Teen wants others to learn from her concussion journey

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WEST FARGO, N.D. (KVLY) -- A teenager in West Fargo, North Dakota says life is different after getting treatment for a concussions-induced injury.

Ashtyn Gooselaw says she never thought her life would be this normal again.

"I definitely feel like I got my life back," she said.

The 16-year old is now driving, has a part-time job and even a boyfriend.

"A lot of freedom," stated Gooselaw.

For three years, she suffered from a concussion-induced injury, an Autonomic Dsyfunction form called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). She often got headaches, nausea and dizziness.

"It was basically hell. I can't explain it any other way," said Gooselaw.

She missed a lot of school and took a lot of medicine.

"People called me the skipper, which I am 100-percent back and will not be skipping school anymore for sickness," Gooselaw explained.

She is only allowed to miss school for five reasons, which include a 102-degree fever or higher, profuse or internal bleeding and being unconscious.

In February, Gooslaw packed up and went to a month-long pain rehab program at the Mayo Clinic where she learned she had to retrain her brain to deal with the POTS symptoms.

"I can't constantly focus on that and I have to move on with my life," stated Gooselaw.

Gooselaw can't talk about her symptoms even when she doesn't feel well, and even got off the medicines.

"There was a box full but we are down to three," said Ashtyn's mom, Lindsey Gooselaw.

She says her daughter still has bad days but they're significantly less. She says she does have to treat her daughter differently than before and encourage her to do things and not mope around.

"She is a typical teenager for one now, and she is happy," said Lindsey.

Lindsey says she finally got her family back and they celebrated with vacation to Florida. Although it took years, Lindsey says parents should not be afraid to seek a second opinion.

"Keep fighting for answers and the pain is always real," explained Lindsey.

"This means mother and daughter and this means strength," said Ashtyn, while pointing to the tattoo on her ankle.

Gooselaw, her mom and sister all got matching tattoos as a reminder of this journey.

"We can get through anything we struggle with," Gooselaw said.

Gooselaw says she wants other teenagers to learn from her experience with concussions.

"If you think you have one go with your gut, because it is just going to get worse," stated Gooselaw.

Gooselaw is still working on making a support group here for her illness.

Also, doctors say Gooselaw can't play contact sports and think she may eventually grow out of her illness with time.

With school sport seasons starting, it's important to know the common signs of a concussion. Headaches, nausea, and confusion are just a few and can cause short and long-term effects. Concussions can last for days or even months.

Sanford Health says its important to seek medical attention if you think you suffered a concussion.

Read the original version of this article at valleynewslive.com.