My Childhood Friend: Migraine
When I was 2 I started telling my mother that my nose hurt. After a few trips to the doctor, I was diagnosed with migraines at the age of 2. I would have them once every few months when I was a kid. The usual throwing up, pain and aura. Whenever I had migraine aura when I was a kid, I would always see tiny red dots everywhere, kinda like the fuzz on a TV screen when there was no channel. But it always went away when the migraine did.
Around the age of 16 my migraines got dramatically worse. I remember one certain migraine attack I was sitting in bed and I looked to my mom and said, “I can’t move my legs.” She didn’t believe me at first, thought I was being dramatic, but sure enough, I was too weak to move them. Since then, every time I get an intense migraine, I cannot move my limbs and sometimes my neck or head. I wouldn’t even have the energy to talk, the energy to move my lips or my fingers was too great.
I was hospitalized many times. I can’t tell you how many EEG’s, CAT scans or MRI‘s I’ve had. I’ve been rushed to the emergency too many times to count because the pain was so great, it came in waves and I would lose consciousness from it. That still happens till this day, only the severe ones though. And the severe ones always happen once a month. The regular migraines happen at least 2 to 3 times a month.
Around then I had realized that those red dots I saw every time I had a migraine attack weren’t going away. 24 hours a day, every day. They never went away. I was telling myself that I was crazy, no one was going to believe me if I told them, so I didn’t tell anyone for years. Finally, about 3 years ago, I told someone. I stumped all doctors, neurologist, until I went to a certain doctor. She was specialized with sight and neurological things, not quite sure what the field was called. I told her about my dots, they never went away for years. How in sunlight I also saw water spots that moved down my line of vision like movie credits. How I also saw black dots that looked like bugs whenever I looked at a blue sky. I waited for her to give me that ‘this girl is crazy look’ again, but she nodded like she knew everything that I was going to say before I said it. This angel told me I had “Visual Snow” and only people with migraine disorders suffer from it. She showed me a site that people with this disease talked about their struggles and shared pictures that showed what they saw every moment of their life. I had never been so happy than I had in that moment. I cried hard in front of 5 doctors that were all gathered around me and the computer I was showing them what my sight looked like on a small program. Even when they told me there was no cure, I was still happy because I knew I wasn’t crazy. But the happiness didn’t last long.
My migraines got even worse, if you can believe it. What’s the longest you’ve had a migraine? A few days? A week? A few weeks? Mine was for 8 months. 8 months I lie in the dark, by myself. I read a lot because it was a lot less painful than the loud TV that flashed bright lights. I was on the computer a lot as well because the pixels mixed in with my Visual Snow. But I still couldn’t function on my own, and not in the outside world. I had to drop out of high school the beginning of my senior year. I LOVED school. I was that one kid that loved to take notes and to learn everyday. And I had to drop out. Not because I was lazy. Not because my grades were poor. Not because I got knocked up. But because of something so powerful that I could not control. And I think that hurt the most. The fact that all my dreams were falling apart in front of me because of something that wasn’t my fault, something I couldn’t control.
But a few months after that, I started to get better. I re-enrolled back into high school, but for home schooling online. The classes were way too easy, the teachers didn’t care. I think the worst part was that I never saw my friends for almost a year. It would get me too excited and my migraine would get worse. A lot of people turned their back on me, forgot about me.
But in May 2009, I finally walked across that stage. I felt like had died and dug my way out of my grave, when I crossed that stage. Everything I had been through, everything, and I still had graduated. It makes me angry to think of the no life’s that make poor excuses to not graduate when I went to hell and back in order to do so.
My migraines ceased for a while, but never quit attacking. I had quit my job when I dropped out of high school, but I got back into another job. But every job I ever get I have to quit because of my migraines. Half the time I’m scheduled to work I have to call off due to migraines or I leave early from work due to them. A loud noise, moving around too much or too fast, getting too worked up emotionally. They get triggered so easily at work. I think the only reason I never got fired was because of how hard and good of a worker I am when I’m not collapsing in pain.
So these days I have a babysitting job of watching my nieces and nephews when they’re sick or have no school, etc. I’m trying to get on Medicaid or Disability. We’ll see how the government reacts when I tell them I can’t work due to “silly little migraines”. I’m just trying to get by each day. Live. Love.
It has come to the point where I have to accept that migraines are a part of me as much as my arm or my eyes or my heart is a part of me. There’s not much I can do about it, so I might as well embrace it. Keep on truckin’, as long as I can walk that day that is.
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