Migraine Awareness

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Story by Grace Mitchell-Jenkins

MAY 10, 2017: Imagine yourself sitting at home and all of a sudden your head feels like it’s about to explode. You feel so much pressure and then you feel nauseous. Light and sound bother you to the point where you have to sit in the dark and turn off the TV or your phone. Your first thought would be “I’m having a headache,” but this is something more than an average headache. This is a migraine.

I’ve been suffering from migraines for two years now. There was a time when I would have them every day. No matter what I would take, nothing would take the pain away. My mom would have to take me to the emergency room more than once to find out what to do. Eventually, my doctor referred me to a specialist at Children’s Hospital. I was seen in the Pain Clinic and I talked with different doctors on what medications to take. I tried many until something worked for me. Some of the medications indicated extreme side effects like dizziness, tingling, loss of coordination, change in school behavior, diarrhea, groin pain, the false sense of well-being, anxiety, and kidney stones.  My mother did not like these so we had to switch them with something else. I take a prevention medication every day and night. I also take a pain medicine that was originally a liquid, but now I take it in pill form.

Migraines are a severe throbbing painful headache that can be on one side of the head or both. Migraines affect 38 million men, women, and children. Attacks usually last between 4 and 72 hours. Migraines are most common between the ages of 25 and 55. About 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine pain. Migraines remain a poorly understood disease that is sometimes left undiagnosed and undertreated. When I have my episodes, the pain is mainly on both of my temples. It’s hard to make people understand what I’m going through because people don’t know the difference between a headache and a migraine.

Migraines are so much worse than headaches. It’s hard to focus when I’m home or in school. Having these attacks can stop you from living your normal life. You notice you have to cancel plans because of these attacks or miss school, miss work, miss everything. You’re in so much pain that you can’t even deal with people because you’re afraid that the noise or the light will make your head feel worse than it already feels. So please when someone tells you that they have a migraine, understand that they aren’t being dramatic. That pain is real.

Grace Jenkins is a 12th grade student at Friendship Collegiate Academy.