A Not So Fairytale Life Story…

I was 12 years old on that dreadful school day so many years ago…the day my whole life would change and not for the better. I woke up with an unexplainable weakness and pain and an overwhelming fear of what could be wrong with my little body. I carried myself down the stairs and tried to gather myself enough to get ready for school. I had just got my hair cut the day before and so I stood in the bathroom as my mom curled my hair. All I remember from that point was grabbing onto the wall as everything went black…there I was on the bathroom floor, unconscious, my mom had just saved me from crushing my head on the tub. To this day she said she doesn’t know how she was able to carry me into the living room to get help. She sent my brother across the street for the EMT and after his quick assessment they rushed me to the hospital, and I still was still dead to the world…

I remember waking up to this crushing fist rubbing my sternum trying to bring me to. I tried opening my eyes but the piercing light, and the noise and the doctors all left me screaming in an unforgettable explosion of pain in my head…

After several boughts of tests and a week in the hospital my doctor diagnosed me with migraines. I had no idea the torturous path that was ahead of me and the struggles I would face with this mystery diagnosis I had just recieved.

I spent my junior high and high school years known as the “sick girl”. I was experiencing Basillar Migraines, and would pass out with everyone I got and there was no exception if one hit in the middle of class. My scariest one came when I was in highschool history class and I completely went blind in both eyes. I thought that was the end.

I spent more time in the hospital those years than I did in school. The stress of trying to make up homework all the time was almost more than I could handle. And the depression that set in everytime I missed a school function, prom, or hanging out with friends had devestating effects on my life and self esteem.

The day I graduated with my class was a bigger accomplishment for me than it was for most of my classmates. To have suffered and overcome the beaten path, was the encouragement I needed that day.

After many struggles with college and trying to work full time to pay all my medical bills, I was able to complete a course in Phlebotomy and Emergency Medical Technician at a local college. I went on to get a job at a local hospital.

The last year and a half have been the worse so far…I was hospitalized 5 times last year and nearly died twice from complications of the migraines. I suffered a life threatening Steven-Johnson’s Syndrome reaction to a new migraine medication they were trying and I spent 7 days in ICU fighting for my life. I am forever scarred from the burns the medication induced on my body. A couple months later I was hosptialized with a debilitating migraine and was over-sedated and unattended and went into respiratory arrest. For reasons I don’t understand to this day, I survived but not without permanent memory loss.

This year, I have had 2 hospitalizations and multiple ER visists…and as a result of the many absences from work…I lost my job this week after working 7 years there. I have spent so many days at work trying to push through the pain, stepping away to vomit and coming back trying to focus on the tasks ahead. But…it wasn’t enough. I am now at the young age of 26 considered disabled from these furious and debilitating migraines. I have met one trial after another and spent so long fighting to stay as a somewhat “normal” part of society. But with migraines, there is no such thing as “normal”. It’s a disease that is not well understood, it is very real, very debilitating, yet it is the first thing to be swept under the rug when you need medical help.

My migraines today are different than when I was young. I haven’t passed out from one in years. But I do experience stroke like symptoms with them. Facial numbness, speech slurring, etc. I ususally lose vision in one or both eyes, and in the last year I have had uncontrolable vomiting. Maxalt, Zofran and Vistaril work well if I catch it in time…if not, I have to give myself suppositories for pain and shots for nausea/vomiting. And most often I end up in the ER/Hospital for fluids and pain control if unable to get under control at home. Hormonal migraines have been the worst and it’s an ongoing battle trying to settle things down.

I have lost many friends along the way, I have been called some horrible things, and judged without an ounce of compassion. Now, this battle just got bigger and I’m going to fight harder to raise awareness to my community and to the world that these are NOT just a “headache”, they are my life and a battle that I can’t afford to lose! My life quote has become, “Dont wait for the storm to pass, Instead learn to dance in the rain.” There is a lot of rain and a lot of storms in my life right now, but I’ve got an umbrella and my rain boots and I’m heading into battle…

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.

Comments

View Comments (18)
  • Margaret Gentry
    7 years ago

    My son is just beginning his journey on this narrow and thorny path. I have seen the ‘dismissal’ and demotion of his migraine experience to one of an inconvenient and perhaps pesky headache. So thankful that you shared your story. Here’s to heightening the awareness within social and medical communities.

  • Dana Curtiss
    7 years ago

    Thank you Margaret. I think it is so important to raise awareness and help lessen the stigma of the migraine that is out there in society and the healthcare system. I’m so sorry to hear your son is suffering and I wish you both the best.

  • Michelle Benton
    7 years ago

    Awareness and better health care are needed for migraine sufferers! It really is a battle if I do not have a migraine I am worrying about how or what will give me the next one. I just want to be free from this grueling pain! I hate that anyone has to have migraines! Please spread the awareness!

  • Dana Curtiss
    7 years ago

    Michelle, I wish you all the best as we work towards raising awareness and finding better health care for all who suffer from this debilitating disease. I too understand worrying about every minute of everyday~what will trigger the next one. Remember to dance in the rain!

  • Leah K Watson
    7 years ago

    honey my struggle is not as bad as yours.but migraines do cripple your life, no matter the age.my kitchen has wat my twins refer to as mommy’s migraine meals…stuff they can fix in the microwave or eat directly out the fridge or pantry…some days are better than others..dealing with the VA the meds that do work they no longer carry or will prescribe narcotics for any period of time..it is hard, but hang in there & keep fighting.have you tried going to a chiropractor? some people said the agjustments helped easy the pain quicker than the shots…

  • Dana Curtiss
    7 years ago

    Thank you…I have tried a chiropractor, and it does help if that is the cause of the migraine. I wish you well in your battle with migraines as well. God Bless!

  • Barbara Collins
    7 years ago

    Boy, I thought mine were bad. This is terrible. They do get a little less with age so don’t give up hope.

  • Dana Curtiss
    7 years ago

    Thank you for the encouragement Barbara. I look forward to better days and less attacks! God bless you!

  • Gina Marie Johnson
    7 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your story It has also encouraged me today its the 3rd day in a row having one after a record breaking 5 days without one God bless you Dana C.

  • Dana Curtiss
    7 years ago

    Gina, thank you for reading my story. My hope was to encourage others in the battle and to help in raising awareness of the disease. Good luck and God bless you as you work towards better days!

  • Cj Johnson
    7 years ago

    I go through struggles all the time with migraines and I feel your pain.. and those people that you lost in your life they were not your friends and I really hope they understand what pain is one day… I wish you good luck with everything that you are going through and I really hope you get better really soon cause you deserve it..

  • Dana Curtiss
    7 years ago

    You are so right, I have learned the hard way that those people that leave your side when you need them most, were never your true friends. I’m sorry that you suffer from migraines as well and I wish you all the best. I’m thankful I found this site and am hopeful in raising awareness and making new friends along the way!

  • Christine Poynter
    7 years ago

    My son has been suffering from severe migraines for a couple of years now. Now 13, he too has missed many days of school, school functions and fallen out touch with many of the friends he was in school with from preschool on. It’s a battle to fight through the stigma that comes along with this whole notion people have that it’s “just a headache” many of them have never experienced anything so debilitating and life changing. Thank you for sharing your story. IT is very hard on us moms too. I wish I could take his migraines for him. Good luck and Godspeed in your battle! Keep dancing in the rain!

  • Dana Curtiss
    7 years ago

    Thank you so much Christine. I’m so sorry to hear your 13 year old son is battling migraines. It is so devastating at that age, when you need your friends, and to be able to attend school and school functions. And it is so hard on you as a mother, I know and understand this as I have seen the pain in my own mother’s heart because she has taken care of me and been by my side through it all. God bless you and I will pray your son finds health and answers!

  • Christine Poynter
    7 years ago

    Oh I thought this was on Twitter and not Facebook. Lane’s doing great right now. We are figuring out how to keep his managed.

  • Sherry S. Conde
    7 years ago

    Poor Lane!! I pray.

  • Janene Zielinski
    7 years ago

    You sound like an incredible person and your story has encouraged me in my struggles. Thank you for sharing.

  • Dana Curtiss
    7 years ago

    Thank you, and I’m glad that my story was able to encourage you. I hope it will encourage many others as well.

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