Marie is a wife and mother of two boys. When her youngest son Jordan was 11, he suffered a stroke which left him with an acquired brain injury. For more than a decade, Marie has been Jordan’s primary carer and greatest advocate. Marie understands the unique challenges for people with a brain injury and the emotional and physical effort involved in caring for a loved one.
My name is Marie Carroll, I’m 59 and I live in Brisbane. I’m married and have two grown boys.
My son’s brain injury
I have been a carer for 14 years after my youngest had a stroke when he was 11 years old. Nearly 12 months after his stroke, which was a bleed in his brain, they found a brain tumour in both optic nerves and chasm. He has had more brain bleeds since, and as well as having an Acquired Brain Injury, is legally blind and has complex medical issues.
Caring for someone with a brain injury
There are daily challenges for both myself and my son.
The first would be patience for me. Having someone ask you the same thing over and over and forgetting tasks all the time can eventually test your patience. No matter how many strategies you put in place you need some time out for yourself to take some deep breaths and start again.
The second is being a caregiver can make you very tired, not just a physically but emotionally.
The emotional fatigue as a caregiver and caring for a loved one can be very challenging. No matter how much you love the people you care for it’s so important to love yourself too and know when you need a break.
Understanding brain injury
My knowledge of brain injury comes from lived experience, and my son was a good teacher. Other knowledge I’ve gained comes from books, publications and medical experts.
I remember getting a little book about Brain Injury while my son was in the hospital. That first little book was when I really started to think about what we all needed to do to help my son be as good as he could be living life with a brain injury.
One of the most important things to remember though is that all brain injuries are different and there are so many factors that come into recovery
You can have 2 people with exactly the same brain injury and have 2 completely different outcomes. That’s why caring for people can be so challenging, but it can be so rewarding too.
Connecting with me
I just want to be there for people and help them realise they aren’t alone. It’s so important to know that there are others who understand and can see their fears and struggles. There was so little support for me and I’m so grateful that I can be there for someone else as a BrainBank Panellist.
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