Header image - Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color

Beyond Brain Injury


January 15, 2018

I admire these women, these accomplished artists who struggled against the shackles society placed on them. In order to achieve success, many felt the need to work within those restrictions, ignoring a yen to be treated as their male counterparts during the period of impressionism. Some struggled against those bonds, defying societal norms, forging a … Read more

Apples and Pears

December 14, 2017

I hesitate before I bite into it—it doesn’t look very appetizing—the skin is lackluster and brown. But it’s a pear. And pears are okay. I sink my teeth into it. I jerk back— It is like pear, but not. Almost like an apple but not quite. I chew experimentally—it is okay, better than okay; the … Read more

Laughing Away the Maw

November 17, 2017

As I crossed the threshold into the hospital my inner voice chanted, “Dead man walking.” Did I actually say it out loud? During the early days after the bleeds and surgeries, I relied on my sense of humor to keep me sane. Right after I set dates for the first two surgeries, I phoned Cindy. … Read more

Scars Revisited

November 1, 2017

“I was particularly riveted by the chapter on your scars. You suddenly went through this period when you had to see them.” Kit surmised that my journey was not only of healing, but also of acceptance. “Would you talk about that a little bit?” As Kit spoke, as if on its own accord, my hand … Read more

Memories of Memories

October 18, 2017

What prompted me to look up the messages people sent me while I was in hospital for the brain surgeries? I sit here, tears streaming down my cheeks. I’ve read these messages several times already. And each time, I’ve become emotional, inconsolable. I always remain fraginle for the rest of the day. Sometimes it lasts … Read more


October 14, 2017

I reread the poem for the umpteenth time, and like the first time, shortly after my second brain surgery, I teared up. Mum came to be with me in Phoenix during the surgeries. Dad had to stay at home, across the ocean. Throughout my hospitalization, he expressed his fears, anguish, and love through poetry. He … Read more


October 5, 2017

A friend suggested that I give a talk at a conference entitled “Women Of Resilience.” I wasn’t sure why she would think I would be an appropriate choice for a speaker. I wasn’t even sure about the meaning of the word—I had a vague notion that resilience had something to do with strength, which seemed … Read more

Testing Testing

October 1, 2017

It was my son’s idea to add bonus problems to my tests. “Have them draw an octopus. That’s what one of my professors had us do.” I loved the idea—the students, many of whom are subject to math anxiety, could use some comic relief during the test. I added a problem: “Draw a picture of … Read more

Guided by the Fugawi

September 13, 2017

Sometimes a title for a book or essay smacks you in the face as you write it, or shortly after you complete it. But more often than not, you agonize over it for days, weeks, months, sometimes more. I was writing a piece about how and why I started writing my memoir about recovery from … Read more


September 9, 2017

I should have known better. Why did I agree? I don’t think well on my feet. I should know how to handle it by now. Why don’t I take time to think before I make a choice, before I commit myself? I’ve learnt to compensate for so many of my losses. Why is this one … Read more