Chapter 27


2005 was a year of change. The TDU was renamed the Brainport and the company to

Wicab. Paul choose the name Wicab meaning “lover of honey”, a dedication of his work in

honor of his wife Esther’s maiden name. Paul, Mitch and Yuri and I worked even closer

together where I gained considerably more clinical research knowledge, experience, and


By this time, because I had used the Brainport for over 2 years my residual began to last

longer to a point that I reached a level of compensation based upon how my body

reconnected with my environment. I wasn’t at my peak but I was at a peak of

understanding my potential.

Paul, Mitch and Yuri presented at numerous conventions, arranged meetings with

potential partners and investors to watch me use the device, witness the change and learn

more about the science behind the Brainport. Here’s where my show and tell career

developed, I was star of the Brainport stage.
The news of the research began to spread. Journalist Sandra Blakeslee of The New Times

science section contacted us to write a story about the research. She interviewed me and

the team gathering the Brainport’s history and development, the theory on how it worked,

my experiences with it, and what the future held. I presented another show and tell

demonstration. A photographer took photos of me using the Brainport and out walking on

a trail near the office. This was the big kick off to media frenzy of the research, and on me:

There was no turning back – I became a Brainport star.

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Welcome Home

Chapter 26

Welcome Home


My return to Indian Lake left shining crystals of joy in my heart.  It was there I felt my

feet firmly touch the ground, it was there a lighted spirit opened and danced its way

around me.  It was there my connection with the environment rose up in such a

remarkable way that nothing I passed went unnoticed of its sight, smell, and sound.

I’ve mentioned this before and will again, everything meant more.  A clarity of which I’d

never experienced offered me a view of the vivid detailed beauty of everything around us.

This was my first real step to calm and quiet.  The noise of suffocating change disappeared

from my thoughts; my thoughts disappeared from its control.


Not only did my surroundings become monumentally clear, so did the relationships with

people in my life.  It became clear that I needed to rid myself of the toxic and move on

to live gratefully and thankful.  I found an apartment and moved out and away from SFB,

I did indeed love every moment of that.  I separated myself from actions that held me

back from healing.  I released long ago trauma that battered my thoughts with reminders.

I returned with such force that it was enormously clear to me that I was important, that it

was important to be living my authentic self.


I feel when something you’ve lost is found there is an explosion of relief.  The

experience of something lost and found amplifies the direction one takes.  There comes

with that the need to share experience, the need to share lessons learned, and inspire

people that healing power lies within, with or without technology, its in all of

us.  Its finding the power that’s the hard part, but its there.  As my friend Michele

Rosenthal says “You have enormous healing potential.  The goal is learning to access it. 

Dig deep, you can do this.  I believe in you“.  Michele is a survivor of trauma.  She now

shares her experience aiding others towards healing from their trauma and the force of

PTSD that entangles it.   Her insights help trauma survivors escape from the past

and welcome the future.  Michele is truly an expert, a living trauma survivor expert.  If

you’d like to learn more about Michele and her work here is a link:


I found my healing potential, I found my way out trauma that wanted to define me,

to frighten away my true potential.  However, it was my true potential that guided me

home.  With arms wide open I wrapped myself around it, I welcomed myself home.


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Chapter 25


I really missed hiking. It was a ritual that rejuvenated my mind, body and soul. It was a

way to let go of my responsibilities, there was nothing to do except let the calm of nature

become a part of me and me a part of it. There’s nothing to do except inhale the pure sweet

smell of untouched landscapes of prairies, the woods, and even dirt. There’s nothing to do

except feel the touch of earth below your feet. Oh how I missed that.


Not far from the lab is beautiful hiking area called Indian Lake. Prior to my introduction to

disability I had hiked each and every trail, but I gave up ever hiking there or any other

place again. I was definitely thrilled my abilities were getting better and better yet I held

an untold fear that I wouldn’t ever be the same again. This was a fear that seeped into

hiking ever changing and uneven terrains that it was over. Yet, getting better and better at

what I could do introduced a revived feeling of deep down confidence I hadn’t felt in years.

It said, get back out there, to use the residual workouts to take a trek no matter what

happens, no matter if I fell down. I had to be brave.
I told to Mitch and Yuri that I was going to Indian Lake for a hike. Both tried to talk me

out of it. I stood tall with reappeared confidence and told them they couldn’t stop me. I left

the building and with a deep breath, got in my car and left. I was going to take my first

steps into proving to myself the promise of confidence would see me through my-self

designed challenge.


I won’t lie, the drive on winding back roads to my expedition was frightening, but I didn’t

care. I released that fright and focused on what was waiting for me. I allowed myself to

embrace the feel of freedom. As I parked in the lot I looked out the windshield and saw my

future ahead. I stepped out of my car and placed my footprint onto the earth beneath my

feet, feeling the surroundings that suddenly meant so much more. Tears of magnificent joy

rolled down my cheeks as the sight of freedom overwhelmed me; I was looking into the

eyes of God’s creation.
The trail I chose was a grassy path. It began flat, like a sidewalk. I took my time and

stopped along the way saying hello to trees I passed countless times before. I strolled past

a lake where ducks swam leaving a trail of ripples dancing on the water. The trail turned

left where on both sides prairies of tall green grass and wildflowers danced in the warm

breeze and upon my skin. I still feel that touch.


Beyond the prairie stood a dense line of trees, their leaves waving in a friendly motion to

come on in. It was their invitation to step into the beauty of trees standing tall amid

blankets of gentle ferns covering the earth and offspring of mighty oaks, maples, and birch

stretched to reach the sky.


The trail curved past a grandfather oak I always admired for its majestic strength and

valor. It is the landmark for the trail to work its way uphill. I paused to view its marker as I

remembered the very first time I followed its direction. It was then I realized I was given a

second chance at one of the many first times again. I walked up the hill where at the top I

turned to see grandfather oak looking back. I was home.


The uneven dips and bumps of the trail challenged me beyond words. I wobbled A LOT yet

managed to move on and stay upright. I faced my fear and chose to continue rather than

stop in defeat. I paused often to reset my bravery standing amid memories of a long ago

thrill. I was overwhelmed with life breathing emotions that to this day dance in my heart.


Every turn, every hill, every place welcomed me, I welcomed it. The further I traveled the

braver I became. Reaching the end of the trail I knew I had reached the end of my fear. I

really was home.

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Just Kept Getting Better

Chapter 24

Just Kept Getting Better

Little by little the residual lasted longer, up to 5-6 hours. Stronger was the experience of being reconnected to an everyday life, so much more than I ever experienced. My body and mind blended with my surroundings; I felt beautifully touched by it all. Like the homecoming of long lasting sun as daylight springs forward, I appeared with it. Everyday felt like Independence Day.


The relief of not knowing where I was in space, covered with weight of gravity gone, was enormous. The constant distressing thought that trickled throughout my body vanished and a calm silent existence took over. Growing stronger and more meaningful was that vibrant connection to all things around me, and me around it.



I used every bit of residual feeling “normal”. I used every second to reinforce how my body used to work, to exercise it in residual freedom. I challenged myself to walk longer and farther enjoying things I worried had disappeared forever. I stood on uneven surfaces, kept my body and head straight and gazed into the beauty around of me, in me. I pushed the limits. I wanted my body to remember what the residual felt like after it was gone. I worked out lifting residual weights. The more I lifted, the more my body remembered, the more my body remembered, the better my abilities, the better my abilities, the better my life. It was fascinating to experience this, to feel it, to be it.

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How Could This Happen?

CHAPTER 23 – 2003

How Could this Happen?


Like the long ago television show, “The Beverly Hillbillies”, I packed up, sold my house

in Cambria, and moved to Madison – closer to MATC, closer to the TDU. I was motivated

beyond words with the residual lasting longer and longer. I was experiencing such

wonderful improvements in my balance that a sense of being “normal” began to tickle me.

There were significant increases in my ability to walk in balance. There was a soothing of

the oscillopsia that calmed the world around me, there was a body to brain coordination I

never felt before. How could this happen?



I didn’t care how it was happening.


I ceased the time to retrace the steps I walked before the  ototoxicity took over, before I

was introduced to disability. I walked into what the world and I shared before my change;

I used what time I had to share that again. I worked to strengthen my body, not only on

the inside, but also on the outside. I had to. I believe the time I took feeling what

was familiar to me, to my body, amplified the effect the TDU was introducing to

my brain. I reinforced that connection.

Along with physical changes came an increase in my concentration, thankfully

reducing stress trying to keep up and, with a clear head structure creative ways to

keep up with assignments. The rituals I developed to get from one class to another became

something I didn’t have to think about. My gait was steadied and I could even look up and

gaze into the world around me. I could say hello to fellow classmates. It didn’t matter that

relief was limited, it didn’t matter how it was happening, all that mattered was I felt the

flow of life.

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Central Focus, Visual Proof

Chapter 22 – 2003

Central Focus, Visual Proof

Nearly finished with my studies at MATC, I prepared to transfer into UW-Madison. This was a monumental time which both excited me and scared the heck out of me. But, there was the residual I could lean on.

I was using the TDU religiously, two times a day and discovered the residual was lasting longer and longer. My confidence exploded to a level I’d never experience before. Although the residual time was still limited, I literally began to feel free of what I thought would never go away. That freedom changed how I saw myself, the world and, changed how the world saw me.

I was the first and only person to experience, what I called the “under the influence” effects of the TDU. I was the only one who understood completely what it was like to feel and benefit from its powerful effects. For these reasons and more I suddenly became the central focus for presentations, the search for grant applications, partners, and angel investors, a CEO, and the science community at large.

Then the focus became my time to display the effects as visual proof to watch and talk about. Don’t get me wrong, I completely supported these efforts to raise awareness of the TDU.  This had to be done to share the news of what we were doing and the results we were getting. The one thing that couldn’t be explained was how it worked – how it provided the residual effect – we didn’t know. There were discussions that my brain was changing, that new pathways were developing to send signals of balance to my brain, that sensory substitution was indeed happening, to the belief perceptual changes were taking place. There were several speculations, all of which later would join together. All I knew then is that it was working.

Posted in Aminoglycosides, Appreciation, Beginnings, Biomedical Research, Clinical Research, Disability, Disability and Opportunity, Discovery, Gentamicin, Identity, Inspiration, Mitch Tyler, Motivation, Non Fiction, Oscillopsia, Ototoxicity, Paul Bach-y-Rita, Perception, Rehabilitation, Research, resilence, Self Help, Sensory Substitution, Spirit, Subject Zero, Tongue Display Unit, Transition, trauma, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Vestibular System, Yuri Danilov | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For the First Time in a Long Time…

Chapter 21 2003

For the First Time in a Long Time…

How can I begin to explain how a touch of returned freedom, long absent from my life,

lifted me from dark to light. With just a few hours that the TDU gave me, I began to see

clearly there was absolute hope and solid proof I could escape the trauma of what had

happened to me.

For the first time in a long time I could make plans, form goals, and embrace everything

around me, embrace me. For the first time in a long time I could cry with joy and not in


For the first time in a long time I could look at myself in a mirror and smile. I could raise

my eyes to the sky to feel the touch of sun on my face and let it surround me with warmth.

I looked upon prairies and walked through woods smelling, hearing, and feeling the return

of comfort this created in me, if only for a few hours.

I felt my relationship changing with a world taken and hidden from me to a connection of

it being right there in front of me, brilliantly clear. All I hadn’t spent time with before was

emerging as an amazing part of everything around me, I felt it. Everything began to mean

more, it still does.

For the first time in a long time I could dance freely without falling down.

And dance I did.

Posted in Addressing it, Appreciation, Beginnings, Biomedical Research, Clinical Research, Disability, Discovery, Expressing It, Gentamicin, Identity, Inspiration, Mitch Tyler, Motivation, Non Fiction, Oscillopsia, Ototoxicity, Paul Bach-y-Rita, Research, resilence, Self Help, Sensory Substitution, Spirit, Subject Zero, Tongue Display Unit, Transition, trauma, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Vestibular System, Yuri Danilov | Leave a comment