Learning How To Live Again -Teri Hooper
In my early 40s, I started to get a couple of migraines a month. After having 2-5 migraine days a month for a year, I went to my doctor who referred me to a neurologist. Every year after that, the number of migraines increased until I was having 20-25 days of migraines a month. As a teacher of first graders, it became impossible to continue teaching with that many days of pain. I ended up on permanent disability by the time I was 50. That started my 15-year journey of consulting with several headache specialists and trying many medications in an attempt to find something that worked.
During most of my 50s, I was disabled. I tried a variety of medications and medication combinations. Every time I titrated off one medication and titrated onto another medication, I would gain 5-10 pounds, gaining a total of 100 pounds within 5 years. Yet nothing seemed to be making a dent in the number of migraine days I was having. Rescue medications did not do anything except make me feel like I was having an out of body experience. Besides having constant migraine pain, light and noise sensitivity, and nausea, I was having many side effects of the medications I was using in an attempt to lessen the number of migraines.
The first 7 years of permanent disability were a blur. I seldom did anything due to the constant migraine pain. I stopped planning activities with friends and family because I was forced to cancel the majority of the time. My sleep was choppy and interrupted due to pain. To sum it up, I became bedridden in the dark cave of my bedroom.
Then I changed neurologists (for the 4th time) and my new neurologist suggested Botox. She got the authorization approved by insurance and I had my first round of injections. It was a miracle! The number of days of migraine went from 20-25 to 2-3 a month. I was elated! The days I did have a migraine, the intensity was more like a mild headache and it was usually alleviated with 800 mg of ibuprofen. I felt liberated.
I continue to get Botox injections every three months to this day. Since getting my migraines under control, I was able to be a caregiver for my husband and son who both had Huntington’s Disease for the last 3 years of their lives when they needed me the most. They passed away in 2017 but I am grateful I could take care of them. Had I had migraines as I had before Botox, I would not have been able to do that.
I now am officially retired and learning how to live again. I have lost 60 pounds, exercise regularly, and have reunited with many friends. I have another son with Huntington’s Disease who will need me in the future but right now he has not started having any significant symptoms. I’m living the life I lost in my 40s and 50s.