Second birthday: A lot of people with a BI usually... - Headway

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Second birthday

A lot of people with a BI usually say they lead a different life prior after their injury and usually celebrate that day when it all first started with a second birthday, some have even given themselves another name.

I never really thought about this much really. I just wanted to get on with my life as I did before but found I could not quite do that.

So, I have this 'second birthday' theory in the back of my head and I realised that yesterday was 19 years ago since I had surgery that changed my life.

I have also adopted the name 'Eugene' now as my second name :).

Happy belated second birthday Eugene :)

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I celebrate the 31st of March every year as that's when my tumour was removed 5 years ago. Happy birthday Eugene :)

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Thanks Michael and a happy belated second birthday to you to :).

Do you have a second name as well?


No, I have enough trouble remembering Michael ;)

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Happy 19th birthday Eugene/Matt : ) May I ask why the name Eugene ?


Thanks Angela :).

You may ask where Eugene comes from but that doesn't mean I will tell you haha.


Actually, it was a member from here, you know Emma the broken doll don't you? Speaking of her, I wonder how she is doing? It has been a long time since she sowed her face on here. Last time she showed her face it was covered in green muck haha.

Once we talking about Spongebob Squarepants because she likes that cartoon and then she mentioned how she was like a hermit after BI. I then said there was something about how having a BI turnspeople into a crustacean and she started calling me Eugene as in Eugene Krabbs from Spongebob haha.


I also remember the date of my near fatal RTA 17th December (2005) every year.

And it most certainly changed my life, dramatically.

At the time I was in the Army, a job I had been doing since I was 16, two weeks after leaving school, I was in Basic training, and 16 years later I was still doing it and was a newly promoted Sergeant having just returned from Iraq.

Anyhow, during my six months intensive rehabilitation at Headley Court (Surrey), where I learnt to talk, walk and generally do everything you learn as a baby, it became apparent that I would be no longer suitable for the Army, and the wheels were set in motion to have me medically discharged.

Although I never returned to my job as a Sgt in the regiment, I was still on the payroll until 2007 when I was officially medically discharged (MD'd).

And in that time, I decided that as my life was now going in a completely different direction, living independently on my own in ''civvie'' street, that I would change my name.

So I chnged it, with the blessing of my mother, to Jéan Reno, after my favourite actor in 'Leon', 'Ronin' and the 'Davinci Code', plus others. I did this on the day I was MD'd via deed poll, then I had my passport changed and opened up new bank accounts in my new name.

Whilst I am still called by my old name by my mother and old army mates, and generally anyone who knew me prior to my accident, I introduce myself to new friends or people I meet with my new name, this way I know who knew me before my RTA and who knew me after, plus I can tailor my humour to match, as Soldiers tend to have a dark sense of humour some civvies find offensive, not that it really bothers me...

For me it was a line in the sand, that was the old me, the life I had before my TBI, now this is the new or MK2 version of me, it has allowed me to look forward instead of back, and stops me dwelling on 'what could have been', I know what I've lost, a career, friends, camaraderie, a job I enjoyed, a healthy pension, and the opportunity to open doors of employment that only those with a military background can access, does it bother me? Yes it does, but only if I allow myself to dwell on it.

That was then this is now, almost ten years down the line, my life is going in another direction.


Glad you have been able to move on from your injury.

I do not celebrate a BI birthday although I put the date of onset of illness on my calender each year,mainly to see how long since and how far I may( or may not at present ! ) have come.I guess I am fortunate that I do not feel like I am a different person - same old me but with some additional glitches : ) Although I have lost in some areas of ability which affects me physically/cognitively I feel like I have gained much in insight so not too bad a deal, I think : ) I do refer to some events as pre or post illness,purely as a reference to timescale as I am often vague about events and when they happened these days !


I'm vague when it comes to setting the clocks an hour forward or back. I know the little saying "Spring forward and Fall back" but that saying is still not good enough in helping me remember haha.

My mum islike this too so I think it is more of a genetic thing that we exprience.

Around the second or third week of March,my mum asked me when the clocks go forward, was it in March or next month? I said it was this month (March) and she said "ok".

On Monday the 30th of March, mum again asked me the when the clocks go forward.

We sort of thought about it for a moment, then realised the clocks went forward on the weekend just gone 28th/29th :).


All I can say is "Thank god for clocks auto,atically updating themselves".

Imagine going through life without ever knowig if the clocks turned forward or back.


Hi Leon,

Thanks for sharing that, I did not know all about your background but then again, I never asked.

Now, you remember Lewis from our local Headway, right?

Well, he doesn't go there now, hasn't done for years.

He told me once that when you were in the army, a bomb went off near you. Was a right about that?

As soon as he told me that, I pictured Tony Stark AKA Iron Man :).

I thought at first, that was how you got your BI. Then he moved on to say about how you have been in trouble with the police in the past and this was why you changed your name.

It sounds like he might have been telling me a load of twaddle haha.

It wouldn't surprise me though, he often did talk twadde which was one of the main reasons we stopped talking to each other in the end.

I did wonder where 'Jéan Reno' came from and when Jéan first added me on Facebook I was thinking "A celebrity likes the Headway Portsmouth page on Facebook, how cool is that" haha.

I have seen you walk around our Headway with a camera, you have got a massive lens too... Wait, that didn't come out right haha.

I have seen some of your photos and they look good.

I was just thinking, you taking pictures reminds me of the journalist Peter Parker AKA Spider-man.

See you have reminded me of two Marvel comic book characters haha.

It was good to hear your story anyhow :).


I do not celebrate - In the blink of an eye, life as I knew it was over and I see nothing to celebrate to be honest.

If I realise the date in time I will mark the day with a simple private moment of reflective acknowledgement, if I miss it I will mark the realisation instead.

I have enough trouble remembering things so giving myself another/new name would just be ridiculous.

Everyone is different and whatever gets you through it is good... here's to more years


Thanks :).


Congratulations! You've done so well! 😉😃

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Thanks Nut :).


Hi Matt :)

I'm sorry this is a couple of days late, happy belated birthday Eugene :) hope it was a good day for you,

Take care,

Siobhan :)

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Hi Siobhan and thanks :),

It was a good day, at least I think it was :).

As I was saying in the post, I am not really big on this second birthday thing so I do't think much of it but it has been mentoned a few times before and I thought "Maybe I should have a second birthday"... Well, the queen does haha.

I was actually in the bath on the evening of April the 9th and it suddenly dawned on me "Oh yeah, it is Eugene's birthday today", I almost forgot :).

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