You’ve heard it said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, it takes an all-star team to get migraine and headache disorders under control. I’d like you to meet my team.
Ronald Graham, DO has been my family’s primary care physician since 1997. He has been supportive and helpful in getting me just the right help when needed, even when I didn’t want it. When I stubbornly refused to try Topamax for over 2 years, he was patient. He generously helped complete the paperwork for Patient Assistance programs when I was without health insurance. He is also responsible for helping to secure a favorable decision from Social Security when I applied for Disability Benefits and mourned with me at the loss of a career I worked so hard to obtain. When it came time to deal with the student loans I could no longer repay, he once again stepped up to complete the necessary paperwork to confirm my disability. I couldn’t ask for a better doctor!
Charles Weinstein, MD is a new addition to the team. I went searching for a headache specialist who truly understood how to treat both migraine and cluster headache. I wanted to find just one doctor who could manage everything from acute medications, preventives, Botox, and anything else that might be needed in the future. A referral from another headache specialist sent me to Dr. Weintstein. We’re just getting to know one another, but so far things are going well. He listens to me and works with me to make treatment decisions together. We’re keeping some older treatments and trying some new ones with the goal of even greater improvements.
Brian has been by my side, dealing with migraines since 1988. He is my best friend and biggest supporter. Working hard to provide for our family, he often comes home from work, cooks dinner, cleans up, does laundry, and still has time to volunteer with Boy Scouts of America. Before we found an effective home rescue treatment, he would sacrifice sleep to take me to the ER in the middle of the night. He’s my pill-finding, ice pack bringing, hot pack heating, Sprite pouring migraine hero! Did I forget to tell you he’s a migraineur, too? He suffered for years, thinking that if his pain wasn’t as bad as mine, then he didn’t deserve to complain. It took me awhile to convince him, but now he’s managing his triggers and treating attacks right away. I don’t think I can ever match his level of sacrificial love!
Andrew is our baby. Standing tall and proud, this Eagle Scout is everything a migraining mother could want in a son. As a migraineur himself, he has amazing empathy for the suffering of others. At just eight years old, he sustained a TBI that turned on his predisposition for migraine. As a young adult, he’s been able to identify and avoid his triggers so well that he no longer needs preventives or prescription abortives. His migraine claim to fame is his uncanny ability to administer Toradol shots so precisely that they are pain and blood-free. When my hands are shaking too badly from a nasty attack, his ability to “throw darts” rescues me.
Jenn is our firstborn. The only liberal hippie of this conservative family, she challenges me to think outside the box. She’s the reason I fight so hard. She began dealing with pediatric migraine at just two years old. Watching her fear and pain drove me to find better solutions for both of us. Thankfully, she’s never had to face the misery of chronic migraine! She has become my best advocate when it comes to trigger avoidance. She is fearless and compassionate. We take turns caring for each other when migraine strikes. We also share a passion to never, ever let migraine mess with our littlest team member.
Serenity is the newest little darling in our family. Her smile can knock down even the nastiest level 10 attack. She likes Grandma’s pretty scarves and floppy hats (that hide and secure my ice packs). She’s my headbanging dance partner when cluster attacks strike. We break out masks, an O2 tank, and dance to Skillet’s “Not Gonna Die Tonight” until the beast gives out. When she first watched Anna Eidt’s award-winning “This Day” video, she sang along, danced to the music, and immediately knew what the whole thing was all about!
Otto was adopted on my birthday the winter before I started blogging and taking migraine management seriously. His easy-going, gentle temperament is a perfect fit for our family! He quickly became my migraine guardian and nanny. Part Aussie, part Bernese, this lovable fur baby herds me back to my bed or recliner when I wander away during an attack. He never leaves my side until he is dismissed after the hangover subsides. Even though he is the biggest “chicken-dog” ever, he’s never alarmed by all the ruckus of even the worst cluster attacks.
You are a valued member of my team! Each time you visit, it’s like a little boost of pain-blocking hormones. Just knowing that my words bring comfort and solidarity to other patients is enough to keep me going. My team is not complete without you. So stop by, drop me a note, and let me know who’s on your migraine team!