Journey to MHNI

I always find it helpful when reading someone story to get try to get a clear understanding of who they are and where they are coming from. I grew up in a suburb of the vast metropolis of Atlanta, GA. I had a rather normal childhood (aside from the headaches), I had a pretty uneventful life. I graduated from high school and went on to college, where I believed I would study Biology with a Pre Med emphasis. Boy did I learn quickly that was not the correct career path for me! I ended up majoring in sociology graduating Magna Cum Laude. I went on to pursue a Master of Education degree at Auburn University; this is where I first met my husband. Several years later we married and begin our “careers” of taking any job that would hire us and begin moving around the Southeast, always moving to where the job took us.

All that changed in 2013, we had some really good friends from
Atlanta, who had on a whim, packed up their little family and moved west to Montana. Boy were we jealous. In a desperate attempt to sow our own wild oats, we decided to use our summer vacation to drive cross country to visit with our friends. WE FELL IN LOVE instantly. So much so that on the plane ride home from Seattle, I openly wept the entire time ( I am sure the other passengers must have thought I was a complete nut job).

After our trip, we made it our mission to get West, as some point. And then as perfect as it could possibly be, the stars aligned and we were able to leave the southeast for Oregon. I was a dream come true. A real opportunity to sow our wild oats and live life by the seat of our pants.

That was until February 2014. As I alluded to in my previous post, my husband I had spent the evening out a winery, then were driving back into town when BAM…we were in car accident. No one was hurt, except my car, and we both walked away unscathed…or so we thought.
Fast forward years later, after countless doctors appointments, surgery consults, surgeries, physical therapy, accupuncture, Reiki, massage therapy and even Bio feed back training and the migraine that began on that cold
Februrary day in 2014 never seemed to relinquish.

2017 was a HUGE year for our family, my husband secured a job in a position that was a once in a life time experience; I had just successfully defended my dissertation for my Ph.D (and VERY largly PREGNANT) might I add. My husbands new job was taking us back to a place we knew very well, the southeast. Having both been born and raised in southern states, we saw this as an opportunity to come home, and be closer to family for when our baby arrived. Little did we know then, just how VERY much we would need them.

My pregnancy and deliver were textbook, nothing odd or weird to report. I remember thinking, ok, so I have had an awful migraine the entire time I’m pregnant, so it MUST go away once the baby is out of my body. BOY was I
WRONG. In fact the headaches seemed to get progressively worse. I, being a type A, recovering perfectionists, believed that the headaches would work themselves out once my hormones were back to regularly scheduled program and my body would HAVE to learn to adapt to less sleep. (I am one of those weird people that NEEDS sleep to survive).

So after doing some research in the town where I live, I figured there would be a headache specialist, the short answer is there is one, but all they wanted to do was write me prescriptions for meds I had already tried. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for medications, but having spent so much time leaning into alternative treatments I KNEW there were other ways to manage this pain. BUT also, WHY?! WHY were these headaches so bad NOW?! Did I have a brain tumor, or something worse. So I became my own advocate and found a headache specialists about an hour from my home. And let me tell you, if you are not the religious type, then you can skip over this next part…But this doctor, this clinic did not happen by happenstance, NO, this was the hand of God. In the 20 years of visiting neurologists and headache specialist, had I ever had ONE really listen to me. To acknowledge my pain, and to try, like REALLY try anything he could to help me. AND if for some reason he couldn’t pinpoint the problem he would refer me to a colleague of his clinic in Ann Arbor, MI.

So fast forward several months, as this point I spent 95% of my days in a dark room. I was physical unable to care for myself, husband or baby boy. My mother and mother-in-law took turns coming to care for us. I have never felt so depressed in my entire life. You know how they say you have to really hit rock bottom to understand, well, I am here to tell you, I REALLY hit rock bottom. I felt hopeless, and overwhelmed. I did not want my child to remember me like this, it was so depressing. And as I mentioned before, I had thought about what life would be like I have was to just go to sleep, no more pain, no more suffering and most of all I would not be hurting the people that I loved any more.

So, it was decided that my husband I would make an appt to go and talk with the doctors at this clinic in Ann Arbor, MI. It is run by a world renowned headache specialists Dr. Joel Saper. On the day of the appt, I wasnt sure what to expect. I saw MANY doctors and nurses and even a psychologist. All came to the conclusion that I would be a perfect candidate for their in patient program at a local hospital.

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