Migraine and Post-Concussion, My Story

Nancy Harris Bonk Community Member March 15, 2010
  • I guess it has been just over thirteen years since my life changed. It was a cold, grey, and wintry morning in December 1996 when Sam and I were on our way to do some errands. As I was walking towards the car to put him in his car seat, I slipped on a patch of black ice on our concrete driveway and smashed the back of my head, hard. The next thing I knew, Sam was sitting on my lap crying, everything was very fuzzy, and my head and neck really, really hurt. This is how my mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) occurred. Natasha Richardson suffered an MTBI and her outcome was quite different than mine. I will take my post-concussed life, rather than the alternative.

     

    Somehow I managed to get to the phone and call my dear friend and neighbor, Gisele. I think I was able to remember her number because I dialed it everyday. Frank her husband answered and said Gisele wasn't around. He later said I "didn't sound right" and the next thing I remember was being in the car with him driving to the hospital. Sam had finally calmed down in the car, but Frank said he couldn't walk very well. It turned out he had a sprained ankle. From what we can piece together, I must have held Sam so he wouldn't get hurt and took the brunt of the fall. I protected his head, but my "ample" hips landed on his ankle - hence his sprain. In retrospect it was a good thing, because we lived on a fairly busy road at that time, and if he were able to walk away from me... well the outcome could have been very different. It gets even more sketchy here, because when we arrived at the hospital, I wasn't sure who Frank was. He later told me I asked him if he was my husband!

     

    At the hospital I have no recollection of being examined, changing into a hospital gown, or having my vitals taken. The next thing I do remembered was having a doctor ask me to touch my finger to my nose. My CT was negative. With those results in hand, but loads of head and neck pain, nausea and amnesia, plus Sam's sprained ankle, we were sent home. What was offered was rest for the next 48 hours and a referral to see a neurologist in two weeks.

     

    The next few months is, to this day, pretty blurry to me. Gisele and my ex-husband Michael kept our household running. I was pretty much out of it from what I've been told. My head and neck hurt all the time, I was so very tired I slept most of the time Gisele said, and I had a hard time concentrating on basic daily tasks. Packing lunches, getting Sarah ready for school was too much to handle, so Michael made sure Sarah had everything she needed in the morning. In the afternoons, Gisele would be there to help get Sarah off the bus, tend to her homework, dinner and basic tasks that any mom should be able to do. Thank goodness for their help!! My poor kids, Sarah was in Kindergarten and I missed most of her year. Sam, well, he had lots of cranky issues at that time anyway, so we just added this one to the pile!! (But he is turning out just fine, thank you.)

     

    Two weeks later was my first appointment with a neurologist. Yes he said, you had a concussion, yes - your symptoms should be subsiding by now, no - we don't know how long they will last, we will just keep an eye on you. Here is some Fioricet and Elavil to help with the pain. Your symptoms should slowly decline, and we'll see you in three months. Post-concussion syndrome. Ok, I said.

  •  

    I continued to "recover" at home while my head pounded, neck was horribly sore, and I couldn't concentrate on much of anything. I also had (and continue to have) dizziness, short-term memory loss, daily chronic pain, occasional irritability, and could no longer multi-task like I used to. I was getting overwhelmed very easily. Multi-tasking was one of my best features - I could do laundry, cook a pretty nice dinner, pay a few bills and help the kids with their homework, all at the same time. That's what I call multi-tasking! Now it is about choices, either we can have an easy dinner, or I pay the bills and eat cereal or sandwiches. No way can they be done in the same evening.

     

    My relationship with the first neurologist lasted about 18 months. He just wasn't cutting it and in hind sight, I should have fired his butt long before. Take a look at this article and see if it is time for a new doctor. Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? Then I went to my GP, who gave me another referral and I worked with a new neurologists for quite some time. Not bad by my old standards, he was kind and compassionate, willing to try new medications, looked "outside the box" but was in over his head with me. Then we moved to Buffalo when things really changed. When you are ready to find that new Migraine specialist, check out our Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists list.

     

    My current doctor has been very helpful in many ways. He is open to second opinions, he has done all my spinal taps and confirmed Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension diagnosis with the help of my ophthalmologist, and sent me to a neuro-ophthalmologist for further test. He looked for Myasthenia Gravis (MG) which my dad has (he thinks I have it, a specialist in Rochester says no, so I am going with no!) sent me to a headache clinic in Syracuse at my request to discover the disc issues in my neck. When I first saw him he called my situation "desperate" and it was time I got some help! And pretty much said post-concussion syndrome was for sure, and he would help me. But here's the thing, I still have chronic pain, and all those other symptoms I mentioned - will I have them for the duration? What about you and your post-concussion story, do you want to tell me about it? I'd love to hear it.

     

    Post-concussion syndrome is part of post-traumatic headache. For more information, see Post-Traumatic Headache - The Basics.

     

     

     

     

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    © Nancy Harris Bonk

    Last updated March 15, 2010.

5 Comments
  • Jamie
    Mar. 15, 2010

    "Clumsy girl."

     

    Words can't come out of my mouth. I don't remember what happened, except that I'm back in the ER again, begging for them not to cut off my shirt.

     

    Yes, my CT scan is clean, as is my MRI. My husband leans over me to ask what I said, but I don't remember. And I close my eyes. Isn't this the 4th time this has happened? 

     

    ...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More

    "Clumsy girl."

     

    Words can't come out of my mouth. I don't remember what happened, except that I'm back in the ER again, begging for them not to cut off my shirt.

     

    Yes, my CT scan is clean, as is my MRI. My husband leans over me to ask what I said, but I don't remember. And I close my eyes. Isn't this the 4th time this has happened? 

     

    I'm a genius. A flipping MENSA genius, yet, for once, I can't process ideas. I cry. They ask what hurts. 

     

    He points to my neck. I'm glad he's there. It's only taken 5 of these, but I'm so glad he's there. The C-collar is made with latex, and I'm swelling by the minute. I scratch like an ape. He says something for me.

     

    No, they can't take it off until my c-spine is clear. But I can't breathe. I take it and fling it across the room, not caring anymore. It's not like they can help me anyway. I'm going to have to go see my headache specialist to get words back in my brain.

     

    The doctor yells. He yells back. "If you're not going to treat her correctly, we're leaving AMA." I very nearly lost my life this time. Yet, this is the best I've felt after a MTBI.

     

    The time before, it was a backwards fall, trying to protect both my camera and my head. I lost 10 minutes multiples of time. For months, I lost words, lost days, lost dreams, lost friends, and eventually wound up on a plane to my Migraine Specialist.

     

    That MTBI was the worst of my life. Not the one that scared the most people, or looked the most dramatic... Just the one that changed me- even now... 'Cause while I look ok, and feel ok, and act ok, it affected the OTHER side of my neck. And that's a definite change. While meds have given me my life back, I still feel like something changed that day that I don't think I'll fully see again- but who knows. 

     

    I'm lucky that the Aphasia's gone away from the last MTBI, and I can concentrate again... but I still get tired, and multi-tasking... Meh. Once it was a joy- now it's a bit of a struggle- but I can DO it again. Is that where the story leaves off? No. But it is for right now. 

     

    I'm really lucky to be alive, have such great medical care, friends, and allies. They'll help me continue writing chapters in this book, until hopefully, there's a "happily ever after" ending.

     

    Thanks for shedding light on this, Nancy!

    • Nancy Harris Bonk
      Mar. 16, 2010

      Again, the "bubble" and where do we get one for you!!

       

      Laughing

    • amyC
      Sep. 21, 2010

       hi theree im a teenager and i have been suvering from migrains since the early age of 7  the acttackedd started off small but they got worsee  i have benn to lots of hospitals because of deese ..when i  was in sixth class 12 yrs old i got an attack and wass rushedd to hospital and stayed there for a week ... the pain is so badd that id...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

       hi theree im a teenager and i have been suvering from migrains since the early age of 7  the acttackedd started off small but they got worsee  i have benn to lots of hospitals because of deese ..when i  was in sixth class 12 yrs old i got an attack and wass rushedd to hospital and stayed there for a week ... the pain is so badd that id rather diee than have migrainss i  get all the symtops beofree the pain act comess  the burly eyes the nomb hand nomb face every thingg   .... in september 2009  after bein on a waitin list to see a migrain specialist   ...     i had an MRI scann but there wass notin when the results camee i dont eat choclate i dont eat dairy foodss my last option was medication ... my mam didnt want me to take medicatoin as i am very youngg!.  we had no optoin i had missed 56 school dayss because off this.. the  docter gave me medication called SANAMIGRANE! i was on 0.5 of this every day still no use.:(  i was told 2 increse it two 1.0  still no usee i am now on 3 milligrams of this medicaation a day  which isnt gudd .... i dont get the attacks as offenten but i still get themm .. they run in my family ..... 

    • Nancy Harris Bonk
      Sep. 22, 2010

      Hello, and welcome to MyMigraineConnection.com!

       

      Migraine is a genetic neurological disease thought to be caused by overactive neruons in our brains and genetics - yup runs in families. It sounds like you doctor isn't helping you now, so it may be time to consult a Migraine and headache specialist. It's important to note that neurologists...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hello, and welcome to MyMigraineConnection.com!

       

      Migraine is a genetic neurological disease thought to be caused by overactive neruons in our brains and genetics - yup runs in families. It sounds like you doctor isn't helping you now, so it may be time to consult a Migraine and headache specialist. It's important to note that neurologists aren't necessarily Migraine and headache specialists. Take a look at the article Migraine and Headache Specialists - What's So Special? If you need help finding a Migraine specialist, check our listing of Patient Recommended Migraine and Headache Specialists.

      Thank you for creating a SharePost. SharePosts are a form of blogging, and there are many things you can do with them. You can share an experience, suggest something that's helped you, use SharePosts as a Migraine and headache journal, and many other things.

      We also have a discussion forum that you may want to check out. Especially if you have questions or are looking for information, you may find the interaction on the forum to be quite helpful. To get to the forum, just look for the orange box marked "Manage" and click on the Migraine Forums link. Because our forums are maintained by a third party, you'll need to register for the forum. You can use the same information you used to create your community log-in if you like. If you want to go directly to the forum, you can click HERE.

      Along with your personal "My Home" page and the discussion forum, you'll find links to a great deal of helpful information on the main page of our site, http://www.MyMigraineConnection.com. Under the Find, Manage, and Connect tabs at the top of each page, you'll find a wealth of information - educational articles, tips, quizzes, workbooks, support and advocacy information, and more.

      Do you have questions about Migraine? There are three ways to get answers - through our Ask the Clinician column, in our community Question and Answer Section, or through our forum.  Just go to our Migraine Answers page HERE.

       

      Our email newsletter will help you stay up-to-date on Migraine and headache news and new information published on MyMigraineConnection. To receive our newsletter, click the "Sign up now!" link in the navigation bar across the top of our site pages or simply click HERE.

      Welcome again,

      Nancy Bonk
      MyMigraineConnection.com Community Manager

      PS: If you receive this message from more than one of us, please excuse the overlap. Thanks!

       

       

       

       

       

       

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