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Never give up

Never, never, never give up

Often attributed to Winston Churchill, this statement is a reflection of my current mood as it relates to Migraine. As a lover of historical accuracy, I couldn’t resist the urge to search out the backstory. My UK friends will surely appreciate my desire to correctly quote one of their great leaders. As is so often the case, truth is so much more entertaining and enlightening than the legends that grow up around it.

This misquote originates from a speech Churchill gave at Harrow School on October 29, 1941.  While reading the full text of his speech, I discovered a much richer trove of wisdom that can be borrowed and applied to our long and tiring fight with Migraine.

“You cannot tell from appearances how things will go.
Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are;
yet without imagination not much can be done.”

We never know how well a treatment will work until we give it a try.  If we pre-judge success or failure based on the experiences of others, we may miss out on the perfect opportunity for lasting relief. Sometimes we have to get creative to find the right solutions.

“…this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never…never give in…
Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

We have no choice but to keep trying. Despite the stigma and poor treatment options, we keep trudging along, holding on to the hope that one day all our efforts and the efforts of others will result in a cure. Giving in to the torment of Migraine is not an option. We refuse to let Migraine win.

“Very different is the mood today…
There was no flinching and no thought of giving in;
and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside…
we now find ourselves in a position where I say that
we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.”

This is my mood after receiving good news today. It’s on days like this that I truly believe we will finally win the fight; that each of us will find relief, and that real answers will come in our lifetime. After 32 years of letting Migraine win, it took me eight long years to finally win a real victory. Today is the day when I finally got the upper hand. Many experts discouraged me from even trying. They said it wouldn’t work, but it did.

It has been three months, one week, and five days since my first round of Botox injections. I went from an average of 17 attacks to less than 5 per month and I haven’t had a Cluster Headache attack since before Christmas.  Many experts said it wouldn’t help and refused to try. But I knew my body. I knew the research. And I knew it was worth a try. Thankfully, two brilliant, compassionate doctors agreed with me. Their collaboration made it possible.

So despite a nasty respiratory infection that my doctor suspects is a mild case of pneumonia, I forced myself keep today’s appointment for a second round of injections. Since returning home, I have been too exhausted to move from my nest on the couch. But for once I am stuck here for reasons other than Migraine. That is reason to rejoice. I will keep fighting and I will win.

You can, too. You’re victory will likely come in a very different form, but you can have one, too. Just don’t give in to all the critics who say it can’t be done.  I lived for 32 years not realizing there was a better way. Once I decided to fight, it took me 8 years to find a workable solution.  I’ve been fighting to try Botox for three years. Don’t let anyone else tell you what you know in your heart is right for you.

Shortly after the D-Day invasion, General Eisenhower sent a broadcast out over occupied Europe. His message from that day contains the same spirit I want to share with you,

 “Although the initial assault may not have been in your own country,
the hour of your liberation is approaching.”

Please don’t ever lose hope and never, never, never give up.

p.s. Yes, I am taking my antibiotics. Yes, someone else drove me to the appointment. And yes, my family is taking good care of me. I have no plans to exert myself again until the doctor gives me the “all clear”. By the time you read this, I will be healthy again.


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.



  • Kayakerjo
    4 years ago

    Thanks. I really needed to hear this today. I’ve recently become chronic and need that hope that I can turn things around.

  • Teresa
    4 years ago

    I am so happy to hear that Botox is working for you. I was no so lucky. I did have to fight for a couple of years to try to get my insurance to cover it, and I finally switched insurance companies. They agreed to cover it, but after the deductible (which was $1000) and co-insurance, I still owe more than $1200 for 2 rounds of Botox which unfortunately did not help me. The crazy thing is, my doc was just about to give up because he had exhausted everything he could think of. He decided to try one last ditch effort and put me on a medicine called Cyproheptadine which is an antihistamine / anti-serotonin med along with Robaxin which is a muscle relaxer (for those lovely back of the neck migraines)and amazingly it is helping a little bit. I know most people on the outside would say “why are you excited about a little bit?”, but I know that those of us in this world all get excited about the smallest bit of relief. A few days of no pain in the middle of a month full of pain is a true blessing. I have been suffering for over 30 years, so be patient. I hope that everyone here has the power to never give up and keeps fighting for one more try.

  • grammayumyum
    4 years ago

    I have struggled with migraines since the mid-1970s. They went from episodic to chronic in the early 1990s. I have tried so many meds, most of which worked for only a short period of time. I learned how to inject myself with toradol and norflex to limit the number of trips to the ER. I was misdiagnosed with a specific type of epilepsy about 3 years ago, and was put on up to 5 seizure medications which GAVE me ALL kinds of seizures. I eventually asked to see an epileptologist, who hospitalized me for a weeklong videotaped EEG. She said I never had epilepsy, weaned me from the seizure meds, and referred me to a headache specialist. FINALLY, some hope! My headache specialist tried a couple natural treatments, because I did not want to go back on what I call “brain medications” after getting off the seizure meds. I could finally think after getting off the seizure meds, and did not want to take anything that would affect my cognition again. We tried a sphenopalatine nerve block, which helped decrease the headache pain, but did nothing for the knotted head/neck/shoulder/back muscles, the light/sound/motion sensitivity, mood swings, and nausea/vomiting when a migraine occurred. We added botox in addition to the nerve block, and miracles occurred! I am told that few people experience relief during the first round of botox, but I experiences about a 50% decrease in symptoms and some decrease in frequency. I just had my second botox treatment last week (still combined with the sphenopalatine nerve block), and my headache specialist tells me I will probably experience even more relief during successive treatments, given my improvement from the first botox treatment. Eventually the hope is to discontinue the nerve block. It is soooo worth it to me to see a specialist, even though I have to drive 9-10 hours round-trip for treatment!

  • Sarah
    4 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I have been struggling for 6 years and feel like nothing has worked. I have not tried botox yet, but I haven’t really looked into the side effects. I am always dealing with side effects of meds that don’t fix my headaches – causing me more pain to struggle through.

    Misery likes company – I am glad you kept fighting and have found a cure. It gives me hope!

  • Tammy Rome author
    4 years ago

    I certainly understand your frustration. I’ve been at this for about 40 years before finding a solution. However, it is most certainly not a cure. I am still vulnerable to attacks and get them at least 3 times each month. Plus, there are times when I can tell that a migraine is in progress even though I don’t feel the pain. Botox has not cured me and someday it may stop working. At that point, my doctors and I will have to find another solution. Migraine is an incurable neurological disease. I will have migraine for the rest of my life. I do have the best results I’ve ever had. That is great satisfaction and reason for hope.

  • dmae
    4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this, Tammy, and congratulations on your victory!

  • Luna
    4 years ago

    Wish I could post the Never Give Up poster of the Heron with a frog in its mouth and the frog has its hands around the Herons neck.

  • Tammy Rome author
    4 years ago

    Ha, ha! That’s a good one. Just pinned it and posted to my Facebook account in honor of you and everyone who fights chronic pain.

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