I spent the last couple hours trying to sleep off the migraine that I woke up with today. This is my 3rd migraine in the last 5 days, so I can’t say I’m surprised that this is happening. As I laid in my bed this morning, I tried to mentally start writing this blog post on a topic I wasn’t completely sold on yet, so that when I felt up to writing it, I would already have it mapped out. Then it hit me. Why don’t I write about the thing that controls almost every aspect of my life??! That thing is my chronic headaches and migraines.
I’ve been hesitant to write about this topic because I don’t want it to seem like I’m looking for anyone’s pity, but I think it will feel good to tell someone what the heck is going on inside my body. It all started when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I started getting headaches all the time. And when I say all the time, I mean all the time. I began noticing that the headaches never actually went away. From the time I woke up, to the time I went to bed, I’d be in constant pain. However some days, that headache pain was way worse and we eventually realized they were migraines. After years of seeing countless doctors and specialists, and getting test after test done, I finally got a diagnosis: Chronic Daily Headache with Chronic Migraines! (WOOHOO!! FINALLY SOME ANSWERS!)
For the next few seconds, I had hope that I could be a normal kid again. I wouldn’t have to worry about being in the sun too long or getting too hot because both of those give me an almost instant migraine that could stick around for days. I thought maybe I could have the capability of getting hungry at school (like any normal student is, waiting for lunchtime) without getting a migraine. I even thought I could go to a sleepover with my best friends and not get a full 8 hours of sleep without practically being paralyzed with pain, laying in my bed the entire next day. Unfortunately, these thoughts were too good to be true. I was crushed when the neurologist told me there was no real “cure” for this, just treatments that may or may not even work on me.
I tried pill after pill with no luck in finding any relief from my constant headaches. Luckily, I eventually found medicine that would cut the pain of my migraines down enough so that I could function again. I also got really good at avoiding anything that could give me a migraine. I had doctor’s notes that allowed me to eat a snack in any class so that I never got hungry. I learned to stay inside during the summers because the heat and the sun always won when it came to a migraine. I avoided almost all sleepovers and made sure I was in bed at the same time every night to make sure I always got enough sleep. That’s not how any kid wants to live, but I understood that those were just sacrifices that I had to make.
The kids in my class when I opened my snack:
A blessing and a curse of Chronic Daily Headache is that it’s invisible. Nobody could ever tell just by looking at me that I was in constant pain. To them, I was just like any other girls and that sense of normalcy was always refreshing. But sometimes, I just wish that more people knew what I was going through. I spent my the majority of my childhood just chugging along, without any of my peers really knowing the extent of my pain. I didn’t want to be known for my diagnosis, but sometimes I wonder how my life would be if I told more people about it.
However, as I’ve grown and matured, I’ve realized that I don’t need the praise of others to recognize the magnitude of what I’ve accomplished throughout the years while suffering from chronic pain. I have become my biggest hype-woman. Looking back at all the things I’ve been able to achieve while in constant pain gives me so much hope for my future. I know my life will never be “easy” but I know that nothing is impossible for me to accomplish. So for anyone who suffers from chronic pain, I really hope you can become your very own hype-person. Start recognizing how bad-ass you are! If you ever start to feel discouraged when it comes to your chronic pain, I hope you can step back and see everything you’ve been able to do under these circumstances because you’re freaking awesome! It’s safe to say my life changed when I started using my pain as motivation to be even greater.