$2,552 of $15,000
30 donations

This fundraiser ended on 09/30/10

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Hanna underwent a $15k nerve compression surgery which gave her relief after 14 months of chronic migraines but left her with massive debt.

Hanna’s first and only “typical” migraine occurred in July 2007. It lasted only one day. Each migraine thereafter was “atypical” in that it became progressively longer---first one week, then two weeks, then three weeks. In November 2008, she had a month long migraine. The migraine that would plague her for 14 months and 10 days began on January 21, 2009 and lasted until she had frontal nerve decompression surgery on March 31, 2010.

During this time, Hanna lived with constant excruciating head pain that no medication could relieve. In addition to constant aching and throbbing pain, she endured periods of sharp, stabbing pain – as if her brain was being hit with an ice pick! She could not tolerate bright lights or noise. She was unable to maintain her responsibilities at Heart to Honduras where she was employed as a Communications Specialist. At best, she was able to work an hour or two some days on graphic projects from home. She was no longer able to drum in the Beavercreek Christian Church Worship Team of which she had been a member for thirteen years, or drum in the popular local band, The Difference. Her days were spent in the dark and quiet where she was comforted by her beloved dogs, Boomer and Zoe. If she ventured out to the grocery, a restaurant, or to church, she would “pay” afterwards with increased head pain. It was heartbreaking to watch the impact the head pain had on Hanna—an active, fun-loving, energetic young person.

During the fourteen month period, Hanna was hospitalized seven times and went to the emergency room multiple times in crisis. She was treated by neurologists locally and at premier headache clinics such as the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, Illinois, the Headache Care Center in Springfield, Missouri, and lastly at the Headache Center of Northwest in Houston, Texas. She was given over 90 different medications and had to give herself intramuscular injections. We stopped counting the number of IV sticks after sixty. She had three MRIs, an MRA, an MRV, CT Scans, a spinal tap and repeated lab work---all of which revealed no cause. Conventional and unconventional migraine treatments were tried to no avail---botox, acupuncture, cranial-sacral therapy, chiropractic care, physical therapy, vitamin therapies, etc. Hanna endured significant side effects from medication including rapid weight gain, tachycardia (high heart rate) combined with low blood pressure, vertigo, edema, cravings, cognitive slowness, and skin reactions.

In December 2009, Hanna’s local neurologist, Dr. Antonela Svetic, who faithfully followed her case, shared an article about nerve decompression surgery she had read in Neurology Review. In early March 2010, after multiple conference calls and diagnostic nerve blocks, Dr. Pamela Blake, neurologist, and Dr. Carlton Perry, plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas, determined that Hanna was a good candidate for frontal nerve decompression surgery. Unfortunately, the initial surgical insurance precertification was denied “for lack of medical necessity” but the decision was made to proceed with the surgery due to the great pain Hanna was in and the excellent results obtained by the collaborative team in Houston.

Hanna underwent frontal nerve compression surgery in Houston, Texas on 3/31/10. She was the first patient from Ohio to have this surgery. Dr. Perry found significant congenital anatomic variations and compression of the sensory nerves in her forehead which resulted in the chronification of her headaches into a constant daily migraine. Following surgical removal of scar tissue and freeing of the sensory nerves which had been trapped by muscle and scar tissue, Hanna awoke from the surgery and was headache free! She is healing from the surgical incisions, regaining her stamina, and returning to normal daily activities with the great joy of being pain free! She is eager to return to drumming and has made it her personal mission to let other chronic headache sufferers know there is hope!

As a result of her chronic health condition, Hanna and her husband Mike have incurred significant medical debt. Their Health Savings Account through his employer has an annual $8000 deductible. The cost of the nerve decompression surgery in Houston was $15,000 which was not covered by insurance. Because Hanna has been able to work only minimally for over a year, and with the accumulated impact of the insurance deductibles from 2009 and 2010, in addition to medical expenses not covered by insurance, their savings are depleted.

Mike and Hanna have received tremendous support over the past 14 months.  Friends and family are now working to help them recover from their medical debt.  Please consider making a donation today!
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