Welcome to Resistance
Below is an autobiography assignment written by my 15 year old son detailing his ongoing battle with Chronic Daily Migraine. He has given me permission to share it. This condition has changed all of our lives over the last year and a half. I’m so proud of him for trying to regain some of his old life while enduring a constant painful migraine at the same time. He is my hero!
Welcome to Resistance
My life has always been so easy, too bad it didn’t last. I never realized that one day I’d have to fight for it. My name is Tristan, and I’m a fifteen year old high school freshman. I live in Salem Oregon, a town where nothing exciting ever seems to happen. I grew up like any other normal kid, nice house, good parents, an annoying little sister, two dogs, and way too many family activities. I did well in school and had a lot of friends. I’ve always been really tall, and that gave me a nice advantage in sports. I started playing basketball and baseball when I was six, and never stopped. Being a MLB pitcher is one of my better dreams. I also like music. When I was ten I convinced my parents that it was a good idea to buy me a guitar. I love to play, and am in my 5th year of private lessons. By the eighth grade I was busy in the jazz band, playing sports and trying to get a 4.0 gpa. Life was good, and then one day, it wasn’t.
On November 2nd, 2011 I got a headache. Not the type of headache where you take two Tylenol and poof it’s gone. No, that kind of magic no longer existed in my world. Nothing could get rid of this. I was super sensitive to light and sound, nauseous, vomiting, and in constant, throbbing pain. I became a prisoner of my own room, the quietest place in our house. Over the next year I saw four different neurologists and five specialists. I was put on every headache medicine there is. I had three ER visits, two MRI’s, two spinal taps, acupuncture, a sleep study, was admitted to the hospital three times, and had two really painful surgeries. First I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, because I have high pressure in my spinal fluid. Then it was changed it to Chronic Daily Migraine. In November of 2012 I was started on Botox injections. Forty shots around my head that I have to repeat every ten weeks. For the first time ever, something actually worked. It didn’t take the headache away, but it made it a lot less painful. My neurologist is really encouraged, and still feels that I might outgrow this at some point. He thinks the migraines might be connected to the huge growth spurt I had over the last two years. But for now we wait and see as the Botox builds up in my system. I want to be hopeful, but thinking about how everything in my life has changed makes that really hard.
Chronic Daily Migraine has pretty much ruined everything. Doing anything in the sunlight was difficult, including baseball. I couldn’t play basketball either because the gym was too loud. Running was a joke. Watching tv, being on the computer, or trying to read something made it worse. Going to movies or Blazer games was impossible. I had to quit the jazz band. I missed more than 100 days of school in the 8th grade, and barely passed. I spent most of the summer at doctor appointments. I had to start freshman year at South Salem High School going half days, like some sort of “Special Ed” kid. In October I had the surgery from hell, Sinus Turbinate Reduction and Septoplasty. This ended up making me so much worse, and I was forced to do SK Online home school because I literally couldn’t get out of bed. I had no control over anything anymore. Once my surgery healed, I decided I was done sitting around, doing nothing, and waiting for a make believe cure.
The battle against my headache began. Resisting the pain so I could go back to some of my old activities was, and still is, really hard. The first thing I wanted to do was get back in shape. I was 6’2”, 195 pounds, and weak. My dad and I started lifting weights again, and a few weeks later I went back to lessons with my pitching coach. I also signed up for additional classes for the next term of SK Online. My goal was to stop falling so far behind in everything. I was feeling pretty good by February 2013, thanks to the Botox, and asked if I could try out for the South Salem High School baseball team. My parents and doctors were totally behind me. The school required a lot of extra paperwork, and had to apply for an Eligibility Waiver with the OSAA. Once everything got approved, I was ready for try outs, or so I thought. Try outs were a totally exhausting week of eliminations. My migraine pain was at its worst, and the nausea came back. I was not going to let it stop me this time. I kept pushing, and every day was a struggle. The next week the coach called. I made the freshman team. Welcome to resistance evil headache.
Chronic Daily Migraine is anything but easy. I don’t know what my life has in store for me, but hopefully it’s all good, and the headaches are long gone. No matter what, I plan on following my dreams, and fighting for them, if I have to.