Her story -
It started with what we thought were migraine headaches at the age of 12. This progressed to what we learned were occipital headaches that were finally diagnosed by a neurologist at the age of 21. This condition means that I never have a day totally without pain. I was sent to the Pain Clinic in St Paul where a number of painful diagnostic tests and procedures have been performed over the years without success.
My condition deteriorated around the time of the birth of my daughter in 2009. I have been living with this now for more than 20 years with only short periods of relief. A severe episode with this condition has been compared to worse than the pain of childbirth and can last for days.
The pain clinic is out of options other than to prescribe medications which I do not want, but cannot function without. My children do not know that their mother used to swim, ride bikes, go to Valley Fair for the rides, or even be outside if there is a brisk wind. I cannot share these things with my family anymore due to the pain I endure daily. My children's memory of their mother is her in bed and in pain, unable to participate in the normal things that parents do with their children. I sit on the sidelines while life passes me by. My husband Ray has a demanding job, yet must take on most of the home and child care due to the many days where I am unable to function. This is not how it is supposed to be. I want to enjoy a normal family life.
I am scheduled for disc replacement surgery with North American Spine on August 30, where two discs will be replaced. We know this is only the beginning of the treatment required to fully resolve this painful life situation. Although this will not allow me to be totally pain free, we are hopeful that this will alleviate much of it.
I am so weary of the pain that never ends, of having to take strong narcotic pain medications, of being viewed by care providers as someone who might be abusing drugs or faking my condition, of being unable to have a normal life with my husband and children, of not being able to work a full week at a job I enjoy. Our portion of the medical bills is increasing with every procedure and will continue to grow. Any contribution you make is greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much!
- Karen Brandl
- Ashley Ahl
- Marilyn Manville
- Chris Kiel
- Richard Beirne
Organizer and beneficiary
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