Don't Miss our hilarious blog "Half-True Biographies: The Tales That AI Wrote"
Jan. 24, 2023

A Doctor With a Brain Injury Rebuilds Her Life

Amanda Zeine, DO, FAAP always dreamed of being a doctor. Graduating from medical school in 2007, she had her dream career.

That all changed with a traumatic brain injury in 2018 leading to memory loss, loss of identity, and having to medically retire from the US Army.

Amanda Zeine, DO, FAAP always dreamed of being a doctor.  She studied premed, graduated college, was commissioned into US and given educational delay to attend med school.  She did her residency in Pediatrics at Tripler in Hawaii.  Graduating from medical school in 2007, she had her dream career.   

Upon graduation from residency, Amanda moved to Ft. Campbell and quickly deployed as flight surgeon with aviation unit.  She was then moved to the hospital to actually practice as pediatrician for 4 years.  Following another deployment she was able to work her way up to Chief of Pediatrics at the Community Hospital on base at Ft. Campbell.  At this point she was a Major in the Army. 

That all changed with a traumatic brain injury in 2018 leading to memory loss, loss of identity, and having to medically retire from the US Army.   Amanda was moved into the Warrior Transition Battalion to allow healing and continued treatment by the TBI clinic. 

After her injury, she had severe complications causing a loss of identity, worsening depression, and weight gain.  It's one thing to recover from an injury.  It's another thing altogether when that injury includes brain damage.   Amanda went from a thriving leader and physician to a hot mess on her couch in the dark having migraines daily and significant balance issues.  About a year and a half later she was improved greatly, but still unable to function in her previous profession. She'd had enough of depression with resulting obesity.

Amanda now has a new vision of herself and has begun the journey from  Hot mess to Wellness, including becoming a published author and now a speaker as well.  

A little about Amanda's book, also titled: Hot Mess to Wellness: 7 Steps To Wellness When You've Tried It All and Had Enough

Hot Mess to Wellness asks: "Are you unhappy with your weight, body, or health issues? Have you tried and failed multiple “diets” that promise a gorgeous body or spent a fortune trying to have that body the media portrays as perfect?"

Hot Mess to Wellness is not a diet or exercise book. Nor is it a quick fix or easy way to get skinny. This book is written for the average person who feels “fat” and sluggish, who can’t seem to lose weight or increase energy despite trying again and again, and needs some advice and motivation or that push to take the first step. 

Author and physician, Amanda Zeine, takes you along on her journey to wellness after a traumatic injury.

Learn about Dr. Zeine’s 7 Pillars of wellness

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Relaxation
  3. Sleep and the importance of restful sleep
  4. Hydration
  5. Ditching the diet and learning what foods are actually healthy
  6. Moving your body
  7. Surrounding yourself with supportive and positive people

So many people feel stuck in their slump and don't often have a permanent and sustainable way to feel good. Whether it be bad eating, poor exercise habits or an injury that keeps you from feeling your healthiest self, author Amanda Zeine takes the reader through a journey to not only feel your best self physically but mentally too.

A person's struggle can include many factors and Hot Mess to Wellness is the motivation you need to understand wellness as a whole. Change your life by reading this book and incorporate the 7 pillars into your everyday life to feel the best you have in years.

It's a journey not a sprint to change your life for the better and physician and author Amanda Zeine has the directions to get you to your ultimate destination.














Alright, welcome back to another episode of between the before and after it is my pleasure to invite Amanda on to the podcast.

And as always I usually forget to ask my guess the correct pronunciation of your last name is a Noor Zayn seemed that I had had you know four tries to get it right.

So you know nobody yeah.

Yeah well I usually try to be really proper with my my language and get people's names correct and things like that so but This is the second interview in a row where I forgot to ask my guess that recommendation.

So that's a great foot to start the interview one so but welcome to show.

It's a pleasure to have you here.

Thank you.


So tell us a little bit about what you're up to presently and then we're going to we're going to dive into your remarkable story and what you've been through.

Okay, so again I'm Amanda.

I'm actually a pediatrician not currently practising.

So recently retired Medically retired from the military Lieutenant Colonel and I am basically a retired veteran right now, I am doing some vendor events with craft shows and I have written one book and I'm working on a second book.

So cool.

Um not currently able to work in my profession so I'm just Trying to keep myself busy.

So I don't fall back into a depression basically.



And you know, I actually it's really important that you you mentioned that because, you know, you have quite a remarkable story.

I'm going to dive into that into that story, but I think it's also important to understand their thinking after after as well and that that is like navigating life after you've sort of dug yourself out of the circumstances that you find yourself in.

So now Lieutenant Colonel, I think the ranking system in the US, military is probably fairly Err to the Canadian military.

Is that two and a half bars?
I'm a Note 5.

Okay, so okay.

So there's a different.

I have no idea.

I'm trying to think of the officer right now, and I think I actually had an amazing.

He was an orthopedic surgeon that I worked with when I was in.


It was when I was in Iraq.

I've worked with so many different.

Nations in the different places that I've deployed.

So yeah I believe that.

So let's go get into your story here.

You know you you said you could have always wanted to be a doctor is this something you wanted to do like as a kid like this was like you know, from the time your?

I'm going to be a doctor.

How early do you remember having this idea that you wanted to be one?
I've never wanted to be anything else.

I don't ever remember other than a veterinarian.


I was either going to be a doctor or a veterinarian and in high school when we job shadowed for English class, I job shadowed a surgeon who.

That's pretty cool.

Yeah, it was awesome.

It was really awesome.

I got to scrub in and be right there next to him as a high school student.

Well here, I decided that long and just okay, let's Not for me, but it interestingly enough, he ended up being the trauma surgeon who was on when I was in a bad car accident, high school and actually saved my life.

Well, okay, well, one of many people who saved my life, right?
Right, right.

Take it to a small Hospital.

One chest tube put in airlifted to the trauma center and then he took over from there.

So, okay, without this is a detail that I didn't read in your, in your bio here that you went, I may have forgotten to put that in, it's just so much there is there's what let's, let's unpack that a little bit.

So you're how old and, and are you, you know, and you end up in a car accident that you end up having to 16, okay?
And we're you driving passenger.

What was the, what was the circumstance?
I was the only one in the vehicle.

And it was February and black ice.

And I was the third accident there that day.


And the way the snow was plowed, it was plowed up over the guardrail.

So I kind of just went over the guardrail and the way they reconstructed it.

Black icing trying to look at that range, clipped and landed, upside-down in a cornfield down in a ravine below.

So whoa that is that is crazy.

Do you wonder because an instance like that often, like parts of the memory just like, aren't really there.

Do you have?
And no memory of it at all?
I have no memory of two and a half days.


Wow, some of it, probably the drugs I was on they had they had me they didn't expect me to live through the night, right?
Had four plus.

I don't know if you can see it.

My scalp was detached from here all the way across.



Doc actually lifted it and put his hand.

They had to dig glass out of the back.


That is it was easy was a pretty bad accident but But my head injury, wasn't the main issue.

I had two collapsed lungs for broken ribs, broken, clavicle, collarbone, and because of all the trauma of everything else.

Going on my head injury was really not focused on it.

And, and Really.

It never until I went to join the military and they said, wait a minute.

You've had a significant head injury and I had to get waivers to get in the military and I had to get waivers to be on flight status in the military, right?
Yeah, okay.


And and so it never really nobody, really made a big deal out of it when I was younger, probably because it took me so long to recover from all the other injuries that brain rests Was a given, great great.

I mean, so going into the accent.

Do you remember hitting black eyes like in the?

Just kind of goes blank and they're not even remembering that.


I remember backing out of my driveway and that was on a Sunday.


Because my mom had gotten home at the same time, I was leaving, so I remember that conversation.

And then, the next thing I remember is in the hospital on Tuesday or Wednesday, Okay?
And like, hooked up to all these tubes Yeah, and you come to and you're like what the heck is going on here?
Yeah, yeah.

Nobody would let me look at myself and then when they finally got a bunch of things off of me, and all I had, was an IV left my chest tubes were out.

And about a week later, I walked into the bathroom for the first time.

And I looked at my mom and said, I look like the Bride of Frankenstein in my eyes were all Swollen.

And yeah, it was it was yeah I missed about a month of school.

It was my junior year.


Just just a little what they're, you know, having gone through that.

Now I wonder who haven't gone through like a trauma like that, but of course not most of it is kind of like, wiped from your memory except for like I guess except for like the recovery.

But I mean the actual incident itself.

How does that like affect you, or did it really affect you in any way or and maybe like being being young being You're like did you bounce back recently?
Well, or how like how did you go through that?
You know, I bounce back pretty well, I still, you know, graduated on time.

I was I was actually third in my class.

I, you know, went to college.

I went to med school.

I it was like, it never happened it.

I was lucky.

I mean, I really was lucky.

I a lot a lot more could have happened based off of the pictures of the vehicle.

I oh yeah, it's it's crazy but I I was definitely Super Lucky.

Unfortunately, it was a major head injury, which probably set me up for Future head injuries to right?
Yeah, affect me more, right?
Yeah so and then you decide.

Okay I'm going to you know, after I graduate high school, you had this plan like you're gonna be a doctor was the plan to join the military because I mean by joining military, guess your school, I'm assuming it gets paid for like if you if you get if you qualify and get taken in, let you go.

You're going to fold ride so to speak.

Kind of I want about it.

Back when I did ROTC in college, it was not a great deal.

Now, it's a much better deal.

I did not get all of my school paid for.

I still had student loans.

Okay, looks like to buy the stupid books and my room and board textbooks are not such a scam in the age of Google especially when you're Premed.

Yeah, but I never wanted to join the military.

I was that person who told the recruiters At the high school yet don't even bother talking to me.

I'm never joining.

I wanted to go to a private school.

I was looking at it and it was pretty expensive, and my parents didn't really have the money and my mom met, and I still know his name.

His name was Major Jayco and he talked my mom into this scholarship.

For ROTC, I was like, yeah, whatever you know, I'm never going to get it and when I wrote East is that like Reserve officer training Corps.

Something Reserve officer training Corps.

Basically you you you play military We're going to school, we had physical training, three days a week.

We had a lab.

Every Thursday morning, that was about an hour and a half hour, 20 minutes where we did different things and then the summer, Between your Junior and Senior year.

You go to camp.

Which is nothing like basic training.

It's not it.

It was hard in aspects but it was not basic training it, right?
It's, it's different.

But basic training to be, like a lot more of like a mental head game than anything else when I went through it.

Yeah I think it really probably is I did not do basic training.

A lot of people will do both people that are that are already enlisted.

One of the guys I was in pre-med with was already in the National Guard.

So he was doing National Guard.

He'd already been through basic training and he had his school that way and then we ended up Both going on to med school and and then ended up being at the same Hospital working together.

It was just funny.

We were together multiple it just, we just kept running into each other, right?

Now I guess I'm curious to know because my mom, I still think about those crazy car accident.

You had were there any like, I mean, I guess we can sort of see some foreshadowing in terms of your future head injury.

But I thought at one time, were there any, like, lingering physical effects at all that?
You know, it's like mean you had two collapsed lungs.

Like multiple broken ribs, you know, you're scalping sheared glass being dumped down the back of your scalp, all that kind of stuff, but there was no rule, like breathing issues or anything like that.

Like that.

Hindered you at all?
Well, I played the saxophone and the one thing I told me was start playing your saxophone as soon as you can because that is going to help your lungs more than anything and right, because you got to be able to hold air and control like, yeah, I played trumpet, which is because a cholesky He's and it saxophone.

Like three.

Is easier than all those buttons?
I can't do the truck.

That I can't get the embouchure.

It was called.


The French were for like the shape of your mouth.

Yeah, it's not for me.

But yeah, I played the saxophone and at the time, I was actually playing tenor.



And, and so, my band director, What's that?
Oh yeah.

Normally people, I think think of the sax thing of the alto sax, which is kind of like that the the standard size one if you will in 10 or size, bigger and deeper and yeah, requires more instrument, my band director actually built me a stand and whenever we had a concert or we actually played in Disney World, a month after my accident, and yeah, I wasn't able to do my show choir routine.

So so right, I wore the dress and got the pictures but I just watched everybody else do the routine because I couldn't obviously do it.

I missed a month of school and no but my my band director made the stand that somebody one of the other people would carry my saxophone and one of the other people would carry the stand and they'd set it all up for me so that I could play.


That's that's pretty cool.

That's that's awesome.


Yeah, good.

Good people in your So and we'll come back to now, you know, you've even less than the military you're going through and was because of was a captain Jake.

Oh I forgot the major Jake.

Oh yeah, I didn't take it.

Okay, I didn't think I'd get the stupid scholarship and then I get this letter in the mail that I got the scholarship and so it was a three year scholarship that paid for my tuition and so much on books and whatnot.

And they said well, hey, we'll give you a one-year State scholarship And you have a year to decide if you want to take this scholarship and honestly I started ROTC and I absolutely loved it.

The only people I still talk to from college.

Are the girls that were in ROTC with me?
Still keep in contact with them so when you were going through college and pre-med where you just add like a standard, you weren't at a military college or facility just a state school.

I went to Illinois State University.

So I had to I was commissioned the time I graduated but I was commissioned into the medical service Corps which is not the same as what I was eventually in.

It's like I would have been in like an ambulance platoon or I would have been okay.

I wasn't a doctor you know.

So I got commissioned, but I also in order to go to med school, I had to get into med school and then I also apply Bill scholarship for med school and then I had to apply for an educational DeLay.

So, once I got all three of those, I could go to med school.

You'd quit it, quit, it journey to becoming a doctor was clearly really wanted this.

I'm not giving up on this so I guess.

When you in the medical court, is probably an exact parallel.

But you sort of equivalent to a paramedic at that point, or something along those lines, you know, you're more, like almost like administrative type.

Okay, well sir there are different jobs in it but because I had just branched straight out of school, I probably would have been the leader of like A platoon or something like that.

Had I not gone on to bed.


So then you get accepted into end up into med school and we know it was it was it everything you thought it was going to be like did you find yourself like wow, this is amazing, this is awesome.

Like what was that?
Like going through because a lot of you know average people don't know a lot about med school, we're like okay, cool, thank you doctor.

So When you go to a school of 300 people, and for high school, and then you go to college, you get your first see ever and then you think, okay, yeah, I got this down.

I figured out how to study and then you go to med school and it's like, it's even more Elite group of people.

And it's like, you know what, as long as I get get out of here, I'm doing well.


And then, my mom was diagnosed with cancer about Ten weeks into med school.

And so, I had my family, calling me, forbidding me from coming home and I'm like, I'm in anatomy, I can't come home, but I have a test next week, so yeah.

Yeah, you're the one going on.

Wow, okay.

And how did you know, how did your mum fair in?
She did great.

That was in 2003.

She had six months of high-dose chemo and in 2004 the spring of 2004 cancer-free and that's been gosh, we're in 2022.

That's been almost 18 years ago.

Well, that's remarkable.

That's quite something but you got to have that way on your mind and you know I just thought I'm like I'm glad that med school is hard.

It's real drink like if it was like cruise through it.

Like huh?

Because this quite a bit of responsibility that comes from, you know, being being a doctor and, you know, caring for people.

And then so you're still connected.

The military at this point.

You're still, you're still commissioned while you're going through med school, What once you graduate what happens?
Are you are.

You get commissioned?
Yeah so and commit recommission.

Yeah as so I was a second Lieutenant going through med school but I wasn't active duty, it it really didn't count for much of anything I was on a delay and like my my husband is also a lieutenant colonel and he did not do ROTC.


And so he never got commissioned in college.

And so, basically, when we got commissioned, once we graduated med school, that's all that mattered.

At that point, like everything I had done before was like something I did before it.

Did not really count towards my rank or any of that.


So we get commissioned as a captain in the medical in Medical Corps, not the medical service Corps, and then you go to rest.

Captain is right.

The captain has two bars.

Is that right?



So it is similar, can army captain in Canada, as well as is like a two bars.

For those who aren't familiar with the military, those who are non commissioned.

In other words, not officers, they have the chevron's are the hooks on their shoulder and those who are officers to behave like bars.

And then as you get into the high ranks and the general ranks, then you get to like the stars kind of thing.

Or encounter get leaves the Maple Leafs and the lieutenant colonel is the the cluster, the, the not the cluster, the the, the leaf.

The, okay.

Words are hard, but they are sometimes well, we're going back quite a quite a few years and what not.

So so you're in the Army, then you go through your residency.

Is that when you decided to do pediatrics or did you know like going through med school?
That was what you want to do or how to do settle on Pediatrics.

So I pretty much I love kids and I pretty much knew going through med school that I was going to do pediatrics either Pediatrics or family medicine but I'm just honestly I'm a very I don't like it when I try to help someone and they don't want to help themselves, right?
And with adult medicine, you run into that a lot and at least with kids their most of the time innocent.

And yes you sometimes have to deal with the parent that you don't necessarily want to deal with but you Also deal with amazing parents.

And I I have had some of the best encounters with kids and parents and I loved loved being a pediatrician and hope that I get back back in to see in the kiddos again.

So I'm curious because I'm wondering how does this fit into the the military?
Like, would you be a pediatrician with in the military?
So dealing with like, military personnel as children, or are you in a general hospital?
Certain seeing the general public?
Like how does it all tie together?
So as far as Pediatrics goes basically you take care of beneficiary kids but the Army sees you as a general practitioner So, come time to graduate residency.

I was told you have until Friday to choose your position you're going up.

Arational and I said, but I don't pediatrician otherwise.

You're pretty much told you're going on for it.

You're gonna get that way.

And what year was this?
So, I graduated residency and 2000's?
No, I start a residency in 1010.

Yeah, I graduated residency and I ended up going to Fort Campbell.

It's called Fort Campbell Kentucky, but more of the base is actually in Tennessee.

It's just called Kentucky because that's where the post offices.

I actually live in Tennessee.

So on my way to Kentucky, I went to flight surgeon course and became a flight surgeon and that is not a surgeon in the back.

Of a helicopter doing surgery as my mother told everyone.

It sounds like you're doing.


Like yeah.

Like how, how can you learn how to do that in six weeks mom?
Yeah, so basically a flight surgeon or a flight PA is someone who is schooled in arrow medicine.

So you know how the body responds to being at altitude?
You know what?
Medications someone on flight status, can take, you know.

Basically what diseases need to be further looked into and maybe they might be able to get a waiver and stay on flight status but this one's a no-go kind of thing.

So yeah.

Basically I became a flight surgeon and then five months later.

I was in Afghanistan.

Didn't take long.

What's running through your mind when you're when you're on the plane too?
I understand, I guess you would stop somewhere along the way but like, what sort of run through your head, really?
I want to work with kids.


Like, holy crap.

What did I get myself into?
Yeah, I mean, I join the military now I'm getting deployed to an active theater, right, right.

It's like well and when you join, it's like, oh, you'll never deploy.

Oh well, never mind then but honestly looking back.

As much as I didn't want to go operational and take care of soldiers as much as I didn't want to deploy.

It is the best thing that could have happened to me.

It made me see working with Soldiers made me see the real army like and I know some people say Aviation isn't the real army but the line units say that because they say education has it easier but Colton a force.


But but deploying and flying Medevac and working with the soldiers and seeing how all that works.

Made me a better doctor.

There are doctors who have never left the hospital and don't understand why their patients are the way they are.

Or why they want certain things or, you know, it's just it it makes you a better doctor to see that side of the army and not just being medicine.

So if something as much as I hated it it was like - yeah.

Is that you flying?
You said you doing medevacs?
Is that you being on the flight going to like an active sword forward forward, operating base and picking people in Flint, my words aren't working.

Very well right now either.

Yes, going to look at forward operating position collecting people and then flying them back to the base where you can then just, you know, stabilize them so you can then do the necessary work.


God only gives you what you can handle.

And luckily, I did not get any horrible flights, believe it or not.

I got there was a Special Forces Group on the forward operating base that I was actually stationed at.

And there were hearts and Minds missions and believe it or not.

And and like I said, this was 10 years, 12 years ago, 10 years ago.

So I ended up with a couple of kids missions which as soon as everybody knew I was a pediatrician.

My name was on the board everywhere because then I was the expert, I had, you know, full-bird Colonels calling me up, as a little lowly Captain, wanting me to save this kid's life and I'm, like, I've been out of residency, five months at a rate.

So this is like a local, like, maybe Afghan child who's been potentially injured or right, okay.

So you're and you're talking hearts and Minds us.

That's like winning the population over by saying, we're here to help you versus yet, okay?
So that in itself is a heck of an experience, 20, the diseases and injuries.

You see in third world countries is unreal.

Things that don't happen here because that baby can have surgery at a young age and sees a doctor regularly and gets food regularly and doesn't have the Taliban threatening their parents by abusing the children.


The stuff that I saw a lot of child abuse over there.

It was it was, it was heartbreaking.

Some of the things I said because it's cultural.

I mean I don't know if anyone in my audience or any listeners are aware, what is it called?
The kite todos at The Kite Runner and it was a story about some Afghan boys and it was called involves a kite.

But so part of Afghan culture is has to do with like they put like pow And glass on kite strings, and they have like these kite battles, where you bring your Kites, and you try to cut their stream.

They try to cut your string.

Oh my gosh.

And it's a seems like fun game or something like that, but I think it was if anyone in the comments come like correctly as well.

I think was called the kite kite runner.

I might have that wrong.

But anyways, it's a heartbreaking story about like especially like a minority child in Afghanistan and how like child abuse is cultural.

Like it's actually a part like it's hard for us to Fathom that this is actually a The culture where older men take on like young, boys, I get chills.

Like, just thinking about this.

They take on young boys, as like there.

I don't know, snot, right, column?
I don't know what to call them as I don't use the word, why?
Because that's not what they are potentially little boys.

Like, get they dress up and dance for these men and things like that, and they are abused horribly and that's ingrained in the culture and then you see that to see that.

And then, I don't know, try to maintain your sanity and not just want to be furious, his quite something.

Absolutely well.

And, and just the the mindset over there, I had a mother.

Say, to me, if I lose this one, she was pregnant.

If I lose this.

What I have eight more at home.

It's no big deal.

And it's just they have to have that mindset though because children don't live there like they live here, they die at a younger age.

And yeah, of things that we can fix here that they don't have the medical capabilities that we do.


Nor can they get to them because of the horrible condition that the country is in, they do have some hospitals, but, They don't have the transportation and it's just, it's so different over there.

It is.

And what's kind of interesting here is part of your story because when I when I first was reading your story and thinking and heard that you had a TBI or traumatic brain injury, I was thinking this probably would have happened to you like, on deployment somewhere.

And actually, you've got through, I needed multiple deployments to gather because you said you mentioned Iraq as well.

You deployed there.

As I did two.

Deployments 2011 Afghanistan 2016 in Iraq came home from Iraq.

And my husband and I got married shortly.

After we got married that summer, your husband is in the military as well.

He is in the military.

He actually wanted to go on that deployment and I said, no, because we were dating at the time.

I said, I know what deployment is like, I don't know what it's like here without you.

So I'm going to ployment.

They offered it to me first, I get to go right, because only the only one of Go or well, they needed a flight surgeon and my dwell time was two weeks longer than his.

And so they came to me first okay and I I wasn't in a great place then job wise or I just, I needed to go, you needed something and I had no reason to not go and tell my boss now.

I don't want to go like that's just not a thing when you're in the Army and play.

So he was like, well I'm gonna go tell him, I want to go.

I'm like no, you're not right, right.

And at this point in time dumb did you have kids as well?
I had I had one daughter and she was with her father, and then my husband has two sons and they live with their mother.

So, the military is rough on families.

It is, it is, it's a hard, it's a hard life, which is why I'm currently writing a book, hopefully the beginning of my book series on.

Choose the kids face chapter book series for kids.

I'm just going to quit something, I think very, very necessary.

I often found myself from marking that and it sounds horrible to say this but the military tends to breed divorced.

Alcoholics and well, I came home.

I came home from my first deployment to a divorce.

And I came home from my second deployment to a marriage.

Oh, how about that?

Yeah, oh yeah.

So yeah.

My husband and I got married in 2017 where basically, we're the same rank.

He outranks Me by six days because his medical school graduated a week before - oh, he's a, he's a doctor as well.

He is, he's a pediatrician and a flight surgeon, because her like twins almost, but were nothing alike, right?
Right, right.

Nothing alike.

Matter of fact, our boss once said at my promotion ceremony that if you put the two of us together we'd make the perfect officer because I'm this mother hen loving outgoing.

Just I want everybody just to be happy and take care of everybody and he's the get it done.

Get it done.

Yeah yeah.

So but you then in 2018, Had an accident that traumatic brain injury.

So all the kids were here for Christmas and we went ice skating and I fell twice hitting my head very hard.

My husband says, I don't remember hitting it the one time I only remember hitting it the second time, but it was pretty hard.

It knocked my glasses off my face and I didn't even realize they were gone.

I was like, completely out of it so he got me off the ice.

He tried to take me to the, ER, and I said, absolutely not.

You're deploying and because he was getting ready to deploy its family time.

We paid for you guys to ice skate, finish ice skating.

And then after that, he just watched me, took me home.

Kept an eye on me, like I said, like, five days later he deployed and then luckily he has family local.

I would not have Have gotten through without his sister and niece and nephew and Mom and Dad and and and his sister's partner he would come and pick me.

He would come and she'd be like go pick her up and they lay on the futon.

Yeah look at what point in time.

Did you recognize like this is more than just like a concussion kind of thing like this there's something because now deficit here well Before my husband even deployed.

He told me I had post-concussive syndrome.

I was like, man, I have a headache.

I'm going to take some Excedrin.

He's like, you've had a headache every day.

Since you hit your head, you have post-concussive syndrome.

You need to go see a doctor, like, I'll be fine.

And I went back to work and then about a week later, I had him nagging me for my rack.

That I needed to go to a doctor.

If I'm finally, I was like fine.

I'll make an appointment.

Well then I nearly passed out at work because I got dizzy.

Uzi went to the doctor and he said, yeah, you're supposed to be on brain rest and I said, but I can't, I was chief of pediatrics at the time I told him I can't, I can't, I can't if I take myself off the schedule, somebody else has to work and it's, you know, Christmas break and I can't do that.

That's just, I can't, he's like you will give me at least 48 hours and you're getting a CT and I said, I don't have time for CT.

He's like find somebody to cover for you so you can get the think doctors are the worst patients, right?

Because you think because I have this body of knowledge, I'm really I'm an expert in this, like, you know what, I'll I can handle this kind of thing more than the average person can.

Well that, and I'm like the mother hen.

Like, I take care of everybody else.

And one thing, this, this head injury did for me was make me stop and realize that I have to To take care of myself, but it took me awhile a month in.

I was still trying to run the clinic from home, my boss gave me name a interim, Chief three months in.

He made me step down.

I was bawling and he assigned me to the warrior transition unit or Warrior transition Battalion which is now called the Soldier Recovery Unit.

It's basically they move you there so that they can fill your position, which it never ends up getting filled because they're not going to move somebody until it's time in the cycle to move them.

Yeah, but I wasn't counting against anyone's books and I also couldn't work until they allowed me to work.


I tried to go back to work and I just, I couldn't do it.


What sort of I guess disability is emerged from this because in the beginning it seemed like you were just you're trying to carry on but obviously with the TBI like some sort of deficits kind of emerge and what was happening for you.

Yeah, so migraines.

Horrible, horrible migraines.

I had to keep a diary for my neurologist and the first eight months I had to headache.

Free days.

It was horrible.

I'm finally on a pretty good regimen last month, I had a bad month because I had some other health issues and but this one I haven't had any knock on wood because I have a pretty good regimen now.

But I mean, This is 40 years later.

Great, that I finally have it and I still see a neurologist every three months.

Hmm, But dizziness and just unsteady in a, on my feet, attention issues, concentration issues, and Do you know like what part of your brain was in particular?
Like, was affected.

It's hard to say, because all of my Imaging, and everything was always normal Reineke interesting, but likely frontal lobe just because of some of the things that have changed forgetfulness.

Oh my gosh, my husband.

If he tells me one more time that I forgot to To turn a light off.

And for those looking, like, the frontal lobe is, is like where a lot of the executive function resides, like the decision, making the conscious, you know, thinking and things like that.

So, it's not a part of the, the sort of more automatic so.

So it's kind of like learning to live with a different person like, from what you're aware of or there any like changes are shifts in your personality, you know, I don't think so he didn't.


He hasn't really said too much as far as any changes in who I am personality wise, he thought I was over exaggerating things, until he got to witness my first migrate because he missed the first nine months.

He didn't seem like the worst and, you know, those who never had a migraine, they hear the word and they think, oh, it's just a bad headache and, and it's like, I've only had a couple in my life, like maybe four But I remember like one of them and put him in the hospital is like a can't see straight.

I can't I like I didn't actually know what was going on and the doctor was like to get rid of migraine before I was like, I don't think so and but I really like my wife had to drive me and it was like it was middle of the night and I was like I can't see straight.

I can't like something is going on here and it's not normal and they gave me a shot of scolding the Demerol.

I think it was the time and sort of you know just had to lie lie in bed and kind of calm down a little It.

But it was like, I never had something like that before, it was debilitating and so I can imagine, like, eight months of being debilitating.

And, you know, thankfully, you know, you said, as you said, you had like some family support that was absolutely essential because at this time, you know, to some degree, I think you're still trying to be a mom.

Is that correct?
Like, I don't know what the sort of family situation was there but like so, so the kids were here that summer, all three of them.

Luckily, they're all old.


Okay thankfully yeah, they were all at least preteen if not teen at the time and they were super helpful and honestly, I hung out in the bonus room with them.

And if I didn't feel well, I just fell asleep and they just kind of did their thing and, and they took turns helping make dinner and, or we go by Then I could drive again.

Okay, I only, I only didn't have my driver's license for about six weeks and basically, they all they are all three came and They're older.

So I mean, if I had a small child, there's no way I would have got toddler.

Yeah, yeah.

So an end.

But so through all of this though and I'll give you battled depression, you've battled weight gain as a result of the like medications.

You hadn't taken probably the inability to carry out physical activity the way that you normally would have would have in the past.

And this, this this is sorry.

Go ahead, a lot of, a lot of my weight.

Gain was the depression and eating because, you know, we dress eat and not being able to get out of the house and go grocery shopping, and being able to drive.

And so I ordered all this delivery food, all the stuff you shouldn't, eat all the stuff I knew, I shouldn't be eating.

But at that time I was a failure.

I mean I went From being the chief of Pediatrics.

And and I was a pretty good doctor.

And now I'm this like slob sitting on the couch in the dark because I have headaches every day and I can't even get up and, and walk around the house without getting dizzy.

And so, like, what the heck, like II in my head, I was a complete failure, right?
It's like being a prisoner in your own, in your own brain, in your own body.

And then, you know, when something offers you even just like a modicum of relief, like when they eat this, I temporarily feel a little bit better.

I mean, I'm a former binge eating food addict who went through trauma, like, and it's hard for people to understand, that's like, When this is like the brief like moment of relief that you get, and then someone says, you'll just don't eat that.

It's like you don't get it like it is so incredibly hard, you know.

And so and I share that just too because I want to know about the people that live here, like all the depression, you know, and weight gain.

And it's like, I don't think people those who have never liked suffer with it.

I don't think I can quite grasp and it's fair enough, but we haven't lived.

It's hard to grasp it, but it's not just like I was feeling sad, so I ate food.


It is it is, you know, to some extent, even like debilitating for from function.

And so, you know, this is a way that you kind of like get you through it and it's not a great choice, but it's like there isn't a lot elf.

There isn't a lot of other options in that point in time but this this actually inspired you to write a book at what and at what point did you decide, okay, I'm gonna write a book here and sort of Chronicle my my journey back from this.


Yeah, so my husband actually had gotten home.

I want to say September ish of that year so that would have been night teen.


And I continued to have my as he called them pity parties and he is really good about kicking me out of my pity party and but it was still another year before I finally was like through therapy and everything else because I was regularly seeing someone with Behavioral Health, I finally was like, all right enough is enough, you know?
I I Define who I am.

This injury does not define me and also through my husband constantly telling me that I am a different person.

I am not less of a person or more of a person.

I am just a different person.

And I am just going to have to get used to who I am now, because I'm never going to be who I was and that's quite something just to talk or make peace with that.

Yeah, it was huge.

That was huge and it took me a good two or three years to get to that point.

But in April of 2021, I decided I stepped on the scale and I was one pound heavier than I had been when I gave birth to my daughter.

I've never been that heavy and I was like, you know what, I feel like crap all the time is it because of not being healthy, or is it because of my head injury?
And it's hard to know.

And so I was like, I need a diet plan but I don't want to go on a diet.

I need an exercise plan, but I don't want to do these, you know, crazy kill myself exercises because I can't, because Get dizzy and I fall over.

And so I went to the bookstore and I'm online and I'm like, I just can't find anything, that's just simple.

And so I started writing it all down myself.

Like okay, these are the things I'm going to do and this is what I'm going to follow and then four pages later, I'm like I should write a book.

So I Google.

How do you write a book?

And I find self-publishing school and so I got my Call with them.

And I ended up joining, I have paid way more to publish this book and write my second book, then I will probably ever make back right, but I'm a published author.

Yeah, it's definitely accomplished Medical Professional, you're now a published author as well, right?
Who then was a little bit of a hypocrite and fell off the wagon and then got back on and then fell back.

Back off.

And I had a recent Health scare.

That I think was God, basically telling me, hey, it's time for you to get back on the wagon and quit being a hypocrite.

And so, I'm back in the gym and Actually doing my walk to run thing that I talk about in the book.


But I think it's also important to to be real and to be human and to say like, you know, going through a transformation once, it doesn't actually mean the rest, your life is on easy street, right?
No, that's, you know, that's another myth sort of perpetuated by the before and afters that we see in the health and wellness industry.

Like as though now the reach this after point that like all right, it's all crazy from here and that's kind of what gets sold and it's like well no.

You know, when I work with people, I try my thing is that I want to help you become what I call slim but it's s.

LW M successful, long-term weight manager understand.

This is a long-term health condition, you have to manage the rest of your life and that's not to be overwhelming or daunting or frightening or fear-mongering but realistic you have to treat this because it's going to come back if you don't.

And so how do we do it in a realistic way?
It because it's not going to happen from doing a thousand burpees a day and eating 500 calories in slurping skinny shakes or something like you're not going to live like that for the rest of your life.

So how do?
Do this in real life.

That's a big goal.

And so I, you know, I exactly what my book focuses on is, yeah, what are the parts of life that that I call them?
The Seven Pillars of Optimal Health?
And what can I do?
What can I change?
That is a lifelong change and that way when you fall off the wagon, Wagon.

You can go back and be like, okay, what did I stop doing that right now?
All of a sudden, I've gone way out of control.


Yeah, absolutely.


Well Amanda.

You've got quite a quite a remarkable Journey.

You've done a lot.

There were some parts of your story that were very that were unexpected.

And we actually spent less time exploring the parts here story that I thought but I think that's what's delightful about these interviews is we get we get some little surprises here.


Wow, I was not expecting that and so I always like to ask my guests as we wrap up this this interview here like you know from all you've been through like what a story you know if you could just offer something for people to take away from this.

What would you?
What would you like them to take away from hearing this conversation today?
Well, a couple things.

The first one I already said is That if you have some kind of trauma or injury, whether it be psychological trauma or a major injury Soldiers with PTSD Trump traumatic brain injury.

That trauma does not define who you are and it took me a long time to realize that and realize that I am just as good a person.

Now, as I was before, even though I can't do the same things and accepting that is really huge and can allow you to move on with your life.

And then the other thing when it comes to like I was saying, so this is my I'm going all back through it again because I fell off the wagon but A lapse in what you're doing, whether it be exercised or trying to eat healthy or whatever plan that you're doing a lapse, does not mean you have completely relapsed and I learned that from one of my Behavioral Health Providers, you can make a mistake.

You could eat that chocolate cake today and not Go back to eating all bad stuff, you can eat that chocolate cake and then be like, okay probably shouldn't have eaten that entire chocolate cake but tomorrow's a new day and I just need to get back into things and do the right try again tomorrow because Yeah, tomorrow's a new day.

I think that that really highlights a lot of what I talked about, which is the the compassionate curious approach and It's just this idea that.

Yeah, I can try again tomorrow.

And actually shortens the time we spend in pity parties and it's not to not to say well, just go ahead and like make make make screw-ups.

But it's like when these things happen, we just acknowledge.

I just like, there's a quote, that's not really mine, but it says relapse is as natural to change.

As exhaling is to breathing the process of trying to create change in our life will lead to relapse has into Old Behavior patterns that's going to happen.

So if we accept that as a part of Of the process of trying to change.

Then when this happens, we don't get stuck in these pity parties.

Yeah, that's good.

Yeah, I hadn't heard that before, but absolutely because it's hard to make change.

It is it is bad.

Habits are so easy to pick up and good happens.

They are so hard.

They are so.

Well, Amanda is truly been a pleasure chatting with you today.

You've got quite a remarkable story and I think it's wonderful that you're going to be offering some children's books as well.

So but thank you so much again for being on the show today.

Well, thank you for having me.

I enjoyed talking with you.

Thank you so much for tuning in to between the before and after if you've enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review because that helps his podcast to reach and Inspire more people.

I love exploring the stories that take place between the before and after the powerful experiences that shape, who we become and I love human potential.

I love the possibilities that lie within us.

So, whatever you may be up against.

I hope these stories inspire you because you're still here, your story's not done yet, so, keep moving forward.

Thank you so much for tuning in to between the before and after if you've enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review because that helps his podcast to reach and Inspire more people.

I love exploring the stories that take place between the before and after the powerful experiences that shape, who we become and I love human potential.

I love the possibilities that lie within us.

So, whatever you may be up against.

I hope these stories inspire you because you're still here, your story's not done yet, so, keep moving forward.

Jonathan McLernonProfile Photo

Jonathan McLernon


Coach Jon is a weight loss coach and emotional eating expert who has lost 100lbs. From nanotechnology researcher, to Navy marine engineer, to globetrotting nomad, Coach Jon spent most of his life running from his true calling, until one question changed his life. Now he's on a mission to help others lose weight for good and leave BS diets in the rearview mirror.

With Freedom Nutrition Coaching he marries the Science of Metabolism with the Psychology of Behavior Change and the Compassion of Human Connection to create life-changing transformations with his clients.

Amanda ZeineProfile Photo

Amanda Zeine

DO, FAAP, Author

Amanda Zeine, DO, FAAP is a pediatrician in the US Army pending medical retirement after a Traumatic Brain Injury in 2018. After her injury, she had severe sequela causing a loss of identity, worsening depression, and weight gain. Now, after treatment, she has a new vision of herself and has begun a journey from Hot mess to Wellness.