The Good 'Ol Days

Until April 25, 2012 I was a former migraine sufferer. I was someone who won. The almost daily migraines I survived as a teen didn’t rule my life anymore. Divinity brought Dr. Jaquie Roberts into my life, and with her cranio-sacral therapy they were gone forever. Granted, I still made the hour long drive to see her every six months or so, and paid for each and every session out-of-pocket because 12 years ago no one knew, or covered, what this chiropractor was doing to actually heal.

I remember tell my parents about the stabbing pain around the age of 6. They were watching a movie after I had gone to bed. I kept getting out of bed, dizzy, shaking and nauseous. They said, “you just have a headache, go back to bed.” I trusted them and tried to obey but I couldn’t stay in bed. The pain was too great. My parents must have the answer. They provided every happiness to me as a child (with exception to anything that costs money, such as regular medical care). I trusted them to fix everything. They must be able to take the pain away. I had interrupted “Far and Away” with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman one to many times. If I got out of bed again I would regret it, I was warned; I blacked-out in the kitchen on my last trip back to bed.

By my early teens I was no longer able to attend school or any other scheduled activity. My dreams of becoming a teacher were gone. Most of my days were spent on the mattress on my bedroom floor, in the darkness my father fashioned for me by stapling thick black vinyl fabric across my windows. I can still remember the pain in his eyes every time he brought out his staple gun and tacked up those hideous strips of plastic. I hated them so much that on my good days I would rip them down in anger at the disease. Hundreds of twisted metal staples ran across the window frame accounting for each and every migraine Only the emotional pain of seeing their child reduced to this could surpass the physical pain of migraine. My mom couldn’t even come into the blacked-out room without leaving in tears. Then she would apologize for making too much noise.

At 18 years of age a received a hand written note from an unknown physician. Dr. Jaquie, as I would later come to know her, wrote that she had met my mother and heard about my condition. She would treat me free of charge for an entire year if I would only give her methods a try. Like any other migraine sufferer I was sick and tired of trying what every Tom, Dick and Harry felt the need to advise. I held out for sometime. However, after my third failed trimester at Portland Community College I called Dr. Jaquie and scheduled an appointment with the lady that said she, “manipulated the plates in one’s head”. I’d give this quack a try.

Within ten sessions the migraines were gone.

I graduated Suma Cum Laude with BA in Early and Elementary Education with minors in Asian History and International Politics. I married the man far beyond my dreams. I moved to Honduras with him to help direct an orphanage of 32. We returned once our student loans came due and I accepted a position at the best and most private public school in town. We adopted a dog. I earned my MS in Curriculum and Instruction. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. We bought a house. On November 23, 2011 we were excited to learn we were expecting our second. A son.

On Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 3:28AM I woke up to make yet another trip to the bathroom. After several attempts to raise my third-trimester belly out of bed I began waddling to the restroom. I felt my entire right side fail, or more accurately, I didn’t feel my right side at all. I crawled back to bed knowing something was terribly wrong. I woke my husband, “I can’t feel my…” I couldn’t finish…the right side of my face slid down. I was in the ER in fifteen minutes being treated for what everyone assumed was a stroke.

It wasn’t a stroke. “A-typical migraine variant” was what the attending neurologist said. Fear washed over me. Not AGAIN!! I can’t start the life of migraines again! I have 25 students, two children and a husband now. I was given narcotic pain medication and released. It took 38 hours to recover. Friday came and so did another “A-typical migraine variant”. Another trip to the ER made it clear that this was not the place for care. By Monday I was back on Dr. Jaquie’s table. Nevertheless, this time it wasn’t working.

Home. Back in bed. Out of the classroom. Back in the dark. Back in the waiting room of countless physicians, chiropractors, naturopaths and pastors. Back to trying to track triggers. Back to asking why.

They said the hemiplegic migraines would subside when the boy was born. On Thursday, July 19, 2012 Adam was born. He brought with him five straight days of migraine, shattering the joy of his arrival, almost.

My classroom is filled with 21 new students whom I have never met. My mother and father now live in my basement apartment in order to care for their grandchildren when their mommy is locked away in dark and silent pain. Three to five days a week I hear my two-year-old ask, “Mommy do you have a ‘bad-graine’?” to which I have to whisper an affirmative reply. My husband accepted a new, more secure, job where he can leave and return when necessary.

Adam is five months old now. Him and his sister are the light, love and laughter in my life. I live for those good days, remembering that this trail has not rendered me disabled, it is only disabling. Had I suffered a stroke I would not have days filled with the joy of life-as-it-should-be; a stroke comes and leaves you disabled everyday of the rest of your life. Migraines come and disable their victims one day at a time. There is still hope for tomorrow, even if I am scared to fall asleep for fear of waking in pain.

We live for the good days. We are all searching for whatever the cure is this time, refusing to believe that this fight will last our lifetime.

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