I always dreaded the day my daughter would show signs of migraine and now at 10 years of age it seems to be happening. After a week of a headcold and on / off headaches she described a visual aura to me. She was scared at the way her vision was disturbed. Thankfully it didn’t last long. I feel so sad that she might have inherited my migraine. I haven’t mentioned to her that she might have migraine, my instinct says I should wait as long as possible before “labelling” her with a disease. I’d love to know what other Parents think?
I understand how you feel as both my children who are now young adults have migraine disease. I also appreciate your hesitancy in your daughter having a “label,” but the reality is the sooner she is diagnosed and treated the better off she will be. Children who have episodic (occasional) migraine can become chronic in a relatively short amount of time. Here is a bit of information on children and migraine; https://migraine.com/blog/yes-kids-can-have-migraines/
Trigger identification and management is very important for people with migraine. Triggers can include fluctuating hormones, getting dehydrated, certain foods, smells, lights, irregular sleep schedules and many other things. Let me share information on triggers with you; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-trigger-management/. One of the first things I would have my daughter do is start keeping a detailed migraine journal. This will tell her (and you!) any triggers and patterns her attacks may have. You can use pen and paper or try one of the many apps available now. The Migraine.com Migraine Meter is one such app you can try; https://migraine.com/migraine-meter/.
An appropriate diagnosis is the first and most important part of the story, and the best jumping off point. Once that is done, you’ll have a place to start and decisions to make. Until then, you’re just guessing.
There are a cople ways to think about the situation, and our family did it two different ways.
When my infant son was diagnosed, we didn’t have much choice but to incorporate the changes necessary to minimize his problems. You can’t do that with a child and hide it because the fact is, they know something is wrong. You cant hide that kind of thing from them.
As an adult, you are probably familiar with the feeling of being afraid of the unknown. Adults are a bit better equipped to deal with the unknown than a child though. To a child, the unknown is something to be afraid of. In our circumstance, our child was so young that there was no way to initially explain to him what was happening, so we saw the devastation to him each time he had an attack he didn’t understand. Then there was the devastation to us as parents too because we couldn’t explain to him what he needed. In the end, as he grew, it was a part of his life like every other part of his life. Sad, yes. But better in his case than if he’d had to live afraid and demoralized because he was different than all the other kids, but didnt know why. Nope, he didn’t like making changes, but he also knew what would happen if he wasn’t careful. This also gave him power over his disease, and power over the beast is really important for self esteem.
With our second child, we knew what was happening, but it happened later in her life. We didn’t sit her down and tell her. She already knew. We began treating her in ways she was already familiar, and there were few questions. The worst were during attacks when she would bury herself under her comforter in bed and cry while asking me “Mommy, why does this always have to happen to us?”
I usually encourage parents to treat their kids like any other. If she was missing a leg, you’d know what to say and do. Migraine really is no different. You can either empower them and teach them that they are different because they have Migraine, but they’re also just the same as their other friends. They are warriors who happen to have hidden super powers, and a family who not only understands, but also loves them and is there to help them in every possible way. When other people see how they live with their disease, they also get the opportunity to see how to do it well… With bravery, strength and responsibility. They are teachers each day they live with their disease. So are we.