♪ music playing ♪ The day before my husband was injured, I just had this sixth sense that something was wrong. The uneasiness kept growing. Every time they leave the wire, it always poses a risk. That day, they had to detour. They had to go through alleys and through towns. And all of a sudden, they were in this stretch in the desert. That’s when they got hit. The person who came back was not the husband I sent out. He couldn’t speak well. He didn’t have the balance to walk well. And he was so disoriented. I’m sorry. I don’t think anything could prepare you to be a caregiver, honestly. I was working full time. And I was going to school, doing my doctorate, plus taking care of Victor. At that time, I did not recognize I was a caregiver. I was a normal, loving wife, doing just the typical things that you would do when your loved one is sick. I didn’t tell anybody about Victor’s being wounded, except this one friend. She talked to me about caregiver burnout. I remember dismissing a little bit. I’m like, “Yeah, no, I’m fine.” And she said, “No, no, listen to me. This will happen to you. You just have to prevent it.” So I actually recognized myself as a caregiver almost eight months after Victor’s injury. How are you feeling about this? Not so good. I just loved him, but I also challenge him a lot. We would sit on the couch, and I would play a movie. I would give him a shoe and I would have the other shoe, and we’d tie shoes together. He did it again and again until he was able to do it. I didn’t care at the time if he was unable to do it. I just looked at the possibilities. I mean, he was a soldier, a warrior, a fighter. And he always had that in him. Later on, he of course apologized. He said, “You’re right, I’m going to start owning this. I want to be able to do things for myself.” For me, personally, the toughest
challenge was the grieving process. I knew I was missing my husband. A person is there physically, but he’s not there emotionally, mentally. He’s not the same person. I had to learn how to let go and then grasp and accept and understand that it can be a beautiful life, what Victor calls a “brighter future.” I had to shift my mind-set from being that spouse to be his best friend. I wanted to protect myself of having too high expectations as a wife, and him not being able to fulfill those. So, when I shifted that mind-set, he noticed. He approached it by saying, “Roxana, I notice that you
don’t look at me the same way.” He said, “You know what? I know I’m not the same. I know that I have a long ways to go. But from today, I’m going to start
making you fall in love with me again.” He’s a smart man. So, from that point forward, Victor started doing a lot of the house chores. It has been 10 years since Victor was wounded in combat. It was so uncertain, so isolating, so difficult. It requires an incredible amount
of strength and responsibility to grasp first what is happening, work on it, and then overcome all those obstacles. At the beginning, this physician pulled me aside, and he said, “You need to stop
giving your husband false hope.” In the military, there’s no such thing as false hope. Now, Victor is completely independent. He’s driving. He went back to school. He became a certified rehab counselor. Victor has defied the odds and gone above and beyond. We created the TBI Warrior Foundation to improve the quality of life of those with traumatic brain injuries. We want to ensure that others coming behind know that there’s resources and that there’s hope. Victor, you are the love of my life. And I’m so glad that we
have walked this journey together. Roxana, thank you and I love you. And I love you.