Traumatic Brain Injury: Caregiver Journeys

Allison Vetzel

In 2009, Chris Vetzel was injured while serving in Iraq. Chris discusses the denial that he experienced before he was diagnosed with TBI. He and Allison share how they learned to identify, understand, and manage the effects of his injury. Chris acknowledges that the love and support of his family are what keeps him going.
“I am proudest of my husband for being the loving man he is and giving everything for our family everyday, despite his injuries.”

Sarah Wade

Six years after her husband, Ted, was injured, Sarah Wade offers her insight on the challenges of dealing with the long-term effects of TBI. Sarah discusses the spectrum of Ted’s recovery, from complete dependence to increasing independence. Sarah explains the importance of taking care of herself, in order to be there for her husband.
“In some ways, I had lost my own identity. I had been Ted’s caregiver for so long that that’s who I was…that’s what I did.”

Susan Welsh

After her husband, Mike, was wounded in 2006 Susan was faced with caring for her husband and two young sons. Her story is one of inner strength and the importance of family.
“For Mike, being a leader and having to ask for help….I do think that’s an issue. A lot of it is just losing the independence…”

Shannon Mormann

In 2009, during his third deployment, Cody Mormann was wounded when the truck he was driving was hit by an IED. His wife, Shannon, shares the challenges that she and Cody face during his recovery.
“Stay hopeful…talk to somebody as it comes…don’t hold it all in…”

Mary Dojcak

Between 2005 and 2008, Rick Rood was exposed to multiple blasts while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. His caregiver, Mary, shares her experiences and explains the importance of laughter in caring for a loved one with TBI.
“As a caregiver I became part of his team in many ways. First off…being the one who cares the most.”

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"It had been 15 months and he had slowly improved. But he couldn’t talk. He’d kind of start trying to mouth words, but he just couldn’t talk. And so, on October 21st, 2005, I’ll never forget that morning. I came in to the bedroom and I said, Fred, how are you doing?’ And he said, ‘Fine.’ Okay. I think he just talked to me. So I just turned around and went back into the kitchen, got his breakfast, came back in and thought, okay, let me try this again. I said, ‘Fred, how are you doing?’ And he said, ‘Fine.’ It wasn’t a lot at first, but he could talk." -  Denise G.