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.

 

 

 

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

365

Friends! Again, it has been a few months too long without a blog published. Sorry!

April 28, 2017 has marked the date of a new anniversary. In the last almost five years October 26, 2012 has been the biggest anniversary on my calendar. That date being the day my life literally changed. Who knew one single day could change my entire future? I don’t know how or why, but that’s exactly what happened. For five years that October day has rolled around, leaving me unsure if it should be celebrated as another year survived, or defeated that it was just another year fighting my body so hard. But this time, there is no question that April 28th should be celebrated!

One year ago, I went through living Hell in the emergency room(shocker), and was admitted to the neurology floor of the hospital. At the time, we were frustrated that we would have to spend likely a few days admitted, stuck in the slow moving world within the hospital. Through a few nights with no sleep, and equally as many days without being able to eat, I couldn’t help but feel defeated as my new doctor chose to run some tests before working to stop my attack and fix my locked open jaw. Being given a feeding tube wasn’t something I ever considered needing, and it intimated me, the hospital pro.  So many tests were lined up for me that I would get back to my room just to be taken for the next in line. I was very thankful for my portacath as nurses drew enough blood that I questioned if I was going to run out. Physically, I felt like I was at my lowest point, and it seemed that mentally I was close as well. I would soon be proven wrong.

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Through the hard work of my doctor, the determination for answers, and prayers, lots of prayers, we could see a light at the end of the tunnel. I had been working with Dr. Cheesy for one week. He had seen me one time. He walked in on the third day with answers…and yes, that is plural. As he told us that my jaw was dislocated I immediately felt a bit of weight lift off of my shoulders. For almost a year, and nearly weekly, no doctor had taken the time to x-ray or look past the surface of my jaw being forcefully locked open or my face swelling for hours and even days. My parents and I shared with the doc that we had been told I was self-harming, my parents told to stop taking me to get medicine and all would be well, and best of all; that the muscles on one side of my face were simply fatter than the other. He chuckled, and admitted some doctors suck. Immediate tears welled in our eyes as The Cheese sat down explaining something called Dystonia. I’d read about a few dystonia cases but didn’t know any details. He told us that Dystonia is a disease of the muscles. It can be a whole disease in itself but is more often a part of a bigger picture. A disease of the muscles easily makes sense being a factor related to Hemiplegic Migraines. I was officially diagnosed with dystonia of the jaw, which causes the muscles in my face and jaw to spasm and pull so hard my jaw gets dislocated. It made us sick to our stomachs that the reason my jaw was locked open so often for a year was because the high doses of medicines were simply getting my jaw to slide partially back into place, never actually relocating it. All it would’ve taken was one x-ray to show the truth. Instead, my jaw joint had gotten destroyed a little more each week. ONE x-ray.

I spent the next 22 days moving between the neurology/surgical ICU and the Progressive Care Unit. The PCU is the step-down unit to ICU. Within 14 of those days my jaw was reset three times. For 15 days I relied 100% on a feeding tube. The general rule after getting your jaw reset is that it will take three months for it to heal, three months before you can eat most foods again. My family was so excited when they could start feeding me limited foods through a syringe. We celebrated that. Near the end of my stay a therapist had to come teach me how I was going to eat. I was 19 and learning how to eat again. I was so embarrassed that I was going to have to eat baby food. I was angry that if I wanted a burger or pizza, really anything good, it would first have to be blended. I never wanted one of those bad enough to eat a junk food smoothie. Instead I lived off of mostly Smoothie King and baked potatoes. 😉

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Between jaw issues I was also being aggressively treated for the Dystonia and Hemiplegic Migraines. My doctor was attacking my attacks more within a few weeks of working with him than anyone in the last four years. Because of that I was poked, prodded, tested and medicated constantly. I remember very little of those 22 days and went through days just being out cold. This is when I truly hit mental and physical rock bottom. I could do nothing on my own for myself. Family and friends visited on their lunch breaks or evenings just to take me on walks around the floor because I couldn’t do it on my own. One night after trying so hard to get me to wake up and get with it, my nurse asked my birthday and I couldn’t remember. He asked who was sitting on my bed. I couldn’t tell him it was my dad. Being the biggest daddy’s girl that I am, I couldn’t tell that it was my dad sitting on my bed squeezing my hand. (crying now) I have a foggy memory of that, but it feels like I was an outsider in the room watching it play out, not that it was actually me.

Thinking about all of these cloudy memories brings back the many emotions from those days, feeling just as raw as they did a year ago. However, it makes me almost as emotional reflecting on the past 12 months. As last summer came around life continued, but I was skeptical that there would be any change. By September of this year I had had a total of three seizures, and only been in the hospital two times since May. One of the two ER runs being for kidney stones, I actually appreciated going in for something “normal”. After September I wasn’t admitted to the hospital again until January, spending five more days in ICU, and then in March for only three days. I’m still shocked that I’ve had only four hospital trips in a year, compared to last year when I was making trips nearly weekly.

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I have kidney stones and infection in this picture.

I haven’t published a blog in awhile partially because life has been a different kind of boring. Who knew boring would be a good thing?  I take advantage of my Mondays spent in the infusion center racking up hours of sleep that I’ll miss later in the week, while the medicine necessary for me having a good week is delivered through my port. On top of that I still rely on medications daily and have my fair share of intramuscular shots to take. I continue to try new tricks and treatments of all kinds. Attacking my body with so much medicine isn’t something we’ve ever been huge fans of, but after nearly five years of trying everything, any therapy that ignites change is worth it. And change we have seen. Everything has changed.

Through this whole crazy ride, one lesson I’ve learned is to seriously appreciate and celebrate the little things in life. I know, so cliche. When my brother was a sophomore in high school I was only able to attend two of his basketball games throughout the entire season. This year was his senior season and I only missed two games of the whole season. Thank goodness for ear plugs and special migraine glasses! To make that small win a little sweeter, my dad is also the high school basketball coach. Killing two birds with one stone, I was finally the one traveling always to support them.

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I’m still a little bummed that my doctor insists I not take more than a couple credit hours in school, but I’m trying to accept that it doesn’t matter how long it takes to graduate. Eventually I will be a college graduate with a diploma that represents the fight I won to get there. It’s refreshing to think about my future with dreams different than hopes to have enough energy to make it through the week.

I’ve talked before about missing my old self and working so hard to earn that self back. Though many things are different, more and more of that Hadley I missed so much is coming back. I’m back to babysitting on the regular, something I have always loved to do. I have a real job!!! Being able to work a few hours a week is so satisfying. I don’t have to cancel nearly as many plans last second and have greatly appreciated going out with friends, or simply being able to handle life outside of my four walls. A lot can change in 365 days.

I’m proud of myself.  I’m happy.  I’m winning.  I’m thankful for our great God above. He always has a plan.

 

p.s. If you’re wondering about the best baked potatoes, I’m your girl. 😉

p.p.s Adding a link to my “special migraine glasses”👇🏼

https://www.theraspecs.com/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=**LP%20-%20TM-%20General-%20HV&utm_term=TheraSpecs&utm_content=TheraSpecs

Posted in #teamhadley, Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, best friends, Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Dystonia, family, Health Blog, Hemiplegic Migraine, HM, SHM, Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine, support, thankful, Today I Win, Uncategorized

A Small Thank You

To my sweet friends,

Thank you for never leaving my side. Thank you for being the two that will never let me break. You’ve been there to catch me when I fall (literally 😉 ) and always celebrating the smallest of wins with me. Ashley, you’ve been right next to me since the very beginning. That’s actually quite literal as I was sitting next to you the first time I passed out. You spent so much time sophomore year dropping everything to help. The first time I was ever hospitalized you were sure to bring me anything I needed, including your company. Kelsey, you came to sit with me every night that trip for hours. Neither of those things have changed. I quickly learned how deeply everything was hurting both of you. Through the seizures, unknown and loss of “old Hadley” I could see the same pain in your eyes that mine reflected. Just as quickly I learned never to take either one of you for granted.

There have been so many canceled plans and important things to you I should’ve been at but couldn’t make it, not a single time have you ever gotten upset or made me feel any more guilty. Instead, you’ve learned the details of Hemiplegic Migraine and can recognize when I’ve reached my limit, often having to snap me out of being so stubborn. Without complaint you’ve had so many lunch dates or hours of waiting in the hospital with me. I can’t tell you how much I hate feeling like our friendship is often one sided as I haven’t been there for you way too many times.IMG_4506

Kels, you took time out of your always hectic schedule just to fly with me to Minnesota for my Mayo Clinic visit, in the middle of January. You ate Dairy Queen for dinner with me after a rough first day, because obviously ice cream is the best medicine. One of the only things I can remember when I was in ICU this spring, was waking up to see you there holding my hand. Even though I knew you were in the middle of finals week and couldn’t stay in town for much longer than 12 hours. But you were right there. How many people get that much support from one person? It cannot be many. After moving back home for the summer you spent the next 22 days in the hospital with me. You never missed a single day. I would sleep for hours and you’d still be there when I woke up. I’m not sure what we spent more hours doing, playing Uno or trying to untangle wires and stop beeping? You stayed up with everything each doctor said, being my voice when I couldn’t be my own. If our roles are ever flipped, know that I’ll sit in your hospital bed letting you actually cry on my shoulder, and I’ll be right there to hold your hand before or after any procedure. You will always be the Christina to my Meridith.

Ash, you may not have gotten to travel with me, but I know you’ve been willing and wanting to every time. The countless hours we’ve spent FaceTiming mean just as much. You make sure to always keep me laughing, which is an equally important medicine as ice cream. 🙂 This is why our ice cream dates are always necessary and successful. I’m so so glad you’ll talk to people like Bonnie for me and play along when saying “yes, I was in an accident”, is just much easier to explain.Thank you for not just the hours spent in the regular hospital, including coming late when you get off work, but also for the long nights we’ve gotten stuck in the ER. I’m pretty sure you know just as much about HM as I do, making me confident you would make sure I was correctly taken care of in any circumstance. You have the biggest heart and are constantly giving to me in any way I ever need. There is never a dull moment, no matter how awful I feel I end up laughing so hard every time. I absolutely love you and can only imagine the things we’ll continue to get ourselves into forever.

To the both of you, I wish thank you held so much more significance than it does. Thank you for never leaving me lonely or broken down. Most of all, thank you for always being able to hold onto apart of, again, my “old” self after I lost that. I pray that everyone have at least one friend as great as you. I think that’s important. Though I don’t want either of you sick or down, I do hope that someday I can repay you and be just as good of a friend back. I love you both so so much!

~Had

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, Botox, Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Dystonia, Health Blog, Hemiplegic Migraine, Lidocaine Infusion, Lidocaine Infusion for Migraine, MU Health Care, PCU, port, portacath, Seizures, Today I Win, Uncategorized, University ER, University of Missouri Health Care

FOUR WEEKS

On Friday, May 6th, I got released from a 13 day hospital stay and headed home. Home was where I needed to be. Graham was stoked to have me back, he talked non stop to me as soon as we picked him up from the Bequette’s house and made sure to carry everything inside so I didn’t have to. I was still so heavily medicated my mom just wanted to get some food in me before I went to bed, sweet G talked to me the whole time we ate, even though every minute or so he’d have to ask if I was okay because my head would bob forward into my bowl. Trying to act like I’m okay and it being physically impossible for me to fake it just for him, at a time like that, is solely one of the hardest parts in dealing with this nasty disease. BUT I WAS HOME.

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For the weekend my brothers and pup were all actually so glad I was easily found in my room, they all kept just coming in because they liked that I was in there, and I liked that too. I got to spend the day at my grandparents’ house, like a typical weekend, and get knee deep in the pond with Jax. Kelsey and I resumed our typical Grey’s Anatomy watch party positions on my couch and I got to sleep in MY OWN BED! I was in high Heaven. I’m always complaining about being home too much, then I don’t get to come home for a few days, now I don’t want to leave it! Back to normal felt so good.

On Monday afternoon, the 10th, I went to my check in appointment with my Neurologist where we were supposed to make a game plan. I was pretty aware that we’d be scheduling lidocaine infusions but I wasn’t sure what the details attached would be, such as a scheduling date. Lidocaine Infusions for migraine is a fairly new treatment idea catching on in the world of migraine. These treatments are something I had been researching since August of 2015. I had asked a couple of other doctors about them, one saying he didn’t know and one saying I should give it a shot but that no one around here did anything like it. I had an appointment to travel to a specialized clinic in Texas this winter, but the doctor fell very ill days before I was supposed to see him and he is no longer practicing. I was in communications with a doctor in Washington D.C. that I was referred to that did Lidocaine Infusions for migraine, until I first met with Dr. Cheesy who suggested trying those before I even got the chance to ask about them.

Dr. Cheesy told me I would be hospitalized for 5-7 days in the ICU, the ICU being just a precaution as it is still a relatively new idea and Lidocaine is a serious drug that can seriously affect your heart. After discussing the idea a bit more at my appointment that Monday, Dr. Cheesy asked me when I would like to try them. I sarcastically said, “I’d start tomorrow” and literally laughed. He said, “Okay, can you be here by 11 am? I was going to have you come in tonight but I figure you want to go home and get your stuff together.” I seriously had to ask him if he was joking, most doctors take months to schedule the smallest of things.

He was serious. Tuesday, May 11th, I checked back into the hospital. At first, I wasn’t too bothered that I was having to come back in. I was glad that my new doctor was continuing to prove to be a “do-er”  and try new things. I was glad to be trying something that I had put so much research and back hours into, and interested in trying something new that had the potential to completely cut back all things hospital to a reasonable amount. I knew I needed to try it. Dr. Cheesy told me he didn’t expect to see drastic results with me until around day 5, because I’m complicated.

What I didn’t think about, however, was that I had just been sent home with several extra things to help control the pain and movement issue of the jaw on top of having my regular HM rescue medications that I try. Because the Lidocaine was a new treatment for me, I could only take my daily medications that couldn’t be skipped. Rescue medications I know work to help abort an attack, like Benadryl, were avoided in order to be able to differentiate the difference between the lidocaine making a difference or not. Unfortunately, because of this, the timing just so happened that an attack hit right on day two of me trying the new infusions. Since rescues weren’t an option, by Friday I was in full attack mode and the jaw locked open.

Without a doubt that was the most painful time my jaw has ever been locked open. It had just so recently been reset that my jaw wasn’t even supposed to be opened that far. As soon as it happened I started bawling and then looked at my grandma and said, “I’m not supposed to open my mouth all the way for three months. It’s not supposed to do this!” As soon as it happened, Kelsey, my best friend, jumped up to call the nurse, then sat in my bed with me for hours. After getting X-rays we knew my jaw was dislocated again, but it was Friday night by the time we knew it would have to be reset so I had to wait, again, until the next day. I had to be taken off of the Lidocaine before I could have the sedation medication used in order to comfortably have my jaw reset, anyways, so that night Friday we stopped the Lidocaine starting the wait. My doctor ordered that I have a NG feeding tube placed again, for the first time in the trip I was trying to keep the tears in and I was having a tough time staying positive. Just days before I had gotten my previous NG tube out and had said I wasn’t ever going to get another one again, but here I was less than a week later, hoping that the metal weight was correctly placed in my stomach. While my Dad left the room for bit I had a heart to heart with my nurse who let me cry it out, then  got me back to my conquering attitude and placed the tube.

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The next few days went okay, I wish they would’ve been better. I got to resume the lidocaine after 48 hours of being removed from it but I wasn’t allowed to have my drip increased for several days, originally the plan was to have it increased daily, putting me at a high dose by the end. Lidocaine can seriously affect your heart so every six hours I had to get an EKG, thankfully those continued to come back within normal range. Because I was stuck at a lower dose than expected and my heart was handling the medication well, I did not have to stay in the ICU like planned. I spent the whole ten day trip on the PCU unit, which is where I spent a majority of the week before so I was thankful for familiar faces. 

On Monday, while still receiving Lidocaine, I was scheduled for to get Botox in my jaw. However, this required that my jaw be fully opened again, which of course dislocated it immediately seeing as it had only been two days since the ENT team had reset it Saturday. All of my doctors were expecting it to lock open but felt that the Botox was worth the shot, so the ENTs were waiting for me upstairs, after hours, to reset my jaw by the time I made it back to my room. Thankfully, this time I got to continue on the Lidocaine drip even with the Versed and Fentanyl, because my neurologist had already decided not to increase the Lidocaine dose any further.

The last four days of my stay I was quite miserable. I was placed on an “NPO” diet, meaning that I couldn’t eat or drink anything except for water. That didn’t really bother me because I couldn’t eat if I wanted to, my jaw was extremely painful, swollen, and continuing to spasm. My doctor explained my jaw situation to me in this way; “What happens when someone tears their ACL? They immobilize it, have surgery, and continue to keep it immobilized with no weight for several months. That’s what happened to your jaw. Except you just “tore your ACL” or dislocated your jaw three times in two weeks, and “had ACL surgery” or got your jaw reset three times in two weeks. The only difference being that your jaw isn’t immobilized.” After the first reset of my jaw I was told to expect a three month recovery, three months before I could eat normally again or not have pain and movement issues. Three months is now nine months. I was thankful for the ACL comparison because that made me feel less like a baby, and it also gave me a good way to explain the ordeal to others in a way they may better understand.

The best part of hospital stays is having visitors. This time I actually remembered most of them, even better! My sweet best friend came and spent several hours every. single. day. She sat in bed with me and didn’t say a word when I needed to cry because I hurt, she kept my ming off things playing UNO and Hangman for hours, she communicated for me when I couldn’t do so for myself and she stayed the night with me when she knew my parents needed a little break. I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am today if she weren’t around this time. My other friend came on several of her lunch breaks, friends surprised me and some came after work. The social support continues to blow my mind. I’m so so thankful.

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I got to go leave the hospital on May 20th, ten days after being admitted. I left with my head pain at a level 7 out 10. The Lidocaine had kept my headache level at a seven for about three days in a row, this was something my family, Dr. Cheesy and I celebrated! We all knew this was a big step for me. Unfortunately to consider the Lidocaine infusions successful,  I would’ve had to walk out of the hospital with a level 1 or lower headache. I was super bummed that didn’t happen and I’m having to cross of yet another treatment. But I got to try it! So at least now I know! I’m very fortunate to have access to these treatments and very thankful for this amazing new doctor. Until Dr. Cheesy can say that I am “stable”, he is having weekly appointments with me. WEEKLY. It’s amazing. Every week we get to talk things over with him, switch any medications around that we may need to, and discuss the next plan of action. Though I have been super bummed that I haven’t been doing great, I have been living off of IM shots and other rescues, I now even have to wear a pain patch, I haven’t been in the hospital for ONE MONTH. I couldn’t be more excited about that!!!! I’m still on a mostly liquid diet. I think I’ve tried a baked potato from every single restaurant around. lol and I have to carefully plan my days and my shots. But Dr. Cheesy has kept me out of the hospital for FOUR WEEKS, and that is four weeks longer than any other doctor has been able to do for a year now!!!!

This is such a long post that continues to ramble on and on but I needed to get this way overdue update posted!

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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, 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. 

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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, Hemiplegic Migraine

Anniversary or Un-iversary?

Three years. 36 months. One thousand, ninety five days. Three grades. The cliche “time feels like it has flown by and not moved at at once” has never rung so true. October 26, 2012 I had my first seizure and never looked back. Since that first day in Spanish class, I can count on my fingers the number of seizure or attack free days that I have had. In so many ways I can’t convince myself it’s possible that this all started three short years ago, on the other hand I cannot believe I just used the term, “three short years ago”. It’s really odd to think back on that day, no memory of mine is so pristine. Waking up that Friday morning I felt awful but attributed that to having cheered in the rainy district game the night before, eating/sleeping poorly, and a fall allergy asthma attack. When Sean greeted me that morning, he said “Whoa, not feeling too hot?” Third hour I let him know I had passed out, he texted back “Atta girl!” These are perfect examples as to life before seizures. Before seizures became the norm, telling someone I passed out carried the assumption I just fell asleep at a bad time, commenting on the unexpected meant me looking like I got it by a truck, now the unexpected is me not looking like a character from The Walking Dead. My first trip into the ER, ever, came that Sunday after a second episode. The ER doctor didn’t run a single blood test or scan, instead he came in and racked it up to constipation. The guy literally squeezed as if he were extremely constipated and my dad literally laughed like this guy was an actual doctor. Funny enough he is now an ER doctor that I would prefer over some.

That whole first week I was so sick my everything was exhausted and I had pain deep in my bones. Many people suggested I get tested for mono, that never happened but I now wish we would’ve pushed harder for that. There are some recent understandings that a mutated strand of Mono can cause Sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine. That being said, when we consider the week before, at my aunt’s wedding, everyone asked if I was sick, at the time I didn’t think I was but six days later…    just something more to ponder😉

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A lot has changed in the last year, I would say more than before but I’m pretty sure I said that last year. lol. We’ve learned just how hard it is to live with a progressive disease. A significant dip in my cognitive function has been clear the past few months, at least in the memory department. I used to be able to recall the tiniest details for years, now I ask the same question over and over without noticing I’ve already gotten the answer. It’s so uncomfortable when I’m mid conversation with someone, like a nurse, and out of the blue I truly cannot recall a signal detail of the conversation, what I was going to say or what had just come out of my mouth. Days that happens I typically end up remembering zero of. But positively, I think I’ve grown most in my attitude. My understanding, learning, and mood have all changed significantly this year and I’m glad to say I’m confident that I have grown in that department.

Needless to say, when this all started we had no idea that we’d be wishing for 30 second pass-outs in the future. Three years ago, doctors told me I was dehydrated and stressed. Three years ago, my psych consult listened to all of my baggage and ultimately encouraged me to go back to the medical side of things. Two years ago, doctors labeled me just another teen girl with a conversion disorder and swore in 6-12months, psych would have me healed. Two years ago, well that psych consult was bad on my end. 😯But, she saw through my frustration and still told us to go back to the medical side. One year ago, doctors comforted me and promised to know “Hadley”, not just be another doctor unable to pick me out of a line up. One year ago, the psych PA ditched the consult out of shock that doctors had played hot potato with me like that, while the Dr applauded my ability to self advocate and be so knowledgable. I now wish my previous physicians would’ve bet their medical licenses on me being magically healed way back when.

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This is another video contest prompt; “Show us your fight with HM this year” I think it was the perfect thing to get together, a video is the only way to truly show my special support over the year. Going through the pictures and videos made me a tad emotional, of course. I often am disappointed in myself for not being able to solve my own problems. Then again, I’m impressed that I get up and do life on some of the days I do. I never knew a blog would require me to take so many more selfies😂 That being said, the selfies themselves were a reminder that I’m not fighting for my life and to be thankful I’m able to get available treatments. There’s always someone out there who has it worse than you. 👇🏼

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj8d1FPT7kw

My editing skills are still in the learning process. Winners of this contest get rewarded medical bill scholarships.

So thank YOU, for reading this blog, for taking the time to send an encouraging comment, for going out of your way to come chat with me, for checking on my parents and brother because they’re living this too. And thanks for those of you who have taken it upon yourself to follow IHMF updates and want to learn. I can’t wait to read this post next year and laugh at what I’m good at then, and see what I need to get back to. Always learning!!!


What I’ve gotten myself into this year:

  • 5 Chicago Trips
  • 50 days inpatient in Chicago
  • PICC line placement
  • Port-a-cath surgery
  • At least 20 IVs…probably way more
  • ER trips…uhh I can’t count that high.
  • 31 Infusion treatments
  • 5 ultrasounds
  • 2 MRIs
  • 4 CT scans
  • 2 MRA scans
  • 6 EKGs
  • Endoscopy
  • Botox
  • Diamond Headache Clinic
  • Mayo Clini- Rochester

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On one last note, if you are interested in purchasing a shirt, all funds raised from this shirt will go directly to Hemiplegic Migraine research and trials to be done in the United States.

Includes 3 styles with a black, grey, or white option for each.
Includes 3 styles with a black, grey, or white option for each.

Order Here!👇🏼

https://www.customink.com/g/hrr0-00aa-k9cq

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