Severe migraines force Halifax man to head to U.S. for treatment

HALIFAX – A Nova Scotia man suffering from chronic and severe migraines is frustrated he has to head south of the border for treatment.

Sam Fried first started getting migraines about 20 years ago but in the past five years, they have gotten progressively now. He says the headaches can last anywhere between four and 36 hours.

He and his doctors are stumped as to why and how his migraines developed. Fried has been taking medication to try to keep them under control, but he still describes the pain as excruciating.

“It’s like someone has taken a long nail or needle that is hot and it’s piercing. You either feel like your head is exploding or it is internal and mine, it’s exploding,” he said.

Fried says the pain is sometimes too much to handle; he has battled depression and has contemplated suicide.

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“It’s very difficult,” said wife Cindy, as she holds back tears. “You can’t stop it. You can’t take [the pain] away. You try your best to comfort and assure him there will be an end.”

Now, the 59-year-old grandfather hopes treatment at an American pain clinic will give him his life back.

The family is raising $47,000 to cover inpatient treatment costs at the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute as well as travel costs. Fried says his time at the clinic will run a tab of up to $30,000; the remainder of the costs include travel and visits with psychologists and osteopaths upon his return.

But the clinic is not covered by MSI because it is private. Fried is upset he has to turn to American treatment in the first place.

“The fact that I cannot get what I need to get here is really frustrating. When you look at our system here, our system is so stressed,” he said.

Global News asked Nova Scotia Health Minister David Wilson whether more support could be expected for the province’s pain clinics to deal with cases like Fried’s but we didn’t get a concrete response.

“It’s an investment that’s needed and we’re going to continue to work with those pain clinics throughout the province to make sure we’re meeting the needs of Nova Scotians,” he said.

The Fried’s plan to approach the province when they return to lobby on behalf of chronic pain sufferers.

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“I believe we can go as a group to the government and say, ‘Look, this is what we feel we need. Would you be able to be willing to look at doing this, this and this’. There just isn’t anyone talking about it right now in this province,” Fried said.

Meanwhile, he and his wife are holding out hope the American clinic can turn their lives around.

“I’m just believing this is the answer. There’s been nothing that has helped but this is hope,” wife Cindy said.

To read more about Fried’s story, click on the following link: