Jeana’s Corner – Adapt & Overcome

I am a hunter, but also I am a woman, a mom, wife and a disabled Army veteran. Each of these titles I take seriously and try to perform each of them to the best of my abilities. Living up to what I think I should be as each of those is not always an easy task. I have chronic migraines, an AVM and pain spasms which closely resemble seizures and at times it makes doing or being any of those things very difficult. I do not talk much about them, and only those close to me fully understand the extent, but because I want to inspire other women and veterans to become involved in the outdoors, I feel it is time to share my story.
My migraines began when I was in the Army, around the 1990 time frame. It has honestly been so long now that I do not ever remember a time in my life that I have not had one. I live with what is called a chronic migraine, meaning I have it daily. I can now function and behave as most normal human beings would but that was not always the case. There was a time that I was down for the count. I was bed ridden for up to a month at a time, unable to care for myself or for my son who was still in diapers at the time. I felt worthless.
I was on medication to help with the pain and the spasms, but it made me sleep. If I was not sleeping I was sick in the bathroom, what a way to live. I traveled from Drs and hospitals across the US to help find out what was wrong and no answers, until some 10 years later . I had what they called an AVM an artero venous malformation at the base of my brain. Basically this is just a cluster of nerves and blood vessels which are looped together. Surgery can remove this, but mine was in a position that surgery was not an option. I began treatments. I was told I would not live to see 40, I was 33 at the time, an am now 47.
Treatments were daily medications, injections and infusions to help shrink or hopefully help shrink it and to ease the pain. I was strapped in a chair for 8 hours a day every 3 months. Was it worth it, at the time I did not quite know, but I knew I did have to fight. I had a son who needed me.
I done treatments and still do injections and take medications daily. The AVM has shrank and the migraines, as long as I take the medications, are now more tolerable. I am able to function and get out of bed every day. To look at me you would not know anything was wrong, but there is not a day go by that I do not have a headache, some are just more tolerable than others
Stress, it seems plays a big role in the migraines, so I was told to alleviate stress from my life. I know crazy!!!! Who can alleviate stress? Well, I found a way that helps, I get outdoors, and hunting is my stress reliever. Once I am in the woods, I lose myself and I tend to forget about how much I hurt or when the last time was I got sick. All that matters is the beauty and wonders of nature around me.
I do not hike long distances when I hunt, I do not climb high in trees, and I always wear my safety gear, I do not want to take the chance of over exertion or of falling, if I should happen to feel faint or dizzy, but I do want to do what I love. I want to help put the food on the table that my family and I eat. I want to help nourish our bodies as well as my soul.
The outdoors is nondiscriminatory. There is a place in them for everyone; regardless of your race, gender, or disability. I know if I can find peace and enjoyment there others can as well, never underestimate yourself of your ability to overcome. God has more planned for you than what you or any Drs know. I am proof and I plan to continue proving them wrong. So get outside, put down the remotes, the cellphones, the IPod and enjoy life, it is the only one you have; make the most of it!

Jan 19, 2016 | Category: Blog, Jeana's Corner | Comments: 3


3 comments on “Jeana’s Corner – Adapt & Overcome

  1. Kelly Westpfahl

    Great story!!!

  2. Thank you Kelly

  3. Misty Bell

    Thank you so much for your service!

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