This is a continuous of my life story, read part one here.
For two years of my life my childhood was back to normal. I had nothing to worry about, not a care in the world. In 5th grade the big achievement trip was a trip to Disney for a school science program. Being a little kid of course I want to go, who wouldn’t? And even at the age of 10 I was fascinated by the idea of science and all the mysteries it holds. So for the entire year I fund-raised going door to door with my mother trying to sell Yankee candles. By the end of the school year I had hit my goal fundraising wise (I didn’t know at the time I had hardly raised any money so my mom just put the rest of her funds together by herself). This trip would be the first time I had left home for an extended period of time all by myself. Of course I was with classmates but I didn’t have my mother by my side.
To end the trip everyone went to Epcot, which I was super stoked for because it had so many cool new countries to explore and the opportunity to go to Animal Kingdom. Side note: as a young child pretty much all I watched was the discovery channel. I was animal obsessed. My group and I went around to each country and went to the gift shops looking at all the “foreign” goods. Finally it was time to eat lunch and my group decided it would be fun to eat in “Japan”. Shortly after eating we headed over to the gift shop when it hit me. The sun was brighter than it should be. The noise around me was too much. The minor pain in my head was spreading and soon it felt like someone was jackhammering my skull.
Like any young child in extreme agony I started to cry. But it wasn’t a tantrum cry, or a screaming cry, just tears flowing down my face type cry. I couldn’t stop. The pain was too great. My fellow classmates looked at me like I was some sort of weirdo. Why on earth was I crying?
Everyone walked away except the chaperone who tried to calm me down. He was a sweet patient man who was parents of one of my group members. After crying for about twenty minutes he decided it was best to call my mother. She was hysterical on the phone. Here I am in Florida and my mother back at home in Pennsylvania. She was border line about to fly down and take me home. In fact I was told if I can’t stop crying I would be sent home. I really hope that was a blank threat and not actually something they do because how messed up would that be if you sent a little kid home by herself.
It was interesting having Epcot medics come and take me away. I had my eyes closed the entire time while the cart drove through restricted areas. The medics gave me some Motrin and had me sleep for the rest of the day while my group was out experiencing Epcot. This was the first time I really felt alone. After returning to the group everyone looked at me differently. The snotty remarks were whispered behind my back. I was the weird kid who cried. But how could I explain what my head felt like? How could I describe that level of pain? I was only 10 years old after all.
A few days later we all flew home and a new chapter began in my life, the chapter of migraines. Returning home I was having the excruciating pains almost every day. My mother was frantically searching for pediatric neurologists that had openings sooner than 6 months away. We eventually found a few openings all around our area and the waiting game began. To be honest I don’t remember the early stages of my diagnosis. I must have gone to 12 or so neurologists in a period of 6 months. Each doctor was different. Each doctor wanted to tell me some theory on why I was getting them. Oh it’s your diet. Oh it’s just hormones. Oh it’s the environment. But even after eliminating trigger after trigger we were left empty handed. There was no rhyme or reason to why I was getting these migraines.
The amount of school I was missing was also becoming a problem. The school and my mother had plenty of meetings to discuss my absences and make sure there was no abuse going on at home to cause me this pain. Then we found a neurologist that was willing to work with us regarding preventative medication for my migraines. At the time not much was approved for children under 18. The doctor was almost an hour away and he suggested plenty of preventatives. The only downside was the effects they could give me. One option I had required me to get my liver tested every few weeks or the other that would make me lose weight. We decided it was best to go with the weight option.
The other bonus this neurologist provided was the in-office IV treatment, which of course I wasn’t thrilled with being extremely needle-phobic. This was about the only option for when my migraines were off the charts and any abortives I was trying failed. I must have tried every abortive available at that time and the only one that seemed to do anything was Imetrex (still to this day). The office was also able to run an IV drip of that form of Imetrex, which even though an hour away I went to frequently. The migraines at the time were never under control, they came when they wanted to and typically only went away if I went for the IV treatment. The once needle-phobic innocent child was slowly being ripped away piece by piece, treatment by treatment. But what could one do when you have no choice?