We all want to believe that trusting in the medical establishment will keep us healthy and safe, but the sad fact is that sometimes an accurate diagnosis is harder to come by than we would like it to be. Such was the case for Michelle Daniels, who went years jumping from doctor to doctor and failing to diagnose her symptoms before finding out she had a 5-foot-long sword going through her head.
This story is absolutely heartbreaking. It’s sad to think of all the pain Michelle might not have had to go through had she been able to get her diagnosis sooner.
One day in 2013, Michelle, a 32-year-old teacher, woke up on what she thought would be a regular Monday with an intense headache. After popping a few Advil and hoping the pain would go away, Michelle started noticing a strange combination of other symptoms—trouble sleeping, difficulty fitting through doors, unexplained bleeding, neck pain. Some doctors told Michelle she was experiencing trouble lifting her head due to Lyme disease, while others speculated that the cuts she got on her arms when she would try to braid her hair were rare symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
It would be five long years of doctors’ offices and failed treatments before Michelle finally found out what was wrong with her. Yet just as she was giving up hope that doctors would ever be able to diagnose her condition, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic took an interest in her case, and after extensive testing he was able to give her the answers she was looking for: Her symptoms were stemming from a 5-foot-long broadsword rammed through her skull and brain.
For Michelle, putting a name to the mysterious condition she had been struggling with for years was a bittersweet moment. “It felt amazing to know that all the fatigue, all the migraines, all the metallic sounds I’d hear when I tried to brush my hair—they weren’t just figments of my imagination. They were because I had a huge sword in my head,” she explained. “Living with this enormous blade piercing my skull isn’t easy, but now that the doctors have finally figured out what was wrong with me, I can at least manage my condition by wrapping a big blanket around the blade to muffle the loud clanging sounds it makes whenever it bumps into something.”
While it’s sad that Michelle had to go through so much pain before getting her life-changing diagnosis, the silver lining is that now she is free to learn more about living with a massive sword in her head and she can find ways to live with it as best she can. Hopefully Michelle’s story can serve as a lesson that helps the medical community more easily recognize and diagnosis big swords jutting out of people’s skulls so that others can avoid this type of nightmare in the future!