Colleen’s Path to the Cerebrum Health Center in Texas:
In February of 2014, in my 2nd semester of college at Husson University, I was diagnosed with my 4th documented concussion. Although I don’t know, and may never know, the exact date of my concussion, the doctor’s best guess is that I sustained it in December of 2013 while playing in a hockey tournament. Withdrawing from school, because my symptoms were so intense, I spent the next 3 months in my room in the dark. Attempting to find some relief over the span of 19 months, I sought the expertise of more than 25 doctors/medical professionals, went to 12 different hospitals/medical practices, traveled to 3 states for treatments/opinions, and completed 1 clinical trial. I was diagnosed and re-diagnosed so many times that I didn’t know what to think. Doctors would look at me and tell me that I was as good as I was going to get, that my symptoms were not anatomically possible, and that it was all in my head. Everything that I once knew and loved was ripped away from me. Completely discouraged in August of 2015, it was recommended that I seek treatment from the Cerebrum Health Center in Dallas, Texas (formerly Carrick Brain Center). Traveling to Dallas during the last week of August, my hope was completely renewed. On day 1 of my treatments, the doctors and other medical professionals did a full exam on me. The exam included testing my eyes, my balance, completing cognitive tests, and symptom-based tests to name a few. Within just a few hours of walking through the doors at Cerebrum, the doctors were able to determine that my left-brain was not functioning properly. While it was there in mass and matter, it was not functioning at normal levels. The left brain is what controls speech, logic, reasoning, enables people to do math and science, write, and controls all movements and feeling on the right side of the body.
Looking back, I was able to see that most, if not all of my symptoms were controlled by the left-brain. For instance I had trouble speaking, I couldn’t do simple math, I couldn’t learn easily, and I would write words out of order (among other symptoms). Besides that discovery, the doctors also determined that all of my allergies – gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, eggs, and tomatoes – that have appeared during the past 5 years have all been a result of my concussions. Establishing a treatment plan immediately, I had a doctor and intern assigned to my case. Working with them 3 times a day, I slowly began to improve. Basically what they were doing was re-wiring my left-brain. At the beginning of the week, if I closed my eyes, I would fall over. Or if you were to touch my right fingers I wouldn’t be able to tell which finger was being touched. If you were to move my right toes up and down, I wouldn’t be able to tell if they were going up or down. Even looking at my right hand in a mirror I felt as if it wasn’t my own. Working with me, my doctors completed several different treatments that were designed to increase the functions of my left-brain. For instance they would stimulate my right arm and leg will writing letters and numbers on my hand and foot that I would have to identify. They also had me complete tracking exercises by following a dot as it moved across a screen. Another treatment they had me complete was referred to as metronome. In the simplest of terms, I would have to practice controlling my hand and foot while tapping a computer screen and the floor in time with the beeps. The last treatment I will discuss is the OVARD. Similar to a space-training machine, I would sit in the machine while it flipped around, stimulating the neuropath ways in my brain to regenerate.
But by the end of the week, I had improved so much. I was able to close my eyes and only sway slightly before my body realizes where it was. I could even count upwards by 3s (to 15), 4s (to 24), and 11s (to 99). Before, I couldn’t do this without counting on my fingers. While this may seem like tiny improvements to some, these are huge improvements for me. While I still have a very long road of recovery in front of me, the week I spent at Cerebrum is what gave me the hope that I can and will continue to improve. Seeing the progress that I made in just a week, and the progress other patients made taught me two things: 1) Concussions are not injuries that should be taken lightly – they have the ability to change the entire course of one’s life. 2) Tomorrow is not guaranteed – live everyday of your life to the absolute fullest, don’t worry about what people think about you, and go after exactly what you want.