The Role of Emotional Support In Healing Among Traumatic Brain Injury Patients
Gabby Giffords, although she gave up set in the US Legislature, is proving what we learned in the late 1980s. After injury, the brain continues to heal throughout the lifespan. Ms. Giffords is a living miracle as an example of that phenomenon and it is jaw dropping to see her progress. She is providing hope to many people, brain injured or not.
Gabbie Giffords Skydives in 2014
Progress: January 2011 to September 2012
Valentines for Life
The American love story of Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly rivals that of Australia's Steve and Terri Irwin.
Terri flew from Oregon all the way to Australia on vacation, she watched his animal demo and went with friends to meet him, their eyes met, and both felt love at first sight. They spent the next and only 15 years of their relationship together, in devotion, love, and a working partnership such as I've never witnessed before or since.
Gabby is a legislator and Mark is an astronaut. Though she was shot in the head on January 8, 2011, they agreed together less than a month later that he would return to train for and fly his upcoming US Space Shuttle mission. She was so much recovered that he could leave the planet. Prior to this decision, he had sat steadfastly at her bedside, encouraging her. See details at:
Gabby Giffords 2011 - 2013
- Giffords accepts award - on her own
Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords attended a civic ceremony by herself - a rare solitary public appearance after her near-fatal shooting. Ther she accepted an award from a Leadership group in Arizona.
- Rep. Giffords speaking again as remarkable recovery continues: report - NYPOST.com
HOUSTON -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) has started speaking again, less than a month after she was shot in the head.
When Terri Raines was twenty-seven years old, she took a vacation that changed her life. Leaving behind her wildlife rescue work in Oregon, Terri traveled to Australia, and there, at a small wildlife park, she met and fell in love with a tall, blond force of nature named Steve Irwin.
- Open Head Brain Trauma Injury and Recovery - JFK and...
Patty Inglish, MS Preventive Medicine; Jan/10/2011. All rights reserved. Upon hearing the words that Representative [D-Arizona] Gabrielle Giffords had been shot in the head, I flashed back to the...
- WebMD Opinions: Gabrielle Gifford: FAQ
Gabrielle Giffords' amazing survival after a point-blank gunshot to the head suggests she may recover. WebMD asks neurosurgeons what this might mean for the Arizona congresswoman.
Quick recovery from an open head trauma is unusual and may result from a variety of causes:
- Physicians have told me that the human body heals itself, while the physicians lend a little aid.
- Sometimes the body heals quickly and we do not know the reason (spontaneous remissions in cancer and other conditions). Sometimes it dies and we cannot find a reason.
- Ms. Giffords may have turned away from the shooter at an angle that allowed a bullet to pass through her brain without injuring vital, irreparable sections.
- Human brains contain much more tissue than the human uses, sometimes allowing other areas of the organ to pick up and continue where damaged areas fail. Sometimes this happens more quickly; sometimes these other areas activate as various therapies train them.
- Healthier bodies help the brain heal faster than unhealthy bodies. Synapses can be increased in number through concentration/focus exercises, computer based drills, elementary relaxation/meditation exercises, certain music genres, physical exercises, and other activities. (See my first related article at the link above for more information on exercise and the brain.)
- Ms. Giffords received fast transport and immediate emergency and followup healthcare.
- Ms. Giffords was constantly surrounded by friends, family, and coworkers that talked to her, touched her, and made her aware of attention, love and support. Her husband sat with her constantly for weeks. Stimulation and a strong support system can speed recovery. In fact, certain cultures dictate that the extended family of a patient be in the hospital room in order that the patient might heal among that support. An uplifting memorial service and service of hope was held for the victims of the shooting that hurt Gabby in Tucson AZ. It honored the everyday heroes that helped save her and others from death. it celebrated her survival and future recovery.
- Positive attitude, faith, and a quality of resilience can speed healing.
Love as a Source of Healing
I was studying breast cancer survival rates in the late 1990s. I learned that the Number One positive effect in the lives of female breast cancer patients leading to their survival for at least 5 years after successful treatment (at that time) was the emotional support of a spouse.
This was such a large effect, that it was promoted in the comic strip Funky Winkerbean, in which Les Moore's wife Lisa was a breast cancer survivor. I added the comic strip from that day to a study packet I used for teaching a related class that afternoon.
Breast cancer survivors are often thriving for 10 years and longer in the 2010s, but in the 1990s, 5 years was a long time to live and love was the key.
Did love help Gabby Giffords recover quickly? I look forward to her speaking about that question in the future.
- A Mohawk Valentine - Sacred Marriage
Smiles the earth, and smile the waters, Smile the cloudless skies above us, But I lose the way of smiling When thou art no longer near me! ...
"Prayer is not an old woman´s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action." - Mahatma Gandhi
- Cancer Active - Prayer and Cancer Results
Prayer and cancer research involving prayer. A range of metaphysical activities and faiths are mentioned. Take what you like and discard the rest.
An early study of cancer patients and prayer in the 1980s (a decade of mind-body focus) split a large number of patients into treatment groups:
- No treatment
- Standard allopathic medical treatment
- Number 2 above, with friends and church members praying for the patient's recovery. The patient did not know about the prayers.
- Number 3 above, with the patient praying for recovery and knowledge of other prayers.
At the end of the study term, the positive results of recovery among the groups were significant between each group and, in order of most healings/tumor shrinkages to least healings/tumor shrinkages were:
- 4 - Treatment, prayer, and everyone knew about the prayers.
- 3 - Number 2 below, with friends and church members praying for the patient's recovery. The patient did not know about the prayers.
- 2 - Standard allopathic medical treatment
- 1 - No treatment
NOTE: Numerous subsequent studies into the effects of prayer related to cancer have found either positive effects or no effects, about equally on both sides. A thorough meta analysis would help us decide the significance.
Some individuals discount the efficacy of prayer, but a roomful of people praying generates a lot of electricity, which can have healing effects itself. A Cable TV channel often reruns a show about a female MS victim that wheeled herself in her wheelchair into the bathroom to draw a bath during a rainstorm. As she touched the faucet, lightning struck it and surged through her, knocking her out of the chair and unconscious onto the floor. When her husband found her later, she awakened and could walk. Visits to her physician showed no trace of MS.
A similar event occurred during a Kathryn Kuhlman healing service during WWII. A serviceman strapped into a wheelchair with leather straps sat against a pillar. During a prayer, lightening struck the building, traveled through the pillar and into the veteran, throwing him out of the chair through broken straps and onto the floor. He was able to stand up and walk. Reports say that he ran.
I know that many people were praying for Ms. Giffords. Many feel that prayer and a miracle are at work in her recovery.