Brief Overview

January 2010 – Dayna, our 16  year old daughter, began to have occasional headaches in January 2010 that eventually turned into a single constant 24/7 headache by August 2010.  Over the counter medications did not help the pain.

August 2010 – Dayna saw a neurologist and began taking prescription medications that did not relieve her headache.

October 2010-December 2010 -Turned to the highly recommended Diamond Headache Clinic searching for relief of the 24/7 headache.  The goal was for Dayna to have relief by her winter break from school.  If she did not, she would be admitted to the Diamond Headache Clinic for inpatient therapy.  Her diet was modified and biofeedback techniques were learned.  Nothing eased her pain.  Eventually, Dayna was hospitalized when different medications did nothing to relieve the
pain for intensive IV treatment.  The treatment was not successful.  Many different medication were given in the hospital.  None relieved the pain.  Dayna was released with the same 24/7 headache.  Upon her release, she was prescribed medications that proved unsuccessful while in the hospital.

January 2011-June2011 – Went to a chiropractor thinking she may have a pinched nerve.  She had little relief.   Moved onto Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment.  Not only did she have a headache at this time but she also developed spikes of pain in her face.  Treatment for the headache and facial pain began.  Nothing was successful.  Some of the medications actually made her pain worse.  Homeopathic medicine & Chinese medicine helped her immune system get back to normal after being on so many medications.  Physical therapy was a disaster!

Medications that were prescribed thus far:  Steroids, Topamax, Bystolic, Amitryptyline, Bellergal S,  Voltaren, Ataraxm, Diphenhydramine, Indomethacin, Verapmil, Depakote, Midrin, Frova & Benydryl

April 2011-June2011 – Read about Nerve decompression micro surgery for relief of migraine.  Few doctors do this procedure.  We contacted Dr. Ivan Ducic at Georgetown University and got her paperwork in order.  Dayna fit the criteria for surgery.  On June 29th Dayna had surgery on the brow area of her forehead.

June 29, 2011 – She woke up in recovery and her headache and facial pain were gone!

For more details, click on Dayna’s Story

Teena

I am Dayna's mom.

22 Comments

  1. Anonymous said…
    Teena and Brian – I am so impressed by your perseverance. It’s incredibly frustrating to be faced by doctors who cannot help, but you hung in there and found the right path for Dayna. This site will be a gift for others who have similar issues.

    Dayna – I am so happy that you’re feeling better. You looked happy and beautiful(and danced wonderfully)when I saw you at the festival recently. Obviously, life is a big bowl of cherries when you feel good. I wish you great good health always and thousands and thousands of days of dancing – surrounded by handsome men.

    As a person who suffered with migraine for 40 years before discovering a sensitivity to everyday foods that trigger the headaches, I can relate to the euphoria you must all feel. There’s nothing like being almost headache-free.

    Congratulations and hugs and kisses to you all,

    Jane Johnston

    (yes, Kosa’s old pal)

    September 13, 2011 11:38 AM

  2. Anonymous said…
    So wonderful Dayna found relief from the pain! Thank you for sharing your story with others and on Headache-Hope on Facebook. I know that sharing the journey to healing will help others find comfort.

    Much love <3
    Cathy Tankink

    September 14, 2011 11:41 PM

  3. mamalu said…
    Thank you for this post. Hope. It is very clear that your story and pain is giveing others hope. I am very thankful that you have found this relief. I suffer from migraines/occipital pain. I went to see Dr Ducic and bcbs will not pay. I am wondering if your was covered. I also live in the western suburbs of Chicago. Thank you.Mamalu

    September 20, 2011 12:15 AM
    Teena said…
    The surgery was covered by our insurance.

    September 21, 2011 11:33 AM

  4. Trish Giese said…
    Teena, this is a wonderful resource for people going through the same thing that Dayna did. Congratulations to you for your persistance and determination to help your daughter. It is so nice to see her beautiful smile again and know that she can enjoy her senior year of high school without being in pain! <3!

    September 25, 2011 7:22 PM

  5. AnonymousJan 18, 2012 06:12 PM

    Hi Teena,
    Thanks for responding to my post on MDJunction. My daughter has a profile VERY similar to Dayna’s, but has had nonstop headaches for 4 1/2 years. She has stabbing pain in the back of her head. It has been a long frustrating journey as you know. It is especially hard because she is 6 hrs away at college.
    We had thought about nerve decompression surgery and have seen Dr. Ducic’s website. Unfortunately, our medical insurance will NOT even entertain the idea of paying for even a consult.
    Our daughter is seeing a new neurologist and just had round 1 of botox injections. It will take 3 weeks before we will know if it worked. She will then have another treatment in 12 weeks.
    I am so glad that Dayna is doing better! It is very encouraging!! Thanks for reaching out. I needed it. Not many people understand how physically and emotionally draining it is for the mom. Thank you again, and best of luck!!

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  7. I’m so glad things have turned out so well for your daughter. My wife is scheduled to undergo the supraorbital nerve decompression surgery with Dr. Ducic this Thursday. Reading this blog has really helped to give us hope that this may finally address her chronic pain. Her pain and experiences with other treatments are almost identical to Dayna’s. She’s suffered for the last 5 years so Thursday cannot get her soon enough. We’re nervous and excited all at once, but we’re really hoping this really does address the problem. Any other insight you can provide on the immediate post-op experience would be appreciated.

    Thank you!

    • Tom,
      I’m so glad that the website has helped ease your mind and I am so excited for you and your wife! As for the immediate post-op experience, I immediately felt better. Right when I woke up from surgery, my pain was exponentially lower than it had been before. Also, try not to be alarmed when your wife looks like she was run over by a truck. I am not exaggerating here, I looked like I had been in a fight and lost. My face was very swollen, and I looked pretty bad. To combat the swelling, Dr. Ducic had me put small cold packs over my eyes several times a day. These helped the swelling and the pain from the incisions. The incisions hurt pretty bad, of course it was nothing compared to the headache itself, but just be aware that the surgery does hurt. The Georgetown people are very good about getting pain medication to you if you need it. Also, if you have trouble with anesthesia, you should tell the doctors. I get very nauseous when I am under anesthesia, so they gave me different medicine to help with that. In my case, the surgery worked as well as I could have hoped. The day I got back from Washington, I went back to work and a week after that, I counseled a children’s camp for two weeks. This surgery was an absolute miracle for me, and I hope your wife benefits from it as much as I did. If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to ask!
      Dayna

  8. Dayna is blessed to have parents like you who pursued her diagnosis’, treatments, & eventually a cure! That is so wonderful!

  9. Dayna: So happy to read your story and learn about Nerve Decompression Surgery (NDS) as a possible intervention for chronic headache/neuralgia. There is so much misunderstanding and misinformation regarding these topics, and so many people desperate for a cure! So glad you are willing to share your experiences. It was great to review your journey to find a cure. So happy that NDS successfully terminated your constant head pain. Best of luck at Purdue! I’m certain that your personal experience with chronic pain will make you a better pharmacist!

  10. So happy for your recovery!!! My daughter will see Dr. Ducic for the first time on Tuesday. We can’t wait !!!!! Thanks for all the great info you put out there and many thanks to your mom as well for being such a valuable resource for us.

  11. Thank you for sharing your story. I also suffer from TN and ON. I thought that I was never going to find relief from this pain. Thanks to your story I was able to have surgery with Dr. Ducic and I am hopeful that I will be able to get part of my life back. Your story is very inspirational and I hope you continue to inspire others. Sincerely,
    Cara  

  12. Dear Dayna,
    I enjoyed reading ur blog. I have to tell you I am so sad for all the pain you have gone through as a young lady. You are helping many people have hope so keep writing and having goals for yourself. Great job to you,I wish you the best in college I know you will do great.! 

  13. Dear Dayna,

    Thank you for sharing your story. My 18yr old daughter has suffered from migraines for several years and she has just recently had to take academic leave from her freshman year at college due to the migraines. we have seen Dr. Ducic and are waiting for a surgery date.
    I was wondering if you had any negative side effects from the surgery (other than post op pain). We are hopeful and nervous for our daughter.
    Thank you
    Debbie

    • Hi Debbie,
      Sorry for that short reply. It is hard to type on my phone!
      Dayna has done extremely well after her surgeries. about 5 months after the frist surgery, the pain in her temples got to be very bad. It lasted for about a week. But, after the temple surgery, that was fine. Her constant pain lasted just short of a year. She went through the entire headache protocol very fast. But, at the time, it seemed like ages (which I am sure you can relate to).
      The only side effect is a sensitivity to live harmony. She noticed this while attending church services. Hopefully, over time, that will fix itself.
      You are in good hands with Dr. Ducic. What surgery will your daughter be having?
      Teena

  14. Hi
    I think she will have all three areas decompressed. He seems willing to do it all at once–was that not the case for your daughter?
    Does your daughter still have any migraines at all? Do you know other people who have had the surgery with good result? You mentioned that there was another family there when your daughter had surgery–did they get a good result?
    I am so grateful you provided so much detail about your experience. I have been hunting the internet for info.
    Thank you for talking to me.

    • Hi Debbie,

      Dayna had two separate surgeries. The first surgery decompressed the nerves in her brow area. The incision was in the crease of her eyelid. One nerve was stuck on her brow bone. Dr. Ducic was able to shave a tiny part of of the brow bone to free the nerve. As he said, she looked “funny” for a couple days. She had a lot of bruising but most of it faded over about 2 weeks time. Because of the way he made the incisions, they are not visible. It is pretty amazing. The second surgery was 6 months later. The nerves were excised. I think that is what he normally does with those nerves. I have read of only one doctor that does not excise those nerves on a routine basis. She has a small numb spot in that area. Although, I have not asked her if more feeling has come back in that area in the last couple months.

      Dayna will still get a headache but it goes away! The pain is not the 24/7 kind that she had for almost a year. She had a bad spell this summer for about a week. We were a bit panicked. It turned out she had a sinus infection. We were so happy when the ENT told us that! He is aware of her history and just laughed at us. After her antibiotics, she was fine.

      I do think she is more sensitive to some foods. She tries to stay away from dairy. Dayna started college this fall at Purdue University. She loves it! I think she has the same ups and down that any typical college students has adjusting to being away and expectations of college professors.

      The girl that lives near here had surgery this past June. She went to Dr. Branch in Maine. Just last week she had surgery on the occipital nerves. She had been battling headaches for at least two years. We met her in the summer of 2010 by request of the High school principal. That was a couple months after Dayna’s first surgery. We have been in contact since then. She was to have suregery with Dr. Ducic but there was a mix up with insurance. That is basically how she ended up having the surgery in Maine. I think the pain in her forehead area has improved but I am not sure how much. The doctor did find issues with her occipital nerves so hopefully, she is on the road to a full recovery.

      May I ask why you would have the surgeries all at one time? Are you travelling far? We ended up making 4 trips to DC. The first was for the initial consult. We would have scheduled surgery at the same time but he was going to be out of the office for 2 weeks. WE got home and two days later we got a call to see if we could come back as there was a cancellation. We all got in the car and drove back. A couple months after the first surgery, Dr. Ducic ordered a diagnostic nerve block to determine if the temple surgery would help her remaining pain. We could not find a doctor in Chicago that had done that exact block before, so we opted to fly out to DC. By this time, the only doctor we had any trust in was Dr. Ducic. He actually did the block for us between surgeries one day. He was not rushed. We even laughed for a bit in his office. The block was done before Dayna’s senior year started. He got the response he wanted so we scheduled surgery on 12/16 so that she could recover over her Christmas break. Her recoveries were fairly quick compared to most of those that have had multiple sites done at once. If she had to do it again, I think she would want to follow the same path with the staged surgeries. The surgery really changed her life!

      There are several pages on facebook that have information about nerve decompression surgeries. Let me know if you are on facebook and I can send you a list of pages to look up. Mdjunction is another site that may have information on it.
      When we opted for this surgery there was far less on the internet than there is now. I don’t know if you noticed the links on our website. The original story I found about nerve decompression has a link. There is also a link to Dr. Ducic website that he has recently updated with much more headache information.

      If you have any other questions, please ask!

      Teena

  15. Hi

    You are so kind to respond. I think that now the surgeries are done on an outpatient basis. When your daughter had them did she stay in the hospital for a couple of days?

    Also, I am on Facebook, so I would love to see what pages you are referring to. I tried to send you a private email but I couldn’t get it to work. Is it just me or is there a problem with that portion of your website?

    Thank you.

  16. Debbie,
    I will look into the private message feature on the site.

    Both Dayna’s surgeries were outpatient procedures. Each time we stayed at the Levy center. It is right next to the hospital.

    Can you try to message me on facebook? That might work.

    Teena

  17. I read Dayna’s story and started to cry. It was like I was reading about my daughter. My daughter is 18 yrs old and just passed her GED. Due to her headaches, she wasn’t able to graduate from high school with her class. Last week her neurologist said he couldn’t think of anything else to do for her and today I found Dr Ducic’s website. We have tried everything that we have come across and promised her that we would not give up until we found an answer. I feel like my prayers have been answered. Thank you so much for sharing your story on here!!

    • Kathy,
      If you have any questions, please ask.
      I am glad you have found hope after reading Dayna’s story.
      Teena Less

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