Renee Smith deals with an unusual feeling and she might be the only person who does. She feels like there are drops of water dripping on the side of her head. This is the result of a surgery she underwent in order to recover from her brain injury.
Back in 2010, Renee was hit by a drunk driver which lead to her brain damage. Since then, she’s been no stranger to surgery. In total, she has had six surgeries, one being brain, another one cranial.
To add fuel to the fire, Renee also suffers from occipital neuralgia which only enhances the intensity of her rare case. She had to travel to the United States for surgery because in Canada, where she lives, surgeons who specialize in these rare cases are at a shortage.
The occipital neuralgia with her brain damage is such a unique case that her and her husband, Tim, have been scouring the country for the right specialist. They were recommended to a specialist in Newfoundland but when they arrived at the office, it wasn’t even five minutes before the specialist rejected her case because it was too much to handle. He basically ran for the hills.
Occipital neuralgia is a unique chronic headache disorder where the nerves called occipital nerves are inflamed which then creates a searing headache. To learn more, click here. She also suffers from trigeminal neuralgia.
In Renee’s case, the headaches are brutal. Last March, she went to San Francisco to remove nerves and muscle on the right side of her head which then relived the pain. The surgery came with its casualty as now she feels that strange raindrop sensation on the side of her head.
Renee and Tim were an active family with their four children, always attending sporting event and local activities, but now, they rarely leave the house.
Living in Canada, it’s difficult for them to see a specialist right away. Sometimes it takes weeks and finally when the day arrives, said specialist doesn’t know how to handle the rare case. For example, the wait time for an appointment with a specialist in Halifax is 942 days and then an extra 332 days before the actual surgery itself.
“I try not to focus on it a whole lot because I get angry. I get angry at our system because every doctor that we’ve seen in the United States is like, ‘We’ve always envied your health care.’ They couldn’t actually believe that we couldn’t just call up somebody and go see a neurosurgeon next week,” Renee told the Truro Daily news.
Renee and Time have already dropped over $400,000 for surgeries in the United States. To cover the insanely expensive costs, they have decided to sell their house. The money will also go toward child care as somebody needs to take care of their children while they are away.