Prognosis: A memoir of my brain by Sarah Vallance

In the book Prognosis: A memoir of my brain by Sarah Vallance, Sarah takes us into a world that most of us know very little about – the world of a survivor of a traumatic brain injury by sharing how she has battled through the diagnosis.

In her late twenties, Sarah visited a friend named Tim’s, home in Australia.  While riding Tim’s horse, the Sarah was thrown and landed on a rock.  Her head, took the brunt of the fall and she suffered a TBI - Traumatic Brain Injury.

Prognosis chronicles the next 25 years of Sarah’s life as she struggles to understand her injury and how it has affected her day-to-day living.

After the TBI, Sarah was told her I.Q. had dropped from 127 to 80 and she would not be able to work again in her lifetime – except for a program that would allow her to cut fabric that would be used for stuffing in stuffed animals.

Unhappy with that announcement from her assigned social worker, who had told her boss that she would never be able to work again, Sarah started her with her damaged brain.

Sarah, who was in the mist of completing her Ph.D., didn’t want to spend the rest of her life on disability pay.  She wanted to ger her life back.

Sarah started by reteaching herself how to read by reviewing the research scattered in her home study.  During her re-education, Sarah had to start from the basics of re-learning the alphabet before progressing to a dictionary to re-learn words that use to be easy for her to read.

In the book Sarah writes about how she battles to return to work, how her father’s passing impacted her life, her strained relationship with her mother.  She also talks very openly about her struggles with relationships with lesbian lovers. How some in the medical profession make the person with the TBI feel it was their fault for the injury.  Sarah explains how some doctors make the TBI patient feel as if they wanted to have the injury.

Sarah takes us, the reader, inside the private life of a TBI survivor and how the injury causes problems for her socially and professionally.  Sarah shares how TBI survivors have trouble with anger, depression, anxiety and other emotions.

As I read this book, I found celebrating when Sarah experienced a victory.  I felt myself rooting for her when she struggled. sadness when she failed and sorrow when she lost a beloved pet or when a relationship ended.

The ending of the book, which I will not spoil for you, brought me to tears.  I have never cried at the end of a book before.

This book is a good read and will keep you on the edge of your seat as you read Sarah’s incredible story