My name is Melanie Wienhoven.
I have become an expert on post-concussion syndrome recovery by accident (yes, literally!).
In the 6,5 years after my accident, I’ve gone from totally lost and depressed to completely recovered and driven by purpose.
Now, I’m here to share hope and to help you recover faster, so you can live the life that you love, ASAP!
How my concussion accident happened
A few weeks after landing a traineeship straight out of university, I was cycling back home from work in the warm evening sun. It was 2012 and I was 24. As I was cycling, I enjoyed the sunlight entering my eyes after a day in my corporate office building.
Suddenly, I realized something was wrong. I didn’t have time to analyze what it was (my head lamp breaking off and swinging in between the spokes of my front wheel, blocking it entirely). My instincts took over and I hit the breaks, but it was already too late. I was launched over the steer of my bike and landed on the rock-hard street.
I hit the pavement on hands and knees, and didn’t hit my head. My back, neck and head did make a whiplash movement as my brain smashed into my skull like pudding in a shaken jar.
I didn’t pass out, and I consciously experienced a lot of sensations in that moment.
A sharp pain pierced my skull. It was like nothing I have ever felt and have felt ever since. The taste of metal filled my mouth. A loud ringing sounded in my head.
And then I realized that I couldn’t see. My eyes were open right? I checked by blinking heavily. Yes, my eyes were open. I realized that the only thing I could see was a thick black. Strangely enough, my senses mixed and I experienced the black color as seeing something “thick” like custard.
As a man grabbed me off the street: I felt his hands and heard his voice, but couldn’t understand his words. It sounded like I was inside a fish bowl filled with water and he was out there. Golden dashes started to rain down into the thick black. My brain started to distinguish words. And finally, my sight slowly came back.
With trembling legs, I got back on my bike and cycled home. I went to bed without dinner and I slept for more than 14 hours until my alarm woke me up.
The next morning, everything just felt like a bad dream.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary and I prepared for work. When I got outside to get my bike, my body froze. Fear, danger. I was raised to practice discipline, so I told myself that I would create a problem if I didn’t get on my bike right now.
So I shut off all thoughts and emotions and told myself to just do it. It didn’t work the first times I tried. Eventually, I managed to force myself to get on my bike. It was the worst bike ride ever.
There were moments when I jumped off the bike, unable to move any further. There were moments when I braced for impact because I saw something moving in the corner of my eye. I shivered. I panicked. It took me more than an hour to get to work – instead of 20 minutes.
I was exhausted before the day had started.
And then everything went back to normal
Aside from the bike rides, I felt normal in the days that followed.
I told people about my stupid fall.
Some were shocked, others laughed with me – and that was it.
Life was like it was before.
I didn’t feel any different and I slowly and truly forgot that I’d fallen.
It was only after more than 1 whole week that I started to notice something was wrong.
The worst thing was my concentration slipping away. I couldn’t focus on my work, on conversations, and on my screen anymore.
I couldn’t follow a normal train of thought, while I had always been thinking and responding fast my whole life.
My physical pains were grueling. Those were my headache and back ache.
The back ache made it painful for me to sit up. The only way I was not uncomfortable, was laying down on my back or in a foetus position.
I had many different headaches, but one that has been with me for years. It was a pinching, tingling feeling in the back of my head.
The headaches made a lot of normal tasks into an incredible challenge. They came from light, from sound, from concentrating, from anything…
And then there was the dizziness – especially when I was focusing on something, like a screen or a person’s eyes.
It would feel like I was on a wildly spinning circular platform – while the focal point was remaining still in my view.
The nausea I felt was like the one we feel just before we have to throw up. Only, this one was just there, for hours – and nothing would happen.
So, I visited my GP.
My bike incident had been on the 17th of November in 2012. This visit was 10 days later, on the 27th.
This gap in time existed because it was only after a day or 8 that I first noticed all the delayed concussion symptoms mentioned above.
The meeting with my GP was short. My medical file sums it up:
And thus I rested.
My GP had told me to avoid all stimuli and rest in bed.
This picture was taken in the short moment a day that my curtains were open so that I’d see a little day light.
As in: through these skiing sunglasses that connected close to my skin and filtered out the brightest light.
You can see I’m clenching my teeth, because even with the sunglasses, it feels like I’m under attack.
This time, in my mind, is Tolstoy’s War and Peace time: I had lots of time to devour this book after all.
Reading Tolstoy was the only activity that didn’t hurt me, aside from laying still in the silent dark.
Less than a week after my previous visit, I visited my GP again: my symptoms had only gotten worse…
My GP referred me to the ER and that same day I was seen by a neurologist.
He performed neurological tests and made a CT scan.
Then I was told there was nothing wrong with me. Wait, what?
This was one of the strangest things someone ever told me. I stated the obvious:
“But, there is something wrong with me?”
He said: “There’s nothing wrong with you that we can see, so this is good news.”
I said I had to press him for help: what did I have to do, where could I go now?
He told me I had to rest some more, and get back to my GP if I felt that was needed.
I pressed him some more, but it made no difference.
He respectfully announced that he had to move on to his next patient.
My medical file reads:
Diagnosis: symptoms could match a light concussion.
Treatment at ED: neurologically now wait-and-see.
In case of persistent symptoms, return to GP.
In hindsight, this was a first signal of the medical treadmill that I would be trapped in for years.
A lot of days followed, in bed. Often with my sunglasses on or with the curtains closed.
Always without noise. No phone closeby. No laptop. No work. All stimuli gone.
Sometimes, I went for a walk, just to try. It was okay as long as I went alone with my sunglasses and there was little traffic surrounding me.
Time went by and my concussion turned into post-concussion syndrome without me knowing.
Christmas followed, and I rested through most of it.
Sometimes I came down to try and celebrate, spending all the energy I had in a matter of minutes.
These social gatherings felt like trucks driving over my head. I just wished so hard for everything to be back to normal.
January came, and I visited my GP again. Then and there, it became clear that I had to do the whole disappointment all over again.
I think I can’t say it better than my medical file describes it:
Diagnosis: concussion since 8 weeks: improvement too small.
Well, I knew where this was headed…
It would end with the letters “GP”.
So I started to search for recognition in other places.
Doctors meant well but clearly didn’t know how to help me beyond protocols diagnosing life-threatening situations.
So, I thought I’d find others who had already fixed my problem.
I looked everywhere.
First, I scoured the Internet for success stories.
What I found were horror stories, many much worse than my own.
Later, I realized the people who had fixed the problem already had gone on with their lives – and rightly so.
The Internet brought me sorrow, not peace. So I started to look into support groups.
Yes, I’d probably find support here to talk about all the hard stuff that I experienced, but I would mostly hear more stories like my own.
And I wanted to find a cure, not a shoulder to cry on (which would have been a really good idea for me back then…).
Also, I felt like I could bear no more adversity, no more sorrow.
I was struggling to keep my head above the water.
So I went to a clinic for 3 whole weeks.
There, I was taught to change my behavior so that I had more energy left.
Sure, this was nice, but there was no cure to be found here, either.
More and more, my story started to feel like a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from.
2 years went by and specialists changed their narrative
Now, I was told my brain damage would never heal again, and that I had to learn to live with my symptoms.
Meanwhile, I wasn’t able to participate in family gatherings.
If I did, I spent 3 days in bed, staring at the dark ceiling as retaliation.
Work was a constant battle of getting back to normal, wanting to earn money, doing my job right – and being in constant pain.
Most of all, I felt lost and alone.
I felt disconnected from family and friends since people had no idea what was going on inside me.
And I had no idea where to start explaining to them that I didn’t care about getting up in the morning anymore.
How could I tell them that only their “HI!” was already to harsh and intense for me – let alone being there for them?
I was in no shape to maintain my relationships the way everybody expected.
I had lost my dreams. I had trouble remembering who I was.
And then I realized something.
I clearly remember this moment, because it touched me deeply.
I was sitting on my couch, thinking.
Ever since the start of my concussion, I had accepted everything as it had come.
I had listened to the doctors. I had allowed myself to believe that there were no success stories.
My life had fallen apart and my character had changed profoundly since my fall.
All of this would continue as I continued to see and approach my recovery the same way I had done so far.
I concluded that I would only get more of what I already had gotten if I continued doing what I had been doing all along.
Nothing was going to change if I didn’t change.
I decided I wasn’t going to give up on my life, my dreams, my recovery
And this is how a new era of challenges started.
I spent years…
Analyzing all the literature I could find
Studying the brain
Digging deep into the science of concussions
Studying all the experts in the field
Diving deep into cutting edge research
Finding doctors that weren’t afraid to deviate from protocol
Reshaping the lessons I learned in the clinic
Testing different diets
And aside from the innumerable hours of studying and researching, I engaged in a lot of experimentation.
I tried a ton of things. I experimented on myself to find out what worked and what didn’t.
And then I combined all I’d learned.
Everything that I sudied and all experimentations taught me something.
I started working on a method, combining and refining everything I had found.
For years, I built on this method that I eventually cured myself with from post-concussion syndrome.
There are no words to describe the amount of effort that went into it.
E-ve-ry-thing I learned shaped the method that I created for you to use as well. And this is what you’ll find inside the Cure My Concussion course.
I want all my work, everything I had to learn and discover, to help you, too.
I want it to be easier for you than it was for me. And what’s more, I don’t want you to feel alone in the midst of it all.
Helping you drives me
While recovering from my concussion, I often wished for someone to reach a hand.
I wanted someone to show me the way and to guide me to complete recovery.
Then I promised myself that once I would find my way out of this tunnel, I would turn back and come back for you.
After more than 6 years, I have fully recovered from post-concussion syndrome.
And now I am here to tell you:
I am here for you. Helping you gives meaning to my past struggles.
so, if you want, let's take some steps together
I made a free audio recording for you.
In it, I tell you about 3 things I wish I’d known while I was recoverying.
They would literally have saved me years of recovery time.
You are not alone
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I’m here to help you cure your own post concussion syndrome. Because I did it, and so can you!
Let me guide you through this.