The Secret Disability

The Secret Disability

Sharing my story about head trauma and getting my life back with Stem Cells.

 

Hi, my name's Pam and i'm a retired Professional Skier. I competed for Great Britain for over 20 years in the Youth Olympics, World Junior Championships, European Championships, World Championships and I am one of only a few female athletes in the World to have competed in both World Cup Alpine Skiing and World Cup Ski Cross.

During my career, like many, I had a lot of setbacks. From fracturing my neck to breaking my hips, knees, shoulders and having 15 surgeries. By far the worst though was the head injuries.

Concussion is extremely tricky. Physically there is nothing to see, which makes the recovery period extremely hard to determine when you are 'good to go' again. That combined with the mentality of top sport and the pressure to not look 'weak', generally makes you fast track and play down symptoms to return to competition as fast as possible. I returned to a World Championships competition 1 day after knocking myself out, as you can imagine, it didn't go well.

Head injuries are the most downplayed injury there is, yet can be the most life changing, debilitating and long lasting. This is my story.

Only a handful of people know my truth, and I have kept it that way for a reason. I don't like being vulnerable, i'm a pretty private person and I believe my 'struggles' are mine to deal with. However to be able to get my life back, now is the time to share.

I had to retire from Ski Racing in 2018 due to my head injuries. I always had some neck issues since I fractured my C2/ C3 at the start of my career but in my last year leading up to the 2018 Olympic Games, I started suffering from intense migraines. Qualifiers became completely hopeless and soon competing became impossible. Quickly after that, the migraines became chronic, and now they make up more than 20 days of each month.

In the years after retiring I had huge problems doing anything active, sport became a nightmare always triggering a migraine attack and it took years to understand that I had exercise Intolerance and I could no longer do any of the things I really loved. I would have to spend 3 days in a dark, quiet room trying not to vomit and hoping my head wouldn't explode from the pressure.

My eyes don't work well, they feel slow, and painful to move. Noise is a huge problem for me, which is why I use earplugs almost every day. The pressure I have in my head at all times gets worse if I move my head quickly in any direction. It feels like I have a clamp squeezing my head and there is simply never any relief.

I have worked with a huge amount of doctors, utilising the medical expertise in multiple countries. I have been on medication protocols using Epilepsy drugs, Cancer treatment drugs, Antidepressants, and a whole range of others. MRI's and X Rays not ever showing any real results. Time after time, one doctor after another all passed me on, saying there was nothing they could do to help. Most recently I was receiving Botox for migraine treatments which is 31 injections into the back of the head and the neck. Other than this, I have been referred by my specialists to a clinic to learn to accept my new way of life, that this is as good as it gets, life would be sedentary, easy paced, slow and very painful.

To go along with that, at the end of last year I was rear ended in a car accident. I knew I was concussed immediately, I felt my brain hit my skull. The whiplash that resulted after that exacerbated everything and I was left struggling to speak, to function, to cope.

As any entrepreneur will know, work goes on, and I am a worker. Keeping the same mentality I had when I was training and competing of - just keep grinding, I work 7 days per week. So therefore, taking some time off for me is not something I can do easily. But when I struggled with simple daily functions, I knew that I had to do something and I had to do it now. Furthermore, the Triptans that I take when I have an active attack, are no longer working, and i'm needing more and more just to get through a day. This is really the first time in my life where I am genuinely scared for my life, and my future.

Over the years I have tried a lot of weird and wonderful 'treatments' recommended to me by friends, family or instagram. From strict nutritional changes, homeopathic remedies, old wives tales to meditation and spiritual healing. Throughout this journey I repeatedly stumbled upon the same finding... stem cells.

In doing my Stem Cell research, a friend also interested in this science got involved in the process. I tried to learn as much as possible about this 'miraculous' treatment. We found that Dr Khan at the Eterna Clinic is one of the top Doctors in the World in the field of regenerative medicine and I pretty quickly reached out to see if this kind of treatment would be an option for me.

To everyone who knows, I refer to Dr Khan as - Dr House. If you have seen that show, you will get it. I was told by the clinic that he only takes the most complex cases so when I heard he would take mine, I was over the moon ecstatic.

As of a week ago, I was able to fly to Canada to meet him, and also get a DMX (digital motion X ray) scan which I was unable to get anywhere in the world until now. I have had multiple MRI's up to this point which the neurologists would use to tell me i'm fine, and Dr Khan was the first person to tell me (which I knew deep down) that the general type of MRI's I have had will not show my type of problems.

Dr Khan told me he can help me. He told me that I do not have to live with my 'disability' and that with a series of complex injections I would be on a healing path. The protocol at the moment is 4 procedures including an IV of Exosomes, Occipital Nerve Exosomes, BMAC (Bone Marrow) for neck ligaments and a Bilateral Shot. The total of this treatment comes in at just under $22,000. He can treat me in London at the start of May, which is incredible as it's not only really soon, it's also so close by!

Which brings me back to the reason for this page. None of these procedures are covered by insurance and up until this point I have been able to fund my journey myself, but now I am simply unable to do that. Especially in such a short space of time.

Like my hesitation to share my story, this is not a path I would like to go down, but it seems like the only option I have at the moment. The thought that this could be so life changing and in only a few short weeks I could be a different person, I cannot explain how incredibly uplifting that is after such a long period of darkness.

Of course there is always a chance this treatment doesn't work I know that too, these procedures are risky but I simply wouldn't be able to live with myself if there was something that I hadn't tried out there.

If you made it this far into this story, thank you. I appreciate more than words you taking the time, whether you join me on this journey or not.

Love,
 

Pam x

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op 26/04/2024 gestart
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Actie georganiseerd door:

Pamela Thorburn

Pamela Thorburn

 

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