Three months after our blissful wedding, my husband and I encountered our very “first” accident at home, a predicament early on in our marriage that I had not anticipated as newlyweds. It was mid-January in Montreal when the head collision took place. What was supposed to be a mundane house chore (discarding the garbage), marked a turning point in my life, as the patio door in the kitchen collided and made direct contact with the top, center of my head. Not having had any time to react, my reflexes were dormant. I immediately lost my balance and felt disoriented. Not having lost consciousness, I did not consider the possibility of a concussion.
The next two weeks at work were probably the most challenging in years. Certain I was just experiencing a headache, I worked harder hoping to advance further in my work, but my physical and cognitive symptoms were worsening: migraines and at times, heavy tension pressure, sensitivity to light and sound, and irritability. Not comprehending why I could not function normally, I set up an urgent appointment with my health practitioner. After being asked a series of questions, it was confirmed. A concussion. To further confirm the initial assessment, I was referred to a neurologist, who reiterated that I was experiencing post-concussion syndrome.
Being the Type-A person that I am, I was adamant to recover and return to normal as soon as possible, therefore I began alternative treatments (osteopathy, massotherapy and physical therapy) for weeks before the interruption of services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, virtual services through my employer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and telepathy sessions with the neuropsychologist remained intact. Not knowing what to expect from businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, I realized that I had to seek out home remedies to supplement my recovery plan.
Most, if not all of my evidence-based research on concussions led me to adopting a mindfulness practice. Foreign to yoga, I subscribed to a beginner’s 30-day online yoga program and downloaded meditation-based audiobooks and podcasts. Weeks later, I was converted. As I said to the Concussion Montreal support group (otherwise known as the McGill Chapter of the Concussion Legacy Foundation), adopting a healthier mindset was the gateway to recovery. In addition to my home yoga practice, I remained physically active with short, low-intensity aerobic workouts. Research has proved that there are many health benefits to physical movement. And to my fellow PCS patients who do not know where to start, begin by following LoveYourBrain Foundation, Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada, and Brain Injury Canada to remain up-to-date with best practices and the latest research. Three months later, I continue to make further progress. With the intention to manage my symptoms as I gradually increase activity and to ensure that I remain below my symptom threshold, I resumed physiotherapy sessions for vestibular and ocular rehabilitation at a CCMI (Complete Concussion Management) certified clinic. To fellow PCS patients, know that you can also make advancements in your recovery – seek professional help and build a support system including a team of specialists, educate yourself and connect with PCS support groups, journal your activities to help you determine relationships with activities and symptom onset, and after consulting with your general practitioner and naturopath, consider exercising regularly and introducing supplements in your balanced diet.