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But My Brain had Other Ideas

Photo of mostly-healed surgery scar

When Deb Brandon discovered that cavernous angiomas—tangles of malformed blood vessels in her brain—were behind the terrifying symptoms she'd been experiencing, she underwent one brain surgery. And then another. And then another. And that was just the beginning.

Unlike other memoirs that focus on injury crisis and acute recovery, But My Brain Had Other Ideas follows Brandon's story all the way through to long-term recovery, revealing without sugarcoating or sentimentality Brandon's struggles—and ultimate triumph.

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Read an excerpt from

But My Brain Had Other Ideas

I woke up in a huge, well lit parking garage; the lights were too bright, too harsh. Beside every bed was a cement pillar sporting a number. Each patient bristled with tubes and wires, surrounded by alien machines and contraptions, blinking lights, tubes going in, tubes coming out, flashing screens. Nurses and doctors bustled around doing inexplicable things.

I was petrified, tears streaming down my cheeks.

The recovery room nurses kept checking on me. “Are you all right? What’s wrong?”

I couldn't answer.

I had no frame of reference, nothing to give me direction.

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Listen to a sample from the audiobook

Read by Helen Lloyd

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What people are saying about But My Brain Had Other Ideas:

At turns harrowing and inspiring; also serves as a valuable piece of education on recovery from brain injury. [Full review]

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.

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.

Deb Brandon's chronicle of her ongoing relationship with cavernous angiomas is both sobering and gripping. It will make the reader re-assess his or her life, and certainly it makes the reader admire the down-to-earth realism with which Brandon relates her story. [. . .] [Writer's Digest Awards page]

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.

SOVAS Nominee Helen Lloyd, Voice Arts Awards, Audiobook Narration – Biography, Best Voiceover, 2019

Finalist, International Book Awards, Autobiography / Memoir, 2018

Finalist, Indie Next Generation Book Awards, Memoir (Personal Struggle / Health Issues) 2018

Finalist, Best Book Awards, Autobiography / Memoir, 2017

Winner, Beverly Hills Book Awards, Regional Non-Fiction - Northeast

Winner, Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award, 2018