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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. ūüôā

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. ūüėČ 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.

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‚ÄčAll 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.

 

 

 

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Posted in #teamhadley, Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, family, Health Blog, Hemiplegic Migraine, HM, Just Keep Keepin On, MU Health Care, PCU, PICC line, port, port surgery, portacath, Seizures, SHM, Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine, support, Today I Win, Uncategorized, University ER, University of Missouri Health Care

Winning.

One year ago today I published a blog titled, “Today, I Win”. Never would I have remembered this date, but Timehop gently reminded me today. I captioned my shared post with one simple sentence, “This is a special one”. Little did I know at the time just how special this post would end up¬†being

As I clicked the post to reread my thoughts I got slight butterflies. Sure, I remember the day, I can tell the story, but I didn’t expect for each word to impact me so deeply. Reading about driving for the first time in years, I could taste the exact newfound independence from that day before I finished my description of it. That feeling has yet to be duplicated since that day, and never again will I feel that exact thing. It’s the day I chose I was going to win.¬†

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Never in a million years would I have been able to guess just how empowering this statement has become. It’s hard to fathom how much power can be held within three little words.¬†No matter the battle you may be fighting, you’ll need bravery, strength, drive, family and so much more. You won’t make it through any battle without being humble or proud of yourself. Life requires you to have confidence in yourself, but you’ll learn how important a good cry can be. This saying, “Today, I Win”, encompasses each of those traits, but the list doesn’t stop there.

I won’t sit here and say that those are the first and last words I say to myself every day. However, every day I remind myself of it at least once because when times are tough, they are very tough. It’s on those bad days I have to remember how good it feels to always win. When I spent nine months having to drag myself, and family, into the emergency room every week I questioned how I was winning. If I wasn’t living, if I was barely scraping by, could that really be counted as “winning? It didn’t feel like it. But I was. In my hours spent sitting in that waiting room I watched hearts break, emergency helicopters land, and people leaving empty. Even though I was there every week, I also left every week. And I left feeling better than when I came in, which is more than some others can say.

The beginning of this past April, my mom and I found our way to yet another new neurologist. We had been waiting for this date, this appointment and this doctor for close to fourteen months. None of those three things were anything new to us, nor was the anxious knot in our stomach and prayer for help. As he walked through the door we knew Dr. Cheesy was quirky and unique. Some of his very first words were this; “I’ve learned you can’t just look at one thing. That doesn’t work. Specialists will bounce people around and then they’ll end up with me. I’m usually the last in line, so I can’t just pass you on to anyone else.” As The Cheese spent the next hour asking questions, examining and thinking, my mom and I both knew we had just won a big one.

In April and May, just a few months ago, the Today, I Win mindset wasn’t any easy one for any of my family or friends to keep. As I was hooked up in ICU getting a feeding tube, there didn’t seem to be any spot worse. As I laid mostly unconscious for days upon days, the amount of fight, bravery or resources didn’t seem to matter. Through the many tears cried and the confidence in my doctors, there still didn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. To my family and loved ones it didn’t feel like Hadley was in there. I couldn’t remember my birthday or walk without help. There were some very scary days. After 22 days, I walked out of that hospital with more answers and plans in place. Yet again, I had won. We had won.

Today, I Win has turned into something much greater than myself. It has turned into a mindset and support from so many others. I hope others use this motto to help them through. That’s the beauty of this mindset, it can be made to fit all battles, because we all have them.

Now, today. Today I woke up. It hasn’t been a great day for me, I’ve been struggling, but we’re trying to be proactive in stopping what we know is coming. Today, I drove to the doctor. Today, I met with Dr. Cheesy just as I do every single Monday. We discussed my week, we discussed the current plan and anything else needing to be covered. Today, I had dinner with my family. Today, I am sitting down and posting my first real blog in 3 months. As I write this, I touch the charm on my neck that reads”TIW”, just as a reminder that I am lucky to have so many people fighting to win this with me.

Today, I Win.

Today, We Win.

 

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 ūüėČ 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 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 Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, Hemiplegic Migraine, Just Keep Keepin On, Uncategorized

Frequent Flyer Miles

One of the hardest and most nerve racking decisions¬†with HM is deciding when an ER trip is necessary. The emergency department is filled with trigger after trigger. Whether it be the fluorescent¬†lighting, loud beeping nosies or odd smells(I have the nose of a blood hound when I’m bad off), it’s probably one of my least favorite places to be during a nasty attack. Or ever. However, when I look like I’m having a stroke and I go days without being able to hold down a single medication or ounce of fluid, it is sometimes necessary. Before we got the diagnosis of Hemiplegic Migraine, we visited the ER more often for my stoke like symptoms than we do now. Thank goodness. That being said, HM comes with some scary symptoms that are sometimes too much for us to handle at home.

When my jaw locks open we always go straight to my rescue meds, IM muscle relaxer shot and Ativan pill. If I’m able to get these both taken quickly enough, they sometimes knock my jaw back into place. Unfortunately, the two times this has worked for me, it has only lasted two hours max before my jaw becomes locked again. It is always such a hard choice when debating whether I should load myself full of rescues at home, and then probably still end up in the ER only to be loaded with more medications, or if we don’t wait long enough for my jaw to get worse and go quickly to the ER. We’ve taken both routes and honestly, it’s still a debate every time this symptom occurs. At this point, we have never been able to break one of these attacks on our own, but multiple rounds of IV medications get it under control.

A couple of weeks ago my face swelled so much that my blood was coagulating, making it look like someone beat the pulp out of me. I woke up that Friday morning with the right side of my face throbbing, but I couldn’t come up with a good explanation as to why. We chalked it up to an allergic reaction, to who knows what, and tried my 100mg Benadryl shot right away. When this didn’t affect the swelling at all, we iced and watched my face closely. I tried a second Benadryl shot and my prescription Benadryl pills. Nothing. By the next morning my right eye was swollen shut, leaving me with complete blindness in my right eye. ¬†By that afternoon my left side of my face had started to swell and my left eye was in the beginning stages of swelling closed as well. The lady checking me out at the grocery store that day looked and me and said “Car accident?” I paused…but how the heck am I going to explain my crazy situation to her when I don’t even know what happened? Instead, I just said “Yeahhh, could’ve been worse.” She empathically told me she was glad I was okay. I walked away as fast as I could because we¬†were about to lose it laughing. Sorry lady!¬†I was finally convinced into an ER trip at 7 that night, even though the hospital can be a crazy place on Saturday nights. I got probably the best doctor I’ve ever had in the ER. Dr. Roberts actually read my whole chart, asked fantastic questions and ran several tests. We didn’t leave with many answers, but he offered admitting me and was willing and wanting to keep searching. After a long 9 hours I at least felt a little better. Ashley, Vanessa and I dragged ourselves out of of of the hospital¬†at 3:30 in the morning. Yikes

1st picture- right when I woke up. (mom took the picture)
1st picture- right when I woke up. (mom took the picture)
2nd picture- a few hours later (still the right side, selfie angle)
2nd picture- a few hours later (still the right side, selfie angle)
3rd picture- about five days after first appearing.
3rd picture- about five days after first appearing.

There have been so many times that I wasn’t taken seriously in the ER. I’m labeled a “frequent flyer” thanks to the ridiculous amount of trips. I don’t think they understand I hate being there more than they hate seeing me there again. Usually, I’m either thought to be a drug seeker or they just want to fill me full of narcos and send me home. Neither is the right answer. I was once refused the meds I requested (Benadryl and Valium), given Fentanyl I had specifically¬†asked not to get, written a script for a serious narcotic in which I refused, and instructions to “go home and sleep it off using the prescription”… all in the same trip.

Since I have begun presenting with more visible symptoms lately, and not coming there when the “Invisible illness” has taken me over, the staff seems to take me a bit more seriously. They can’t deny that something is wrong when my face is swelled up so much I can’t see my chest, or my jaw is stuck so badly I can’t speak. I guess that’s fine, as long as they help me when I really need it. It’s funny to watch the nurses faces change when they start to prep for an IV and I show them my portacath instead. You can literally see them start to take me more seriously, because I wouldn’t have a port if something wasn’t wrong, I guess.

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Probably the most annoying thing about ER trips is the ridiculous amount of judging that comes along with it. My parents hate going almost as much as I do. But, for the most part, they understand when I say it’s time to go. For example, this Friday was a really really bad day. An hour long seizure and my right arm getting numb and paralyzed was just the beginning. My jaw quickly became locked, which earned me nothing to eat, drink, or medications to take along with an agonizingly painful night in which I scored zero sleep. Before office hours were over Friday, my mom and I called my local doctor seeking help, knowing how bad this was going to end up. All we got from that attempt was a nasty remark from his nurse who then hung up on my mom. So, Saturday we made the choice it was time to go to the ER, as I couldn’t spend another day like that. With my blood pressure climbing the triage nurse said 167/102 earned me an immediate pass back to a room. I’ve been trying to tell this people it’s like a stroke!!! Luckily, my doctor and nurse were both understanding and fantastic. But ER trips involve so much down waiting time. We rushed the last round of meds, my dad and I worried we were going to miss something we just couldn’t miss. We pulled out of that parking lot at 1:50, made it home to change into dress clothes and pulled into the location smoothly at 2:41. Score one for the home team.

Shaky and exhausted I’ve never been so glad to be rushed, or even more glad to make it to a destination in time. It was such a battle trying to decide if we were going to the ER this weekend but it paid off more than ever. A full day to say the least Saturday, including a long night. I loved feeling well enough to end the night snuggled up with Courtney. I don’t get enough nights of girl talk with her. ¬†I participated, with much energy, in family pictures and my Grandpa’s birthday lunch. I even drove to pick Kelsey up! Thank goodness for the good meds and steroids. It is times like this trip that make all the judging, waiting, debating, and hard decisions worth the trip.

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~Had