Toni Shelden

In a brain so, so long ago, there was peace. Now a days, not so much. Let me tell you a story of about migraines and how this path goes.  It all started when this little 10-year old girl (me) couldn’t get off the couch without getting sick because of a “headache”. My mother did what any mother would do for a bad headache; she gave me aspirin, fluids, dark room, and let me sleep.

Now, time-jump to my last year in high school. The headaches continually got worse over the years. Tylenol became a staple in my purse. It was normal for me to take 4 or 5 pills at a time, 3 or 4 times a day to get rid of the pain. Still, I got no relief. My second semester of college was the first time I was hospitalized for the migraines. At the age of 18, I was admitted to a hospital hours away from home, in extreme pain. I had no ability to comprehend what was going on. I finally had to take a semester off to get the pain under control before I was allowed to go back.

Over the next several years, the migraines continued to become a bigger problem. I had been to many different types of doctors and tried many types of treatments: family doc, chiropractor, neurologist, pain management, eye doctor, ENT, physical therapy, massage therapy, nerve blocks, botox, hospitalizations. All this failed to provide any good results.

I am a wife, mother, and a grandmom these days, and a shell of what I use to be. I enjoyed camping, floating on the rivers, traveling, rollercoasters, waterparks, working in my yard and flower beds, working along side my husband in the garden and canning. I was able to do so many things that are now so hard to do or that I can no longer do at all.

I had to quit working when I was in my mid-30’s. I had to go on disability when I left my job. It has become difficult to clean my own home, cook meals, or even just step outside. Every day, waking up is an adventure that I dread.

Depression has become a battle that has cost me time with my family. It has cost me time to enjoy the small things. It almost cost me my life. I had attempted suicide a few years ago because I had finally met my point of no return, or so I thought. I felt that I couldn’t really talk about this with anyone. I didn’t want to be a complainer. I didn’t want to burden anyone with my problems. My family and friends showed me how much they love me, support me, and expect me to talk with them no matter what.

With all of the technology available to us, there has not been much, if any, relief for some of us that have triggers out of our control. One of my biggest triggers is the barometric pressures. (I would rather not be the family weather vane anymore.)

I love my neurologist and all he has done for me. He has been with me for the long haul of this disease. He was the one who diagnosed me with Intractable Chronic Migraines. He as worked so hard to help but I have become one of the top 10 patients that just doesn’t respond as well as others.

I know that my migraines will always be a part of my life. I have accepted that my life will not ever be the way it was. So now I am working on what to do with this life that I have. Each day, each new adventure, I look to see where I can help. It may be just helping with laundry. Or it could be paying for someone’s lunch at a restaurant. So this is my life and my story.

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