Praise for But My Brain Had Other Ideas: A Memoir of Recovery from Brain Injury by Deb Brandon

Advance Praise

At turns harrowing and inspiring; also serves as a valuable piece of education on recovery from brain injury.”
Kirkus Reviews
But My Brain Had Other Ideas is wonderfully written—not only from a literary point of view, but also as a deeply personal and clear explanation of what it feels like to experience the things that Brandon describes.”
— Dr. William J. Hawthorne III, Psy.D, clinical psychology (neuropsychologist)
It's impossible to read But My Brain Had Other Ideas and not be in awe of this woman's determination to triumph over her disease. Brandon's clear-eyed approach to her story will hook you from the first chapter and remind you what it means to live life full on. Her refusal to be circumscribed by angioma is a reminder of the power of hope in all of our lives.”
— Lee Woodruff, New York Times best-selling author and journalist
Told in poetic and exacting language, Brandon's intimate account of life with a damaged brain is equal parts hypnotizing, harrowing, and inspiring.”
— Michael Paul Mason, author of Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath
Disability does not discriminate, it can be joined in the blink of an eye or in this case a rupture in the brain. But My Brain Had Other Ideas is a mind boggling roller coaster reality ride of personal trauma, disability and society's mind numbing response.”
— Lawrence Powell, past director of the Office of Disability Resources, Carnegie Mellon University
Deb Brandon documents her journey with cerebral cavernous angioma, a disease of brain blood vessels, with ferocious honesty. Her tale offers a glimpse into an often confusing and frightening world in which reality can be upended from one day to the next, a world that requires reaching down to the depths of resilience to stay afloat. Deb’s struggles and triumphs will resonate with anyone who suffers from invisible illness and those who love them.”
— Connie Lee, Psy.D., President and CEO of Angioma Alliance
Deb Brandon is analytical, precise, and detail oriented. But her prose reveals “another side of her brain”: authentic, poetic, and romantic. I was singularly captured by Deb’s storytelling. Beyond my perspective as a surgeon and expert on cavernous angiomas, I could not resist hiking along with her in the wilderness, watching Deb draw from nature the strength to adjust, and readjust. As a professor, I wanted to be with her, as she balanced her challenges with the desire to teach and continue to contribute at the highest level. But My Brain Had Other Ideas is a lively portrait of the personal toll of brain disease.”
— Issam A. Awad, MD, MSc, FACS, Director of Neurovascular Surgery, University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Services
But My Brain Had Other Ideas is a courageous story, one that rings with the truth of living through trauma that robs us of what we take for granted—a functioning brain and body, a sense of normalcy and trust in life itself. Deb Brandon's chronicle of her journey through the life-threatening brain bleeds of a cavernous angioma, the surgeries, rehab, and the long slog to adapt as a brain-injury survivor offers a beacon of hope for all coping with a disability of any sort.”
— Susan J. Tweit, speaker and award-winning author of Walking Nature Home


Cavernous angiomas are vascular lesions comprised of clusters of abnormally dilated blood vessels. What that description doesn't tell you, but Deb does, is the impact that condition has on the body and the daily struggle to lead a relatively normal life. After three surgeries, rehab, and battling depression, Deb clearly chronicles her journey and the emotional toll that all of it had on her and her family. The descriptions of the paralyzing effects of her experiences in a crowd situation are absolutely mesmerizing. Her fear is clearly evident and at the same time, her determination to recover and continue teaching as a professor in the Mathematical Sciences Department at Carnegie Mellon University is inspiring.”
— Kathy Nester, Penny for My Thoughts