My Chronic Migraine Story
I honestly do not remember my first migraine. As far as I can tell, I have always had migraines, but I was diagnosed around the age of 7. I would often rest my head during class after looking at the projector or staring at the chalkboard for too long, and an observant teacher recognized that this was more than just a tired or lazy student.
Of course, resting my head was not my only symptom – just the one that someone recognized. Until then it had been assumed that I had a weak stomach, as I often woke up vomiting from a “stomach bug” that lasted only a few hours. But for many years the nausea would hit before any head pain, so migraines were never thought of, even despite the family history.
The teacher suggested that I visit a doctor for an eye exam, which led to both glasses and the migraine diagnosis. I then began Bio-Feedback treatments and testing, and over the years have been on various preventative medications and responsive medications (including anti-nausea pills, muscle relaxers, and every pain medication available).
The hardest part of having migraines is that the only people who completely understand are other people with migraines. This often caused difficulties for me as I grew up, as I was the only person in my immediate family who got them. Over the years I have struggled continually – trying to convince school nurses that I need to go home sick, forcing my family to cancel plans last minute, missing work, facing ER doctors who would flip on lights and ignore my pain, and (worst of all) having people act as if I am weak for succumbing to “just a headache.”
Just A Headache.
My three least favorite words.
My “just headaches” have come close to destroying my life – they are a large part of why I am unemployed – but have not succeeded in its destruction. I am lucky to have married a wonderful man who understands how to work with my head, and my doctors continue to help me find new treatments.
I have resigned myself to accept the truth that I will always have migraines, and that they will continue to get worse as I get older. But as long as I have a strong support system, I will survive.