August 2014 marked the ten-year anniversary of the month I added "Migraine Warrior" to my list of superpowers. That fateful August day that seems like lifetimes ago was like any other day until the pain hit. It was an excruciating pain on the left side of my head and it was a different kind of pain than I had ever experienced. I was throwing up everything I had eaten for the last week, almost as though my body was trying to throw up the pain itself. I could barely lift my head off of the pillow and, when I could, found myself taping masking tape over the air conditioner temperature that glowed in the dark because it was simply too bright for my eyes. Whispered conversations assaulted my ears like bass drums, I shivered and shook, and I was convinced that there was something very seriously wrong with me. Putting on quite the show, my parents calmly took me to the Emergency Room where I was CAT scanned and blood-tested and examined until the doctor came back with the results: the CAT scan was normal. The blood tests were fine. All examinations pointed to typical neurological functions. The look of relief that washed over my mother's face made it evident how scared she'd been. The doctor said, almost flippantly, "It sounds like you have migraines. Let's get you feeling better." Despite pain and anti-nausea medication, a thought kept naggingly infiltrating my consciousness: I was in excruciating pain that came out of nowhere and no one could tell me exactly why. There was nothing on a scan or a test that even verified my pain. Assuming this was a one-time deal, I slept my way home from the hospital, never dreaming that the next ten years would be filled with neurologists, headache specialists, chronic pain specialists, acupuncturists, physical therapists, chiropractors, psychologists, psychiatrists, Botox injections, trigger point injections, medications for conditions I didn't have, medications that mimicked symptoms of multiple sclerosis (which only necessitated more tests, some involving wires that gave electric shocks stuck into my shins), all sorts of blood tests/scans/urine tests, hospital stays, missed days of work and fun and life. For ten years, my dad has graded papers in the dark in the ER. For ten years, my mom has gone to work straight from spending the night with me in the ER. For almost seven years, my boyfriend has eaten dinner in ER waiting rooms or laid with me on cots, waiting for hours until someone finally came to treat me. No one knew what to do or how to do it and it certainly wasn't for lack of trying. And then, people began to doubt my pain, as is often the case with invisible illnesses. Was I just trying to get painkillers? Was I an attention-seeker? Did I just have a low threshold for pain? It was, after all, just a headache. And that, that right there, is where I and so many other migraine survivors need your help. Saying a migraine only consists of a headache is like saying the United States consists only of New York City. New York City is well-known, much like a headache is well-known. But there is so much more to the United States and so much more to migraines. Migraines are a neurological disease, often hereditary, that don't get the air time they deserve. They are not only under-funded, but under-researched, and under-recognized. There need to be more people fighting for this disease because it is not going away and each day I learn of children younger and younger afflicted with it. I don't want migraines to take away someone's childhood the way they took away my young adulthood. I say this not to paint myself as a victim, but as a survivor. They may have taken my young adulthood but I fought them every step of the way and I'm taking it back, slowly but surely. I'll be adding to this page in the future, as I am in talks with a few fundraising gurus willing to help out but, for now, I ask you to believe in me, to honor my struggle and the struggle of so many of my loved ones. Since we are called the 36 Million Migraine Campaign, I ask that you consider donating $36 but every little bit helps. Even $1...because if every one of my Facebook friends donated just $1, that would raise about $250. Just think if each of them donated even more. We have the power to change the course of this disease and I won't stop trying untl we do. Donations can be placed online or in person through me. Let me know if you'd like to get involved beyond donating. I graciously thank you all in advance.
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