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Prognosis: A Memoir of My Brain by [Vallance, Sarah]
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Prognosis: A Memoir of My Brain Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 ratings

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From the Editor

Traumatic brain injury garners headlines when it comes to the ethics and big business of professional sports, but what happens when a single blow to the head alters the course of one PhD candidate’s life? That question—and all the ones that followed about identity, shame, and perseverance—burned hot in my mind as I read Sarah Vallance’s lyrical memoir.

It begins with a simple accident, no blood, no dramatic visit to the hospital, just a bump on the head and a dazed drive home. One single, violent blow and then things begin to be taken from Sarah. There are immediate measurable losses: her IQ is slashed by roughly 40 percent, her job disappears, her strained family breaks apart, and she isolates herself, trusting only her dogs to love and understand her. But there are insidious immeasurable shifts too: her personality changes, language and logic evade her, and her shattered confidence melts into a period of depression and confusion. In short, the things that Sarah believed defined her—intelligence and ambition—begin to disappear completely.

While many of us readers may have been lucky enough to avoid staring into a similar abyss, I must admit that, in a similar position, I may have given up and resigned myself to a life of hiding at home. But Sarah is made of more resilient stuff. Prepare to feel heartbreak, frustration, and anger as you watch Sarah fall headfirst into the void, but know those feelings will be followed by pride, hope, even some laughs, and a deepened understanding of the personal experience of brain injury as you watch Sarah decide—over and over again—to pull herself out, to grieve each new thing she has lost, and to look forward to an altered but untrammeled future.

- Laura Van der Veer, Editor


Product description

Product Description

The searing, wry memoir about a woman’s fight for a new life after a devastating brain injury.

When Sarah Vallance is thrown from a horse and suffers a jarring blow to the head, she believes she’s walked away unscathed. The next morning, things take a sharp turn as she’s led from work to the emergency room. By the end of the week, a neurologist delivers a devastating prognosis: Sarah suffered a traumatic brain injury that has caused her IQ to plummet, with no hope of recovery. Her brain has irrevocably changed.

Afraid of judgment and deemed no longer fit for work, Sarah isolates herself from the outside world. She spends months at home, with her dogs as her only source of companionship, battling a personality she no longer recognizes and her shock and rage over losing simple functions she’d taken for granted. Her life is consumed by fear and shame until a chance encounter gives Sarah hope that her brain can heal. That conversation lights a small flame of determination, and Sarah begins to push back, painstakingly reteaching herself to read and write, and eventually reentering the workforce and a new, if unpredictable, life.

In this highly intimate account of devastation and renewal, Sarah pulls back the curtain on life with traumatic brain injury, an affliction where the wounds are invisible and the lasting effects are often misunderstood. Over years of frustrating setbacks and uncertain triumphs, Sarah comes to terms with her disability and finds love with a woman who helps her embrace a new, accepting sense of self.

About the Author

Sarah Vallance was born in Sydney. She graduated from City University of Hong Kong in 2013 with an MFA in creative writing. Her essays have earned her a Pushcart Prize. She has been published in the Gettysburg Review, the Sun, the Pinch, Asia Literary Review, and Post Road, among other places. Sarah was a Harkness Fellow at Harvard and holds a doctorate in government and public administration. She lives in Sydney with her wife and their three dogs and three cats. Prognosis is her first book.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1216 KB
  • Print Length: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Little A (1 August 2019)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07MDBSVNK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,427 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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