Long search for solution ends at Functional Neurology Institute
"I was on the waiting list in Utah"
In November 2016, Carla Boone from Nieuw-Vossemeer was involved in a multiple car collision on her way to work. The force of the collision slammed her head against the steering wheel and she briefly lost consciousness. When she came to again, she had no feeling in her feet and fingers. “I was also very dizzy and sick to my stomach and I had to vomit," Carla recalls as if it happened only yesterday. Carla was taken by ambulance to the nearby hospital. She was also given an injection to stop the nausea. The neurologist on duty took X-rays, but couldn’t detect any abnormalities. "He told me I could go back to work in a week’s time." But that was not to be. When Carla went back to work a few weeks later, her complaints, especially cognitive complaints, got worse. “I used to be able to multitask, but I couldn't anymore. I had a hard time switching from one task to another. It took me a while before I realised that it took me much longer to do things and everything wore me out; I was totally exhausted halfway through the day."
Multitude of complaints
During that time, Carla experienced other complaints in addition to her cognitive problems. "I suffered from dizzy spells and ringing in my ears. My eyesight had also changed and I was extremely sensitive to noise." She consulted her general practitioner, who prescribed manual therapy and physiotherapy. "I received treatment twice a week, but didn’t notice much improvement. Actually, things only got worse." After another consultation with her general practitioner, Carla discontinued her physiotherapy and manual therapy sessions and registered for a rehabilitation programme, which she could finally attend four months later. Carla soon realised that rehabilitation is mainly aimed at helping patients cope with their complaints. "What you mostly learned there was to relax and adapt to your new reality."
All in the mind
Carla completed her rehabilitation programme six months later, however with little improvement. Meanwhile, Carla had to do more and more without things in her social life. "If I decided to go to a party, I knew in advance that I would have to pay dearly for it for a week. There were some in my inner circle who couldn’t understand what was going on because there were no visible symptoms. Sometimes friends even said: ‘Isn't it just all in your mind?’ That hurts." Besides her job as a quality officer, Carla also has her own practice as a hypnotherapist. Since her accident, Carla was no longer able to continue the demanding sessions, some of which could take up to three hours. “So I referred my clients to a colleague."
Quest for recovery
After her previous search through the medical landscape, osteopathy, acupuncture and haptonomy were also of no avail. Carla's quest for recovery eventually led her to a private rehabilitation institute where she underwent neuropsychological tests and was ultimately diagnosed with non-congenital brain injury. "That was confronting. On the other hand, it was also a confirmation that there really was more going on." When searching the internet for a possible remedy, Carla came across a practice in the US state of Utah. She decided to register there for treatment. "The treatment alone costs ten thousand dollars, but it was worth everything to me to feel even just a bit better and to be able to resume my normal life." Carla took the six-month waiting list for granted.
Article in Reformatorisch Dagblad (reformational daily paper)
At some point during Carla’s waiting period, a colleague drew her attention to an article in the Reformatorisch Dagblad. "In it, someone who suffered acquired brain damage pointed out that there was no need to travel to Utah for treatment. In that article he related his positive experiences with the Functional Neurology Institute in Lisse. "When Carla called the institute early the next morning, she was told she could come for an intake interview the following week. “That sounded promising." Shortly after, Carla’s actual treatment programme commenced. She worked one whole week on an intensive, personalised daily programme. "That meant two treatments every day, in addition to various examinations and tests. In between sessions I had to rest and take walks. The first two days I was exhausted, but from Wednesday on I started to feel better and better."
Carla was relieved to notice that her recovery was progressing. "Family and friends noticed it straight away too. They said my eyes were shining again and that tired, dull look had gone." Carla soon felt much less tired. “Before, I couldn’t work on my computer for more than an hour, but then, so soon after the treatment programme, I could easily work for two hours at a stretch." For Carla, it was a feast of recognition in the waiting room of the Functional Neurology Institute. "It was good to know that I was not alone. I have spoken to many other patients with non-congenital brain injury or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), as they call it in Lisse. We often had the same complaints and they too had been told elsewhere that they simply had to learn to live with them."
Competent and committed
Carla is very pleased with the Functional Neurology Institute. "I thought that because I am a hypnotherapist I would know something about the brain, but during my treatment I realised that the functioning of the brain is an incredibly complex whole." According to Carla, they are not only very competent and professional at the Functional Neurology Institute. "They are very sincere, genuinely interested in their patients and truly compassionate. Hospitals, where you are just a number, can learn a lot from them."
Carla notes that there is not much knowledge in the Netherlands about TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). As an example, she mentions the physiotherapy treatment she received for her whiplash. "I now realise that the physiotherapist focused on my brainstem, which is located behind the cervical vertebra, and that only exacerbated my situation. This brainstem and the cerebellum disrupt the control of my balance organ. That also explained my dizzy spells and headaches." Carla advocates greater awareness in the Netherlands for the new field of functional neurology. In any case, she is glad that she did not travel to Utah for treatment. “With what I know now, I probably wouldn't have made that much progress, because they specialise in the cognitive field. My problem has more to do with the balance organ, which the Functional Neurology Institute here in Lisse treats by means of the GyroStim. Astronauts who have just returned from space are also treated with the GyroStim to restore their balance. Furthermore, there was no waiting list here and it has cost much less than if I had gone to Utah. I am very glad that I discovered the Functional Neurology Institute in Lisse, even though I know I am not fully recovered yet. I now have confidence in the future again and I believe that in time I will be able to resume my work as usual. For that I am eternally grateful to the treatment team in Lisse.”
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