Sunday, October 9, 2011
Pushing for medical support, continued...
Photo provided by LJ Fullerton
Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:
After suffering a bump on the head that caused a blood clot which eventually got infected, LJ Fullerton survived intense constant pain, a coma and major brain surgery.
LJ shared, “A few days before I was scheduled to go back to work, I started having horrible pain again in the back of my head and neck. It started out as a mild stiffness, which increased to pain and very quickly became unbearable. I thought that the Osteomyelitis (bone infection) was back again! I had several doctor visits and tests but they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. I learned a lot from the ordeal I had been through, and got very efficient at surfing the web. I took my life in my own hands.”
She recalled challenges beyond her health condition, “Being a woman, I find that doctors very often don’t take us seriously; they seem to think that everything is stress or hormone related. I discovered on the web that one of the best tests to show a bone infection is a MRI with contrast, and I insisted they give me one immediately. They put up a fight but I was in no mood to deal with incompetence again. I kept insisting, won the battle, and had the test. I saved my own life this time!”
She explained how her persistence paid off, “The MRI revealed I had a blood clot in my brain in a very dangerous in-operable area – the left internal jugular vein. I had to make the decision to take Coumadin, which is the medical name for Warfarin (RAT POISIN). This was a tough decision because if I didn’t take the Coumadin I would die for sure, and the Coumadin could cause a deadly brain hemorrhage as well. I chose the risk of taking the medicine. As you can see, I made the right choice at the time, but eventually my brain surgeon took me off the Coumadin, after losing a patient who bled to death from a brain hemorrhage caused by the medicine.”
LJ contacted the New York State Medical Misconduct board for an investigation of her medical care although justice wasn’t served.
Her struggle continues to this day, years after the initial accident. In addition to the in-operable blood clot in her brain, she now also has several incurable autoimmune disorders, a brain tumor (En Plaque Meningioma), and is totally permanently disabled.
She talked about her feelings, “I’m not bitter and I’m using the whole ordeal as a learning experience. Hatred is the worse form of disease that anyone can have, it is very destructive, and a waste of time and energy. I believe with my whole heart and soul that it’s very important for my story to be heard by as many people as possible, especially women who are dying by the day, because doctors don’t take their medical problems seriously enough. I’ve heard many horror stories since this happened to me, and people need to know that they must start taking charge of their lives and their healthcare. If they’re too sick to do it themselves they must appoint someone they trust to be an advocate for them. If my boyfriend was not there, I would be dead and if I didn’t take charge when I was functional I would have been dead a second time!”
Follow your intuition, educate oneself and push for 2nd, 3rd or 4th opinions, whatever it takes to figure out the cause. Learn from LJ and push to achieve a healthy you. There isn’t anyone else who knows how the healthy you really feels!