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Winning 365 Days

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

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 Beating Hemiplegic Migraine, Hemiplegic Migraine, Just Keep Keepin On

Just Keep Keepin On

I find myself stuck wide awake at 2am, again. I’ve gone through all the tricks you’re “supposed to do” to cure insomnia. I go down the list most nights, guess what? None of them really work. Hopefully my mom and Paula got more out of our two hour sleep class at Mayo than I did.

I sleep best with a TV on, even though that’s a big NO. I need the sound and general distraction to keep my mind from wondering a thousand miles a minute. If I make it through the nightly Friend’s marathon on Nick at Night I usually turn the TV off and try just music. Rarely does that work. Then starts the list of ridiculous things you can find me doing in the early AM hours; yoga, breathing exercises, stretching, mindfulness, oxygen treatments, ice, moving to the couch, moving downstairs, peppermint headbands. All of this on top of sheets freshly washed in Lavender and a handful of night time medications that would knock out a giant. Yet, here I am. Wide awake. Luckily, my favorite time to write is after midnight! Lol.

Tonight, however, is an extra rough night. The HM monster is in full swing. After a painful seizure this evening and shocks sending a jolt from the base of my neck through my fingers and toes, my right arm and leg are completely numb and paralyzed. All the while I swear I have ice picks sticking out of my face and in my eye. Having to skip my Tuesday infusion is going to be extra rough this week.

This is a completely accurate depiction of how the inside of my head feels. Thanks Snapchat. Might be a tad too graphic for this. Oh Well.

I wish I could explain just how odd it is to have zero sensation on half of your body. I tried running my hand under hot water tonight, just to see if I could bring some feeling back to it. Nada. If I wouldn’t have been watching my hand under the running water, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that was happening. Being numb is such an uncomfortable feeling that is impossible to get used to. And then you think, “how is it uncomfortable if you can’t feel?” I guess it’s more mentally uncomfortable. It’s been quite a long time since my arm and leg have been paralyzed. I went several months where they would just get extra tingly, my leg would drag occasionally, but even that wasn’t a constant when my attacks were hitting.

Unfortunately, in the last few weeks the numbness, weakness and paralysis that screams stroke to so many, have been frequent and worrisome. Usually starting in my finger tips, the pins and needles feeling all HMers know too well has started to quickly spread all the way past my shoulder. Last week, we began noticing that as that feeling was becoming more frequent, soon after my right arm starting spasming and jerking out of my control. I tried my muscle relaxants, those had no effect. Eventually, the spams chilled out by themselves, which we noted as a good sign. That was, until my arm ended up paralyzed for the rest of the night. Luckily, when I woke up the next morning it was back to full mobility and almost complete feeling had returned! That didn’t last long. Boo.

Then, we have my leg. My leg has always shown more signs of HM than my arm. Last year it was fully numb and paralyzed for three months. Yep, awful. During bad attacks it was still dragging, and that was one sign that the Hemiplegic days to follow would be in full force. But in the last week or two, we’ve seen more signs of weakness. Several times, out of nowhere, my leg has completely given out and caused me some ugly falls. Not that I need extra of those. Two nights ago, I was walking through the kitchen when it totally randomly landed me in a heap on the floor. From the tips of my toes to my hip I had no feeling, but I was still able to move it normally, so I just ignored it best I could. Again, the next morning it was back to normal.

I hope I’m proved wrong, but sadly I’d be willing to bet I don’t wake up good as new tomorrow. Seizures have been rough all night and I’m still dragging my leg when I try to walk a little bit, or having to use my left hand to pull my right arm into a comfortable position. Trying to type this one-handed is actually slightly comical. Well, and slightly frustrating. I keep telling my right hand to reach for the letters and nothing happens. Ugh. It’s actually extra weird to have my leg numb because I damaged a nerve in my left leg with a shot a few months ago and have lost complete feeling in half of my left thigh.

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So, this is actually the part of my left leg that is constantly numb. Weird how you can see the parts that get goosebumps and the parts that don’t, huh?

I’m a mess. A painful, numb, exhausted, stuck, mess. And for tonight, complaining about all of that is okay. But not tomorrow! Tomorrow I have to get up, know it is a new day, and try all the secret tricks of making it through another attack.

keepon