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Has being a person with chronic migraines hurt your life goals or dreams?

I am a male putting myself through school, working every day I’m at college and suffering from chronic migraines. When i miss days teachers or my boss thinks I’m just being lazy. I am registered with my university as having a disability but that only grants me the ability to not get marked down on attendance ( and only for the teachers that agree to let me miss days ).

I have to work twice as hard and with half of the information when I miss class, and as a result my GPA takes hits and my spirit is weakened. I am highly intelligent, but my grades don’t always reflect that. Has being a person with chronic migraines hurt your life goals or dreams?

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  • Halliesuffers
    1 year ago

    I have been suffering with chronic migraine sense I was 10 years old. Im 22 now. Thought as I got older then would go away or get better but I think they have got worse. It has changed my whole life. Want to attend college but had to put it on hold because I’m always in pain. Sick of taking meds that never work ! Just don’t know what to do anymore! Its getting so old ! Done been to 5 neurologist and been on all kinds of meds but nothing really seems to help ! Im feeling hopeless at this point ! Bern having a lot of pain behind my eye now and it will move from side to size ! Its awful !

  • tlocker
    1 year ago

    Sounds like Universities have a LONG way to go to learn about these disorders. Or any brain disorder for that matter. I know counseling centers on campuses (paid for by student tuition and fees) that turn away anyone with a serious mental disorder, even though people with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder are earning Ph.D. and M.D.’s every year, and contributing to science in their own unique ways.

  • tlocker
    1 year ago

    Oh yeah, I kept seeing under-treated psychiatric clients in my rural area. I was ready for a change, and decided to shift careers. I applied, and as thrilled to be accepted to VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY’S 2 year Intensive FNP-Psychiatry program.
    I knew this meant a real change in career track, months living 12 hrs from my husband, non-stop studying, and $60K /year in tuition and fees, (plus living expenses) but kept thinking how much my community would benefit, and I love an intellectual challenge! The second week of school first migraine hit, it was downhill from there. NO HELP to be found anywhere; despite letters from my Neurologist of 7 years, a Migraine Specialist. The Nursing Department continued to treat me like ‘a slacker’, and on one occasion implied in a meeting that I had a ‘drug problem’! (not taking narcotics, btw). I fought my way through classes with pounding pain, meetings with supervisors and Mid-Level Directors for two horrible semesters when days were missed; culminating with the Dean of Nursing, a representative of the schools Department of Disabilities sitting beside her, and heard her say they “cannot accommodate intermittent disorders in their training program”.
    They seemed surprised I chose not to return, even phoning to ask why, and requesting I write a letter outlining my experience. REALLY? Um, NO, look at YOUR records. And so was out the time, money, and for the first time in my life had been unable to achieve a personal goal by hard word, dedication and sheet determination. It hit my self-esteem a blow I still feel.
    It also still stuns me; how could a NURSING program–at VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY– one of the top schools in the country NOT be able to accommodate such a common disorder as migraine, and how can they get away with it!?. Someone mentioned lawsuit, but then someone else mentioned deep pockets of such a university, so I resigned myself to taking a huge financial loss. Since then I’ve been, and now, am gainfully employed (SO fortunately with a positive company and a supervisor who has close family with migraine so understands on a very personal level).
    Still I am angry. No where PRIOR to any of this was it discussed, and it never even occurred to me to discuss my migraines; my skills and work efficiency has been such that every job I’d had accommodated my migraines. But, there are still a lot of folks here with severe mental illness not getting good psychiatry care, and i have another six years to continue my student loan payments for a huge FAILURE by the VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF NURSING to understand or accommodate a very common illness? I pray their students learn more compassion than their program displays.

  • tlocker
    1 year ago

    Sorry for the typos, I was a little upset writing this. T

  • GardensatNight
    1 year ago

    Yes. I first developed migraines around age 30 and became chronic 5 years later. I am relatively lucky in that sense, despite the fact that I am so sick and homebound now, because unlike many people, I got those 30 years to be pretty much healthy.

    For 14 years I got to have the career I always wanted. I had wanted to do what I did since I was a kid. But when I became chronic, I became so light sensitive, I couldn’t tolerate man-made light at all. I got daily migraines/debilitating headaches. I kept torturing myself, not wanting to give it up, for three years after I got sick, until the point that I was getting sick with unstoppable migraines every day I went to work. My migraines became intractable and no longer responded to medication. I could no longer tolerate sound. I could no longer use my eyes to read and had to start learning to use a screen-reader to access a computer. I couldn’t continue working.

    It has been an adjustment. At times I feel like a failure because I was always a go-get-em sort of person who worked and gardened on the weekends and cleaned the house and never sat still… and now I am confined to the house, cannot drive, cannot go to a store and never leave the house except to go to the doctor.

    I’ve had to adjust my goals to things I can manage with the body I got. I can cook healthy meals on days I feel good. I can clean the house if I don’t overdo it. I concentrate now on being healthy. I have career goals that I can work on at home that are more self-paced. As much as part of me misses my old job, it is not helpful to our household if I have to be in the infusion center three times a week to the ER another day, then to the neuro. Sometimes that might happen anyway because you can’t control this disease, but I remind myself I am contributing by doing the best I can to take care of me right now.

  • katydid_315
    1 year ago

    Hey. I’m currently a grad student and have had chronic migraines since I was 6 (I’m 22 now), so I definitely feel your pain, pun intended.

    I don’t know where you go to school, but I would consider meeting with your University’s disability department again. Over my years in school, my accommodations have changed including flex scheduling, which I think is similar to what you mentioned, decreased distraction environment for testing, stop-time out for quizzes and exams, time and a half of exams, and audio-recording privileges for lectures. At least at my school, which is in the US midwest, my professors were legally obligated to comply with the letter of my accommodations. That knowledge coupled with clear and consistent communication gave me bargaining power to have difficult conversations early-on with my professors. In the future, if you aren’t already, I would talk to your professors about your accommodations/disability during the first week of classes so they know who you are and have an opportunity to ask questions.

    Beyond that, don’t give up. It really sucks a lot of days. I’m at 65% migraine days this semester, and it’s rough. I let myself have time to mourn the suck, but then I remind myself of why I’m pursuing my education. My plan has changed a bit, I wanted to be a PA and honestly, I don’t think I could handle that in this season, but through classes and life experiences I found something that I’m even happier studying: Dietetics. It may take you a bit longer and you WILL have to work a heck of a lot harder than the average student, that’s just the nature of migraines, but that doesn’t make you less intelligent. You’re GPA does NOT reflect all that you are going through or capable of, nor does it reflect your worth. Don’t give up; migraines suck, but you’ll get there. Rooting for you!

  • Tamara
    1 year ago

    Yes. Health has changed my plans and dreams many many times, and each time it was for the best (even it is taking me years to figure out and accept the detours).

    Since I was 6 I have wanted to become a vet – typical animal crazy kid. Got very good grades, worked hard volunteering at the shelter plus full course load (high school) plus a vet clinic job. Everything was looking good, just needed to continue and everything would be amazing! Well, enter a very severe TMJ flare which caused me to see a specialist densit which led from braces/surgery to neck never remaining stable – they over corrected the jaw alignment which caused my neck ligaments to be stretched and unable to keep my spine in proper alignment. And asthma started and severe food allergies. I almost gave up, marks were down, felt horrible …… I pushed through and brought marks up, more volunteering and was very good about managing my health.

    I realized in those years that I can’t handle the stress and fast paced life that being a vet would be. I also only got waitlisted for vet school for the 3 tries. Plus, through the allergies I ended up learning ALOT about holistic medicine and other ways to heal. I realized I would have hated vet school with all the surgery and only using drugs. I wanted to focus on nutrition and prevention – I would get a nutrition degree and then bypass vet school. Great! Continue working hard towards dream.

    During this time I also starting working at a pet store and found out I am amazing at sales and really enjoy seeing all the products. So I found a sales rep position in the pet industry and went into all the local stores. I loved it. Thought I could be a sales rep full time to get money and finish school and then part time once I opened my own nutrition business.

    Then the migraines went chronic … daily unending pain with flares of bedridden, kill me now flares that ended numerous times into the ER. Also in a car accident which was the migraines’ fault. Tried to heal …. didn’t work, dropped to part time and half my accounts …. nope still too much. Down to 28 accounts from almost 200. Nope – still missing 2-3 days a week so the boss let me go. I was the top sales rep for all of Canada in our one line.

    I am still working on this part because I am heart broken I can’t continue my nutrition degree (3/4 done), due to the pain and memory issues. Can’t even remember all the basic info about the vitamins. I have no job because I can’t handle 4 hour days, can’t finish school. I can’t do anything with this pain.

    But …. looking back – each hard time was a necessary step to figure out what is important to me. It’s really hard when you can’t follow your dream and have the life you think you want. But I keep telling myself – there is a reason, something I have to learn. It’s ok if my life looks differently now. This is where my faith really helps me.

    It will get easier over time, you start to identify with new things and who you are really. There will be bad days of course but overtime it will start to make sense. Just have to live in the moment and enjoy each moment without concern on what could happen.

    Yoga, meditation, and counselling has greatly helped me. I did not plan to be 29, single and having to live with my mom. But, that’s ok…. there will be a purpose and ways you can continue living.

    I applaude you for getting as far as you are in university. That was a horrible hard time with just a couple migraines a month, let alone the horrors of chronic. Sorry it’s so long and might not be clear …. higher pain day

  • ricksy author
    1 year ago

    Thank you for your story and your reply, it was very helpful and insightful. I wish you better health to come.

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