5 years too long

5 years ago, my whole life was turned upside down because of chronic headache and migraines that I suffered from daily. From being a student who did not miss class to a student who missed weeks of school because of something I could not control. I knew that something was wrong and I wanted to get rid of them as fast as I could because I wanted to have my life back. I was not aware that this issue was not going to be resolved for 5 years.

Senior year of high school came around and I had already been through 2 neurologists, an acupuncturist, an allergist, a chiropractor, a hypnotist, and many other doctors and x-rays that I was starting to think there was no hope. Every time someone recommended a new doctor or a new medicine, I went along with it because I was becoming hopeless.

When it came time to apply to college, I was hesitant to do so because I did not know how I would control my migraines, have a job, and go to school full time. BUT I also knew that I could not put my life on hold because of something I did not have control over. I knew that I wanted to leave Texas because I wanted to be more independent but I was scared because how was I going to survive my migraines without the support of my family that I had in junior year and senior year of high school?

After months of deliberating, I decided to go to school in Boston because yes it was far, but I had some family members that lived in Massachusetts if I needed support. I knew that I needed to push past my migraines and start fresh in a new place with new people. For some reason, I thought that with a new place and a new fresh start, my migraines would magically disappear, I was wrong.

During freshman year, the thought of going back home for school was in my mind a handful of times because my migraines were out of control. I continued to get them daily and I still could not control them.

Sophomore year: During winter break I went home to visit my family and to see a new neurologist who was highly recommended. I was hesitant because I was all “doctored” out. This doctor recommended Prodrin, a migraine medicine, which gave me some relief. Within 15 minutes my migraine would be mostly gone, but I was so out of it. I was loopy and I knew that if I took a pill, I would not be able to function for at least 5 hours. This resulted in homework not getting done in time. When I went home for spring break, I went back to the doctor and told him about how this medicine was working, but it had horrible side effects. The doctor proceeded to recommend botox for my migraines. I said yes, because who can turn down botox, RIGHT??

I had to get the botox every 3 months, 31 injections, and it was one of the most PAINFUL experiences I have ever endured. The first 2 times, were unbelievable. It took about 2 weeks to kick in and it last about 2 months. During those 2 months, I had migraines every FEW days which to me was AMAZING. The downside was that the last month before getting the injections again, was horrible. I was in so much pain because the botox was wearing off. The third time I got it, it did not work at all, which made me sorta relieved because I did not want any more injections.

About 2 months I googled random ways people were getting rid of their migraines because I was starting to believe I was doomed due to the face I could not get rid of the migraines. I came upon something I had never heard of, migraine surgery which is performed by a plastic surgeon, Dr. Amirlak at UT Southwestern in Dallas, TX.

I was hesitant to even make an appointment because I hate needles and the idea of surgery made me want to throw up. I talked to my mom about the idea and realized that a meeting with this doctor would not hurt. After meeting with him and being told “Jessie, you are a candidate for this surgery” I was in shock. Would I really consider this surgery? Would I really want to be cut open? CAN THIS REALLY WORK? I was so confused and speechless. The doctor asked me how I felt about the surgery and the first thing that came out of my mouth was “I want this surgery because I want my life back. I do not want to question if I can go out with friends or if I will get a migraine.”

After hour long discussions with my parents, we decided to go ahead with the surgery. Unfortunately, our insurance company, Cigna, would not cover the surgery because it is considered “experimental”. Fortunately for me my parents were willing to help me out and proceed with the surgery.

I had the surgery 2 weeks ago. They decompressed the nerves in my forehead and took out a bone that was pushing on a nerve behind my right eye. This surgery was 4 hours and I had a lot of swelling. It looked like someone beat me up and they won. With the help of my parents, the nurses, and even the doctor, my overnight stay in the hospital went very smoothly. I am already seeing improvement when it comes to my migraines. I have gone 5 days without a migraine and I have not had that in 5 years.

I do not regret having this surgery. I do regret not looking into it sooner though. This doctor is amazing and he is very hands on when it comes to questions regrading this surgery. 2 weeks later, I do still have some swelling around my right eye and I do have my stitches in still but they will dissolve soon. I am so thankful for this surgery and this doctor (Dr. Amirlak).

I wanted to share my story so that people know that there may seem to be no hope, but there is. I tried a hypnotist, which to me was probably the biggest waste of time, but to someone else, it MIGHT be their solution. Everyone has their ways of dealing with things. So why not try everything till you get the results that you want? I am thrilled to say that I am on the road to having least migraines or even no migraines with the help of my Doctor, Dr. Amirlak.

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

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