June 2009

Never Give Up Hope

Author: Kelly Stroud

Some days it takes everything I have to get out of bed. I have this feeling like I have been brutally kicked in the head almost every morning. I can’t remember the last time I woke up pain free, its part of my daily routine, I’m use to it.

Crazy, huh? I think so too . . .

About five years ago, when I was attending JMU I lived in an old farm house right outside of campus, with four of my closest friends. One night, out on the balcony of my bed room, one of my roommates (three glasses of wine deep) was giving me a hard time and pushed my shoulder slightly, then decided to give me a forgiving hug, with too much force. (Remember this house was pretty old and the railings were not secure.) Over the side we went. First the railing, then myself, and then my roommate. I had fallen about 13 feet, landed on top of the railing and hit my head on a concrete stepping stone. The next thing I vaguely remember was the doctors on the phone with my parents, explaining to them that my brain was swelling and I needed to be med-flighted to the University of Virginia Medical Center.

Long story short, I got there just fine, my parents made their hour and a half drive without a wreck, to find out that I was going to be ok. I got about 20 staples in my head and only had to spend two days in the hospital.

I’m lucky, I know.

Now five years later, I have dealt with horrible headaches. I have had multiple MRI’s, CAT scans to make sure everything was ok up there, no tumors, nothing was found. I have seen three different neurologists and I have been diagnosed with migraines by all of them and that if I drink lots of water and work-out I should be just fine. Really? I thought to my self. I try to run at least four days a week and drink lots of water, nothing helps. I recently went to an urgent care facility here on the island for the horrible pain ( a 10 out of 10) in my head that was constant for days, I was hysterical and was prescribed pain killers and told I should get a MRI. (Again…How much do doctors get paid for an MRI referral? I mean it’s like they win the lottery every time they get a patient to go! )

I couldn’t believe how crazy these headaches drove me to act! It was unfair to all human kind around me, why can’t someone help me? Fix it. I soon gave up all hope of ever finding a cure. It is what it is and I will just deal with the pain.


We recently hired a wonderful new sales gal, Helene. The other week we were at a photo shoot when she witnessed one of my many excruciating headaches that take me out of my norm. Horrified, she wanted to help me so bad, and that’s when the Hyperbaric Chamber idea flew out of her mouth. Her dad Mr. Stephens owns the local Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Clinic right here on the island. There are so many success stories that I have heard by getting chamber treatments, but I never thought …Oh maybe this can help me.

The other day I went to meet Mr. Stephens and explained my circumstances. He told me I most likely suffer from post-traumatic headaches!


Finally, someone with a practical diagnosis. For once I wasn’t told, that I should get an MRI . In the hyperbaric world the treatment is called a “Dive”. I have completed 2 now, for an hour and a half at a time. It feels like scuba diving, or an airplane, where you have to keep popping your ears because of the pressure for a few minutes, and then you just relax for about an hour. After that hour the pressure is released and you’re done!

I can proudly say that after the first dive I was headache free for at least 24 hours! I have never been so excited. I come out of the chamber on a feel-good high! What a relief with no headache. They have returned unfortunately, not as severe I must say, but lets keep our fingers crossed… a few more dives and maybeI’ll be free!

Never give up hope!

  1. This is wonderful Kelly! I can’t wait to hear more about how this treatment helps you. I’ve got my fingers crossed!

    — Rebecca    Jun 2, 01:31 pm   

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