I have a personal request.
A friend of mine is in dire need of our help. She’s been through A LOT (that’s an understatement)! I’m not even going to try to explain it because she’s better at describing her medical condition than I am so I’ll let her do the “talking”. But I want you all to know that I met Liz on Twitter and made an instant connection with her. Like me, she’s a dog lover and has a pug named Kermit who is the apple in her eye. She’s always been supportive of others- even strangers- all the while in more pain than most of us will ever know. Her attitude is always positive and she’s always lifting the spirits of others.
So please, please consider giving a donation to help Liz make a dent in her large stack of medical bills. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE for any help you can give! No donation is too small! With gratitude, Juli.
Family and friends of Elizabeth (Liz) Arant coming together to help her fight Intercranial Hypertension and the medical bills incurred.
Let me first thank you for taking the time to read my story. My name is Elizabeth Arant and I have Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) aka Pseudotumor Cerebri.
My story begins at age 7 when I was officially diagnosed with migraine headaches. As my childhood progressed so did the migraines. I would miss school, birthday parties, school dances. Life events that kids are supposed to enjoy became torture for me due to pain. As I became an adolescent I was started on migraine medications and began seeing a headache specialist. Working as a team with my neurologist and primary care doctor I was able to manage the migraines with medication and behavior modification.
Life began to change for me in 2005. My migraines suddenly became worse and would not respond to traditional migraine medications. I was able to work as an RN but was frequently ill with a migraine. I tried so many medications and therapies, but they either didn’t work or only worked for a short period of time.
In 2009, a new treatment was developed for chronic daily migraine suffers. There was hope in sight! I was deemed a candidate for a new experimental surgery in which a nerve stimulator was placed on the nerves that control pain in the back of the head. I would have a battery pack placed under the skin in my back and I would be able to control the degree of electrical stimulation. The goal of the device is to stop the pain signals from making it to my nervous system. The stimulator was placed in 2009 and worked miracles. Finally I was able to read a book for pleasure, make plans with family and friends, and lead a “normal life”. I was such a success, my surgeon even wrote my case up for his patient centered magazine! I was on Cloud 9.
My success was short lived. After having the stimulator in for 9 months, I noticed a small bump on my scalp. The small bump became the size of an egg in 12 hours. After 3 days I was diagnosed with MRSA and the stimulator was infected. Antibiotics would not be enough and the unit had to be removed in another surgery. The good news was that I could get another device once I was fully healed and infection free. In 2011 a second nerve stimulator and battery pack was implanted. Again I was able to function and life was good. I had a great job, a cute apartment and a very normal life.
Again fate stepped in in January 2012. I was working Full Time as an RN and doing well when I was again diagnosed with an infection that had migrated to my stimulator. I was placed on strong IV antibiotics every day until it was clear the nerve stimulator had to be removed again. In February 2012 I underwent another surgery to remove the stimulator which was pretty much my last treatment option.
The next few months proved to be trying. I was trying to hold down my job while battling a headache 24/7. I eventually lost my job. Out of the blue one day I noticed my vision was different, I had lost my peripheral vision in both eyes and had a severe headache. I was taken to the ER and it was decided that I needed a spinal tap to rule out certain issues such as meningitis. When the spinal tap was being done, the ER doctor measured the pressure of my spinal fluid. It was around 27 when a normal pressure is under 20. This was the clue that solved the puzzle; I had Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension or IIH. What I soon learned was that my body had excess spinal fluid circulation up to my brain causing these headaches and vision loss. Medication was the first line of treatment, but in my case it did not work to bring the pressure down. The solution seemed to be spinal taps to remove some excess fluid. These were done weekly for a few months.My pressure had begun to rise and was now being recorded in the high 30’s on a regular basis. The taps were painful and have side effects, but I could be headache free for a day or two every week which made the procedure worth it. This was not a solution, but rather a stop-gap measure until I was able to have a brain shunt placed.
October 29th,2012 was the big day. I was able to have a shunt placed in my brain that could drain the excess fluid from my brain into my abdomen. This surgery seemed like a solution to all of my headache woes, but unfortunately it has come with its own problems. I am still getting a headache every day and relief is hard to come by. Shortly after the surgery I had an adverse reaction to the shunt device and was hospitalized with meningitis for a week. This past Thanksgiving was spent at Barrows Neurological Hospital after having excruciating headaches that required inpatient management and cerebral spinal fluid flow reduction.
Since surgery I am still unable to work. I do not know when I will be able to return to Nursing, but due to the continuous headaches and dizziness it does not look like it will be in the near future. Every aspect of my life has changed and I am humbly asking for your assistance. I am living with my family and they are supporting me as much as possible, but the medical bills are overwhelming. I carried my insurance from my previous employer as a COBRA plan, but my deductible and co-pays are just adding up. Please help. A little will go a long way for me. Any additional money raised will continue to pay for medications and co-pays. Thank you again and “Be Well”.
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