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, 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 Chronic Migraine, Daily Migraine, Hemiplegic Migraine, Seizures

Hadley; noun

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

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

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

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

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I hope this reached some level of making sense.

Posted in Uncategorized

Something’s Gotta Give.

As everyone has gotten back into the swing of schedules and school life, I’ve picked up quality time with my sweet pup and online classes. All of my friends are officially moved away from htown and into their new “homes”. I’ve scrolled through everyone’s dorm pictures, good bye and thank you posts, and college life snap stories glad to see my friends each loving the path they chose. I’ll admit, it’s been a bit harder for me than I thought it would be. Watching all of them thrive having the time of their life makes me happy for them. But, that’s the problem, I’m just watching.

“But you look so good!” Thank you, but also know I don’t spam social media on my worst days.

Though I’ve never been at peace with the necessary decision to stick back at home and take online classes, I’d finally convinced myself it would be okay and I could attend Mizzou or Columbia College my sophomore year. Now, that seems more out of reach than ever. How am I supposed to obtain such a high energy, hands-on job like I would like in the medical field if I can’t even make it through the most low maintenance weeks at home?

This summer has been the hardest yet, which weighs heavy on me after the incredible Spring I had. I guess in some ways the day by day struggles I’ve fought with all summer are proving to all those people who sympathetically tell me they’re bummed I still had a bad summer that no, this wasn’t all going to go away after I graduated from the stress of high school. I wish the stress of high school was my only issue. I think it’s also been extra disappointing lately because, for the longest time, the doctors were all positive I was going to have grown out of this by now. Instead, I’m getting worse. The scary truth that HM is a progressive disease to be dealt with for the rest of my life has been proven these past few months. I feel like every morning I’m waking up with a new symptom.

It’s gotten to the point that I often have to plan my week around the days I’ll be best thanks to my infusions. Some of the scary symptoms I’ve seen discussed in my support group that I thanked God I didn’t have, have hit me like a pile of rocks since June. And I spent 14 days in the hospital in June, soo that’s saying something.

I had gotten used to seizing throughout the day and not feeling well. I knew there would be days a bad attack would hit and my body would drag. When my right eye began to droop it was a visual reminder and warning to get ready for the rough few days to follow. But as I was adjusting and still making it along, I was reading scary stories and recollections from others on the HM Support Group I am so active in. I sometimes physically wince when I read the description of paralysis and complete loss of speech. Unfortunately, some of the things I once gawked at, thinking there was no way I could possibly get that bad…it’s that bad.

About once a week has been the average timing of the wonderful new symptom lockjaw. Talk about painful. I guess mine is technically reverse-like lockjaw because my mouth gets stuck open. That means no drinking, no eating, no oral meds until I can get it to shut. And that requires IV meds in the hospital…shocker. All of a sudden my face has decided to start swelling up during attacks, yet again a new symptom. When a new symptom comes along I always ask the Hemiplegic community, and every time they back me up. 11 people replied to my post about facial swelling, saying the same happens to them during attacks. Wonderful. From about 6-12 hours before symptoms become recognizable, I now cannot use the restroom. TMI, I know. They say my bladder and\or right kidney are probably getting paralyzed along with the rest of my right side. Sounds logical to me. We’ve all gotten a little discouraged the past month or two, but when my mom and I went back to read through some of our original HM research findings it was just another definite confirmation that somehow Hemiplegic Migraines are the root of all of this. How? How is all of this even possible?

A few nights ago I found myself tearing up and getting that uncomfortable feeling in my stomach as two new member of our Hemiplegic support group described their attacks. It always makes me nervous for a newly diagnosed HMer, but sadly it makes me feel a tad better for the ones that have been dealing with it for so long that they have some idea how to handle it, the definite diagnosis is just what they were needing. The two stories I read Wednesday night just made me feel even more bummed out, like when is this disease going to get figured out? I’m not sure lucky is the correct word, but the two gals had been through only one episode each. Their experiences were similar, as they usually are to how we all started, each was rushed to the hospital and treated for stroke. Then the doctors shockingly ruled out stroke. That was their biggest shock, I think some of us reading and commenting were even more shocked that an ER DOCTOR realized, recognized, and diagnosed these ladies. I could hear the pain, confusion, helplessness and shock through their words. I wished I could just take on more of the disease instead of having to watch another person battle this. The most we can offer them is knowledge and virtual shoulders to cry on. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

I hurt. Bad. Majority of the time, again. My body  physically does not have the time to bounce back before the next attack comes on with the vengeance. It’s gotten so hard trying to determine how much medicine being pumped into me is too much, and how much is just what I need to make it. September 8th cannot get here fast enough. I see doctor Diamond, at the Diamond Headache Clinic, that day and get my third round of Botox. The third consecutive Botox treatment is when you’re supposed to start seeing results, so keep your fingers crossed people!!! I’m fully prepared for a hospital stay and kind of hoping I am there for a few days, in hopes that the Diamond crew can witness another HM attack. My attacks have progressed so much even since I was there in June. They’re more severe, more frequent, and lasting longer these days. My energy is back to being completely non-exsistent. I really just do not feel good most days.

All of that being said we have made some good strides recently! My home neurologist has finally come around to helping and wanting to be hands on. He’s already started to help taper me off of some of my current medications so that the transition won’t be so rough on me when I get to Chicago. I’m sure that hasn’t helped me feeling lousy. He actually came and saw me during an infusion last week. WOW! He scheduled some tests for the very next day, just to be sure there wasn’t something new going on that is making all of this worse. Following up on those, this week he added a CT scan. The nurse who helped put my port in came to access it and see how it was looking, she’s a pretty sweet older lady. 🙂 When they inject the CT contrast dye into your line they always warn you that it’s going to feel like you peed your pants, wellll that never fails! It’s so weird that even though you know it’s the dye, it feels SOO much like you wet your pants, you still feel like you need to check and make sure. …at least I hope I’m not the only one that happens to! The contrast dye always makes me really sick though. Immediately an even more powerful headache hit me, which was a bummer since my infusion the previous day had me feeling good. The rest of the day I could hardly stay awake. When I did wake up it was because that darn dye was making me sick. Blah. Thankfully, results only showed cysts.

I’ve also been doing some serious research on treatment ideas to present to both neurologist teams. Nerve blocks help several kinds of migraine, after asking around the HM community it seems about 50/50 on the success rate for Hemiplegic Migraines. But hey, if there is any chance I’m willing. I’ve done the most research towards the idea of Lidocaine Infusions. It’s a treatment kind of new to the migraine world, but the first site I read mentioned it helping HM specifically. There’s some potential side effects, but that comes with any treatment I’m going to try. At least it isn’t an opioid! I have a few other things on my list to throw at Dr. Diamond and Dr. K(my home neuro), one of them has to be worth a try! I’m just hoping Dr. Diamond has an open mind, at least to a conversation about my ideas, because she typically runs quite old school. Especially in her medication plans. I’ve been wishing we lived in the UK lately because they have started a experimental few trials and different, new, ways of treatment. People seem to be having some success with them because several articles have been posted about them lately.

I’ve been working more with my Chiropractor because she does help my jaw feel better. Last week, my jaw was spasming and beginning to lock when I saw her. She popped and moved everything. My favorite thing in the world is when she puts pressure around my head and neck, she always hits the EXACT spot. Best. Feeling. Ever. I have loved Dr.C since the very first day she started working with me. She just cares so much. Dr. C is also the founder of the local charity foundation, Pascales Pals. She has presented me with the opportunity to ask for something that I need or want. “Something that makes you happy,” she told me with a hug. After much research, I have decided to start the process of getting a Migraine Medical Alert Dog, with their help. I have found the company I would like to work with, and decided to send in an application to see if they would even qualify me for a dog. They got back to me in less than a week, and have given me the next application of the process… with that they can start looking for the perfect dog for me! Just a brief description of some of the things they can do include; retrieving and open medicine bottles for you, bracing you when you have a seizure or become paralyzed, and most importantly, can sense an attack 5-60 minuted before one begins. Yes, that’s a huge time window, but if I can take medications when an attack is brewing instead of waiting for when the symptoms begin, I could potentially abort several attacks. An alert dog could really give me that independence I’m craving. We’ll see!

http://www.pascalespals.org
http://www.pascalespals.org

Even though it has been a really rough summer, I still sometimes feel better between attacks than I used to. Getting infusions weekly help me, even if that means more medications in my body. Sometimes that is just necessary. Infusions have been running quite smoothly lately which just takes my stress level down. I better not have just jinxed myself… I just have to make it through the week and then I’ll be back in Chi Town. My dad is coming with this time! Praying for a smooth, uneventful, productive trip. Also begging for no more progression for awhile and some serious relief!

A perfectly descriptive image drawn by fellow HMer - Tammy Greer
A perfectly descriptive image drawn by fellow HMer – Tammy Greer