My PCS Timeline

Below are all of the details of my recovery so far. Please leave any questions below or contact me! I’m determined to make a full recovery and am excited to share whatever path it takes me to get there.

Full Recovery Timeline (so far!)

Relevant Health Pre-Injuries: Lifelong soccer player with no diagnosed concussions but I presume minor ones, collegiate rower which got me in great shape but I do not think did any great wins for my spine, whiplash from a swing incident in Costa Rica after college (don’t do stupid things), acne from middle school until this year (!!) that I see as a reflection of my body’s over-inflammation….and perhaps more.

Date of Injury 1: 02/2019
Injury 1: Jumped off a cliff into the water in South Africa (again, stupid things), compress fractured my T5 upon impact, had a lot of bruising all the way down my back and the back of my legs

Action taken after Injury 1:

  • After a few days, got an xray confirming fracture in South Africa
  • A month later, got an MRI that showed no further damage in Morocco
  • Two months later, saw a chiropractor in Spain that did nothing except further hurt
  • Travelled the world (literally, 5 continents) for the rest of 2019 with soreness but not severe ache, and lots of anxiety

Date of Injury 2 (the PCS-inducing one)
: 01/2020
Injury 2: Got hit by a car while riding a bike in Mexico, driver was going fairly slow but T-boned me, I landed on my left shoulder and hit my head behind my left ear, no loss of consciousness, did not seek care in Mexico

Action taken after Injury 2:

  • 02/20
    • Xray that showed compression but no fracture at T5
    • Orthopedist visit that suggested PT and MRI
    • PCP said my sinuses were dry and to try nasal spray (sorry but lol)
  • 03/20
    • Travelled to Portugal, then back because of COVID and not feeling well at all
    • Telehealth appointment suggested I had Post Concussion Syndrome
      Symptoms: felt out of it, intense headache on the bridge of my nose, fatigue, still exercised regularly, on the verge of tears all the time, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, very off-centered
  • 04/20
    • Started seeing a naturopathic doctor (have seen her weekly since)
      • Began anti-inflammatory diet: removed gluten (had already 3 years prior), dairy, corn, alcohol, processed foods and most sugar
      • Added daily vitamin D, vitamin B, magnesium supplements
    • Started going to Physical Therapy for neck and back (went weekly until mid-Oct)
    • Started seeing a psychotherapist to help with the anxiety (have seen her weekly or biweekly since)
      Symptoms: worst they ever got, woke up feeling like the world was spinning, neck and back muscles totally locked and a lot of pain in my neck, lots of pressure around my eyes, discomfort sitting, standing, and laying down, felt in a constant panic
  • 05/20
    • Tried a holistic chiropractor that I am not convinced was doing anything
      Symptoms: much the same, reduced pressure around eyes, more aware of how much trouble I had with my position in space
  • 06/20
    • MRI on brain and spine that showed ‘normal spine with compression at T5’ and ‘age appropriate brain
    • New chiropractor tried dry needling, did NOT go well. Too much, too soon
      Symptoms: continued panic, lots of angry and sad rants, neck pain, very tired but trouble sleeping, and trouble focusing mentally and physically (my eyes were all over)
  • 07/20
    • Saw a concussion-specific Physical Therapist in Vermont (on vacation) that guided me in the direction of vision exercises and adding back in cardio activity
      Symptoms: much the same, heightened awareness of heart rate increases spiking symptoms and dizziness upon standing from sitting
  • 08/20
    • Got a series of tests done including EBV, metabolic panel, Lyme. Whatever my primary care would order
    • All test results were in normal ranges except EBV antibodies which were very high
    • Started celery juice cleanse per my naturopathic doctor’s recommendation to start addressing possible EBV reactivation (have been drinking every morning since)
    • Met with a neurologist, after recommendation from my PCP, who wanted to prescribe me Topamax for nerve pain and migraines. I declined and opted to try Vitamin B per his recommendation instead (which I was already doing)
      Symptoms: constant headache, neurofatigue, slightly less anxiety, less pressure in head and neck, muscles no longer locked and with increased flexibility
  • 09/20
    • Did a 3 day intensive at the Concussion Center of MA that helped realign my vision and vestibular systems
    • Did daily brain exercises per that intensive to continue the training (have since stopped)
      Symptoms: no more vision or vestibular troubles!, increased tolerance for activity, continued upper cervical tension, neurofatigue, and just feeling out of it
  • 10/20
    • Did 3 sessions (once a week) of PEMF therapy with a new chiropractor. It helped with neck pain but seemed to overwhelm my body with other toxins. 
    • Had a telehealth appointment with primary care for more tests. She couldn’t order any testing that I wanted and denied food and hormones being a factor.
    • Had appointment with a more functional medicine-type doctor and got tested for Heavy Metals (had an elevated Thallium level) and Food Sensitivities (found out I have an allergy to sesame)
    • Switched to paleo/keto, low-carb diet and added in chlorella supplement
      Symptoms: much the same, increasingly irritated and hopeless, more apparent ringing in ears
  • 11/20
    • Sought answers from another naturopathic doctor about mold, hormones, and specific nutrient deficiencies. Did not end up going through with the testing because after talking it through, I was already taking a lot of the steps that would be needed to address those imbalances.
    • Will reach back out if other steps don’t solve issues
    • Began using a red light at night to wind down after the day
      Symptoms: much the same but I thought I narrowed it down correctly to spinal alignment issues, remains to be seen
  • 12/20
    • Found new chiropractor and made 6 month plan for correction, starting at 3 times a week
      Symptoms: neurofatigue, brain fog, ears ringing, digestion troubles, constant headache and body achiness, irritable and anxious, still not consistently driving
  • 1/21
    • Continue work with chiropractor and naturopathic doctor, complementing with regular exercise, same diet, limited screen time, and detox techniques
    • Took half time from work which was much needed to process onslaught of symptoms
      Symptoms: increased brain fog, increased fatigue, a bit of nausea, but also increased flexibility/range of motion in back and arms
  • 2/21
    • Chiro 3x per week, naturopathic doctor every 1.5 weeks to aid in drainage after adjustments
    • Did some additional research on my own about gut health and things like mold, viruses, parasites that could be at play in my story – nothing specifically identified
    • Strict daily routine with celery juice, probiotics, low-carb/high protein and fat diet, chlorella, movement of some kind (even if it was just pacing back and forth in the yard), epsom salt bath, self lymphatic drainage, neck strengthening exercises, no screens after 8pm, outdoor time
    • Back to full-time midway
      Symptoms: nauuuuseaa, ‘I love you toilet bowl’, everything that was once trapped in my body, get out!, ringing in the ears at its worse, but then the *first* sign of pressure decrease in my head, hope that healing was near!
  • 3 and 4/21
    • Much the same, tested negative for H pylori (a stomach bacteria)
    • Decreased to chiro 2x a week, naturopathic still every 1.5 weeks
    • Exercise with no symptom increase!
      Symptoms: brain fog, fatigue, headaches (specifically on the surface of my head), but all less than before
  • 5/21
    • Chiro 2x a week, naturopathic still every 1.5 weeks
    • Lots of tightness in my neck and throat, I think because everything in my neck was shifting with adjustments
    • 100 miles of movement and getting progressively easier, 5k in the works!
    • Stopped celery juice after (9.5 months) and did a gallblatter/liver flush with cherry juice and other things under direction of my naturopath
    • Got bioenergetic testing done through Creating Balanced Health that revealed a-not-shocking-lot of stress on my nervous system, indicated some sensitivities to mold, bacteria, and viruses and suggested some new remedies (that I will try into June). Very excited about this testing! Validating, another perspective, another layer
    • Used Emotional Freedom Technique daily for some deep emotional healing, exploring the physiological expressions of strong negative emotions
      Symptoms: all the same but less and my eyesight really started becoming more complete!! not something I knew was off particularly
  • 6/21
    • Chiro 2x a week, naturopathic still every 1.5-2 weeks
    • Completed the remedy protocol that Creating Balanced Health suggested, to no real avail :/ BUT it did guide me to my next step which was addressing my nervous system in a different way
    • Completed a 2.5 week road trip. Felt different than usual but used all of the techniques I’ve learned to make it through.
    • Did a lot of hiking but still capping out at around 3 miles of walking and fatigued at the end of every day, some times an entire day
  • 7/21
    • BRAIN CAMP at the Kempinski Clinic in CT, 7 days of intensive vision, vestibular, dysautonomia treatment. Was challenging and exhausting but SO worth it. Left no longer feeling tippy when walking on concrete or really ever.
    • Frontal lobe more activated allowing calmer days, random little eye movements dramatically reduced, definitely a detox experience as well
    • Chiro 2x a week, naturopathic still every 1.5-2 weeks
  • 8/21
    • Two weeks following brain camp were tough, lots of headaches and symptoms BUT slowly dissipated, leaving me far better than before camp
    • Chiro 2x a week, naturopathic still every 1.5-2 weeks
    • Naturopath noticed a fault in my posture wherein I had a habit of tilting my hips forward, consciously worked to align and immediately noticed a reduction in overall body tension.
    • Used Normatec Compression boots nearly every day to increase circulation in my legs
    • Performed rehab exercises 2x per day, in the form of balance, gaze stability, and cognitive games
    • Gradually added back in strength training and higher intensity cardio
    • Functional lab testing done to drill down on things after the bioenergetic testing to make sure I hadn’t missed something that’s preventing a full recovery…awaiting results
  • 9/21 – 12/21
    • My functional lab testing showed a wide variety of levels that are a bit off BUT the main area of focus is improving the nearly no dopamine and serotonin. In early December, embarked on a 3 month protocol with a functional medicine doctor to try to find more balance
    • Otherwise, much the same in terms of routine and care…and similarly much the same in anxiety and fatigue. Have some good days and have returned to a bit of normalcy, but still dealing with routine flares and the occasional day of near zero normal function because of fatigue and I presume low mood-regulating hormones. Symptoms heavily tied to my menstrual cycle. 
My Essential Practitioners (of the 20+ I've seen)
Daily Routine Essentials, for me
  • Plant-based, whole food, anti-inflammatory diet, very little grains or complexity
  • At least 64 oz of water or herbal tea
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • 2,000 IU Vitamin D
  • 400 mg Magnesium
  • Fish oil for omega 3s when not enough in diet
  • 16 oz of celery juice before any food
  • Light exercise (e.g, 20 min run/walk followed by stretching)
  • Work (I work full time remotely)
  • Regular use of blue light filter glasses
  • Ergonomic pillow and work setup
  • Meditation and deep breathing even if just for a few minutes
  • Lots of time outside and away from screens
  • Jin Shin Jyutsu therapy on myself to help calm neck and gut
  • Lymph drainage with my hands and a tuning fork
  • Nightly red light therapy on head, neck, and back
  • Epsom salt baths, a bonus
The Therapies/Interventions I've tried

(*my favorites)

  • Red Light Therapy*
  • Infrared Sauna*
  • Normatec Compression Boots*
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber*
  • Tilt table rehab*
  • Physical Therapy exercises/stretches
  • Orthobionomy*
  • Cranial Sacral Therapy
  • Lymph Drainage*
  • Jin Shin Jyutsu*
  • Interactive Metronome
  • PEMF on neck and back
  • Stim on neck
  • Transcranial Electrical Stimulation on cheek and tongue*
  • Peripheral Nerve Stimulation on legs*
  • Vielight*
  • Normal chiropractic adjustment*
  • Dry needling
  • Arnica tablets and cream
  • Oil pulling
  • Skin brushing
  • Chlorella for cleansing gut
  • Celery Juicing*
  • Exercise intolerance training
  • Vision tracking exercises
  • Epsom salt baths
  • Emotional Freedom Technique
  • Sophia Flow lymph drainage cream
  • Turmeric supplements
  • CBD- very briefly, had a harsh reaction
Symptoms I've Experienced
  • Dysautonomia (dis-regulation of autonomic nervous system)
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches- started at the bridge of my nose, migrated to the top of my head, then the back, then eventually to my neck and away. Occasionally shooting pains.
  • Neck and upper back tightness and at times, pain
  • Eye tension/pressure and eye floaters
  • Proprioception loss
  • Derealization
  • Exercise intolerance
  • High anxiety and at times, depression
  • Trouble in social situations, focusing, thinking at all
  • A feeling that energy would rush to my head and not leave
  • Like my thoughts were moving through mud
  • Trouble processing what others were saying and finding the words to respond
  • On the verge of tears most of the time
  • Crazy fatigue, feeling like I could nap at any second
  • Overwhelmed by life, including the smallest things like making breakfast
  • Slower memory recall
  • Feeling like I was going to tip over, probably a symptom of my vision
  • Feeling like my head was disconnected from my body
  • Tingling on the left side of my face and down my left arm, this was a strange one
  • In later times, tingling in fingertips and toes
  • It was like I had to build in time to worry and have a long dialogue in my head because my mind was constantly racing, probably a symptom of being super cautious of how every choice affected my health
  • Dizziness and heart rate spike when going from laying to sitting to standing
  • Frustration because I felt alone, others around me expected me to be normal, and doctors told me 5 million different possible reasons and solutions
  • Not comfortable driving longer than a mile
  • Ringing in ears
  • *an interesting one that I think was actually a sign of why brain fog* little red bumps on lower back and whitish bumps back of tongue that slowly disappeared as I felt better
  • All symptoms worse on my period
  • And more…