sustained many concussions while playing rugby in college. Looking back, I know I had some serious symptoms in 2000, but as I am sure many of you have experienced, I was told that I showed evidence of multiple concussions but there was nothing to do for me.


Fast forward to 2008, I had an amazing career with an NHL team, when I slipped and fell on the back of a boat while holding my then 18-month-old daughter. I hit my head on the diving platform and don’t remember much else from that year. I had access to amazing team doctors and neurologists, and they made the decision to retire me forever.


I had good days and bad days for a few years, but then there were way more bad days than good. By 2013, I wasn’t comfortable going places alone because I got lost so often, even to my parent’s house which was only 12 miles away. I stopped going for walks because I got lost in the neighborhood. I often didn’t know which shoe went on which foot until I tried to get it on. I would go through photos with my family, and they would tell me stories about what we were doing in them, because I didn’t remember. My anxiety was paralyzing because I couldn’t remember anyone’s name and I couldn’t keep up with conversations at all if more than 1 person was there.


By December of 2014 I decided that I couldn’t put my family through this pain anymore and I spent the month writing letters to each of my children, parents, my brother and my husband; and planning out a suicide that I believed was fail proof. On New Years Eve, I put everything in motion. So why am I here talking to you if I planned it out so well?


A dear friend of mine got a bad feeling in her heart and called my husband to ask where I was. He told her where I was, and she said she didn’t think I was there, and I should call. She was right, I wasn’t there. He called her back and told her. She said that she had a prompting that I was at my parents, he said that wasn’t possible because they were out of town. She told him to go there and check. He called 911 on the way I guess and they got there at the same time. I don’t remember anything, but I was told that I flat lined. I remember opening my eyes and seeing my husband and brother at the foot of my bed. My husband was screaming at me and my 6’3” 300lb brother was crying. I was so mad that they saved me. So very mad.


They put moved me to an inpatient facility and I believe that was the first time I began getting the help I needed. Finally doctors that took the time to do the tests to discover what was really happening.

Two months later, they sat my husband and I down to tell us that within 2 years I wouldn’t recognize our kids, in 4 years I would need to be in assisted living and that by 2020 I would be dead. My symptoms at that time were progressing so quickly. They were certain I had CTE, and they had made the decision to start me on early onset dementia meds in 2014, I was 42 years old.



A few months later, I decided to try some gut health supplements that my friend told me about because they helped her lose weight, and since I could no longer work out, I was quickly gaining weight.

At the time I started, I was taking 13 medications daily and had 5 doctors I saw, most monthly.


Within 4 days of beginning the supplements, I woke up without a headache, this was a huge deal because I was taking 12-20 ibuprofen a day because my migraine medicine just wasn’t taking the head pain away.

Within 2 weeks, my migraines had gone from 6 days a week to 1.

Within 3 weeks, I was more active and engaged with my family and I could tolerate the noise of my 4 kids, who had been whispering around me for years.

At week 4, my husband said, “I don’t know what you are taking or how much it costs, but do not stop taking it!”


That was almost 6 years ago.

You see, in 2014, no one was talking about the gut-brain connection. In fact there are many traditional doctors who are still not talking about it.


In June 2018, an article was published in Brain Sciences Journal, titled A Review of Traumatic Brain Injury and the Gut Microbiome: Insights into Novel Mechanisms of Secondary Brain Injury and Promising Targets for Neuroprotection and they concluded “We believe the relationship between TBI and the gut microbiome represents an area of study that could lead to a wide range of future research in new clinical intervention strategies. Alterations in the gut microbiome could potentially serve as a biomarker to improve detection of TBI and monitor progression or as a therapeutic target to prevent secondary injury in brain-injured patients. Therapeutic strategies such as FMT and probiotics may offer a neuroprotective benefit by targeting the dysregulated gut-microbiota-brain axis and restoring the gut microbiota to a healthier profile. Leveraging knowledge of the gut microbiome in the setting of TBI holds the exciting potential to influence treatment of brain-injured patients and enhance quality-of-life for patients with TBI.”

Now I am the furthest thing from a medical professional, but I have lived with this TBI for a long time, and in the early years I would get concussions really easily, can anyone else relate to that? A fender bender that did no damage to my car put me in the hospital where they ran multiple toxicology reports because I couldn’t even tell them my basic information and my speech was so slurred.


But here is what I do know, over the past 6 years, my symptoms have slowly decreased until today, when you would never know that a few years ago I couldn’t carry on a conversation or drive my son to school. The supplements I take have given me my life back. The probiotics and magnesium blend supplements began repairing my gut and I improved dramatically. Then I started taking the same brand’s plant-based Omega, and within 2 months, my long-term memory that I was told was lost forever, began returning.


I won’t spend anytime speaking as if I was a medical researcher or professional, but I will ask you to google “TBI and Gut Health” and also “Concussions and Gut Health” you will find multiple journal articles letting you know that when you get a concussion or another type of brain injury, it does damage to your gut lining. And when your gut isn’t working properly, your body doesn’t work properly. So, healing your gut is critical to healing your brain and your body.

Everyone is different and every brain is different, so I will only speak for myself.

Here are the symptoms I had after my TBI, that I no longer have as my gut has continued to heal and I have taken a plant-based Omega:

Migraines

Memory Loss

Anxiety

Depression

Slow Speech

Brain Fog

Insomnia

Fatigue

IBS

Extreme mood swings

Anger

Sensitivity to sound and light

Nausea

Ringing in the ears

Neuropathy

Confusion

Balance Issues

Seizures


They didn’t all go away immediately; I was consistent with my supplements and always careful to listen to my body if it was telling me to slow down or rest. But if you had asked me 6 years ago if I thought it was possible to be symptom free, I would tell you absolutely not. I was supposed to be dying after all.

I feel extremely blessed to be able to share my journey and the supplements that have saved my life each day, because if I give just one person hope and steer them away from wanting to end their life, then that is what God saved me for.


Message me anytime to talk about the supplements that I love and which may be able to help you.


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