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  • Writer's pictureSaundra Smyrski

Well Done, Son. I'll Take It From Here

From tragedy to triumph. From victim to victor. From bitter to better. From life to death... and back again. Our story. Your Superhero #AustinStrong. And my unwavering, insatiable, and undeniable quest to...




As a Registered Nurse & Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional (CCFP), I have been fortunate to learn a great deal regarding compassion fatigue and caregiver burnout. When I pair this knowledge with my:

👉 background in Neuroscience ICU (Intensive Care)

👉 Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional certification

👉 Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional certification

👉 Tony Robbins endorsed Life Coach Certification

👉 Vickie Milazzo endorsed Legal Nurse Consultant Certification

👉 and my "BRAIN INJURY" specialized consulting firm

...I COMPLETELY empathize with those on the front line; both in the workplace (especially taking care of neuro patients) and on the Homefront, tending to your neurologically-altered loved ones, while trying not to lose what's left of your own faculties. Collectively, these accomplishments have taught me more about GRATITUDE than I could have ever imagined.


Nothing, & I mean NOTHING, has taught me more about:



🙏LIVING with the aftermath of brain injury, nor the

❗❗ LIMITATIONS of our failing health systems today than...

👉 Being the mom of an amazingly vibrant, not-so-slightly oppositional, neurologically altered, newly 4-years-old, twin son AUSTIN J. JACKSON, now more iconically known as #AustinStrong on Facebook/social media.


Between the age of 4 months old and 9 months old, Austin had:

  • been diagnosed with respiratory failure, secondary to multiple viral processes at that time

  • been discovered to have significant tracheal stenosis (narrowing of his airway), complicated by profound laryngomalacia/tracheomalacia (floppiness of his airway), which together made it extremely difficult to breathe, at times

  • endured an unexpected cardiac surgery to repair a double aortic arch (abnormal heart defect)

  • received the diagnosis of "minimal brain activity" due to the significant watershed injury he suffered post-cardiac arrest

  • suffered an unfortunate series of cardiac arrests, leading to a significant neurological deficit

  • braved the storm of a multi-system/complex airway reconstruction

  • struggled through a bout of necrotizing enterocolitis and a multitude of further complications

From 9 months old to now (4 years old), Austin has:

  • learned to eat on his own, by mouth, without the assistance of a G-Tube

  • learned how to roll over, sit up unassisted and army crawl, crawl on all fours, stand with the support of his gait trainer, walk, and now RUN- everywhere, ha!

  • been successfully removed from ALL medications (up to 20 at one point)

  • since received clearance from EVERY specialty previously following him

  • received clearance from Neurology with a completely NORMAL EEG reading

  • graduated from the medical daycare he attended


The power and resiliency in the will of children!

All of this I elaborate on to illustrate my "WHY" and my profound passion for all things BRAIN/ BRAIN INJURY related!

As awful an experience as it was sitting at the bedside of my lifeless son, in the Pediatric ICU, following his hypoxic/anoxic brain injury, and the discussion of possibly removing him from life support, due to the extent of the brain injury he suffered...

Which might I mention, was a DIRECT result of...

... I am forevermore grateful for the unique perspective and insight which this journey has afforded me. As a nurse, I always say that skillset, mechanics and the complex technicalities of nursing can be learned; EXPERIENCE, like that of which I have prayerfully endured, with my son, however, cannot be taught.

✨Such experience shows up in the everyday details of one’s practice.

✨Such experience shows up in the critical element of service recovery.

✨Such experience shows up to enhance the efficiency and fluidity of one’s mannerisms and ultimately leads to increased patient satisfaction and an expeditiously intricate level of care.

✨Such experience shows up, late in the midnight hour, to render a calm breath in the midst of calamity.

✨Such experience begets an environment of proactivity.

✨Such experience as I have acquired is an asset of which only those of whom have braved the turbulent waters of an unforeseen travesty of lateral proportion, can relate to and relocate from… in order to provide the most optimal patient and family-centered care possible.

Such experience has aided in me becoming YOUR BRAIN INJURY EXPERT, and has afforded me the opportunity to work with lawyers, nationwide, in an collaborative effort to render their clients "JUSTICE" when/where merit warrants.

I strive everyday to model after my son. As he went from minimal brain activity to completely normal brain activity, I went from broken to better and birthed my brain injury focused certified legal nurse consulting business. None of which, neither Austin, nor I, could have done, without the tremendous outpouring of love, light, and uplifting support from people all over the world! THANK YOU!


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