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My TBI Story

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one we which has been opened before us.”  ~ Helen Kellar

I sustained a brain injury in 2015, which changed my life in ways I never could have imagined. Prior to my injury, I was a ‘Career Mom’ working for a local municipal government and different nonprofit organizations. I attempted to keep up my career life for a while, but in 2016, at the recommendation of my doctors and with the amazing support of my family, I resigned from my position.

Several years of life go by filled with different treatments, testing, rehab, counselling, medications, doctors, soul searching, and self-discovery. Over time, I grew to accept the chronic pain and cognitive challenges that have become my new normal. I had begun to see employment as not just a chance to contribute financially to our family, but also as an opportunity to learn new skills, relearn old skills, and interact with the community.

    I’ve always had an interest in animals/pets, but after my injury, among other changes in my personality/interests, I noticed a bigger connection with animals and an increased sense of peace when I was around them. So, it made sense to me to combine my love for animals with something creative like sewing that I already had some skills in.
        In March 2020, I started sewing and growing catnip indoors for Wiggles and Whiskers.

          In June 2020, I started selling products for dogs and cats at ‘A Gift to Remember’ in St. Jacobs, ON, where I live. 

          In April 2022 Wiggles and Whiskers Pet Services was launched. Since I was young I have always helped out neighbours, family and friends with caring for pets whenever the opportunity arose. Obtaining specialized insurance for the business, getting certified in Pet First Aid and becoming a registered member with Pet Sitters International were some of the first steps I took to formalize the Dog Walking and Pet Sitting side of the business.

          The one-on-one time with animals is such a benefit to my mental wellbeing, and the walking of dogs provides me with the exercise that has been proven to be so beneficial to healing the brain. In fact, studies of the effects of exercise on brain injury survivors have shown that people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) who exercised, have fewer physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms. (Aerobic Exercise Following TBI

          Why should you support/buy from Wiggles and Whiskers?

          You make me smile or do a happy dance… No joke! There is something special about a stranger purchasing something that you made with thought, care, and more time than they realize.

            You are supporting my belief in Neuroplasticity! Every new challenge that I have taken on since my injury contributes to my efforts to rebuild the neuropathways in my brain. Essentially, while building my small business I am also healing my brain!
              You validate the amount of time and energy that I put into an item. With a brain injury, pretty much everything I do takes me longer to complete than the average person. There are many reasons for this. I’ll probably blog about it someday, but one reason is that my brain works differently than it used to. With the help of various professionals, I have developed some strategies to compensate/adapt, but for the most part, one would say that “it’s a constant learning process.”
                You will be helping me to keep the craft of sewing alive that began with the skills of my Saskatchewan born, Depression era, WWII Veteran Grandmother Barbara Smith and continue today with my Mother, Aunt, Cousin and myself.
                  By visiting the Wiggles and Whiskers website, you are a witness to my hard work and determination while living with a brain injury. There are 1.5 million people in Canada living with an acquired brain injury. We are living with invisible injuries, but still persevering. Thank you for visiting Wiggles and Whiskers and being a part of my journey!