Life Long Fun and Games

I started having migraines when in grade school, but only when we went to Detroit Tigers baseball games. Every summer, my dad would take all 4 of us boys to a double header,and we always got a hotdog at the park. It never failed that on the way home, I was horribly sick with a headache, and nausea. It was not until years later that I put it all together that it was the nitrates in the hot dogs that triggered my migraines, as that was the only time I got migraines until I was about 18. Then, they were a regular thing. I must mention that in high school, I had at least 5 full blown concussions playing football. Once I was even knocked out completely. Now, they would not allow me to continue to play, but then, they didn’t have the same method of controlling how they handle concussion symptoms.

I also have a family history of migraines, so I can’t blame everything on the concussions. Nonetheless, I have had migraines since becoming an adult. I am now almost 58 years old, and it has become so bad that I am now on SS Disability for both migraines, plus a broken back sustained in my twenties. Hardly a day goes by that I am without pain, either with a migraine or a backache.

The worst issue is that now that the fed gov. is fighting the war against opioids, because of so many drug overdoses, that makes it bad for those of us who actually have a legitimate need for pain relief that until now have relied on narcotic medications.

Trust me, in over 40 years, I have continually tried most of the new and old treatments to find a workable method to keep from not being able to work. I spent 35 years in the same steel melting job, right out of high school, so I am not a person who is afraid to work. I have been to a headache clinic, had botox, pain block injections, participated in headache medication trials, had tests done at MSU in East Lansing, numerous CAT scans when they still were doing them routinely for migraine, a couple of MRI’s, and many other tests. I have been to so many neurologists here in my small city that none of them will see me again, as there is nothing that they can do to help me.

I am relatively certain that my story is not much different from any others. I have read some and I stand in awe at the strength that some people show in their fight against this hidden disease. I think that is perhaps the hardest part of all. My wife is fighting breast cancer, right now, and doing well, and winning. She also fell a month ago and broke her back. Those are things that people can actually see and touch, take an x-ray of and identify. Our migraines cannot be touched, seen or smelled. They are just as real, just as painful, and every bit as life changing as a broken back, which I also suffered, but that is something that shows up on an x-ray. We try to push through the pain, usually every day. On the days when we simply can’t, then we feel guilty for letting our loved ones down. I have 3 children from a previous marriage, and I had visitation with them every other weekend, plus at least a month in the summer. There were some weekends that I was so ill that I could not get them, with my present wife, and it hurt them, and also made me feel lousy also. My relationship is good with my kids now, it didn’t affect that, but it still was not what I wish it would have been.

What I wish everyone who was close to a migraine sufferer could understand and experience was not only the pain and illness of a migraine, but also the feelings of guilt and worthlessness that comes along with missing yet again another event.

I know that I am not a suicidal person, but I also understand that migraine disease can drive some people to that point. Not necessarily because of the horrible pain and nausea, etc, but due to the awful feelings of guilt and sense of worthlessness that often accompanies migraines. It takes a strong person to deal with this disease, and to continue on without letting anyone know you are suffering on the inside.

I wish everyone pain free days, and good luck in learning to deal with all the stress in your life.

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