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Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona Blog

A Personal Invitation to Share Creative Works from Marsha Drozdoff

Marsha Drozdoff has always felt drawn to healthcare. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, when she was 16 years old, she volunteered to be a “candy striper” or hospital volunteer. The sweet nickname stems from the iconic striped uniforms non-medical volunteers wore at the time.

Emily Hayes, physical therapist,  joined her colleague Samantha, physical therapist, celebrating in 2021 as they become a certified neurological specialist!

Knowing the many psychological and spiritual benefits of writing, Marsha Drozdoff is working on compiling poems, short stories and creative writing by brain injury survivors into a book. She is inviting all members of the brain injury survivor community to contribute to this work.

A Personal Invitation to Share Creative Works from Marsha D.

Marsha Drozdoff has always felt drawn to healthcare. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, when she was 16 years old, she volunteered to be a “candy striper” or hospital volunteer. The sweet nickname stems from the iconic striped uniforms non-medical volunteers wore at the time.

Emily Hayes and colleague Samantha

Knowing the many psychological and spiritual benefits of writing, Marsha Drozdoff is working on compiling poems, short stories and creative writing by brain injury survivors into a book. She is inviting all members of the brain injury survivor community to contribute to this work.

Drozdoff found the mind-body connection fascinating. She even took part in a program at the Brooklyn Veteran’s Administration hospital as a hypnosis subject.

In 1980, on July 4, Drozdoff moved across the country to Tucson, Arizona. She was six months pregnant with her first child and experienced 112-degree heat for the first time. The experience was a mix of awe for the desert’s mystery and beauty, and the culture shock of learning about swamp coolers.

The following year, Drozoff began working at what is now Banner University Medical Center. For the next 36 and a half years, she provided counseling services and facilitated support groups, primarily in the oncology department. During her tenure, Drozoff created a weekly mindfulness and meditation group. Later, after being introduced to Reiki while participating in an integrated medicine program, Drozdoff integrated it into her own healing.

Her hard work, dedication to continuous learning, and passion for bringing as many resources for wellness as possible to her clients did not go unnoticed. In 2007, Drozdoff was awarded the National Association of Social Workers – Arizona award for Social Worker of the Year.

Drozdoff cultivates a rich and fulfilling life through her passions, which include caring for both her own pets and volunteering at animal shelters. Recently, she has bid farewell to a labrador that was over 14-years-old that was adopted when she was 10 years old. Drozdoff also travels and enjoys being in nature, ever mindful about flowers in bloom, the shadows cast over a mountain, beautiful sunsets and the enchanting sight of a hummingbird in flight.

On January 19, 2019, Drozdoff was driving home during the long Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. She had just dropped her dog off at doggie daycare and was about to teach a Reiki Level 1 training session. Traffic was still light, and the day promised to be beautiful, with clear weather and a cool temperature.

In an instant, Drozdoff’s day became catastrophic. As she drove through an intersection with a green light, her car was T-boned by another vehicle. At the time, she did not realize that she briefly lost consciousness and had suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI, frequently diagnosed and known as a concussion.

Seven months after the accident, Drozdoff changed primary care physicians and was diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS).

For the next five years, Drozdoff found herself enmeshed in a seemingly endless quagmire of medical frustration as she struggled to diagnose, address and even simply live with concussion symptoms.

She went through two rounds of physical therapy, took numerous medications, was treated by a concussion specialist and ran the gauntlet of countless referrals.

Currently, she is seeing a neuro-optometrist and working with a speech therapist to address chronic and exasperating cognitive deficits and functional limitations.

Although Drozdoff sought recourse in the legal system, ultimately the outcome was not in her favor.

Still, Drozdoff is leveraging her own personal philosophy and professional knowledge to focus on the opportunities this experience has given her.

She is able to be an active part of her 3-year-old grandchild, who is an active, adorable and creative kid, an experience for which she is deeply grateful.

Knowing the many psychological and spiritual benefits of writing, Drozdoff is working on compiling poems, short stories and creative writing by brain injury survivors into a book.

Drozdoff invites all members of the brain injury survivor community to contribute to this work. If interested, submit one to three pieces of poetry or writing or a work of art no larger than 8 inches by 11 inches to Drozdoff at marshad2002@msn.com or desertreikiconnection@gmail.com .

Include your name, age, the year of your brain injury and how it occurred (whether in a fall, motor vehicle accident, stroke, or any other cause).

Contributors will not be compensated. However, they will receive a copy of the book.

ABOUT BRAIN INJURY ASSOCIATION OF ARIZONA

The Brain Injury Association of Arizona (BIAAZ) is the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of adults and children with all types of brain injuries through prevention, advocacy, awareness and education. BIAAZ also houses the Arizona Brain Health Resource Center, a collection of educational information and neuro-specific resources for brain injury survivors, caregivers, family members and professionals.

What began in 1983 as a grassroots effort has grown into a strong statewide presence, providing valuable life-long resources and community support for individuals with all types of brain trauma at no charge.

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