The long and winding road to healing

It took Melissa Gowryluk over a year to feel comfortable enough to share her story with others.

Now that I have, it’s changed me.

“I feel more positive,” said the former St. Boniface Hospital patient.

In January 2017, while she was away on a business trip, heavy, wet snow piled on a storefront sign fell onto Gowryluk’s head and shoulders.

The initial shock masked just how bad the impact was. Days later, Gowryluk’s symptoms didn’t go away – instead, they became more severe. In addition to a sore head and neck, Gowryluk began experiencing nausea, faintness, and trouble with speech, vision, and walking.

Over the course of six months, Gowryluk saw difference specialists who found it difficult to find a diagnosis that fit her symptoms. She had CT scans, ultrasounds, and a colonoscopy. Some thought it was a stomach flu or gall stones. One doctor was worried that it was multiple sclerosis.

And then, the worst thing that could happen, did. Gowryluk was struck on the head a second time. She immediately sought help at St. Boniface Hospital’s Emergency Department.

It was there that ER physician Dr. Tamara McColl gave Gowryluk the diagnosis she had been missing for months: she was suffering from post-concussion syndrome.

Once diagnosed, Gowryluk was on the road to recovery. She took up LoveYourBrain Yoga, nature photography to correct vision complications, therapy for vision and dizziness, and started speaking to others about concussions. She also returned to St. Boniface Hospital as a grateful patient, to thank McColl for giving her hope and healing.

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