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Heads up this is a woe is me post

It was a great week of relief! But I knew the end of that relief was coming. Headaches are back in full. My job will only be held through next Monday and HR is not telling me anything except that my insurance is good through the end of May for sure. However the procedures that they believe will help long term are scheduled for next month which means whatever insurance I go on May or may not cover the procedures. Limbo is such a hard place to be and it is the hardest place to trust that God has a plan for me. And on the midst of all this worrying my headache just gets worse. I do try to relax and trust that God is in control and then I panic. I’m just scared and in pain to boot. I just wish for once that my HR department would realize how much worse they are making my headaches. They have been pretty terrible through this whole process even forgetting to tell me I wouldn’t get paid without specific documents. I just wish they had been more helpful and more compassionate through it all. But such is life and once again I have let go and let God. Aaaagggghhhhh. In the end I just wish these headaches would go away.

Kristen Long: Praying for you Heather. You should get COBRA insurance to carry you through if your job ends but could also see if they can move up your treatment
Heather Loose Johnson: I don’t know if any of the procedures could get moved up? Is Cobra the same insurance or is it a whole new insurance with new deductibles. We finally reached our maximum out of pocket. I just don’t know much about cobra except that it is very expensive.
Lisa Maier Hutchinson: Usually it is the same insurance just you pay the whole bill your part plus company part. What are the FMLA Laws. I know with maternally leave they have to hold your job 6 months. But I’m not sure if that’s flma or government job rules. I heard an add on the radio about a study they are doing in an experimental medication for migraines I’ll have to see if I catch it again to get website. They pay for all tests and stuff
Heather Loose JohnsonFMLA ends for me on May 25th. Meaning they no longer have to keep my job for me. Beyond that HR is being very tight lipped.

Lisa Maier Hutchinson: Oh man. That’s rough. I’ll be praying for ya Ok my prayer warrior friends. After time in prayer I have been given a specific prayer to pray while laying all of the other burdens at the foot of the cross. I/we are to pray for a continued leave of absence. So anytime my mind starts spiraling in the wrong direction this is what I will refocus my prayers.

Ok my prayer warrior friends. After time in prayer I have been given a specific prayer to pray while laying all of the other burdens at the foot of the cross. I/we are to pray for a continued leave of absence. So anytime my mind starts spiraling in the wrong direction this is what I will refocus my prayers.
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An Update

Starting with the positives. The neurologist did the nerve block again and again with success. And although temporary it means that I not only have some headache free days over the next week as along as I don’t push it, but it also means that I am a good candidate for the radio frequency nerve ablation, where they basically kill the nerve that is giving me such terrible headaches. I meet with the Pain Specialist next Monday for a consult and will hopefully get that scheduled, however they are scheduling 6-8 weeks out. This will be a more permanent solution whereas the nerve blocks at most last a week.

They are also checking with my insurance company about Botox injections to see if they are covered. The neurologist is hoping that ablation in combination with the Botox and medication (of which I am now only on one called Lyrica) should treat all three headaches that I have going on at any given time.

The physical therapist also gave me a script for a tens unit to help between now and when all of the above have been completed and take affect. I am also going to physical therapy and for the first time in a long time the majority of the tension in my neck is relieved. So that is wonderful.

My next apt with the neurologist is June 10th and so my return to work date is June 10th. My FMLA runs out May 25th, so I am not sure what that will mean for my job. Trying pretty hard to put this all in God’s hands because it is truly out of my control. I really would hate to lose that job, it was one of the best jobs I have had and it was such a great company to work for, but at this point there is no way I could possibly work. When all 3 headaches decide to be present I am down for about 3 days, in bed all day. And although I am learning some of the triggers and can try to avoid them, talking is one of my biggest triggers as well as bending over or looking down, chin to chest. I have also found that using my arms out in front of me quite quickly brings on at least one of the headaches.

So again I say this is all in God’s hands at this point and I have to rely fully on him.

March 3rd

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MHNI Visit #3

My mom and I are on our way to down to MHNI for a full day of apts. Today’s visit will also determine if I will be able to continue on Short term disability and whether or not my job will any longer be held for me. So much in limbo right now. My last day of FMLA is May 25th and STD lasts until Aug 6th. I’m not even sure what to pray for at this point. But they will do another nerve block today which will hopefully give me a week of relief but when it wears off the migraines and headaches come back in full.

Today I met with Dr. Lake (pain Psychologist), Dr. Da Silva (Neurologist) and Andrea (physical therapist.  The main things that came from this were that they titrated Norflex daily down to stop the medication due to side effects.  I was still also increasing Lyrica (but side effects from Lyrica were also starting to take effect as the dose increases, but I am still willing to give it a try). Dr. Da Silva also recommended that I meet with the General Pain Division, Dr. Shamis to see if there might be more options for other nerve blocks to try.  Dr. Da Silva also did another nerve block in my temples and doubled the steroid.  I am very much looking forward to a few days of pain relief.

Starting to lose hope that the doctors will ever really figure out what is going on and how to help solve it.

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Medical Notes from the visit to MHNI

Headaches: Some improvement continuing, but has also had some very severe headaches typically related to extensive talking with a friend that triggered a three day incapacitating headache, exertion in combination with a head-down position when she took a walk with her family and watched her kids picking up rocks and head down position when working at the computer.

A supraortbital aricular temporal block from Dr. Da Silva on 4/22/15 gave her a clear week of relief wtih a headache level dropping to a mild level for extended periods of time.  The severe headache triggered teh the walk and looking down occurred exactly one week after that block.  She will have a repeat block today by Dr. Da Silva, followed by a possible Radio-frequency Nerve Root Ablation.

She reports an increase in stress concerning her ability to return to work successfully, and other financial concerns that are unrelated to work including trying to sell a rental house that they are in the process of repairing after it had been vandalized by their tenants.  Her FMLA expires on May 25th.  Her employer (Neogen) has sent her a note explaining that they will not be legally required to maintain her job for her, but may be willing to do so when they receive appropriate information from us.  She logged in the appropriate form with Medical Records today and I put her name up for discussion with multidisciplinary treatment team for our next meeting on Tuesday, May 19.  I am also sending her a copy of this note which outlines her progress and behavioral treatment.

As she explained the ergonomics of the job to me,  it involves a great deal of laboratory work, making media, working with big dishes of media, and working over a safety hood that requires her to lean forward and extend her arms out in front of her which put some strain on her neck and back musculature.  We discussed trying to keep her self centered over her hips, but I also talked with our physical therapist about these issues and how that might be addressed in physical therapy.  She is scheduled to see our physical therapist, Andre, shortly after this apt today.

Also, she has continued to have some cognitive issues with word finding and word substitution.  Her job requires significant Cognitive demands.  In my judgement we are making progress but not in a position where she will effectively make a return to work before May 25th.  However, this is a treatment team decision.  She will see Dr. Da Silva, her primary neurologist with our group later this afternoon.

Anxiety and depression remain improved: however some return of depression after the last weekend with severe headache after she spent three hours talking with her friend.

She reports excellent adherence with relaxation techniques, and states they are quite helpful with the moderate or low-end severe headaches although it is very difficult to relax when the headache reaches an intense or incapacitating level.

I introduced her to biofeedback training. Bitemporal EMG was 2.25 mcV at baseline which is normal range.  However, when she would talk, it would rise and remain about 7 mcV, requiring some sustained attention to bring it back to a lower level.  With visual feedback she was able to drop this to 1.5 mcV and sustain it at that level, at times dropping a little below that, which is our target range.  I underscored the importance of continued attention to jaw relaxation, particularly while she is doing other activities, and returning to her baseline after talking with some sustained attention.  The temporalis may play a key role in some of the vice-like pain over the ears extending to the top of her head.  She also reports pain at times in the TMJ area, that may even extend into the mandible.

Right cervical trapezius EMG was elevated to 3.5 mcV range at baseline.  With instructions to sit with good back support and imagine that she was suspended from a cord with extension of her spinal column aligning her neck through the top of her head, she immediately dropped to below 1.5 mcV.  We discussed the importance of ergonomics and how she keeps her head from being in a down position, using a music stand to hold papers that she may need to work from, consideration of getting a monitor at eye level rather than hunching over to look at her laptop, not sitting on the couch when working on her computer at home, consideration of a wireless keyboard that she could hold on her lap while looking at the screen at eye level.  We also discussed the importance of returning to good posture positions and jaw relaxation as a baseline condition.

I will see her again at her next medical return visit.  She stated the session was quite helpful to her.

Dr. Lake