Who Are You – Tobey Kai

Featured

Using music as rehabilitation, a talented Calgary musician overcomes a Traumatic Brain Injury, and is an inspiration for others.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

Before last year my social media experience was limited to Facebook, but that changed last year when I decided that the time had come for me to do something different with my life. Having a larger presence on social media would go a long way towards accomplishing the things that I wanted to do, so I now have accounts across several platforms.

An Instagram account was a no brainer, and I soon found out that there was more to this app than just the Kardashians and other assorted “influencers” (I can’t believe they get paid for this shit, honestly). As I scrolled through the accounts that Instagram thought I’d be interested in, one stood out.

I was first drawn in by her photo. She is possessed of those qualities that are highly desired by those shallower aspects that are inherent to men. In short I thought she was hot. I started to follow her and checked out her profile. She was a local girl with an incredible musical talent, university educated, and she had also suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury. I needed to find out more about this intriguing person, named Tobey Kai.

Natural talent

Image may contain: 1 person
From Tobey Kai’s Facebook page.

Tobey’s musical talents come naturally, both of her parents are musicians who came to Canada in the mid-’80’s. From a young age, she showed an interest in music, taking her first piano lesson at only 6years old. She says that her singing abilities came from her mother, who also sings opera.

The family would come to Calgary by way of Vancouver, and Tobey continued to study music, enhancing her natural born talent. She has a younger brother, and an “adopted sister” who has been in her life since her teen years.

You might think that Tobey would pursue a music education at the Alberta College of Art, but her interests also extend beyond music. Instead, she has not one but TWO bachelor’s degrees, and they have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other, holding degrees in biology and economics.

Animal lover

Courtesy Facebook

http://tobeykai.com/

Equal to her passion for music is her passion for animals. She combines the two at her music studio where she gives private music and singing lessons. She has resident cats and dogs that will like to come and visit while she’s giving lessons, and she mentions this on her website giving anyone who might have allergies a heads up.

Conservation of the world’s oceans is another one of her causes and she is an advocate for the world’s sharks, whose populations have nearly been wiped out in Asia due to poaching. Shark fin soup has long been a delicacy in some Asian countries, but ever decreasing numbers have led to the dish been banned.


All life is precious. Meet Freyja, one of my many daughters I’ve had the honour of caring for over the years. A ferocious predator (not unlike a shark), but has never struck me because I haven’t given her reason to. 
Don’t be afraid of what you don’t understand. 
#alllifematters

To her, all life is precious, and she would soon come to know just exactly how very precious it is. On the home page of her website, you can listen to a song she wrote called “Ondine”, which she has dedicated to ocean and shark conservation.

A cagey polyglot

As if all of this weren’t impressive enough, she also speaks fluent German. I figure that she would be able to carry out lengthy conversations in at least three languages: English, Mandarin, and German. I ask her how many languages she can speak, and she’s coy about answering saying only that she “does dabble in a few languages”. Based on what I’ve learned about her so far, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that she could single-handedly interpret a meeting of the UN Security Council.

https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18021109522098021/

Touched by Alzheimers

In 2017 Tobey began writing a song about her grandfather, whom she lost to Alzheimer’s disease. Called “Who Are You”, it recounts her grandfather’s final words to her “Who are you, young lady? Are you lost?” It is a poignant song about an experience that many families go through, and can relate to. It would be several months before she would record the song however. At the beginning of 2018, something would happen that had a lasting and profound effect on her life.

Who Are You – Written for Alzheimer’s and brain injury awareness.

Everything changes in an instant

For Tobey, recreation is something done outdoors no matter what season it is and whether it’s on a bike or a snowboard, physical activity is just as much a part of her life as music. She’s as much at home on the back of a bicycle as she is on a snowboard, and it was while enjoying a day on the latter that things would change forever.

Sunday, January 14th was a pleasant day to be in the mountains, with temperatures only a couple degrees below zero. Deciding to take advantage of the beautiful weather, Tobey decided to go snowboarding at Nakiska that day. At the end of her first run, when she got to the bottom of the hill, she slipped and fell to the ground.

Moments later a skier collided with her, impacting her left temple. Almost immediately, she knew that something was very wrong. She had lost feeling below her neck, her fingers were twitching, and she knew that she was bleeding from somewhere underneath her helmet. Emergency crews were able to stabilize her and transport her to Calgary by ground ambulance. She remembers much of the hour long ride back to the city, but some memories are gone.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage

Image result for subarachnoid hemorrhage
Image result for subarachnoid space

Your brain is covered by a thick, fibrous membrane called dura mater. Beneath the dura mater is the archnoid mater, under which cerebralspinal fluid helps to cushion the brain. A tear in a blood vessel can cause blood to accumulate in this space, putting pressure on the brain. Surgery may have to be performed to drain the blood and stop the hemorraging.

The odds of making a full recovery are against someone with a subarachnoid hemorrage as only one third of patients will have a good out come, another third will survive but with a disability, and the remaining third will die.

Nothing short of miraculous

For a very brief time Tobey was comatose, but she wouldn’t be unconscious for long. For the first few weeks, she was unable to walk and had to re-learn how. Her neck was also injured, and she would find talking painful. She began to wonder if she would ever sing again. But she persevered, and began to use music as rehabilitation.

To say that her recovery was miraculous would be an understatement. She learned to walk again and has been able to not only speak but return to singing the way she did before the accident. Only six months after the incident at Nakiska, Tobey appeared in the local media and performed “Who Are You” live. She looked as though nothing had happened at all.

She did not make a complete recovery however. She lost her short-term memory, something that she says is the one thing she regrets losing the most. She has also lost her sense of taste, and as is to be expected after a TBI, she has had some personality changes.

I ask her if her physical fitness had anything to do with how quick she was able to recover. She attributes it more to mental fitness, sheer determination, and stubbornness. I’d say she has the mental fitness to win an Ironman marathon while the competition eating her dust.

Most of all though, she credits music for pulling her through and giving her the motivation. She was composing again before she was allowed off bed rest. She also credits her life experiences for being able to maintain a sense of calmness through it all.

A song dedicated to our troops, our veterans, and their families.

On Remembrance Day 2018 Tobey released a new single titled “Time”. It is her emotional tribute to our active duty personnel, our veterans, and their families. Together, “Time” and “Who Are You” would make the perfect anthem for those verterans with the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) caused by mefloquine toxicity.

People like Tobey are very rare to find. With natural talent and beauty, a social conscience, an amazingly resilient brain, and the ability to inspire others, we are lucky to have someone like her.

In the future, when history recounts those individuals who have had a major impact on Calgary, and were among this country’s brightest shining stars, the historians will count Tobey Kai among them.

D.B.

https://www.facebook.com/tobeykaiofficial/

The Deliverance of Dave Bona

A veteran of Somalia who has suffered from quinism for more than 25 years, Dave Bona shares his insights on the disease and the importance of nutrition.



The term “quinism” may seem new, but the symptoms of poisoning by mefloquine (previously marketed as Lariam®), tafenoquine (marketed as Krintafel® and Arakoda™), and related quinoline drugs are all too familiar: Tinnitus. Dizziness. Vertigo. Paresthesias. Visual disturbances. Gastroesophageal and intestinal problems. Nightmares. Insomnia. Sleep apnea. Anxiety. Agoraphobia. Paranoia. Cognitive dysfunction. Depression. Personality change. Suicidal thoughts.
These symptoms are not “side effects”. They are symptoms of poisoning by a class of drug that is neurotoxic and that injures the brain and brainstem. This poisoning causes a disease, and this disease has a name: Chronic quinoline encephalopathy — also known as quinism.


https://quinism.org/
Veteran of the Somalia mission and quinism advocate, Dave Bona

When I initially began my investigation of mefloquine and the role it had to play in the “Somalia Affair”, the very first person I had a conversation with was Dave Bona. It was during that phone conversation that I would hear first hand of the destruction this drug was inflicting upon the lives of our veterans.

I had taken the time to find out what I could about Dave before I spoke with him, and consulted the vast number of articles and interviews that he is featured in online. I discovered a man who had been living in a nightmare for over a quarter of a century, the result of the neurotoxic drug he was ordered to take in 1992/93 while part of Operation Deliverance.

I had an idea about what I might expect to hear during our conversation, but hearing these things first hand was still shocking to me. He was giving me a perspective that nothing I had read to that point could ever truly give justice to. I was now speaking with someone who was living through a nightmare, and as I listened to him tell me about what his life has been like for all this time, a range of emotions began to build up inside of me.

The first thing that hits me as I talk with Dave is a sense of shock/horror/disbelief at 1) the symptoms that I am hearing this man describe to me and, 2) anger mixed with rage at the thought that this man and many others like him were poisoned at the behest of their government. This quickly added to my motivation as I set out to do something for these veterans who have paid a very high price for serving their country, a country whose government continues to deny them at every turn.

Canada’s Godfather of Mefloquine Advocacy

The former paratrooper has been actively involved in mefloquine awareness and advocacy for three years now. Although mefloquine awareness efforts in Canada had started several years before his involvement, his contributions have been enormous. Because of his efforts, a large and ever growing number of veterans has been made aware of quinism, resulting in an untold number of lives that will have been saved for receiving his message.

He’s also among the group of Canadians who have suffered its debilitating symptoms the longest, symptoms that have now lasted for the past 26 years. In that time he’s racked up a lifetime’s worth of experience in living with the disease and he shares his insights and knowledge with everyone in videos he posts on Facebook.

The importance of nutrition.

For Dave, nutrition is a critical weapon in his battle with quinism. Through his own research and by trial and error, Dave is learning the important role nutrition plays in recovering from traumatic brain injuries. Unlike PTSD, quinism is another form of TBI, though it is one that has been caused by a drug as opposed to kinetic force.

It isn’t only through videos that Dave gets his point across, as he also provides his analysis of mefloquine related issues in posts such as this one:

Dave is a very central figure when it comes to quinism in Canada, and his Facebook page is a repository of information on mefloquine and a gathering place for others who are advocating for mefloquine veterans.

Dave has also been the subject of many stories in the media over the years. Some tell of the ways that mefloquine has destroyed his life, but a great many others tell of how he is now fighting back, not just for himself but for the thousands of others just like him.

What Dave Bona is experiencing isn’t just a Canadian phenomenon. Thousands of veterans from across the globe have had the same symptoms, the same thoughts, the very same feelings that Dave has had. They are the feelings shared by battle-hardened American veterans of Afghanistan and Swedish tourists alike.

He has come to be a beacon in the darkness, helping to guide others away from peril and showing them to a safe harbour. If you or someone you know is suffering from the symptoms of quinism, and aren’t sure about what to do, Dave would be a great resource for you.

You should also visit The Quinism Foundation at www,quinism.org for the most accurate and up to date information by the leading figure in quinism research, Dr. Remington Nevin. The foundation’s mission is laid out in the “About Us” section of their web page.


The foundation has an enormous job ahead. We must prepare healthcare organizations to identify those exposed to quinolines and to screen for symptomatic quinoline exposure. We must educate clinicians to diagnose chronic quinoline encephalopathy and other medical conditions caused by quinoline poisoning. We must train researchers to distinguish the effects of quinism from those of other disorders, including Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). We must assist government agencies to recognize those suffering disability from quinism. We must identify risk factors for the disease. We must attempt to count all those affected. And, we must support a search for effective treatments.

… The foundation is proud to be listed as a registered charity in the PayPal Giving Fund, on Amazon Smile, and in the Network for Good’s donor-advised fund. You can also read more about the foundation’s charitable activities by reviewing our listing on Guidestar.


https://quinism.org/about-us/

Please visit the website to get information on how to make a donation.

D.B.C.

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011791150815

Daughter of a Veteran in Need Of Your Help

I have known this girl for over 25 years, her mom is a veteran and a good friend of mine.

I am reaching out to all my brothers and sisters from other mothers and misters for a little bit of assistance, a friend of mine is in rather great need of some help right now. Her mom is a veteran, so I was hoping that some of you might be able to lend a hand to someone who is part of the family.

Any amount that you could donate would be very greatly appreciated by this desperate single mother.

Thanks for taking the time.

Hi, my name is Monique and I am desperately asking for help, because I’m in a pickle.

Some of you may know my situation, some of you may not, but lately it feels like the universe is against me, and I just cannot catch a break.

I am a single mom, which in itself is not easy, factor in this economy + getting laid off + my abusive ex, it gets harder and harder to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

The reason why I agreed to let my friend create this go fund me, is because I have no other choice, but to rely on the kindness of friends, family, and strangers to try and keep a float.

Since the transmission blew on my van, I have been desperately trying to get it fixed or find a replacement.

I was lucky enough to have a friend loan me a vehicle, but now that loaner vehicle has got to go back to its original owner.

I am still unable to secure a permanent vehicle, and I only have two weeks to obtain another vehicle.

If I cannot, I will not be able to continue working nor will I have access to my children, since I have to drive 30kms every day, just in order to access time with them.

I need a miracle, I have not been able to get ahead. Every time I gain an inch I lose a mile. I have found an identical vehicle to mine on marketplace and have a friend that can help to use parts from that vehicle to fix mine, so I can continue to see my children and keep my new job I just started.

I know times are tough for so many, and I know my situation is not unique, but if you can spare anything to help buy a replacement vehicle, I will eternally be grateful.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/6e6373-single-mom-in-need

Save the Date!

7th Annual Veteran’s Mefloquine Rally, September 23rd & 24th, 2023 in Kingston, Ontario.

The Veteran’s Mefloquine Rally is returning to Ontario this year, and Kingston will be the place to be on the weekend of September 23rd and 24th for the seventh annual gathering.

I’m looking forward to being there again this year as it will be the first chance in a couple of years for many of us to meet in person again, following the onerous travel restrictions that kept us from being able to do so. We are hoping to see some of our American friends and colleagues in advocacy over the weekend as well, including Dr. Remington Nevin, Executive Director of the Vermont-based Quinism Foundation,

A forum is planned for Saturday the 23rd with the rally itself on Sunday the 24th.

Further details will be announced closer to the date.

I look forward to seeing everyone there.

PTSD or ABI?

Why it matters could save your life.

As in several countries, the rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among Canadian veterans have increased dramatically since 2001, an increase that can of course to a large part be attributed to the war in Afghanistan though it may go back further.

After doing some investigating, I discovered that there has been an alarming number of misdiagnosed PTSD cases among Canadian veterans. What these veterans are suffering from is far more dangerous and insidious than PTSD. These veterans have suffered an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) as the result of having taken a neurotoxic antimalarial drug called mefloquine, which also goes by the brand name Lariam.

It is technically known as Chronic Quinoline Encephalopathy, also known as Quinism.

It was first given to our troops in Somalia in 1991 and since then tens of thousands of Canadian soldiers, sailors, and air force personnel have been given this drug. and some of the adverse effects can mimic PTSD. It should be noted that it is also quite possible to be suffering from both PTSD and Quinism, making a correct diagnosis even harder.

The first and most noticeable immediate adverse effect reported was very vivid and disturbing nightmares. This is what is known as a prodromal symptom, which is an early indicator of an attack or disease. Once prodromal symptoms begin to appear the patient should immediately discontinue the use of the drug, however, Canadian Forces personnel were ordered to continue taking the drug despite the presence of these symptoms. Unknown to them, mefloquine began to destroy cells in their brain stems which would lead to a myriad of permanent and debilitating symptoms.

In all, there are 34 adverse effects that are attributable to Quinism, of which there are 17 that it has in common with PTSD. These are psychological in nature and include such issues as nightmares, anger, depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, visual and auditory hallucinations, and psychosis. It has been attributed to several murder-suicides in Canada and the United States and I was able to locate someone who witnessed Lionel Desmond taking mefloquine in Afghanistan.

There have been many instances where people with no prior history of depression or other mental illness have developed these symptoms after taking mefloquine. The damage can be done after taking a single dose and it gets worse when more doses are taken. There have been instances where some Canadian troops had to take mefloquine over the course of one to two years during their careers.

What differentiates quinism from PTSD are the physiological effects that accompany it. Those with quinism also suffer from such things as tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo, digestive issues such as chronic indigestion and/or diarrhea, photosensitivity, sudden migraine, irregular heartbeat, persistent cough, memory loss, inability to concentrate/multi-task, and visual impairment. For the majority these symptoms are debilitating, leaving them unable to work.

The treatment for PTSD typically includes prescription anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. For people with quinine, however, medications like these can make their symptoms worse thus exacerbating their condition rather than helping. 

That’s because people with quinism have suffered a BRAIN INJURY and it is critical that they are treated so medically and therapeutically. There is as yet no cure or treatment for quinism, however, there are things that can be done that will greatly improve the quality of life for those afflicted with this condition. 

Many of our veterans have taken their own lives, not knowing or understanding what was happening to them. This knowledge can and will save the lives of untold people and I need to make sure that it gets to every Canadian Forces veteran.

If this sounds like you or, if you are the family member or caregiver of a veteran and this seems familiar to you, you are not alone. There are thousands of others like you across Canada and many, many more around the world.

For more information about quinism, visit the Quinism Foundation at https://quinism.org/

I’m Derek Bodner.

Twitter @ibmediacorp1

ibmediacorp@gmail.com

ibmediacorp@protonmail.com

Google Doodle Botches Things….Again

Remembrance Day doodle is an insult to veterans.

To paraphrase something recently said by Canadian MP Michelle Remple-Garner in the House of Commons, enough of the woke shit already.

I have to wonder who in the brain trust at Google thought this was a good idea? Or is it that someone is just plain ignorant?

What Google is in effect saying here is “Today we commemorate those lives lost in war along with everyone who has died ever.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at a Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Enniskillen.Source: Niall Carson 2019

A paper poppy field outside the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium. The Menin Gate Memorial bears the names of more than 54,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of the First World War and whose graves are not known. (File photo) (Virginia Mayo/Associated Press)

In many countries, the red poppy is a symbol of remembrance for those who fell, not a black ribbon. It’s not as if there weren’t enough pictures online for someone to get the idea. Perhaps Google would do wise to maybe so a little bit of research. How bloody ironic is that?

The Poppy is a common symbol of remembrance for those who died in the pursuit of freedom. People wear this poppy as a pin on their left breasts in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day.

Remembrance Day Top Events and Things to Do

  • Place a wreath at the grave of a deceased member of the military.
  • Wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance.
https://www.wincalendar.com/eu/Remembrance-Day

In short Google, you really need to step up your game and DO BETTER!!!!

The millions of people you have alienated over this would I’m sure agree.

LEST WE FORGET!

Something Big Is On The Way

Major plans in the works for IBMedia.

A few weeks ago I announced that I would be interviewing a former Canadian Forces senior officer who is part of the mass tort action against the Government of Canada by veterans who were injured by the antimalarial mefloquine.

This is still the plan, however, what had originally been an idea for an interview has transformed into something much larger, and it has turned into a major project that I think will prove to be a huge success. A window of opportunity presented itself that I absolutely needed to act on immediately. Although there will certainly be an element of risk involved as would be in any business venture, I also believe very much in the Latin proverb fortes fortuna adiuvat, Fortune Favors the Bold.

I am anticipating that I will be able to share what is going on with you in the next few weeks. Until then, thank you for your patience and support.

Veteran’s Voices Afghanistan 158 Commemorative Coins Are Arriving

Message from Al Cameron.

The 158 Aghanistan commemorative coin

UPDATE-UPDATE-UPDATE!

Our coins have finally been shipped to us and that means we will have these in our hands the first week of October. And then, we’ll ensure we get them in the mail or dropped to you asap! Thank you everyone for your patience!

We still have many to be purchased, and will continue to be selling a limited number of these in support of several things;

One donated coin per family of the 158 as well as one per Afghanistan Veteran documented;

-To on camera document our initiative “The 158″; Honouring those 158 Canadian soldiers KIA in Afghanistan who couldn’t come back to tell their story, but documenting 158 who could”.

-If all 1000 coins are purchased, we will make a donation to an Afghanistan Veteran Association, still to be decided upon.

We are selling these limited edition coins for $35 including shipping with a decorative display box while supplies last. Etransfer to acct@vetvoicecan.org with your mailing address and email address in the message box, please.

Please share, share, share away and order your coin today! We do etransfers to acct@vetvoicecan.org, but please PLEASE give your email and mailing address in the message box when you send.

Please Bear With Me, I Have a Busy Week

Veteran’s Mefloquine Rally, Canadian Walk for Veterans, and interview with retired CF senior officer within the span of seven days.

6th Annual Veterans Mefloquine Rally

An emotional moment as Yorkton-Melville MP Cathay Wagantall helps present advocate Kentrina Jenkins with a special quilt.

It was a very successful weekend in Saskatoon where people came from far away to be with us at Saturday’s information session and the 6th Veteran’s Mefloquine Rally on Sunday, and with plenty to write about I will be doing so in two parts.

Some drove a few hours to get to us, while two of the people there had flown in all the way from Daytona Beach, Florida. Erin Mercer was a Peace Corps volunteer who took mefloquine in 2009, and she made the trip to Saskatoon along with her mother Susan, to share her story and to meet others who have their lives altered because of mefloquine, which went by the brand name Lariam.

We also heard from attorney Paul Miller, who talked about where things are at regarding the mass tort action against the Government of Canada.

Canadian Walk for Veterans.

This weekend the fifth annual Canadian Walk for Veterans will be happening at various locations across the country and by many people virtually. I will be at the walk in Calgary on Saturday to participate and honour the interpreters who have stood shoulder to shoulder beside Canadian forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere. I look forward to being there and seeing some familiar faces.

Interview.

As I mentioned earlier I will be sitting down to have a conversation with a retired Canadian Forces senior officer, so this is also adding to my current workload, but believe me I am not complaining about it. I am aiming to have this ready for broadcast in about a week but possibly sooner, so stay tuned for further details.

Thanks for your understanding, you’ll start seeing this great content starting next week.

Interview With Former CF Officer: Update

All-inclusive interview to be aired at a later date.

I had intended to show an interview with a former Canadian Forces senior officer over the weekend at the Veteran’s Mefloquine Rally in Saskatoon, but due to some technical difficulties was not able to do so.

In addition to this, the interview was originally only going to be about mefloquine but it was decided that it would also touch on a number of other subjects as well.

Therefore, I will be posting this interview at a later date, but I will also be trying to get it out as soon as it is possible for me to do so.

I look forward to sharing this groundbreaking interview with you in the very near future.

I Am Interviewing A Former Canadian Forces Senior Officer Who Is Suing The Government of Canada With Other Veterans

First officer to discuss mefloquine damage since Romeo Dallaire.

A former Canadian Forces senior officer has agreed to sit down and talk with me about his mefloquine ordeal, the first officer to go public about this since Lt.Gen.(Ret.) Romeo Dallaire opened up in 2019 when he announced that he was among the plaintiffs in a mass tort lawsuit by veterans against the Government of Canada.

I will be premiering this interview on Saturday, September 17th, during the mefloquine information session in Saskatoon, which I will be live streaming on Facebook Live.