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Dealing with Brain Injury

by | Apr 16, 2019 | Uncategorized

It was on my 19th birthday, I flew off of a recreational motor vehicle and hit my head on concrete at a minimum estimated speed of 40+ mph. I’m 26 as of writing and I experienced more than my fair share of hospital visits, physical and emotional traumas yet I was full of life with a childlike wonder.

I was never warned, no doctor informed me of the possible repercussions or long term affects my brain injury could have on me. After the accident,t I was unconscious for several minutes. I don’t remember anything from the accident, I only know what I was told. I made it to the hospital hours later because the people I was with put me on a couch and proceeded to drink some more. I somehow called my boyfriend, he knew something wasn’t right and got me to the hospital. The only thing recall from that night were the first words out of the doctors mouth “You may need brain surgery.” The prognosis was two brain bleeds one from an artery, bruising, tears, and a fractured skull. The doctors were shocked I was even alive. 

A few days later I was released, no surgery was needed. Weeks and months following the accident I only had a couple of minor symptoms, intense spells of vertigo which slowly subsided and a complete loss of smell which I haven’t yet regained. Life moved on and so did I, simply grateful to be alive.

Fast forward 5 years, my life completely crumbled to the ground. One thing I’ll mention is it’s hard for a sick brain to realize it’s sick. It took me months of rapid deterioration for me to realize something was seriously wrong. It took me picking up a book that mirrored my life at the time for it to click, but as soon as it clicked I began my journey of seeking health. By this time I had a mile long list of severe symptoms, not one being mild including: severe brain fatigue which hindered my brain to formulate a sentence. I could barely speak. I had a hard time making eye contact. I couldn’t get out of bed literally, I spent most of the day idle in bed. I had resting a heart rate of 150+ bpm. I had shortness of breath as if I were running a marathon anytime I moved. I experienced full body tremors and myoclonic jerks. Extreme dissociation, I felt completely out of my body like I was seeing everything from an aerial view at all times. Migraines, hot spots on my head, light and sound sensitivity, and dizziness. I could not feel any emotion. I had an extreme temperature dysregulation, the air conditioner had to be on 63 degrees at all times. I felt like I couldn’t process anything I was seeing and I felt that life lacked color. Heat intolerance, muscle spasms that would leave my neck twisted, memory problems, left side body pain from head to toe, intense head pressure, extreme insomnia including not sleeping for 5 days at one point, I lost my ability to think, no wound on my body would heal, and random bruising. I experienced nausea and could only manage to eat about one meal a day. I wasn’t peeing, I’d only pee about once in a 24 hour cycle. I had tunnel vision and a ton of other symptoms I didn’t mention.

I felt like the walking dead, I wasn’t living, I could barely move and I sure as hell was not going to spend the rest of my life like this.

I knew I had to go the alternative path if I wanted to really get to the root and not be given 100 pills for each symptom and essentially get worse. I tried neurofeedback, 3 different Chinese medicine doctors, a neuro-optometrist in Chicago, several chiropractors, a doctor who specializes in brain rehabilitation, an herbalist, a spiritual intuitive, a neurologist, a mind body practitioner, a hypnotherapist, a lady who specializes in neuroplasticity, craniosacral therapy,

I was at the doctor’s office at least 3 times a week for a year and nothing was working. The neurologist laughed at me and wanted to put me through an extensive psychological exam, that’s when I swore off mainstream doctors. Neurofeedback was making my symptoms flare too much with little help, if any.

I kept telling my mom “I wish I could cry because I really wanna cry.” I spent every single day on the computer searching on forums, googling doctors, and it was starting to wear down on me. But something in me knew there was someone out there who could help me, I just hadn’t found them yet. “I just need someone intuitive, who really sees me,” I kept telling myself.

I then stumbled upon Dr. Carolyn Cook through a google search, the reviews on her in Miami Acupuncture, Classical Herbs and Acupuncture, Inc., were good and I felt pulled towards her. I called and left a message and she returned my call shortly after. She wanted to get me in as soon as possible and get started because she was leaving for a trip soon and she’d be gone for a month. I hung up the phone and felt good about our conversation but didn’t want to get my hopes up. I went to her office a few days later and she did a very thorough examination, she could tell immediately that we had a ton of work to do and put me on my first round of herbs. Once I got home I cooked up my herbs took my doses for the day and by night I couldn’t stop crying. It was as though these herbs opened a portal for reality to smack me in the face. “Am I dying?”, “Maybe I have MS.” “I should’ve gotten that brain scan.” The immense amount of fear I wasn’t feeling came up to be felt. I was thankful because that meant these herbs were doing something yet I was scared for my life. By the first few visits with Dr. Cook, things were rapidly changing. I was peeing again, I had less nausea, the tremors began subsiding, the migraines went away all within a matter of days. It was almost disorienting how fast I was healing, but we still had a lot of work left to do.

Before she left for her trip, we’d spoken about a medication I was on, Vyvanse (Vivance) for ADHD, we’d agreed that I should probably slowly get off this medication because it may be causing some of my problems. Dr. Cook did not force me to get off this medication, but suggested that I contact my Dr. who prescribed this medication and ask how to come of slowly. Dr. Cook warned me several times to do so extremely slowly because of possible repercussions and possible withdrawal side effects.

While Dr. Cook was away I began decreasing my meds. I felt as if every day I was taking this medication I was poisoning myself. “What will it hurt getting off a few weeks early?” I took my last dose and a week went by, I was definitely feeling the lack of medication, but it wasn’t unbearable. The only problem was I didn’t experience bowel movement for a week, so I decided to do a coffee enema. I started feeling weird immediately, I had a panic attack shortly after the enema and felt a strange sort of psychosis. Three days later I hit the peak of my withdrawal. I was in New York visiting a friend when I abruptly woke up from my sleep pouring sweat.

The next day I found a flight home and emailed Dr. Cook about what I was experiencing, she assured me it was a withdrawal, that I was going to be okay and I’m not going crazy. Her emails got me through the next few weeks until she got back to Miami and you better believe counted down every single day. Once Dr. Cook got back. Based on her findings, she put me on herbs that helped my panic and withdrawal symptoms. It took a few days for the panic to subside meanwhile, I still wasn’t entirely convinced I hadn’t lost my mind. Over the course of the next several weeks the panic subsided, the psychosis went away, and I started feeling even more grounded.

I began seeing Dr. Cook at the very end of January, today is April 2nd, 2019. A little over two months, and almost all of my symptoms are gone. I’m going to continue to see her for at least a year and I can only imagine how I will feel over the next few months. She never promised me 100% but I know I will get there and I believe I will come out of this even better than I was before. It’s been hard looking back on this experience, I spent two years in bed, I lost two years of my 20’s. Most of all, this has been a spiritual awakening for me. I experienced so many different states of consciousness through getting sick and through healing. I had to learn to trust in something greater than me, and to trust in Dr. Cook.

Dr. Cook is an angel and a skilled acupuncturist/herbalist. She would shy away at that fact but it’s true. She quite literally saved my life and If it weren’t for her I would still be deteriorating and I would not have the opportunity to live the life I’m meant to. I prayed for help and something greater put her in my path. 

You shouldn’t deal with trauma uninformed and alone, we’ll be with you every step of the way. Contact us to know more on managing physical trauma.
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