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Jadyn Gasper just completed her freshman year at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She is bright and articulate and is double majoring in psychology and neuroscience with her sights set on medical school. When she’s not studying, she enjoys reading, writing and anything to do with art.

Jadyn’s quality of life was drastically different just four years ago. When she was a freshman in high school, she developed chronic migraine headaches. The migraines were so intense and frequent that she had to take a leave from school. The school district arranged for Jadyn to continue her studies online from home, but staring at a computer screen for hours a day only made the pain worse. She was missing out on most of her high school life, and the medications and other treatments prescribed were having no effect on her pain.

“When I had headaches, it was like something was wrapped tightly around my head,” said Jadyn. “The pressure and tension I felt were overwhelming. Any kind of stimulus from loud noises like vacuums and crowds of people or lights was simply unbearable. I spent most of the time at home in my room isolated from my family and friends.”

Jadyn already was living with another chronic medical condition, so she was no stranger to doctors and hospitals. She was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) as an infant and had spent countless hours at Children’s in Pulmonology and other clinics. By high school, her CF was well managed and under control, but the headaches were becoming increasingly debilitating.

She was referred to Lynn Rusy, MD, a pediatric anesthesiologist who works in the Jane B. Pettit Pain and Headache Center and specializes in pain management. Dr. Rusy suggested two options for treatment: either Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections every three months or acupuncture treatments every other week. Jadyn lives an hour and a half away in Appleton, so the less-frequent treatment option was better for her and her family. Jadyn admits she was uneasy at first about the idea of Botox. As a teen, there were stereotypes about using Botox for cosmetic purposes, and she was skeptical that it would even work.

Dr. Rusy explained the medical uses for Botox and why she thought it might benefit Jadyn, so she agreed to give it a try.

“Botulinum toxin (Botox) acts on chronic headaches by blocking chemicals called neurotransmitters that carry pain signals,” said Dr. Rusy. “Botox also relaxes many muscles around the head that can aggravate headache pain when tensed.”

Treatment involves injecting Botox in Jadyn’s forehead, right above her back and her upper neck — places where she was diagnosed with having chronic tension. She noticed an almost immediate reduction in the frequency of migraines, and eventually she was able to return to school and a social life. Now she can go for nearly the entire three-month period between injections migraine-free. Toward the end of the three-month period, she starts to experience some breakthrough pain, which signals it’s time for another appointment with Dr. Rusy.

Jadyn and her family are incredibly grateful for Dr. Rusy’s care and support, and they have developed a special friendship. When Jadyn applied to colleges, Dr. Rusy wrote her a recommendation. Jadyn has also helped ease the fears of other new patients in the Headache Clinic by inviting them to sit in on her treatments so they can see the injection process.

With the onset of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020, Jadyn moved home and finished her freshman year online. She is eager to return to Luther College to pursue her dream of studying to become a psychiatrist. And thanks to the help of the Jane B. Pettit Pain and Headache Center, chronic pain is no longer standing between Jadyn and her dreams.

Your support of Children’s Wisconsin makes it possible to provide leading-edge care to kids and young adults when they need it most. Will you please give a gift to support the kids in our care? Your gifts truly make a difference.

Help us help kids

The generous support of our donors helps us achieve the impossible every day. Help us do more.

Make my gift a:

One-time Donation
Recurring Monthly Donation

I'd like to gift

$25
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$100
$250
Continue with Donation