Family Tradition – Migraines

It begins. Two people meet….Fall in Love….Get Married….Have children….Bonnie and Clyde get married in the 60’s. Both suffer from migraines. Clyde’s are so debilitating he cannot work his sheet metal job and has to take Cafergot and isolate himself in a dark bedroom for days. Bonnie also suffers, but as Moms often do, she keeps going. For years this is the cycle. Weather, stress, a flash of bright lights, lack of sleep, and Clyde is going to have a migraine. Clydes migraines are described as being ‘all over his head,’ and sometimes he has ‘floaters’ or ‘flashes’ as an aura. Bonnie keeps a sore area just over her right ear as the origination spot of her migraines. I cannot recall if Bonnie had an aura or not.

The oldest daughter, Toni, begins having migraines around adolescence. Toni has an aura, floaters, occasional flashes. Toni’s migraines are brought on by hormones, stress, bright lights. Toni is treated with Butalbital and other migraine preparations. Ibuprofen finally hits the OTC marked and 4 Advil manage Toni’s migraines most of the time. Toni is able to finish nursing school and has been productive ever since.

The youngest daughter, Jeannie, begins to have severe migraines at the age of 8. So severe she began to vomit and vomit till she has gotten dehydrated. She is shuttled back and forth from the pediatrician’s office and the ER most of her childhood. Imitrex is released but does not help. By this time Jeannie is a teenager, and most certainly addicted to prescription pain meds and requires a narcotic injection approximately one time a week. Jeannie drops out of high school after a bout of Mono. Eventually, Jeannie finds work but is unable to stay employed due to migraines or drug addiction. 2 months after Jeannie turns 21, she commits suicide.

Fast forward.
Toni has a child, Jack. Jack begins having migraines during the summer of 7th grade. Migraines seem to be triggered by dehydration, lack of sleep, too much screen time, weather changes, a flash of bright light. Jack needs isolation in a dark room and Advil to help manage his migraines. During 9th grade, the migraines amp up. Occurring at least once a week. The pediatrician has tried Imitrex, propanolol with little to no success. The pediatrician prescribes Topamax 50mg bid. Topamax side effect of cognitive issues were horrible. Jack could not respond normally, he was impaired. Finally a referral to a pediatric neurologist. MRI negative, change to 2 Aleve with Maxalt for migraine onset. Cut out all caffeine, decrease screen time, add Magnesium, Multivitamin, increase fluids, regular sleep time, and a better diet. Jack has had two migraines since starting this regimen 2 weeks ago.

Jack is struggling in school with feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work he has to make up. Jack has a 504 for his ADHD, but making up the school work missed due to migraines is the main issue. He is failing almost all of his subjects and is already required to attend both terms of summer school this year. I have just formally requested a special education evaluation from the school system.

I am searching for similar circumstances with teen migraines and the resistance felt from school systems in providing accommodation and special education. Also any effective measures used to combat this resistance.

Thanks!

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