I have visited Spectrum Health's Helen Devos Children's Hospital many, many times since 2012. In a few days I will turn 18, and I couldn't be more thankful to be entering adulthood in a much healthier mental and physical state.
This past week I went to the hospital to get updated MRI scans performed. As I was in the changing room, I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror. Unlike nearly all of my past visits, I saw a healthy-looking young woman staring back at me. I no longer look like a ghost with bad eating habits, severe pain, or suicidal tendencies. It's been a long, long journey.
I am so endlessly thankful to only have to commute thirty minutes to have access to such advanced facilities right here in Grand Rapids. I recently read an article that stated Grand Rapids was the top metro city in the US for job growth, marking a 4.4% increase in a single year alone. As an incoming pre-med student that aspires to be a physician's assistant, I know that I am where I am meant to be. There is hope here, in the heart of GR.
I have so many physicians, physician assistants, nurses, social workers, and medical technicians to thank. I am healthier today because of you all. I am here still because of you all.
To the neurologist that diagnosed me in 2012, how you managed to diagnose me on the spot within fifteen minutes is beyond me. You were spot on. I have central pain syndrome. Many people think a diagnosis is simply a label with no power. In the medical world, a diagnosis gives permission to begin trying medications and therapies related to that diagnosis. My fifteen minutes with you was the foundation to my future healing.
To the neurologist I visited this past spring, you have such bed-manner and knowledge. You located the specific areas and sources of my migraines, suggested which scans of my skull/neck/jaw to get, and which clinic to go to. You made the referral process go much more smoothly, persisting that although I was yet a minor by just a few months, the treatment I needed was appropriate. You truly got to know me as an individual during a single appointment, even my father who came with me. You made it a goal to devise a plan that my family understood as well.
To my doctor at the pain clinic, I now know Superwoman in the flesh. You devised an aggressive plan to get me feeling physically ready to face college within just a few months. We discussed countless possibilities. Ultimately, all decisions made were based on my own comfort level. I received occipital nerve-blocker injections, and for the first time in five years I am free of daily migraines. The span of my migraines has shortened, and the types of my migraines have narrowed. I now believe I may one day be migraine-free. I picked up reading materials you suggested, eating more food that doesn't cause inflammation. I push myself through the pain when walking or biking. I ordered the prescription lotion that you suggested, I simply apply it to areas of pain and I am quickly relieved. I am ready to face college head-on.
Spectrum Health has been a second home to me throughout my teenage years, and just like at home, each employee made the environment comfortable. Seeing people of all ages and backgrounds with such insight and urge to help others, without a doubt has been my leading prompt to becoming a physician's assistant. I have experienced the best of care, therefore I hope to do the same for people like me someday as well.