Hi, this is Anne Arnold. You probably expect a corporate bio here, but instead, I’m going to tell you a very personal story about my son Reid’s journey to recovery from learning disabilities, Concussive Syndrome and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This story lead us to found Optimum Edge.
The Journey To Recovery
It has been the most challenging few years but now as we look back, we would never know what we know without going through the journey.
It is every parent’s nightmare to witness any illness or accident to his or her child. Even worse to endure the effects without being able to find help or assist in any way and watch the landslide in slow motion destroy the potential and future of a young adolescent.
We got to witness this first hand and the very sad part of this story, is that we are not alone in this situation. The good part is that through our journey, we learned so much that we can now pass on to other families and individuals that there is hope to find answers and turn lives around.
Our son was always unique. He was diagnosed as having a learning disability and being ADHD at a young age. We fought the push to put him on medication, but eventually gave in to what we felt was in in his best interest to learn. We always searched for ways to help him and adapt to a regular lifestyle.
Then, A Sudden Car Accident
On November 11th, 2009, while on his way to school, Reid was hit by a car while riding his bicycle. Both he and the driver never had a chance to avoid the collision. He hit something on the sidewalk and was thrown out into the oncoming traffic and the car, while driving at about the speed limit, never even had a chance to apply the brakes. He sustained multiple injuries, including breaking his ankle and multiple contusions, but he was wearing a helmet, which saved his life. He was rushed to hospital by ambulance and had a CT scan and was deemed lucky to be alive and no head injury. Technically no, but that was the beginning of his decline.
At first we thought it was adolescence. His marks in school started dropping and he began struggling. He developed some mild anxiety and was withdrawing, but any help we sought told us it was “just growing up”. I did not think so, as I knew my son very well, and the behavior did not seem right to his character. There were no behavior issues like temper, violence or being rude and disrespectful, but rather a withdrawal from life in general.
The Search For Answers
I began searching for answers and went to a clinic in the US where he was diagnosed with having had a head injury, as well as severe ADHD and other issues that had not been prevalent before. Medication and therapy was recommended, but there was little support once we returned to Canada.
Another Head Injury
Three years later, Reid had another injury while racing Go Karts.
It was a horrific accident, and although he walked away, he was never the same again. He developed severe anxiety and depression, dropped out of school and began suffering from multiple symptoms associated with a head injury, but we struggled for a definitive answer. He developed a severe eating disorder and withdrew from life, living in his room and never coming out.
I know I am not alone in witnessing this type of behavior. Whether it is from an accident or not, the symptoms are the same and there was little we thought we could do.
Finally, A Diagnosis
He was officially diagnosed with having Concussive Syndrome and suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
I searched multiple resources and we were fortunate to get into some specific programs related to Traumatic Brain Injuries, (TBI’s) and these programs helped significantly, but they were not long term solutions, so we kept searching.
It was so difficult to watch your son’s destruction and yet he wanted so much to get better. He did not know what was happening to him or what was wrong, so we kept looking and trying until we finally found some treatments that made a difference.
Recovering From Brain Injury
Now, nearly 3 years later, Reid is on the way back to a life he was robbed from. He returned to school and has finally graduated Grade 12. He has stepped back into socialization and has found some purpose and excitement in life. He is developing goals and striving to meet them. It is not an easy journey and we are not sure if it will every be what it could have been, but for him and us, there is a future that is not bleak but one that has potential.
It has been a hard road filled with ruts so deep, and fog so dense that we thought we would never see the end. We realized that there is so little support and information out there for people like Reid, whether from emotional or physical trauma, the situation is similar.
Now, on the road to recovery, we want to shorten the path for others and offer something back that might make a big difference in their journey. With a passion like no other, we began Optimum Edge and hope we can bring health and happiness back into other people’s lives.
There is hope!