When I was 18, my life changed forever. Out of nowhere, I started to get a pain in my head that I never felt before. Later, I found out this was called a migraine. I started my migraine journey when I began to see a neurologist in college. We exhausted all medication options and treatment options. I even underwent tests such as a spinal tap and MRIs.
My college experience was shaping out to be very different than most. I didn’t go out on weekends because I knew I had to get to bed by 10:30 or else I’d wake up with a migraine the next day. I would go to bed anxious every night that the next morning I would be sick with a headache. I couldn’t leave my house without my small bag of medicine that would hopefully get rid of my headache. I had my professors’ numbers saved in my phone so that I could text them when I wouldn’t be able to make class or rehearsal (I was a music major) because I was in bed.
Things took a turn for the worst when I started going to the emergency room for my migraines. 2016 was not a great year. I remember counting the number of times I went to the ER on both hands. In June of 2016, I worked at a sleepaway camp and that’s when I knew that I really needed help. I remember making a phone call to my parents saying that if we didn’t find a doctor to help me, I could not attend college in the Fall. My neurologist didn’t know how else to help me and I needed another opinion. In August 2016, my life changed again.
My uncle read about Dr. James Charles in the newspaper and sent my parents the article. I knew I had to get an appointment. The first time I met Dr. Charles, he sat with me for so long. He asked about my childhood – my complete migraine history. He listened to me. I felt heard. After diagnosing me with chronic migraine, I knew he was going to help me. He sent me to Holy Name Medical center for an infusion treatment and I began to live my life again. My migraines didn’t control my life.
Dr. Charles gave me my life back. Migraine disease can’t be cured – I know that. There have been many times since 2016 that I have gone through bad times with my migraines, but every time Dr. Charles and his incredible staff have been there to help me. Since August 2016, I have traveled to other countries, I graduated college with a music education degree, I started a master’s program, I have laughed, cried, and I have stayed up past 10:30 pm again.
I am so grateful to my wonderful parents. They have driven me numerous times to and from doctors’ appointments and I would not have gotten through my migraine journey without them. To my parents – thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for me, for getting me ginger ale when I am sick with a headache, I love you. To Dr. Charles, I am forever thankful. You gave me my life back and taught me how to live with migraines without letting them control me. To everyone who lives with migraine disease – each migraine will pass and you will get out of the dark room. We need to share our stories so that you know there are other people out there who suffer from them too. You are not alone.