Migraine Nightmare Sparks Successful Photography Career


– [Adam] So I’d never been
sick a day in my life. I don’t think I missed
a day of high school. I took a handful of
months between high school and college with some friends, and I picked up food poisoning. I had shrimp, and I got sick for about a week. Two months after getting back, I started developing these migraines. It began as one migraine a day that eventually moved to three. Soon I had the migraine 24/7, which left me completely
lying in the dark, unable to have a meal with my family, watch television, look at
a computer, read a book. I spent three years lying in the dark. I was fortunate enough to
be referred to come here, to the University of Michigan. And at that time, my functionality
was pretty much zero. I couldn’t do anything. Eventually we got my
functionality back to a level where I was able to go to a
coffee shop for five minutes, go to the grocery store for five minutes. Being able to do what
to you would seem like a very small, menial
task, but to me was huge. It was like running a marathon. (quiet music) One of the things that I did when I was living here in Ann Arbor, thinking I was gonna be
here for three months, and I ended up staying
here for seven years, was I came into this stadium with a camera and I took some photographs. I went to take them to be developed in a little camera store in Dexter. The lady came out and said, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but are you a professional photographer?” And I looked at her like she was nuts. She said, “I really like these. Do you mind if I show them to someone in the Michigan
athletic department?” By luck, by circumstance,
and by hopefully them liking my photographs,
they asked to meet me. Subsequently, I ended up creating a panoramic schedule poster, where I stitched 52 photographs
of the stadium together, which ended up being sent
out to all of the alumni, and I ended up subsequently getting hired by Michigan football and
the other sports programs to shoot their sports in a fine art manner while I was still being treated at the university health system, which was unimaginable to me at the time and was this launchpad to a
subsequent photography career. I’ve been very, very
fortunate to photograph some incredibly well-known athletes, personalities, politicians. It’s taken me to some incredible places. I’m very, very lucky in
that Michigan provided me with a real launchpad. From that tiny little
apartment in Ann Arbor, I was able to build a career
that really snowballed from there. – [Wade Cooper, D.O.] So Adam has a whole bunch
of different constellation of symptoms and syndromes
that comes together. Sometimes you think of these
all as separate issues, but many times they can be
explained all by the same underlying chemistry. So our thought with Adam is that he has one underlying problem, but it’s manifesting
in many different ways. The idea to help him is to control not just the underlying
problem as best we can but to treat whatever
symptoms are leftover. – [Adam] The condition I have
is one that is a little bit of trial and error. It takes a lot of… You really need a doctor who’s a partner, who’s a partner with you, who’s going to get your
personality and really have a understanding of your condition, a deep understanding of your condition, but also an interest in your condition. Dr. Cooper really has that. I would say one of my favorite
things about Dr. Cooper is he’s always willing
to think out the box. I’ve been through many
neurologists before I saw him. I got misdiagnoses, having brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, anxiety. I mean, you name it, I got told I have it. When I got here, Dr. Cooper’s confidence instilled confidence in me. What I have is still ongoing. It’s something that I have
to adapt my life around. I have days, last week I
was in the dark for two days with ice packs on my head. You see me today, and I
look great and I look fine, but I may go back to my hotel after this and lie in bed for three hours. But, in the future, they’ll
eventually get there, and they’ll find a cure. I’m only 32. I got here when I was 18. There’s a lot of things in front of me and a lot of years in front of me where hopefully there is a
pathway to eventual recovery, or at least more reduction of my symptoms. (quiet music)

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