Fighting The Invisible Enemy
I remember hearing stories from my family members talking about how they didn't know how to deal with my bouts of screaming pain. As a baby, I've been told I would cry for hours on end for no reason whatsoever - even after having eaten or falling asleep. They didn't know how to deal with me, and before I could even speak I was allegedly spanked for doing so.
Growing up and dealing with school I would get blinding and crippling pains which would result in my crawling on the floor, or curling into a ball in tears. I did very well in school, and in 2nd grade was given an IQ score of 155. The problem was it was difficult to make it through a single day without any signs of pain enwrapping my head.
Specifically, I remember 2nd grade. I would get migraines and wouldn't be able to assist with activities because I was practically immobile while I tried to stay in class without going home. I remember my teacher saying "It seems like every time you have to do something, you get a migraine." I don't want to sound egotistical, but it felt like a personal attack when even at that age I felt like I was on the same level of adults with intellect. This was only one attack I took personally.
I would visit the emergency room almost once a week to have a shot of Demerol which acted like a fire extinguisher rather than a preventative measure. There was one time I saw a specialist and had about 48 different needles plunged into my back to try and determine what was causing the pain. The result? Dust and mold. That was the closest I ever got to any diagnosis.
Later on I would see my doctor which put me from one pill a day, to one I took three times a day. They worked at first, but my body would get used to the medicine and after a month or even less they were useless. I had a brain scan done, in which I'll never forget I was told I had "abnormal brain waves". I was then put on anti-seizure medication which I had to take THREE times a day. It didn't help, my migraines started to become random rather than daily.
At that point I ultimately gave up on any treatment that was offered, I didn't have any faith the "doctors" could fix my problem. This was about the time I was in Freshman year of high school. Rather than push on, if I felt any sign of pain I would stay home from school. From 9th to 11th grade my GPA dropped from a 3.8 to a 2.1, and I quit fighting because I felt like nothing and no one could help me.
The second attack I took personally was from a girl I was with for three years. I would miss dates, class, or events because I could barely walk. She dealt with it for a while and I'll never forget her text message I received saying she didn't believe I was suffering from pain. It was a very difficult pill to swallow. About a year afterwards, she got a migraine. I only heard from her once that day when we normally would speak every hour. She apologized for criticizing me, and she understood at that moment the pain I suffered from.
Now, I am 26. I rarely get my migraines anymore. I don't know if it was because I was growing up, or because I dropped my weight from 201 to 160, but I'm glad they're not here anymore.
Typically I know when I am about to get a migraine. I tend to lose the vision in my left eye, and I would test myself many times a day by trying to wave my fingers on my left hand while looking straight ahead to find out if I noticed it with my peripheral vision. I learned today it is called "aura". If I couldn't see it, I basically saw a watering wave of blackness which prevented me from seeing it.
If I was unable to see it, I learned to stop everything I was doing. No bike riding, no working, no driving... Nothing. I knew I needed to get to either the Emergency Room or my room. The ER would fix me with a shot, my room would fix me by curling into a ball on the floor and screaming in tears. I like to think I am a strong person, but migraines were a curse that I couldn't fight against.
I had to go on home schooling, and even once a week would be difficult because if it was a day I had a migraine I couldn't do it. So the days I didn't have them, I would complete a month's worth of schooling to make up for my disposition. I entered home schooling mid-junior year, and I completed it within 3 months.
Now at 26, I don't really get them anymore. When they do it though, they aren't headaches... They are full blown migraines which floor me and I can't see a doctor because I lack insurance. I have to wallow in pain and hope I can get to sleep to make it stop.
I currently am the owner of a business I started, and I thought they would come back. Ultimately, they haven't. In the last 6 years I've had maybe one migraine per year. The problem is with them being gone, I have fallen into suffering from different problems my family suffers from. Depression, stress, anxiety, and potential borderline personality disorder.
I still stay strong though, I try my best to keep my head up. Sometimes I wish I still had those blinding migraines rather than feeling like I am a deep pit in which there is no way out. Migraines to me at least made sense, now I am plagued by something I can't help.
I still show up to my shop every day, I always tell myself it could be worse. Even though they're gone, I'm not fully fixed.
I wanted to write this becaue I saw a commercial for mychronicmigraine.com, and after reading some stories I could completely relate. So, I needed to tell my story of experience with the condition.
I fully sympathize with those who suffer from this issue, and I fully understand what you all are going through. I don't want to say I'm any type of success story, all I can say is even though I grew out of them there is still an amount of conviction I have against this problem.
My name is Jeramy, and I send prayers and the greatest amount of empathy to all of those who are currently in this turmoil.
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?