Disabled Veteran with Migraine

It all began on a sweltering spring day at Camp Victory in Iraq 16 years ago. Three days prior to what I now know as my first migraine, a haboob passed through our camp lingering for two days. Looking back, the pain wasn’t intense, however, I will never forget my first experience of photophobia.

Photophobia

I woke with a mild headache and dressed into my uniform. The moment I opened the door of my trailer unit and took in the bright morning, the sensation of thousands of needles penetrating my eyes nearly sent me reeling to my knees.

My medical questionnaire

A few months later, as I was preparing to return home to the states, we were required to fill out a health questionnaire about what we experienced while in the country. “Did you ever have a headache” was one of the questions. Five years later, I was glad I answered yes to that question. I finished my time with the military without seeking medical help for my headaches. My migraines rapidly intensified and became more frequent.

Filing for VA disability

In 2011 my migraines took over my life. I called in sick over 50 times that year alone. Just before Thanksgiving, I quit my job while filling for VA disability. Had I not answered yes to that one question there would have been no service connection to my disability and my claim would have been denied. It took nearly 3 years of appeals and 160 pages of medical proof, in the end, while I always experience a mild to moderate migraine, I know I can count on my VA doctors to do their best to make life a little more bearable.

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