Posted in #teamhadley, 2018, Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, Botox, celebrate, Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Dislocated Jaw, Dr. Cheesy, Dr. Lucchese, Dystonia, Ellis Fischel, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, ENT, family, Health Blog, Hemiplegic Migraine, Hemiplegic Migraine Research Study, HM, Infusion Center, Infusion for Hemiplegic Migraine, Infusion for migraine, invisibile illness teacher, Invisible Illness, Just Keep Keepin On, Lock jaw, MU Health Care, port, portacath, Rare Disease, Rare Disease Awareness, SHM, Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine, support, thankful, TIW, Today I Win, University ER, Winning 365 Days

Chronic.

Sorry ahead of time for the length of this post!!! Making up for lost time.

If you are one of the almost 45% of people in our country that has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, then you know that your life will, more than likely, forever include more doctor visits than the average person, daily work put into your health, and setbacks.

Let me be the one to tell you straight….set backs are hard. This past week I had the first  set back I’ve had in awhile, breaking a record time without  one in my crazy health rollercoaster. They suck. After ten months of progress a bad day hitting you can really catch you off guard. And when it hits, all of the complicated emotions that come with having a chronic illness come slamming back too easily. It feels like a punishment to have a record you worked so hard for have to be started over. You emotionally question the “WHY” all over again, even though you logically understand the reasoning behind your disease. A set back is an instant, often unexpected, always unwelcome reminder that You have a chronic illness.

For me, this past Monday at 5:00am I was woken up in pain. I shot up out of bed immediately realizing what that pain was before I was completely awake. My jaw. Dislocated. Immediate tears. The pain of my jaw being locked open makes me sick to my stomach. It feels like an ice pick is stuck stabbing me in the jaw joint, while my nerve sends a shooting, electric shock like, pain down my jaw line. It can often be worse than the pain of my actual migraine. I knew my week had been a bad one, knew that the pull in my face had gotten progressively worse over the weekend and that the tingling in my right hand was slowly beginning to move up my arm. But I had made it all week and through the weekend, why couldn’t I make it just five more hours to my infusion that would get me back on track? I knew what that meant the day had in store for me. But I stayed hopeful that my infusion would be able to solve my problem, especially since it hadn’t happened in so long. I texted my neurologist at 7:00 that morning and he responded three minutes later with a plan. With my regularly scheduled infusion appointment still a couple hours away, and time not being on my side in these circumstances, my mom called the infusion center to see if we could move my appointment earlier. As usual the infusion nurses, willing to do anything to help, agreed and told my mom to bring me in as soon as she could. While my weekly cocktail did improve my migraine pain and other symptoms it unfortunately didn’t solve my jaw issue. But it was a start.

This is where I brag on the care I get in the infusion center at Ellis Fichel, and this being one of the reasons I wanted to post a blog. The nurses there are amazing. Easily all taking spots in the top ten nurses I’ve had over the last five years. Within ten minutes of getting to the hospital they had me back in a room, with my port accessed and the first round of my medicines administered. That timing doesn’t happen in the slow moving world of the hospital!!! An hour into my infusions I receive a second dose of one of the pushed medications. My doctor had told me to check in with him with an update at that time. I texted him, but my nurse went right to work on getting ahold of him to make sure he got the update.

Dr. Cheesy told me to finish out my infusion and then check back in with him. We were all disappointed because that meant waiting at least three more hours before taking the next step. It was a long three hours. My nurse was doing anything she could to make me more comfortable. As soon as my magnesium drip finished my nurse pushed my last round of medicine and started calling my doctor. My infusion was complete. My jaw was still dislocated. I would have to be admitted. Immediately she did everything in her power to speed up the process to get me upstairs. All I wanted was to get admitted early enough in the day to have my jaw reset before the next day. That’s all everybody wanted. The nurses let me stay in my dark room for the next few hours while we played the waiting game, instead of having to wait in the big admissions area surrounded my tons of people with my mouth stuck open. Even after my nurse was off for the day, one of the others kept in contact with my doctor until they were ready for me upstairs. They even wheeled me up themselves. I’m telling you these ladies are all the best of the best. I’m lucky, and my whole fam is incredibly thankful for such phenomenal care and support every single week. I couldn’t find better care if I tried. If you’re in Missouri, making a trip to the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center Ambulatory Infusion Center at the University of Missouri Hospital is a choice you wouldn’t regret. Their slogan “Where YES finds a way”, is so accurate. I could continue to go on and on about them but I should probably move on or this blog will be entirely too long. 💕


Back to the update! Once I was upstairs the neurology resident on call came in fairly quickly. That consult went about as hilariously ridiculous as normal. Why do they never read a patient’s chart before they see them?! As my dad comuinicated for me he mentioned that I hadn’t eaten anything since dinner the night before. This being an important fact mostly because I couldn’t eat, but also because I wouldn’t have to wait for food to be out of my system before the ENTs could put me under for the necessary procedure. The resident looked extremely confused as he asked, “Why can’t you eat? Is it because your mouth is too dry when you put food in it?” It was our turn for my dad and I to look confused. Sir, please open your mouth and without closing it try to eat.🙄 Let me know how that works out for you!!! The meeting with the on call neuro attending went about just as well, I’m pretty sure after repeating ourselves multiple times we taught him what Dystonia was. But he did finally agree to page the ENTs. Crazy  how much reading a patient’s chart beforehand to see the instructions put in by the doctor hours before can help!

Per usual, within 20 minutes of being paged the ENTs arrived for the consult. The doctor put gloves on to exam my jaw as he talked to us about the process and what has worked best in the past. Without wasting any time he left to get things ready for the procedure. Within the hour the team was back in my room having me sign the consent papers for anesthesia before taking me to the OR for the procedure. I repeat, all with in ONE hour. The ENTs are also one of the best teams I’ve worked with.

I was greeted in the OR by a nurse I’ve had before. He said, “Young lady you and I have done this before really late one night.” He quickly celebrated with me that that was ten months ago, and the last time I’d had to have it done. I watched the ENT doc wrap layers of gauze around his thumbs as he got ready to reset the jaw, and remember the anesthesiologist pushing the first medicine to put me out. Next thing I know I’m waking up in recovery with the nurse next to me, ready to help with the pain. It’s a different kind of pain than the unbearable electrocuting pain while being dislocated. They have to wrap ace bandages around my head to stabilize the jaw, making sure it doesn’t slide right back out. However, I immediately noticed the wrap was much tighter and more uncomfortable than normal. It bothered me through the night almost as much as the pain from my jaw itself. At one point the nurse paged the doctors asking if we could loosen the wrap just a little bit. But they turned her down saying while I was still unconscious they had wrapped the bandage too tight, but when they took it off to fix it, my jaw slid right back out and had to be reset all over again. No Bueno.

When I got back upstairs my dad and boyfriend were waiting for me. Sean volunteered to stay with me for the night, because he’s just good like that. 🙂 It was honestly a much more rough night than I was anticipating. Worse than most times before. Although the ENTs had ordered pain medication for me, which has always been necessary afterwards…seeing as I had just had a mini “surgery”, the neurologists had taken the orders off and only let me get one dose of Tylenol the whole night. It was horrible.

Sean is a rockstar. He turned on 50 First Dates in an attempt to distract me. He had to continually pause it doing whatever he could to try to help the pain. I was hurting. I was sick to my stomach, probably because I hadn’t had anything in my system besides medications for the last 24 hours. I was scared I was going to throw up and send my jaw right back out of the socket. After calling my nurse in for help we were both equally as frustrated that the neurologist had taken all rescue medications out of my orders so the best solution my nurse could offer me was trying to eat saltines. And I’m still surprised how uncomfortable and bothersome my wrap was. After I got to take it off 24 hours later my neck was bleeding from how irritated it was. It was such a hard night.

Now, let me take a minute to get sappy…which I’m typically not. Sean is the funniest, kindest and best person. Without hesitation he is always there, willing to hang out in the hospital, stay up all night and sleep in the awful hospital recliners. Everyone deserves a Sean. 😊❤️

​At the end of the day, I shouldn’t really complain about the minor bumps in the road. Although it took a minute for the neurologists to come around, the two teams did get the main goal accomplished, getting the jaw reset before the next day, pretty quickly. That was huge for obvious reasons, but also because that meant I only had to spend one night stuck in the hospital. Which is huge!! Back to those infusion nurses being awesome, the nurse I’d had the day before dropped by with a card and bracelets wishing me to feel better quickly.


We’re not exactly sure what brought the attack on this time. The weekend before my jaw had popped and sent that electric shock down my jaw line out of the blue, making my jaw sore for the week. But I had also just gotten my Dystonia Botox a few days before, we wonder if that triggered something for some reason. We won’t ever know for sure. It sucks that I have to start over with what I can eat and that drinking out of a straw is painful again. I’m bummed that I have to start my record of being attack free over. But I’m thankful and amazed that I did make it 10 months without a full blown attack. I’m lucky that we’ve found ways to make my chronic illness much more bearable. Any progress is appreciated and I’m still trying to find a “win” in each day…big or small. I’m still in pain everyday. I continue to fight these invisible illnesses everyday, as I will my whole life. But for right now I’m not just fighting them, I’m beating them.

If you made it to the end of the little book I just wrote, good for you! I appreciate it…and also need to get better at summarizing more. It feels good to post again 🙂

~Hadley

This summer has been good to me! Just some pictures for fun 🙂

 

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Posted in #teamhadley, 2017, 2018, Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, best friends, Botox, celebrate, Celebrate gif, Chevrolet Trax, Chevy Trax, Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Dr. Cheesy, Dr. Lucchese, Dystonia, family, Friends gif, Health Blog, Hemiplegic Migraine, Hemiplegic Migraine Research Study, HM, invisibile illness teacher, Invisible Illness, Just Keep Keepin On, MU Health Care, port, portacath, preschool teacher, Rare Disease, Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Awareness Day, Rare Disease Awareness Day 2017, Rare Disease Awareness Day 2018, Seizures, SHM, Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine, support, thankful, Today I Win, Uncategorized, University ER, University of Missouri Health Care, Winning 365 Days, writer's block

Winning 365 Days

Hi, friends! I can’t believe it’s been close to a year since I’ve published a blog. I’ve worked on many but never got the right words across. I think I needed a break from talking about my sick life so much. I’m grateful I still have people reach out to me and that I continue to virtually meet and connect with more fighters. I hope this post still reaches people. I also hope it gives some others with invisible illnesses some hope. 🙂

February 2018 is over now. Who can believe that we’re already moving onto March? I’m glad for this month to be behind us, and have been ready for it be to for awhile. And not because mushy gushy Valentines day annoys me. 😉 February 28th, 2018 marks one year since I have been in the emergency room. Did you hear that people? ONE YEAR. For the last five years I never believed that would happen. Now, everybody pray I didn’t just jinx myself. I won’t be able to fully put into words the amount of thanks and weight off of my shoulders this brings, but I’m going to try to get as close as I can.

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Since 2012 I’ve been fighting a battle bigger than I ever could’ve imagined I would be up against. Hemiplegic Migraines and Chronic Daily Migraines stole five years of my life, nearly completely. I’m in the 0.02% of the population struggling with the ridiculous number of symptoms that come with this disease. It’s like a pinball machine of symptoms; each one triggering another up and down my right side. And even though it’s been five years, I still don’t like saying “I have a disease” in a sentence.

For those of you that don’t know, October 26, 2012 I was sitting in my sophomore Spanish class when I fell and had a seizure for the first time. Starting when I was 16 it looked like I was having a stroke more often then I looked like a “normal” teenager. Two years and 11 doctors later I was diagnosed with Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraines(SHM). I still wish the name didn’t end in migraine and maybe it would be taken a tad more seriously from those that don’t know anything about it. If you’re interested in some facts check out this link. (Diamond is where I was diagnosed) —> https://www.diamondheadache.com/patient-resources/types-and-symptoms/hemiplegic-migraine/

Here’s the best part, this year I’ve actually been “doing life” more than ever! Who gets so excited about adulting? Instead of weekly emergency room trips (seriously weekly), I’m working, driving, living. I work at a preschool which is something I have wanted to do, until starting my career, since I was in elementary school. Last week one of my sweet preschoolers asked what job I wanted to have when I get big. I hope, and plan, to become a nurse instead of a broadcast journalist like I planned for seven years. I would love to work in an infusion center, or specialized migraine clinic someday. She then told me when she gets big, she wants to be Ms. Hadley. ❤  That sure pulls on my heart strings. I love those kiddos.

I bought my own car and I’ve never been so happy to spend all my money. Hello more freedom as a 21 year old!! I’ve socialized more in the last six months than I have in the previous five years (I’m still pretty lame). My next step, aside from some time graduating from college, is to move out of my parents house before I’m a loser. Even though for now, that’s still the best choice for me.


​All of this being said, life still isn’t the easiest. While I don’t visit the emergency room weekly, I still go to the hospital every week. IV meds have always proven to help me the most so instead of getting them as a rescue in the ER, I get them as a preventative. Every Monday I go to the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center Ambulatory Infusion Unit for a six hour infusion, followed by an appointment to my neurologist, chiropractor and pharmacy. That probably sounds dramatic to most people, but I couldn’t be more appreciative of it because the routine has truly saved my life. I hated having to be a frequent flyer in the emergency room, being the main source of treatment obviously isn’t what that’s intended for. But it was what I was forced to do while I was doctor-less (or under the care of a useless neuro) for too long. Just because I haven’t been in the ER for a year doesn’t mean I haven’t been hospitalized this year. My attacks and damn jaw still occasionally decide to go hay wire, getting me admitted to the hospital. That’s just a detail I’ll have to accept likely for the rest of my life. I won’t even put out there the amount of medication it takes to keep me going since medication use can sometimes be so controversial these days. But I will say, while I don’t love having to use so many, after you lose so much of your life, you’re incredibly thankful for modern day medicine. I also use migraine and dystonia botox, weekly chiropractor visits and semi-frequent massages to get relief. Even with all of these drastic measures I’m still in daily pain more than you would ever know. That’s both the pro and con of an invisible disease. But how many times have I reiterated that I’m grateful for the progress that I’ve made?

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Infusion Day!

Lastly, and probably most importantly, the power of prayer and God is so incredible. While I always had faith, I often found myself questioning God’s reasoning for me having this wreck my life. I still don’t, and probably never will, understand that reasoning, but I trust in it now. For, when life gets too hard to stand, kneel. I’m confident that every prayer my way, which I know is an unbelievable number, made a difference. I truly believe my greatest blessings in life are my family, support systems, and Dr. Cheesy. Dr. Cheesy saved my life. That man has believed in me, fought for me and dedicated so much time to me since my first appointment with him. He kept his promise he made me on that April Fools day initial appointment. Any other time I would’ve thought it was an April Fools prank, but with him I knew in my soul it was not. Dr. Cheesy has seen me every Monday for the last (almost) two years. He has studied me. He continues to test me, always looking for more answers, more ways to help. He’s texted me back past midnight with attack plans when a bad HM attack hits, and fought back with the hospital when they’ve tried to push against him. That man has gone to multiple conferences in many states specifically for my  case, had special meetings for help with me, and presented my case in seminars to reach more doctors. Doctors like him are one in a million. Dr. Cheesy promised to give me my quality of life back if I gave him some time. That’s exactly what he has done.

The last 365 days have been some of the best of my life. I have never won so much. Support and family are priceless. Dr. Cheesy is an answered prayer. God is so so good. 2017, I love you. Today, I win.

 

 

 

Posted in #teamhadley, Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Dystonia, Health Blog, Hemiplegic Migraine, Hemiplegic Migraine Research Study, HM, Just Keep Keepin On, MU Health Care, port, Seizures, SHM, Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine, Today I Win, Uncategorized, University of Missouri Health Care, writer's block

nine.twenty-eight. twenty-sixteen.

Friends! I’ve missed you all! I’ve been absent for three months and some change, at this point. That’s practically years in blogging time. I feel terribly about it. Now, that doesn’t mean it has been months, or even weeks, since I last worked on a post. For me, and others passionate about writing, I cannot publicly publish a piece that I’m not happy with. It’s the very same as an artist being unwilling to turn in an incomplete piece of work. When writing there isn’t some formula you can follow that creates a “correct” post in the end, no one else can help make the words flow just right. Writing is a creative process and again, like artists, sometimes a wall gets built up that keeps your creativity from flowing. Writing is also an emotional process. No matter if you’re writing something fictional and having to give a person built only with words an entire personality, or if you’re writing something very real that is putting raw depictions out for all to read. Behind each piece, within each piece, lies so much emotion.

So, this is where I stand; I sit down at my computer at least once a week adding to, or creating a completely new piece, I don’t like how it comes together or feel as if anyone reading it could feel that my heart isn’t in it, I collect ideas that others give me and try so hard to write something within the realm of their brainstorm, I send pieces to my closest friends or other bloggers asking their opinions, I set a deadline for myself, I get frustrated, slam my computer shut, miss the deadline, and feel even more frustrated. I’ve come to realize the amount of pressure I feel to get a post out every so often. But why? No one has ever pressured me to write these blogs, no one has given me negative input. I’ve never felt this pressure before, because the source of this tension is me.

At first I was okay with taking a mini break, I knew my mind needed it. It can be so hard to talk about the bad days and the ugly details. When I share those with you guys it means I have to, kind of, go through them again. Though I may not be physically going through each attack or situation again, emotionally I have to in order to share the truth. That in turn means I feel the mental exhaustion all over again, on top of the current, steady, mental and physical exhaustion I always carry. Again, no one asked me to do this to myself. No one asked me to continuously share my life so vividly through this outlet. I do it, and will continue to do so, because I love the support, interest, knowledge and relationships that have sparked from this platform I have created. The time put into this site wouldn’t be worth much if I didn’t keep it real, raw, and unedited.

My mini break has somehow turned into a very extended break. But to be honest, I feel refreshed. Forcing myself to write because I need to, not because I want to isn’t real, raw or honest. Through all of this time I have continued to have conversation with those who reach out and even speak with/participate in a research study being done for Hemiplegic Migraines!! This is a huge step. In the three months off I’ve made good friends with a fellow spoonie. Though she lives countries away from me, we chat almost daily. This is why I blog.

While all above is true, I’m also very excited to share many of my good days and positive changes that I’ve made strides towards recently! Thank you for being understanding and supportive. This officially means I AM BACK! Now you guys can hold me to it 😉

I’ve missed you all!

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Posted in #teamhadley, Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Health Blog, Hemiplegic Migraine, Just Keep Keepin On, MU Health Care, port, portacath, Today I Win, Uncategorized, University ER, University of Missouri Health Care

Started with NO. Now YES with hope.

Hey guys! Before I even start the post I need to say a huge THANK YOU to the so many people that have sent cards, flowers, gifts and all my Hallsville peeps that wore #teamhadley shirts or purple for me. Plus every awesome visitor I’ve had wether I was awake to see you or not 😉 Support like that is what gets you through things like this.THANK YOU.

When I first knew I was going to write this blog I thought it was going to about the following things; The fear of not knowing what to do. The frustration of self-worth from one ER doctor, even with multiple doctor notes and go aheads from many different doctors, of all sorts. The pain, me ranking a level 9 which is hard for me to do as I won’t say level 10 pain. I sat in that emergency room for 9 hours without relief, crying. Which continued to leaving my dad more and more frustrated and incredibly helpless as “he watched his baby girl crying for hours.”

The Neurology resident was trying to work so hard for and with us, looking back at it now, probably also doing way more behind the scenes than we were even aware of. We were all of the emotionally examples mentioned above, plus I reallyy needed the pain of my jaw being locked open to be taken care of. By the time the Neuro resident got me officially admitted to their floor, where they could make all the calls, only the night shift was around, which tends to make things even slower. I didn’t sleep an hour that night, the nurses rounded hourly and my nurse noted that I was awake every single time. The next morning a whole flood of neurologists and their Attending plus my doctor, Dr. Cheesy we’ll call him, everyone wanting to know a different question and have me move this eye or wiggle this finger. Dr. Cheesy felt that the better solution would be to leave me symptomatic and run some tests towards my jaw first. At this point my jaw had been locked open for around 24 hours, without food, drink or anything. They put a NG tube in that morning and I spent my day getting numerous tests, many that I’d not had done before. A NG tube goes through your nose down into your stomach, little did I know for the next seven days that would essentially be the source of all my nutrition

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48 hours. My jaw had now been locked for 48 hours. Dr. Cheesy stops by to let me know he learned what he needed to from all of yesterday’s testing and he and the rounding Neuro Attending had agreed to send me to ICU where I could be closely monitored while given a lot of medication. One of the neurology doctors mentioned that by jaw my be dislocated but didn’t tell us that was for sure or not. I arrived in ICU, shocking everyone at my young age. They started hooking me up to everything. Next time you go to a hospital room check out how many plugs and switches there are, then double it in the ICU. They gave me medication and my jaw still wouldn’t unlock. I’m pretty sure I finally let myself get all upset about it that night buut I also don’t remember all of that day perfectly.

72 hours. I was plain miserable. My whole family was. We’d been living extra on our toes for three days and still nothing had worked. The ENT team let us know that my jaw was dislocated and they would perform the procedure to correct it under conscious sedation. This is where I loose basically all memory for a number of days. I know my whole family was there, I’m not sure if I know my brothers were there through remembering them or being a told a funny story of their time there. I know Kelsey walked in and held my hand, which made me cry because I knew she wasn’t done with school yet.I know I cried a lot. And apparently I asked for the whole family to cram in for a selfie, I’ve still yet to see the picture.

But really this is where things got serious, for the next 10 days, they were messing with my medications so much and my body needed to heal too, I guess, I don’t hardly have a memory of any those days. The testing is previous days paid off giving me a diagnosis of dystonia of the jaw. Dystonia has many different names, depending on the part of your body that it affects. It can be the disease that you suffer from, or, more commonly they said, is a symptom of another disease. Making the questioned spasming and locking of my jaw, diagnosed as a type of dystonia, still a symptom of my HM. This is all so much more than a migraine. Something new to learn about! Because of this tightness and the re-setting of my jaw for the following days my doctors kept me extra-heavily medicated in attempt to calm those areas down for an extended period of time. Those were the scariest days for my parents. I just spent most of my time sleeping and not moving an inch. I don’t know when I left ICU and went down to PCU. I actually don’t remember waking up in the Progressive Care Unit for a first time.One of my parents stayed with me and met with the doctor every day then made it back to work and left me with grandparents for a few hours.  There were scary times, when I didn’t know my birthday or who my dad was or couldn’t walk myself around the halls. My sweet brother came to visit me on prom, which I kind of remember but am so thankful he did for me. I had to learn how I was going to eat things at for while without being to open my mouth much which is how to syringe-thingy came about and my mom had wayy too much fun with it. I hear I had a steady stream of visitors, I wish I was awake and aware enough to talk to or remember everyone. I remember some quicks hi’s when it turns out I slept and they were there for a long time. But Chris, I ate that quesadilla as promised.

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Parker: best picture ever! Hadley: Just finds in camera roll.
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Mom was pretty excited to try feeding me applesauce towards the end stretch!

The point is the pain, fear, frustration and helplessness that we walked in the doors with, instead of just being said no to, it was passed on. New eyes looked at it. Dr. Cheesy and other Neurologists, other doctors, picked their brains. What was created was a wonderful line of communication, new ideas, Hope.

We have Hope on our minds and say peace out PCU nurses, we’ll miss you!

 

 

Posted in #teamhadley, Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Health Blog, Hemiplegic Migraine, Just Keep Keepin On, Seizures, Today I Win, Uncategorized

#28 “It’s Real.”

To those who make us feel doubted, lonely, crazy, devastated, pathetic, and embarrassed,

We have something to tell you. We consist of the people you have let down. We are the patient that “just has headaches”, not the next that has something serious. We are the patient that does not fit your checklist, so of course we are crazy. We are the patient you checked your watch and walked out on after 15 minutes, while we were in mid-sentence, because you had your next client. We are the client that’s symptoms just “don’t line up”? That is us. The American Migraine Foundation knows us as the 36 million migraine sufferers in the United States, that is over 10% of our population. We are the 90% of chronic migrainers unable to work on some level. The 14 million U.S. sufferers of chronic daily migraine, they are our peers. We are the ONE in every ten thousandth person to have Hemiplegic Migraines, familial or sporadic. And it is our turn to talk.

The Mighty recently started a conversation via Facebook. This hot topic quickly received the input of 494 migrainers. The question? “To our readers who live with migraines, what do you wish people could grasp about this debilitating and often invisible condition?” The status immediately had hundreds of people, all commonly in pain, describing their biggest insecurity linked to their disease or bad health. I quickly read the polished article with a carefully picked 15 comments we wish everyone could understand. I know I, and so many others, appreciated the honest depiction of something so commonly dismissed.

So, Dr. Big Wig, mean “friends”, gossip greedy townies, and family that refusing to understand; the top five answers are what we usually want to slap in your face.

  1. “It’s not just a headache.” Stephanie Richards
  2. “Chronic Migraines are on a totally different level than the occasional migraine. You end up living in fear of when the next one will hit.” – Joey Caylor Spencer 
  3. “It’s not something I can control, and it’s not my fault.” – Sara Byk
  4. “When I know it’s coming, I get desperate for anything that will stop it.” – Melissa Goodman 
  5. “Excedrin Migraine is a complete waste of time if you have an actual migraine. And yes, three days later, I’m still on the same migraine. And no, I can’t just tough it out.” – Jen Briggs 

It’s still weird to me when I read a comment from a person states, or countries, away from me and they are describing my attacks to a perfect T. That’s how much we struggle. It takes just one physically incapacitating day to wreck our emotional well-being, leaving us miserable, in pain, and feeling lonely. Until we read again comments of those in the same place as we are, that is when we can grasp some sanity and mental relief. Surely I’ll adjust at some point and not keep getting impressed by someone understanding me. Is this just me? lol

I clicked the link that brought me to the Facebook original post and an impressive amount of comments to read through. Every time I read “put your own thoughts here” chats within my support groups, especially my HM group, I get this odd hollow cringe feeling deep in my stomach. It’s like I’m nervous, hoping to find others to relate to, but also feeling guilty that I’m hoping for someone else to have these scary experiences. Silly, yes, I know. Reading each of those comments, so many hitting too close to home, I kick myself for letting it make me emotional. However, it never fails to get me a little each time. Though it made me so close to tearing up(…maybe I did), post after post exposing some of our hardest insecurities was amazing to read. Discussions with fellow migrainers= story comparisons, doctor references, success stories, and learning more. Even though it took me a million screen shots to pick just five favorites, I finally did so. I felt like these people’s comments even went with a tone similar to my own…

  1. “They are the worst. Anyone who says different has never experienced a migraine where it feels like your head is about to split open and some alien is going to pop out.” -unknown
  2. “Even light and air hurt. “My skin feels like somebody sand papered it. It’s not something one can just snap out of.” – Theresa Belcourt
  3. “If you tell me to take excedrin one more time I’m going to pull my hair out…after I finish getting sick and crying.” – Ambra King
  4. “I’m not faking when I still go to work or try to be productive. I still have to try to live my life, even though I have a chronic condition.” – Trina Theisen
  5. “Complicated(usually hemiplegic) and debilitating lasting two days w/o abortive treatment. My MDs prepare me with abortives to prevent ER trips. However, sometimes the pain and symptoms can be as severe as a craniotomy w/ cortical resection. And dehydration can be severe.” –FB comment   *although this isn’t worded the best, and I have no idea what a cortical resection means, The point is still direct to HM*
  6. “It’s different for everyone. So your sisters cousins uncle’s ex fiancé that had them, they ARE NOT the same as mine.” – Kim Robinson

The honest emotional support is vital to all of us. But we are also always craving new information and the latest updates. It’s nice to have people to pass around conversation for those little knowledge points, too. We are always learning more. We could bet all of you know-it-alls and doctorates with who knows more about our condition, or migraines in general and we’ll win every time.

Sincerely,

Those of us who are tough, brave, fighters and migraine know-it-alls.

Check out The Mighty’s article here👇🏼

http://themighty.com/2016/03/what-migraines-really-feel-like-from-people-who-get-them/

Posted in Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Health Blog, Hemiplegic Migraine, MU Health Care, Seizures, Today I Win, Uncategorized, University ER, University of Missouri Health Care

YES finds a way.

A couple of months ago the way my mom and I were treated at a local hospital, one that we depended on and begged for answers, was absolutely NOT okay. I applaud my mother for keeping her composure that night as we sat fearful, confused and angry. I mean angry. I have used explicit detail to describe some horrible experiences to many of you, yet that night was the most scared I have been in my entire health journey. We needed help. I needed help. But instead it felt like we were being suffocated by health system politics and the poisonous words of one doctor. Though I wish I could call that business and each person involved out for everyone else to gawk at, I knew that wasn’t purposeful. Instead, I waited until I could write this post with a positive light to be shined on it. Never did I think two months later I would have such a positive post to write that I knew I couldn’t cram every awesome detail in. But, here I sit.

Dear Doctor

Walking into the University of Missouri hospital in the middle of night, deep into an attack, with so many unknowns and even more emotions wasn’t something my mom or I felt like we could tackle that night. The second we walked in the door, my aunt, who normally works weekend nights and it was Tuesday, was sitting in triage. I happened to glance that direction trying to get a feel for the new place I would probably be getting to know quite well. I did the quickest double take ever when I saw Shelly, who immediately pulled me back and began the triage process without question of what brought us there. I was quickly assigned a nurse and doctor. As we waited for the doctor to come in my mom and I looked at each other, communicating the deepest hate for this process without having to speak. My sweet doctor came in and immediately reminded me of Grey’s Anatomy doctor Arizona. ❤  As we talked she took a second to stop and say, “Honey, why did you wait so long to come in?” With responses from my mom and I like, ohh if you even knew and big sighs she ended with, “People come in here for the silliest things. This is not silly. Don’t wait so long next time.” My mom called my grandma back crying, an hour before she had called her out of question, this time all she had to say was, “They listened”.We didn’t have to tackle anything that night, we just had to tell our story and instead, they tackled it.

Two trips later, the receponist checking people in didn’t ask why I was there, instead said, “Hemiplegic Migraines, right? You don’t forget a teenager who looks like they’re having a stroke.” Again, we were shocked at the level of care. That night on-call neurology visited me. Who ever woulda thought to call neuro down for a neuro patient in the ER, huh? Lol. The neurologist and his attending, who I couldn’t take seriously thanks to my brother’s new persona, Raj, both examined me concluding that yes I was most definitely weak and suffering from a Hemiplegic Migraines. They also noted the swelling of the right side of my face. In fact, all the doctors wether PA or attending that came into contact with me examined me. Ground breaking. Worries of my high heart rate were spread, and after the third person came in to make sure I wasn’t keeled over with chest pain and my heart rate was indeed that high, my mom asked what a HR should be. The answer? Under 100. Mine? Sitting pretty in the 150-160’s. That trip was a long one and the list of attempted medications was quickly growing to match in length. I pleaded my apologies to my nurse as I was so frustrated that my medical team kept trying and my body just would not give in. My nurse responded with, “Why are you apologizing? I’m sorry we haven’t helped you yet.” Tears. I was admitted that night in hopes of more recovery where they could continue to monitor me and help me. It had been a long night so my aunt swung by to check on me and offer some humor, everyone thought my dad was my significant other. Why does that ALWAYS happen in hospitals?😂  I was given steroids every six hours to help the swelling. My old neurologist once looked at my swollen face, and after swearing to him I wasn’t self harming, concluded, “Your muscles are probably just fatter on that side.” I kid you not.

Every time we’re forced to make that trip we cringe at the gamble it is. But really, so far, these people haven’t made it a gamble. I’m treated like a human being in crazy unfair pain. I told my last doctor, “unfortunately I come in here a lot.” She said, “Well I completely understand why you do.” I’m not used to my vitals being monitored and taken seriously, so seeing how high my heart rate and blood pressure can get each time is eye opening, and also probably means that that has been the case for awhile. Unfortunately, the “other guys” would just turn the vitals machine off when it sounded, or better yet not hook me up at all.

I seriously have a note saved on my phone with quotes of how these doctors and nurses treat me, mostly because we’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I wish making a blog with quotes from my old doctor compared to quotes from my ongoing experiences was acceptable, or I wish I could just pack this post even more full of examples of the care I am receiving. It feels like a whole new system. I’m also thankful to have had my aunt advocating for me for so long, more than I ever knew. I come into contact with ER staff that has heard stories about this for awhile, so they know I’m not just really good at faking. I never thought I’d be posting about such excellent local care, I just pray that it continues. The University of Missouri Health Care slogan reads, “Where YES finds a way.” and my goodness have they achieved that.

MU_Billboard_YES_finds_a_way

I have an appointment coming up in about a week, so cross your fingers, eyes and toes!!!!!

fingers crossed gif

Posted in Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Health Blog, Hemiplegic Migraine, Just Keep Keepin On, Seizures, Today I Win, Uncategorized, Vlog

Rare Disease Awareness Day 2016🤒🤕😷

Each year, the last day of February represents the only day of the year rare diseases are recognized.  With nearly 20 million Americans living with a rare disease, you probably know someone fighting one of these battles, yet their day won’t get half the recognition that national Margarita Day or Pet Day gets. Each of us unfortunate enough to know the importance of this day would much rather celebrate Kiss and Make-Up Day, August 25th, or National Chocolate Covered Anything Day, December 16th. It’s still awkward for me to claim importance to a title with the words “Rare” and “Disease”, but it’s important so I’m going for it.

That being said, of the close to 7,000 rare diseases listed, I could have it so much worse. My life isn’t on the line and just glancing at me, most days, you can’t tell I’m sick. The invisible part of this illness is both a blessing and a curse. I’m still trying to find a way to bring positive attention, conversation and knowledge to the topic without it having to bring so much sick spotlight attention back on me, does that make any sense? Lol. Being sick has affected me in every way possible. I can find both positives and negatives, it’s proven to be productive and counterproductive all at once, while simultaneously dragging me down the roughest years of my life that I’ve somehow also turned into the years I learned most about myself. It’s most definitely a unique experience, but I don’t think I could go as far as to say that I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

So, as I was brainstorming ideas for how to recognize February 29th this year, I googled Rare Disease Awareness Day 2016. The theme, if you will, just so happens to be about including all the people a disease affects, not just the person who is sick. Perfect! I immediately had an idea for a video and started scouting people out for help. I came up with five questions and asked some of my people to awkwardly let me record them answering them. Since they all rock, I got both my brothers, my mom, two best friends, and a family friend all talked into participating in the video. Score! I told everyone to be as un-rehearsed as possible and I was really looking forward to hearing all the different interpretations of each question.

They haven’t seen it yet, so ready or not, go watch!

 

Hey medical community, did ya catch our drift? 😉🙄

Posted in Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Health Blog, Hemiplegic Migraine, Just Keep Keepin On, Seizures, Today I Win, Uncategorized

Abnormal Psychology

I opened my Psychology textbook a couple weeks ago to read about Biopsychology, Neuroscience and Human Nature. I had to write a paper for my abnormal psych class about sympathetic division and parasympathetic division, basically our bodies’ fight-or-flight responses. However, instead of taking an hour to read that specific section and write my paper, I spent my time reading the entire chapter. The intro paragraph to the chapter gave me chills as I scanned over it. You could’ve been fooled into thinking the textbook wrote about the first day I had an attack, using nearly exact depictions I have used before.

The textbook wrote; “Then, on a cold December morning, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s life abruptly changed. When Jill first awoke that fateful day, she noticed a painful pounding in her head that felt like a severe headache. As she tried to go about her normal morning routine, however, she began to notice odd changes in her body and mind. Stepping into the shower became a focused effort in coordination. Her body felt strange; the sound of water was a deafening roar, and the overhead light seared her eyes. Jill could hear her family’s voices, each syllable like a pen drop, but was not able to respond no matter how hard she tried. As she tried to think rationally and figure out what was happening, she couldn’t keep her thoughts on track and felt two steps behind. …”

I wrote in a past blog; “October 26th, 2012, I was a sophomore in high school. I woke up that Friday morning in a weird daze, like I was two steps behind everyone else. Headaches were not a new thing for me, but that day it was a headache like never before. I was not myself. I chalked it up to cheering in the rain and not eating well the night before. I figured my asthma was acting up and I was on the verge of being sick, nothing a weekend of rest couldn’t kick. In second hour, Señora Johnson asked me my favorite sport to play. I was to respond, in Spanish. But I couldn’t. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. You know in cartoons when someone’s talking but the person listening feels like it’s far away or out of focus? That’s exactly how I felt. It was like I could hear each letter of what she was saying but I physically could not respond. She gave me an awkward, like, two minutes to respond. About a minute after I couldn’t come up with a response, and a friend jumped in to save me, I passed out for the first time…”

Dr Jill, had a stroke that day. She was taken to the hospital, tested, scanned, diagnosed and treated. She still spent 3-4 months returning to her normal self, but says she can remember the feeling of that morning like it was yesterday. I too remember the moment like it was yesterday except, I was not tested or scanned(at first), I was shown how constipation was the answer, instead. I can’t help but wonder what changed that day. Or what could’ve been different over the next few years if I had had tests run that first ER trip. It’s scary how much could potentially slide through the cracks based on one doctor’s opinion. What if I’d been having a real stroke? That’s where my essay prompt about doctors having a God complex came in. Yeah, I had fun with that one.

Learning about the brain works and all things psychology is my favorite. If I could be a real life Criminal Minds team member, I would do it in heart beat. But it is kinda weird having discussions about things that hit close to home. After having discussions, reading the above, and writing two essays; one about doctor’s God complex and the other about the sympathetic nervous system I was loving my psychology class. Then, last week, I had an appointment with a pain management doctor. He talked with my mom and I for probably an hour before we began discussing possible ways he could help. I really liked the doctor and appreciated that he was aware how serious and complex my case was. Dr. M presented the idea of a nerve block. But he happened to start explaining the works of the sympathetic nervous system! It was so cool to be able to have knowledge of what he was discussing and all the things this system does for our bodies. 

STB

The next day, Dr. M set me up for a Stellate Ganglion Nerve Block. The procedure is performed by putting a needle right into your neck. Lovely, right? Actually, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I had made myself nice and anxious about it, until I realized the picture I had come up with in my head was of an actual meat thermometer being jabbed into my carotid. Probably another nod to Criminal Minds, there. The hope of the SG block is that it helps my jaw and the major right-sided swelling that this doctor found. Unfortunately, we know it won’t help the root of the problem, HM directly, but maybe these few pieces of it. Any-who, with zero local anesthetic, the doc went for it. I knew he was successfully in the middle of my nerve when I got instant make-you-sick-pain. All in all the whole procedure was pretty short and sweet. The nurses were fantastic, but underestimated my experience as they were sure to explain that a X-Ray would not hurt, and just took pictures. When the X-Ray picture popped up on the screen, two nurses started whispering, worried about something in my vein. It was actually just my Port-a-cath line that you could see plain as day, which I thought was awesome! We have yet to see ground breaking results but are hopeful that with a few more blocks we will soon. I go back in this Friday!

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Here just shows the site in relation to my port. Site of block is just bruising, slightly.
Posted in Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Health Blog, Hemiplegic Migraine, Seizures, Today I Win, Uncategorized

Watch my Week!

This week I decided to try something totally different! I recorded details of my week to show to my specialist I get to see very soon. My mom suggested I turn it into a blog post. My aunt, who also suffers a chronic, invisible disease, agreed that sometimes you have to see it to believe it. I tried taking a video clip from each day this week, without making it an hour long but still getting an idea of things. It’s still quite long, but I wanted to get the point across, so please hang in there! I hope this gives everyone a more accurate depiction of the way attacks come about and the serious toll they take on my body, I wish I could’ve included more. Every time I compare pictures from bad day to post IV, I myself am still blown away. Not all the pictures are pretty and though I only added two clips on my worst days, they’re plenty bad. I wish I would’ve gotten a bit more of the final two days recored, but they were the worst two for a reason.

Each attack differs a bit, sometimes vomiting affecting me more while other times the seizures and so on. This attack’s worst part was the pain. Yes, it’s always painful, but it got extra bad this week. I’m so thankful my ER has been working well with me recently, but I am more than ready to visit my doctor and work out some new options. The first picture below was taken in the ER while waiting on a round of medications, the second was taken right when I got home from the ER.

ER Post ER 2 post ER 1

(yes, this is one of those annoying videos you have to turn the volume up and down on.)

 

On a final note, since I’m letting the video do must of the talking this time, I want to say THANK YOU to all the people who have shown interested and ordered the shirts I have shared. I have been so excited and surprised by the amount of people ordering to support me. You all rock!

http://www.booster.com/dashboard/campaigns/2832722?status=

 

Posted in Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Hemiplegic Migraine, Seizures

Hadley; noun

Sitting down to pump out a blog I will actually publish feels good after taking a three week break. I appreciate everybody asking if they’ve missed my latest one or wondering where I’ve been. It’s been a rough go lately and I decided to take a bit of a break from posting. Over the last three weeks I’ve written several pieces, but after reading over them they felt like negative whiny run-ons. I also just simply wasn’t motivated to share all of the bad stuff swirling around in Hadley world. Blogging is something I’ve come to love, but sometimes it’s still a bit hard to share such personal things. Sharing descriptions of such unattractive insecurities just wasn’t something I could bring myself to do while I was in a negative spot week. BUT! I’ve taken my time, and I’m glad to be back on the horse. Don’t worry, this doesn’t take away from the honest, raw feelings put out here. 

While putting everything out there is necessary if I want to blog about my health, it can also be tough to find the line of sharing what needs to be shared, what details I want to share, and what’s right to keep private. Putting descriptions about paralysis, lockjaw, seizures and hospitals is simply unattractive. I’m not saying I need everyone telling me I’m super hot or anything surface level, really. But to have such detailed depictions of incidents that intimidate and turn me off, means that many more of the details I share probably do that much more to many more people. I’m not sure when infusion appointments became what I looked forward to, or when I started celebrating the taste of saline. At some point I became an expert in medical phrases and able to rattle off lists and purposes of medications. I’m 19 years old, but the shots I celebrate consist of needles and Benadryl. Those just aren’t things that my peers can relate to. It’s been tough for me lately, to worry that everyone I talk to will only be able to see me as HM Hadley.

I’m not sure why it’s been such a recent insecurity for me, or if it’s just one that I’m finally mentally ready to tackle. I make the effort to get up, actually blow dry my hair, do my hair, and get dressed every day that I can leaving the house or not, something I never felt the need to do before. I’ve taken the time to actually put makeup on to go into town if I’m not feeling badly, or to keep my nails painted. Honestly, I’m not sure if these are positives, because a few years ago I always accomplished all of these things, or if it’s the insecurities taking over. Feeling such a prominent insecurity is kind of uncharted waters for me. Don’t get me wrong, of course I have had all the same lows teenage girls go through, but overall I’ve always been pretty confident in myself.

I think I worry fewer and fewer people will get to know, or want to get to know, the real Hadley. To be perfectly honest, it’s something that I’m getting to know all over again. But I am SO excited about that and I want others to be also, I guess. See, the newfound insecurity is even coming through in this post, at least I caught it, because I’ve added “I think” to so many sentences like I need to justify my thoughts. I suppose the moral of my rambles here is this; I lost myself for a long time. And in getting back to myself, I’ve gotten so far that I’m able to face lows and insecurities that have probably been here the whole time. As much as that scares me to death, that also makes me want to pat myself on the back. I love this blog, I love the support this blog has brought me personally, and even more-so the support to others I will never meet, but I don’t want anyone else to lose Hadley.

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😉

I hope this reached some level of making sense.