trauma migraine

Trauma, Pain, and Complex Illness: A Battle for Survival

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As a child, I endured every form of abuse. Both of my parents were mentally and emotionally abusive. I was beaten and experienced two severe head injuries that were never treated. One incident involved falling head first out of a moving vehicle. My brother grabbed my legs, but my head hit the pavement several times before he was able to pull me back in. The other incident was being thrown onto my parents’ waterbed and hitting the sharp corner of the bed frame.

I was sexually abused starting at the age of three.

I had my first period in third grade. My periods were painful with heavy flows that also came along with depression and anxiety. I was put on birth control at the age of 12 to try and control the menstrual symptoms.

At the age of 12, I was prescribed Prozac for the depression and within a couple of weeks of starting the medication, I had my first suicide attempt. Over the next 20 years, I was placed on almost every psychiatric drug there is – always resulting in a suicide attempt or a worsening of symptoms.

In high school, I started getting terrible headaches and went to a chiropractor for a few years. That chiropractor said that my neck curves the wrong way possibly caused by the head injuries as a child.

Also, in high school, my bladder started causing me a lot of distress. I pee a lot. Yes, women say they pee a lot. To this day I pee upwards of 30 times a day. The urologist in my hometown performed one of the most painful tests I have ever endured. They pumped me full of saline and waited until my bladder was full. I was in tears when it got to halfway full. Then they took x-rays as I tried to pee into a cup. The result was a diagnosis of overactive bladder. He said that my bladder was very strong, that when any urine hit my bladder it would spasm giving the feeling of needing to pee.

The menstrual issues continued to get worse. I would be debilitated during my periods. In my early 20s, we ran more tests on my bladder. They diagnosed me with interstitial cystitis and said that I had little to no capacity in my bladder. I cut back on caffeine and acidic drinks and /foods and upped my water intake.

Around this same time, I had a mental and emotional breakdown after a confrontation with my father. I was diagnosed with PTSD and went through EMDR therapy with great results.

In my mid-20s we did a laparoscopic surgery to determine why I was still having so many problems with menstruation and was told I had an excessive amount of blood vessels on my uterus. I was told that having children should help alleviate the symptoms. They sent me home before I was able to go to the bathroom. This led to one of the most painful nights I have ever had because I could not pee. I just sat on the toilet and cried. We went back to the hospital and they inserted a catheter and were bewildered. I was outputting way more than I was inputting. The doctors had no clue why this was happening or what could be done. Once I was able to urinate without the catheter, I was sent home and no further tests were run.

After a divorce and the death of my step-father, I married an abusive man. I had another breakdown and he had me institutionalized. While I was in the hospital they diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. They put me on a cocktail of 40mg of Lyrica, Xanax, Valium, Trazadone, and Paxil. I was a zombie and within 3 weeks, I took all the pills in another suicide attempt. I was in the ICU for three days and came out a stronger person. I divorced my then husband and moved to the east coast.

I get regular sinus infections and bronchitis. I struggle with both falling and staying asleep. I have an amazing toolkit for managing anxiety and depression.

In 2010, during an MRI they discovered that I had 4 small nodules (under 1cm) on my thyroid. They diagnosed me with multinodular goiter.

I got pregnant in September of 2011 and it was brutal pregnancy. I ended up in the hospital with dehydration because I could not even keep water down. Thankfully Zofran helped me survive my pregnancy. I had a c-section in June of 2012 because I would not dilate. I was induced and after almost 48 hours of labor, I had only dilated ½ cm. I experienced severe postpartum depression but pushed through without medication.

In 2014, I got pregnant again and had another brutal pregnancy. I had gestational diabetes and was monitored closely. I had another c-section in August of 2014 followed by the worst infection I have ever endured. I went through five rounds of oral antibiotics and two weeks of IV antibiotics before the infection cleared up. Over the next few months, my husband and I became concerned with the increase in my bowel movements and swollen stomach. I saw a GI and he said it was most likely IBS and to try an elimination diet. I did and proceeded to lose 65 lbs. I cut out corn, wheat, rice, and only had minimal dairy. I also began working out regularly as well to improve my health. While this was going on I also started having increased pain with menstruation. I bled for three months non-stop. I saw several GYNs with no answers or help provided. I finally found an amazing GYN that discovered I had fibroids and cysts and we decided to try a partial hysterectomy. They removed my uterus and cervix in March of 2016. I had severe endometriosis and had scar tissue wrapped around my intestines. After surgery, I had another mental breakdown and he then regretted not taking my ovaries. He said he believed I have PMS disorder.

I also started to experience worsening headaches during this time but was able to manage with Tylenol, rest, etc.  I was having significant shoulder and neck pain and my primary care doc ordered an MRI in August 2016 and we then discovered I had 9 thyroid nodules, two of which were over 1 cm in size. They were biopsied and found to be benign.

I broke my ankle in October of 2016 (first bone I have ever broken and had surgery to install a plate and six screws into my right ankle). I have permanent nerve damage and tendinitis in that ankle now. During the recovery from my ankle surgery, I noticed a high pitched and very loud ringing in my right ear. I was having difficulty hearing and felt very off balance (more so than usual). In January 2017, I went to an ENT and we discovered I have lost roughly 50% of the hearing in my right ear. They said it was Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss and I got a hearing aid to help. They performed an MRI and I was told there were no significant findings.  I began having severe facial pain, headaches, and migraines. I began having severe issues sleeping. For almost a month, I was only averaging 3-4 hours of sleep a night and then went almost a full week with no sleep. I went to my primary care and she told me there was nothing she could do for insomnia and head pain but would treat the sinus infection I had with prednisone. This led to an acute psychotic break.

Over the next few weeks, I advocated for myself and made an appointment at a neurologist’s office and found a new primary care doctor. The nurse at the neurologist office I saw prescribed Imitrex. Which led to another adverse reaction and another hospitalization.

My new primary care doc ordered a CT scan of my sinuses and it appears I have a deviated septum with some sinus thickening. I went and saw an ENT and he advised me that I needed a competent neurologist but did not refer me to one.

A headache that began in January of 2017 continued with increased migraines. I began seeing a psychologist and learned mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. We did some neuro-biofeedback and EMDR.

The verdict is always the same – “this is complex” or “it’s all very biochemical”. We tried some blood pressure medication to help me sleep as well as some antipsychotics, but the side effects were worse than coping on my own.

We did a colonoscopy in July 2017, to investigate the stomach pain and distension I continue to have. While lying down I can often see the movement of my intestines. Looks like a baby moving around in my belly. The stomach distension comes and goes. Some days it’s normal and other days I look 6+ months pregnant. I also struggle with constipation and diarrhea. The GI specialist said that I had reflux but no other significant findings.

October of 2017, I saw the neurologist and he recommended Botox and neuro-biofeedback. I took a brain test on a computer and he did not perform any other tests. My GYN tried putting me back on birth control pills to see if the estrogen would help level me out. The results were BAD!!! I had an oophorectomy in December 2017. For a few weeks after the surgery, there was an improvement. I still had a never-ending headache, but migraines were less, and I felt strong enough to push through the head pain. Then it all came back with a vengeance. We lowered the estradiol from 1mg to .5mg and the neurologist gave me a sedative to try and break the migraine cycle. It helped but was brutal. The medication made me very suicidal and paranoid, but I pushed through!

After doing research on the Botox, I decided I did not want to proceed with that treatment.

I had a bit of a reprieve from the migraines after adjusting the estradiol and was just managing the headache. We did another thyroid ultrasound last month and there was significant growth on one of the nodules. They biopsied the largest nodule and it came back benign again.

Last week the migraine came back. We did two shots of 30mg of Toradol. It was better for a couple days and then came back again. We are going to shorten the time between changing the estradiol and see if that helps. I am researching and trying to find a headache clinic at the recommendation of my primary care. I practice self-care regularly and fight through a headache, joint pain, constant bladder pain and anxiety as best I can. I haven’t had a headache free day since January 2017. Please help.

Family History of Cancer:

Maternal Grandmother: Colon Cancer

Mother: Breast Cancer, Colon polyp that was removed w/ surgery

Father: Skin Cancer

Sister: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Lung Cancer (age 14 – in remission)

Brother: Bile Duct Cancer (passed away in 2011)

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  1. I’ve had a lifetime of abuse and can relate to many things.
    I wanted you to know that interstitial cystitis is vinculated with MAST cell activated syndrome and/or mastocytosis.
    This could explain many of your symtoms.
    I’ve seen you’ve had good advise, and I can’t but insist on a good massagist – ostheocranial and/or lymphatic specialist (I was blessed to have one that did both)
    They told you about holly basil and that’s fine but don’t forget about cravacol to clean your guts – from your writing it looks like you have Sibo.
    But please do educate – and educate your doctors – on mast cell desease.
    English isn’t my native language then I can’t write much more.
    Best wishes from France
    Take care

  2. Dear MM:

    I’m in awe of your story and your spirit. To have made it this far, you must have an extremely strong will to be well, and I’m certain that spark of strength within you will carry you through.

    I’ve been researching chronic illness for about eight years, and I follow Chandler Marrs closely, because I think she has all the right ideas. Initially I kept being struck by how many illnesses had low thiamine and high iron in common — so much so that I became convinced that iron-toxicity was the root cause of human suffering. I still think that, but my understanding has shifted slightly. Yes, iron toxicity is what’s killing us. But iron toxicity is just another way of saying gravity toxicity.

    In March 1955, Albert Einstein said the following: “The distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however tenacious this illusion may be.” I was confounded by quantum mechanics for many years, but lately I think I know what he means. Past, present, and future co-exist. They’re just cycling at different speeds.

    We are more than membranes and mitochondria. We are also light, and we follow light’s rules. Our speed can never change. What changes is the speed of time.

    Time is just a gravity to electricity ratio — an electromagnetic field. In the human body, it can be measured as iron to manganese. When we have too much iron, we cycle time too slowly (ALS); when we have too much manganese, we cycle it too quickly (Parkinson’s).

    But what does it mean to “cycle time”? It means the rate at which our energy and matter are transanimating — cycling into each other. It should be taking place at the speed of light; the quantum field of the present moment exists at the speed of light. Matter and energy cycling into each other is the central yin/yang of life, the mechanism by which we heal wounds, etc.

    But we must do it at the proper speed.

    What determines the speed at which we “transanimate”?

    I think it might be the iron to manganese ratio in the pineal gland. Iron to manganese is a stand-in for gravity to electricity. If the brain reads a skewed iron to manganese ratio — go back and read the Einstein quote again — it misperceives which time signature we’re in. If there’s calcified iron in the pineal gland, we cycle a “too small” sphere of time, and get Alzheimer’s. If there’s calcified manganese in the pineal gland, we cycle a “too large” sphere of time, and get chronic fatigue syndrome. Having chronic fatigue syndrome is like wearing a gravity suit.

    The pineal gland becomes calcified as we age, and its impairment has also been implicated in head trauma as well as in fluoroquinolone toxicity. (Many, many drugs contain fluorine, which is damaging to the pineal.) I’ve been detoxifying my pineal gland with iodine (I use Designs for Health brand, which also contains selenium), natural sea salt (I use “Detoxi” brand, which has been through a purification process), and sun-gazing. In the past, I was greatly helped by therapeutic doses of thiamine, but at the moment I’ve switched to therapeutic doses of P5P (the active form of B6), along with a little manganese and magnesium. In addition to taking the Detoxi salt internally, I also use it transdermally in the bath, and sometimes rub a tsp of it into my scalp. I was cycling time far too quickly, and was so acidic as a result — so in need of salt to raise my pH — that this salt does not even taste “salty” to me.

    Side note: These are ideas that have not yet been put through the rigors of scientific testing, but I’m putting them out into the world because I believe they’re worthy of discussion and further research. If any of this interests you, a longer discussion should be up at my blog WelcometoHeaven in about a week. 🙂

    Good luck, MM. I’m so sorry you have suffered so much, but I hope (and believe) sunnier skies lie ahead.

  3. Dear MM,

    I read your story in tears. What an amazing life story you have! <3 Very much feel for you and my heart goes out to you.

    Given how many things have happened to you and how many medicines you have been put on–and I don’t know if you are still on any or not and where you stand, in general, I can only ask you to join my Migraine group where we have many members with a variety of conditions whom we help.

    Given that you also have migraines, it may just be the right start for you; getting rid of one thing and then addressing all the others one thing at the time.

    Please join my group.

    Many hugs to you and I am looking forward to seeing you there!

  4. Hi,

    I have had a lifetime of trauma and abuse as well as numerous mental health diagnoses and a few physical diagnoses as well. I attempted suicide a little over 2.5 years ago and survived the coma with a mild brain injury.
    I am now remitted from most (I would even venture to say all) of my issues. Healing didn’t come via traditional western medicine however.
    Neuroplasticity and a lifestyle to support neuroplasticity as well as some lesser known but just as effective “biohacking” protocols and a lot of going into my emotions rather than cognition (energy healing) have been the protocols to help in my healing. I also work with a trauma therapist (she only treats women with trauma).
    I was a pretty hopeless case, too. No one would have bet any money that I’d survive.
    There are also specific healing meditations for survivors of narcissistic abuse, and I do a module daily.
    If any of this sounds interesting, let me know.

    I have no doubt you can also heal.

  5. First of all, I hope that you have been able to find love, support and friendship in your life in addition to professional counseling. The emotional pain you’ve experienced has undoubtedly played a role in your physical health. I’ll just comment on the physical realm of your story.

    There’s possibly a genetic component to what you’re experiencing. The trauma adults in your life inflicted on you possibly came form their mental health issues.

    Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can lead to gastrointestinal issues given the strong gut-brain connection. The gut doesn’t function properly if the brain isn’t functioning properly. I suggest you start with working with someone who is experienced in fully assessing gut health. Testing would include organic acid testing and a comprehensive stool analysis as a starting point.

    There are many more studies to support the connection between TBI and gut dysfunction.

    There are many clues in your history that point to gastrointestinal dysbiosis, hormone imbalance and vitamin/nutrient deficiencies. An experienced functional medical physician or Naturopathic physician who works in the area of biomedical and functional medicine can help as well.

    (I’m a Naturopathic physician who specializes in helping children with Down syndrome and, therefore, have studied brain injuries, brain function and especially the gut-brain connection extensively…among other things.)

  6. Craniosacral Therapy could help you recover from the trauma to your head that you experienced as a child. It could help with emotional releases too.
    Visceral manipulation could help with the interstitial cystitis and help break up the endometriosis on your intestines.

  7. MM
    I can relate to this story.
    Although I am older. There are many of us out here. I never knew.
    Relief from pain. At the very least to a manageable amount for me.
    Magnesium, I have had multiple surgeries. Now no lower intestine.
    Digestible magnesium. For me it is magnesium malate. 250 mg 2x a day. It will have 2# on the bottle. Mg of malate, mg of magnesium. This is for a more runny stool type.
    Magnesium citrate 250mg 2x a day. This is for a constipated type.
    This will help your pain. We need tremendous amounts of magnesium. From top of our heads to our toes, everything in between. Those of us with additional challenges seem to just burn through it.
    Epsom soaks, in the tub or for feet. Will further mag absorption through the skin.
    2 cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of 20 mule team Borax, to protect you body from fluoride, 1 capful of fish tank dechlorinator, I use Sea Chem from Pet Smart, to protect your lung and heart from chlorine steam. Soak 20 minutes minimum. In buckets for feet, 1/2 the ingredients.
    Magnesium oil, buy magnesium flakes from co op or online, I use lifeflo. 60% flakes 40% spring water in a mason jar. Let stand 1 hour, cap and shake. Put in glass sprayer for conveinence.
    This is very versitle to use anywhere for just about anything. 5 drops in water is approx 250 mg of mag. chloride. For internal dosing. Can be sprayed on aches. Applied to forehead, to reduce headaches or neck.
    This will sting, I suspect your levels are very low. The receptors are empty. Once they are full this does not happen.
    To stop the stinging, the best way is reapply until it stops. But it stings. So another good way to start is apply some organic lotion, or castor oil. Then the mag oil.
    Castor oil pack, another healing topical with real power. 5 folds of clean soft cotton in a bag. Sized to say, where your kidney on your back, or where your pelvic bone begins.
    Pour castor oil into bag to saturate the cotton. Use the ziploc to squeeze out excess, lay flat spray with mag oil. Apply to area. Add saran. Heating pad. Lay on an old towel. 20 minutes or more. Often as you can. Signals the body to send healing.
    To reduce some acidity in your body, make it more alkaline. Equaling less pain.
    My 2 favorite drinks are, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or 1 whole lime squeezed in a glass, 6 to 8 tsp. Add 1/2 tsp baking soda. Let fizz. Add 1/2 glass of spring water. Drink 1/2 hour after food 2x a day, 5 days out of seven.
    These drinks clean up circulation, improve digestion. Help cortisol action during sleep, improving sleep stages. Help pancreatic and gallbladder function. Improve liver function. Harmlessly carrying out garbage. Cleaning up kidney and bladder over time.
    The magnesium will spiff up all the sphincters in every organ to be supple yet strong to improve function.
    Adrenals, Holy Basil 1000 mg 3 x a day. This will help you cope internally with the pain and the overwhelming amount of issues you have. It has a certain amount of pain relief itself.
    These few things might be overwhelming as you do not feel well
    I had to rehearse and try over and over. Restarting each day as I was very ill.
    They do not interfere with medications, are food based and easy.
    Of all the remedies to start with this would be my choice of the most effective help, the most bang for your buck, if you will.
    Once you feel better. That should be in 24 hours. In 3 days real signs of recovery. My next step would be to follow Dr. Lonsdale’s advice re thiamine. I am in the first weeks of it and doing remarkably well.
    I find 3 new things is my limit of comprehension and utilization in my journey.
    This can be done 1 thing at a time. Please try not to overwhelm yourself.

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