Share Your Voice: More than 38 million people in the United States have migraine disease – 12% of the population. Below are some of their stories.
I want it to be true that I can do anything that I put my mind to. To do this I would have to get to a point where I am fairly in control of my health, especially my migraines. Health is the biggest thing I desire for my future, as it would open up for me all possibilities. I would like to be an FBI agent, stand-up comedian, or stockbroker. People who really know me know that I have a good shot at what I want in life. I also know that the future because of its uncertainty is open to endless possibilities, and a chance to pursue dreams even when others may scoff at you or hurt you. The future is always waiting to be made.
I’ve lived with migraine for most of my life. The attacks started when I was 10 and plagued me throughout my teens. I missed many days of school, sleepover parties and family vacations. I can remember begging my parents to take me to the hospital so they could “put me to sleep”. I had about a 10-year reprieve, but they came back with a vengeance during my second pregnancy. I was a VP with a great career in mortgage banking during the housing boom. I felt that being a woman, pregnant and having an illness was a triple whammy so I needed to hide my illness to not seem weak or a less than desirable employee. I made it through and have two amazing and healthy adult children.
Fast forward a few years to my 40’s and now came a new shade of migraine. They were less intense but would last for months at a time. Every single day, there was some level of pain. I was very active, competing in triathlons and Tough Mudder races and I just had to drop out and find other interests. I couldn’t bear the thought of putting on a bike helmet or swim cap or running. I didn’t find much relief from any treatments even though I saw many different doctors; neurologist, primary care, dentist, homeopath, chiropractor and acupuncturist. They all said the same thing…It’s a headache. I wouldn’t give up so finally, I went to an ENT and he told me, “it’s not just a headache, you have migraine disease”. Many of the strange symptoms I was experiencing were actually symptoms of migraine. It’s been three years and while I still live with migraine, I am responding well to new medications that have come to market over the past year and I am hopeful. My ENT happened to be Dr. Frederick Godley, of the Association of Migraine Disorders. He offered me a job as executive director. That was three years ago, and I feel blessed to be able to do a job that I’m so passionate about, where I can help educate, advocate and raise funds for research for migraine. “
Fear: The pain is so intense…Is something else wrong? Is my brain being permanently damaged from the constant attacks?
Frustration: I thought I was starting to feel better…Then I wake up to a new day in pain and sickness, never having a waking minute of feeling normal. Why do the medications not make me feel better?
Anxiety: Not knowing how you will feel one day to the next making it almost impossible to make plans.
Sadness: I want my life back. Not being able to enjoy all the things I love. There are so many things I want to do. I want a cure.
Grief: I miss the person I used to be. I don’t want to be a burden to my loved ones. I want to be able to be there for others. Life is passing me by.
Anger: I have no control over this beast! Why is there not a cure?
Confusion: What caused this chronic nightmare that has taken over my brain and body? Why can’t I think straight? My brain feels like mush.
Loneliness: No one can understand what I’m going through. Hours upon hours of being alone. Trapped within my illness.
Depression: I am worn out, mentally, physically and spiritually fatigued.
Thankful: For the love and care I receive from my wonderful husband, mother, and coworkers. The medical professionals that try their best to help me find relief. For fellow migraine warriors that share their experiences, support, and continue to push forward.
Hope: For greater awareness that is necessary for funding and research.
For new treatments to help symptoms become manageable, for ultimate remission
Determination: I will keep fighting to get my life back!
Acceptance: This is a chronic neurological disease that I did not cause. It is part of who I am now. I will take pride in the small victories knowing I am doing the best I can. I will experience joy in the beauty and love this life still has to offer.
I got my first migraine at age 21. For the next 7 years I had a migraine at least once a week. The severe discomfort of a migraine is absolutely debilitating and not something I could “just deal with”. I would feel the effects from the migraine for days after, and then another one would hit. Having that many migraines eventually kept me from work, family parties, holidays, vacations and other important life events. Eventually, I refused to schedule anything or commit to attending something for fear that I’d have to cancel. I lived a life of fear and pain.
My family and friends watched me suffer on a regular basis, but we all felt helpless. I saw multiple doctors, chiropractors, holistic workers, and piercing specialists. I tried different diets, exercise programs, massage therapy, and even surgery. For years, there were no generic brands of medications that worked to relieve my pain. The cost of one pill for me was $98. The physical and emotional burden of migraines was now wreaking havoc on my finances. I reached a point in my life where I assumed I’d be alone forever because no partner would want to take on the responsibility of my pain. I believed I would never be able to survive pregnancy or be an attentive parent with how often I was in a dark room, suffering.
I’m very lucky to have married someone with a strong desire to help me find the medical care I needed. My husband and I continually talked about my migraines with others in hopes of finding some answers. Eventually I was referred to Dr. Dan Henry and my life has been forever changed. With the proper diagnosis and treatment plan, I’ve lived the last 6 years mostly pain free. I haven’t missed a holiday or important event. I’ve successfully carried 2 healthy babies and been able to enjoy motherhood as an active parent in their lives. I’m living a life I never thought I’d be able to live, all thanks to the dedication, research and care of Dr. Henry. My family and I are forever grateful!
I am 41 years old and I had migraines since I was 13 years old. I have been to many doctors and specialists and had many lab and diagnostic tests. I have tried multiple prescriptions, homeopathic remedies, and integrative medicine with little to no relief.
I have had over 28 years of unrelieved pain, missing school, work, vacations, family time, and a multitude of other activities because of my migraines. My kids and my husband were on eggshells every time I got a migraine because the pain was so intense, it was all I could do to breathe. There are times that if I had a guillotine, I would have very seriously considered using it. Because of the stigma of migraines, I always did my best to hide it but that proves very difficult when you are puking your guts out because the pain is so overwhelming.
Then I heard about Dr. Henry and his team from a cousin. I was skeptical because many specialists had failed to help me in the past, but I was desperate to find anything or anyone that can help. Dr. Henry and especially his NP, Ruth Kennedy have completely changed my life! I had a very thorough first visit including exam and history. I was educated about the different types of migraines that I was experiencing and was given a regimen of meds for each type and education about migraine triggers and how to avoid them. I had already learned what some of my particular triggers were and the education just reinforced it. Ruth was exceptionally kind, understanding, educated, and thorough. I have been seeing Ruth Kennedy for about 4 months and although I still get migraines, they are less often and less intense. I also have the means to relieve the pain when I do get one.
There is no way to express my gratitude I have for Dr. Henry and his team and the work they are doing. My quality of life has improved dramatically.
I have lived with migraine for 38 years. My first migraine diagnosis was at 8 years old, although I had undiagnosed abdominal migraine since the age of two. At 27, I was diagnosed with chronic migraine and by 28, I had developed new daily persistent headache and chronic daily headache.
Raising three children, managing a home, and being a wife is challenging when living with multiple chronic illnesses. Migraine is extremely isolating and I felt like the only person experiencing pain on the level I was. I wanted to connect with others like myself, so I sought out support from online support groups.
In the fall of 2011, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Major depressive disorder and anxiety are a part of my daily life as well. Being in constant pain made the depression and anxiety way more severe and chronic. In September, my antidepressant was increased to the maximum dosage of 375mg a day and in November, I attempted suicide. That event saved my life because it caused me to look at how I was treating my illnesses very differently. I decided to use multiple modalities in treating my pain, depression and anxiety. Incorporating a naturopath, homeopathic treatments, meditation, massage, and acupuncture were important additions to medications other more traditional methods.
Despite living a life of chronic pain, I had always managed to find the strength and will to move forward in life. Having a debilitating illness which carries a stigma is no easy life to live. Wanting to remove that stigma, educate society, and provide support to other people with migraine prompted me to start my blog, The Migraine Diva. Through my own challenges, failed treatments, and successes I can champion for myself and for the millions of others who live and fight silently with this chronic disease.
Katie is a professional patient, writer and advocate for those living with migraine, headache and cluster diseases. When she turned 30, her episodic migraine attacks that started as a child, became a chronic, everyday occurrence. This debilitating disease ended her successful professional career in finance. She has not had a pain-free moment in eight years.
She found purpose in writing about her disease and working to live a fulfilled life with chronic migraine and pain. Katie is a staff writer for Migraine.com, contributing editor for the INvisible Project magazine, Migraine Advocacy Liaison for the U.S. Pain Foundation, steering committee member and Director of Patient Relations for CHAMP and has her own blog at GoldenGraine.com.
Katie believes in the power of telling your story. She is honored that so many people have trusted her to tell their stories through the INvisible Project magazine, a program of the U.S. Pain Foundation. Each magazine aims to make invisible illnesses more visible and most importantly to let others know they are not alone. Katie has been involved in six INvisible Projects. The 3rd Migraine Edition features Danielle Byron Henry, celebrates her life and highlights the amazing work of the foundation.
“Advocacy gave me back power that chronic pain stole from me,” says Katie. She participates in Headache on the Hill, attends Miles for Migraine races, speaks at education days for patients and has testified at ICER and the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force, a group convened by Congress.
A native of West Virginia, Katie now lives in Santa Monica, CA with the love of her life, Kevin Lenaburg. Her episodic migraine disease transformed into a chronic, everyday occurrence within the first year of dating. Kevin not only stuck it out through the rollercoaster of chronic illness as a caregiver, he is the Executive Director of CHAMP (Coalition For Headache And Migraine Patients).
She has found power in the phrase: Never Let Your Pain Go To Waste.
Fighting migraine is:
Life changing for those of us that are diagnosed with it.
Invisible to those that do not have it.
Gut wrenching for those that love us and can do nothing to ease the pain.
Humbling for the doctors struggling to find effective treatments.
Tragic for those who lose the battle and those that love them.
“I’m not… any of the things that caused me pain
I am not the pieces of the dream I left behind,
I am light.”
-India Arie, “I am light”
I have battled daily migraines for over 10 years now. It started in 2009 when my vision blurred and I couldn’t read something right in front of me; that was my first migraine and I don’t have headache free days.
I’ve seen countless specialists, been through countless tests, tried every prescription, and medical procedure to try to get relief. The emotional, financial, and physical toll migraines take on you is exhausting. As a 25 year old, it’s hard to be so limited by pain. I miss events I want to go to, don’t make it to all of my meetings or every class. My service dog and I hike some days and other days just stay in bed. I struggle to hold a job and continue schooling. I have so many goals and I know how well I used to do before I got sick. I’m an independent soul and I don’t like to ask for help or admit how much pain I’m in all the time. Even the smallest commitment I make takes everything from me, noise and bright lights are everywhere and I feel so helpless that I can’t focus on anyone or anything I’m trying to do when I’d rather curl up in the dark in silence.
I’ve been seeing Dr. Henry for years and he never stops fighting for me. Right now, I have a job working from home and am in school online. I’ve focused on meditation to control and compartmentalize the constant pain and listen to my body. I’m working on not faking it and being honest with myself and others about my limitations. I’ve had people ask me how I do it, but I was never given a choice, you just do it. You force yourself to get up and put one foot in front of the other, because there’s no other way. I think of Danielle often and the ripple affect she and her family have brought to the world. It gives me hope to keep fighting because there’s people out there fighting for me.”
I am 17 years old and I have been suffering from stomach migraines since 4th grade. I was in and out of primary children’s monthly. I missed weeks of school, couldn’t dance, and wasn’t able to hangout with my friends. I was told I was faking it, or that I was just stressed, constipated, etc. I went to dozens of doctors including psychologists. I was willing to try anything and everything. I was given shots, pricked, scanned, scoped, X-rayed, etc. They all came to the same conclusion; they didn’t know.
During my sophomore year I was in the hospital when I experienced the worst migraine I’d ever had. My hands were crippled and I couldn’t move. I was in so much pain. They referred me to a neurologist later who then referred me to Dr. Henry. The first time I met Doctor Henry, my mom and I both cried. We were so relieved at finally having found someone who was willing to try anything and everything to help me.
We are still trying new things. I receive nerve blocks monthly, use a Gamma Core vagus nerve stimulator three times a day. I still struggle with my disease and miss school, but not nearly as much. I have to keep the same sleep schedule and do many other very specific things but they are worth it. Dr. Henry helped me get my life back.
Thank you, Doctor Henry❤️!
My life changed the Summer of 2012 when I had a headache that came on and never went away. At first, I thought I had a sinus infection but days went by and then weeks with no relief. Pretty soon my headaches turned into migraines. I was experiencing 20-25 migraines a month. My life came to a halt. I am a mom of four kids and I thought, “how am I going to do this?” I didn’t want my kids to remember their Mom as someone who was always in bed and who was limited in being the best Mom I could be or wanted to be. I was devastated and felt like my life had been taken away from me. Then a friend told me about Dr. Henry. It has been a battle to find what works for me but Dr. Henry never gave up on me and would constantly reassure me that we were going to find relief.
Within the next five years, one disappointment after another of medications not working and finding little relief, it happened! I finally found something that works for me. The fear of making appointments or events with family and friends, and in the end just having to cancel, was gone. Rescue medications started working and would take away the pain instead of just dulling the pain. I was having headache free days. I went from 20-25 a month down to 10-15 a month. I’m slowly getting my life back. I remember one appointment with Dr. Henry being in tears cause of the joy I felt from doing normal things that seemed so hard now felt easy again. The simple task of grocery shopping felt unbearable but now it was nothing to run to the store. There was light at the end of the tunnel and after five years of suffering I could see it.
Oh, how I took my healthy body for granted! But after dealing with chronic migraines for almost 7 years, I never will again. I no longer live hour by hour, minute by minute. I find joy in the little things and my kids and husband have learned so much compassion and love for others through this. Their love and support have meant everything to me.
To have years of experience dealing with situations and problems can be growth producing and beneficial. However, there is one predominant problem in my life that I would not repeat, given the choice. I have suffered from migraines for approximately 40 years, which is the majority of my 67 years.
I have come to realize how fortunate I am because I did not suffer from headaches in my youth. I was able to enjoy my childhood and as an adult, raise my two children, and work at a job I loved for many years. Unfortunately, my headaches have become progressively worse as I age. I have been diagnosed with Hypnic Headaches which are a rarer form of migraine. These headaches predominantly wake me from sleep in the middle of the night and one of the concomitant problems is significant sleep deprivation. This took its toll on me when I was working, needing to rise early and be “on” and capable for any situation that arose as a social worker.
Over the years I have worked with many physicians including neurologists and headache specialists. It was not until I became a patient of Dr. Dan Henry’s that I have experienced significant periods of relief. Dr. Henry is committed to helping me design an ongoing management plan and regular follow-up appointments assure he will continue working with me. Doing consistent daily charting as part of treatment is very helpful. We have worked with a number of different interventions. and there is a plan of where to move forward if one treatment is not successful. In other words, Dr. Henry does not give up on me. I now have hope for the future and know what it feels like to be headache free. I have found a way to deal with my Migraines. I may also eventually say that it has been a growth producing and beneficial challenge.
Thank you, Dr. Henry.
My morning alarm goes off, and I lay there wondering what today will be like. Will I have a migraine, will I have a mild headache, or God willing, will I have no pain at all? Some say not knowing what tomorrow might bring is exciting, but not to a migraineur. Not knowing, to someone with migraine disease is petrifying. Not knowing what tomorrow might bring, makes me plan for the “what ifs”. I need to have the laundry done, and the refrigerator full, and the house in order just in case I get hit with a migraine. Because if Mama is down, the ship goes down with her! Every time I start to get that horrible pain sneaking into my neck and head means I have to retreat to my “cave” with the blackout curtains, soundproof walls, and no smells. No matter how wonderful and helpful my husband is, no matter how much my kids can now do on their own, I still feel the guilt that I myself have let them down. My pain is not only excruciating physically, but I have struggled mentally as well. Not being enough, not doing enough, and being too much of a burden on others. My family is my foundation. When I have a migraine, my youngest daughter usually asks me “what pain level are you?” I have to laugh sometimes, because what child knows the pain scale, and also when to and when not to worry? What I want most is for my children to look at me and think I am a strong woman. I don’t want them to look at me and think sick, illness, or pain.
With the help of Dr. Dan Henry “stronger” is becoming a more attainable adjective for me. He has helped me cut my migraine days in half and my pain is completely manageable. I owe so much to Dr. Henry and his staff. I am so grateful for all of his time, his study, and life dedication to this disease. Dr. Henry has changed my life, and he has changed the life of my family.
I have suffered from chronic migraines since I was in Junior High, a long time. They affect my life daily, even when I don’t have one. The migraines will come on and it makes it so hard to do my work, be a mom, be a wife, to actually feel human! I know it’s so difficult for my husband and daughter to deal with them, it affects them as much as it affects me. I become a different person with migraines, nothing matters, just wishing the pain away and feeling agitated with everything. The guilt sets in also when I have a migraine, knowing that I am burdening my family. It makes it harder for the migraine to go away when I am stressed about it and feeling like those around me shouldn’t have to deal with me. I wish the migraines would just disappear.
My career suffers as well and it’s really difficult to explain that I have another migraine, when I am just getting over the one I had last week! I am lucky to have the job I have now, and my boss is very understanding, but it hasn’t always been that way and I know I burden her as well when I can’t do my job as well as I know I can.
Dr. Henry has been a saving grace in my life, not only for my migraines, but for everything that comes along with them. I suffer from depression, which makes sense when I feel less then human a lot of the time. We have gone through many treatments together and he is always there for me, whether I need a block for my migraine or just need his compassion. He has remained a rock for me and others, always optimistic and always searching for ways to make life with migraines manageable. I can say that without Dr. Henry in my life, I would not be who I am today! I am stronger in my life and especially more considerate to myself when I do have migraines. There is a light that he has given me and I know I will one day not have to deal with so many migraines. I know I can live a normal, healthy life now.
My story begins in elementary school when I remember getting terrible headaches that would send me home. My parents thought it was just a headache, gave me Advil and I took a nap and never saw a doctor. Fast forward to my sophomore year in high school when I got my first migraine with aura. This began a 20-year succession of doctors (4 neurologists included), physical therapists, chiropractors, and even an herbalist which herbs landed me in the emergency room due to a severe allergic reaction. I was put on nearly every preventative medication, rescue med, and offered most narcotics on the market. I wasn’t making any progress and was pretty desperate.
In 2012 I tried Botox for Migraine. My body did not react well at all. I could not hold my head up and was in a neck brace for 3 months. My entire body was weak and my migraines returned with a vengeance. I was on the waiting list for every neurologist in the Salt Lake Valley. No one could see me for months. A friend recommended Dr. Henry. When I first began seeing him, I could hardly walk into the clinic. It took everything I had just to shower and get to the office. I remember crying at that first appointment. Dr. Henry took my hands and looked directly into my eyes and said, “I don’t give up” and he has stayed true to his word.
It’s been 7 years since that first appointment. I am a completely different person today. I’m on medication that keeps the migraines at bay, and when I do get them, the staff gets me into the office that day for nerve blocks to stop the migraine cycle. I’m able to travel, be a mom to my kids and live the way I want to live. I’m much better informed about migraine disease.
Seven years ago, I thought my life was over. I cannot express the blessing Dr. Henry and his family have been to me and mine.
My story began when I was in fourth grade, I went to Dr. Henry on a whim, a recommendation by my mom’s coworker. I have been seeing him and participating in clinical trials since I was 9 years old. Dr. Henry has made my life easier and helped me progress through the hardest time I have gone through.
My migraines were never debilitating, they were only a constant nagging in the back of my head. Days when I wouldn’t have a headache/migraine were scarce when I was 14-15. With the medications I have been put on, we have been able to reign the headaches in and now they are scarce. Recently, I have progressed to such a high point in my life all thanks to Dr. Henry.
I was 16 when I had my first migraine. It was no surprise, as my mom, grandma, aunts and uncles all suffered from migraines. My mom had a migraine most days and we knew not to disturb her in her dark room. As I got older my migraines became worse. I ended up in the ER several times a year for a shot of narcotics to dull the pain. As the years went on the frequency and severity of my migraines became debilitating.
My poor children were watching the same thing I had to watch as a child and I knew exactly how helpless they felt. I literally had a headache every single day, it was just a matter of if it was going to turn into a migraine or not. I felt was so discouraged and felt completely hopeless.
About 3 years ago I was introduced to Dr. Henry. As I cried to him, he listened and held my hand. In that instant I knew this man was going to help change my life. We tried several different rescue medications and daily preventive medications with no success. But Dr. Henry NEVER gave up on me. He continued trying new things and even had me in a migraine study to see if that would help.
As of today, about 70% of my migraines and headaches are gone. Yes, I still get some migraines, but just knowing that I have someone who understands and will not give up on me makes all the difference in the world.
My daughter, Ava, is a beautiful, bright, creative girl with a quick wit and a selfless heart. But on December 3, 2015 her life changed drastically. She slipped off of “pride rock” and received a severe concussion with whiplash. Our pediatrician advised us to see a neurologist who gave Ava a prescription for gabapentin and told her to take Benadryl, ibuprofen and drink a lot of water. He told me he would see her in four months, that was protocol. If the doctor did not seem concerned, why should we be? Fast forward three months. Ava had a constant headache. Light, sound, smells and movement bothered her head. She had special glasses for the ultra violet lights at school. I worked with the school to get her accommodations, but before long she was unable to sit in the classroom. She finished 9th grade doing the bare minimum which was a monumental task for her.
When we returned to the neurologist, he briefly examined her and announced that she needed to seek help from a psychiatrist and/or a support group for chronic pain because “this is your life now”. Fortunately, I took her in to see our Psychiatrist, Dr. Rachel McCarthey and she recommended we contact Dr. Dan Henry, a specialist in migraine disease. Ava’s initial appointment with Dr. Henry was the first ray of hope we felt in 3 1⁄2 months. He ordered tests, imaging and started her on basic medications to determine what all she had going on. Ava has been seeing Dr. Henry for 3 years. Dr. Henry has given Ava pain relief, support and is always thinking outside the box to help her. When the constant struggle gets tough, he gives her hope.
Ava should be finishing the 11th grade in June. She has not been able to attend school since the 9th grade. When she is able to do school work it is going to be an uphill battle for me to get her the accommodations she needs.
When I look at Ava today, I see her potential. The milestones might have changed for the short term; however, her future is bright and I can’t wait to enjoy every minute with her. Ava is strong, brave, patient and resilient. She makes it easy for me to continue to focus on the good, the beautiful, and successes because that is Ava.
When I became pregnant, I still suffered from migraines, and they got worse. It should have been an exciting time but instead I felt hopeless. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through this pregnancy. I was so relieved that there were safe and approved ways like nerve blocks to help me get some relief and also get me through the early days and weeks of a newborn.
I have come to the realization that I will always have to deal with migraines, but I am so grateful for those that are working hard to find more solutions to help people like me deal with this debilitating disease.
Over my 37 years on this earth, I have had my mitral valve replaced with open heart surgery, had a baby and had countless surgeries and nothing compares to the pain of migraine. My migraines started at 5 years old. Throughout my youth they were manageable, but after high school they really started to change. I was going to college full time and had a part time job. One day I was walking to class and I lost my vision. I had to sit down and ask a stranger to get help. I couldn’t even remember my own birthday or phone number.
Every neurologist I went to minimized the pain of migraine and made me feel like I must be doing something wrong to cause them. I didn’t share my journey with many because I felt incredibly misunderstood. I found it impossible to explain to others the terror that migraine had taken on my life.
Then I met Dr. Henry and began the journey of living with migraines. Despite having 15+ migraines a month, I was able to graduate from college, get an incredible job, get married, and have a child. But after having my little boy 10 years ago, my hormones shifted, and my migraines went from 15+ migraines a month to upwards of 30 migraines a month with absolutely no break. I was able to find a work from home job that accommodated my situation for a few years. But in 2014 I was forced to quit my job and go on disability. Depression set in and I felt like a huge part of me died when migraine took over my life. From being an incredibly independent person to having to depend on others 24/7 was a humbling experience.
Dr. Henry has helped me identify the causes of my migraines and what is the best treatment for them. Through medication, healthy living, yoga, meditation, therapy, and lots of trial and error, I am happy to say that I have regained much of my life and now only suffer probably 15 out of 30 days. I can have the perfect environment and controlling everything I can and still get migraines. I’ve learned to cherish every single migraine free moment. I share my health story on my blog, mystrengthtoday.com in hopes that it will just give at least one person some comfort and the willpower to push through. I look forward to doing more patient advocate work in the near future.
3 years ago, I was 18 and not doing very well, but little did I know, I had not yet hit my worst as far as migraines were concerned. The next two years were the worst of my life. I suffered extreme sexual and emotional abuse and isolated myself from everyone that cared about me. Because of all the trauma, the pain got really intense. There is one positive, though; I wasn’t hospitalized once.
My migraines were terrible, and so was my life. I should have been hospitalized numerous times. That’s the part I don’t think people understand. Migraine is a neurological disorder, a disability. Mine should have been so much worse, but because I’ve been working with Dr. Henry since I was 15, he knew exactly how to help me. He kept me here. He kept me alive. We started Botox treatment about a year ago and I think that’s what is saving me. Yes, the pain has still been bad, but it should’ve gotten a thousand times worse as my life did, but Dr. Henry and I managed to keep it at bay.
My life is finally settling down and getting to a good place again and the pain is slowly decreasing. It’s not cured, but I can feel it getting better. I was one of the patients that had migraines every single day, and if not a migraine, then at least a headache. Now I have 2 days a month without even a headache. I still find it hard to believe. Through all the pain, I managed to accomplish a lot. I bought a house by myself at 19, completely rewrote and self-published my first book, and held a book signing with the famous Richard Paul Evans. I traveled to Europe, rescued a puppy and she has become my emotional support animal. I filed for a protective order against my past abuser and won the case. I’m getting ready to publish my second book and am completely redesigning my website on my own.
Migraine disease is lethal, so I’m not exaggerating when I say Dr. Henry saved my life. And he continues to every time I want to give up. So yeah, life is hard, migraines make it infinitely worse, but I keep moving forward and thanks to Dr. Henry, I still have hope that one day migraines will no longer be one of the biggest trials in my life.
It took over 30 years to discover that I had migraines. Standard pediatric diagnoses of GI bugs, motion sickness, food intolerance (certainly nothing neurologic!) danced around, hinting at abdominal migraine. I had headaches too at times, but pain seemed manageable: a specific, perceptible hurdle to outlast. Many days I felt like a fraction of a person, with persistent fatigue, nausea, and mental fog, but still I was thankful that my worst headaches only happened once or twice per month. These days were horrible; unrelenting symptoms of pain with vomiting for 24-48 hours. And I justified that it was my fault for working night shift, eating the wrong food, exercising too much/not enough, or daring to air travel. Occasionally the word “migraine” emerged as a descriptor, like a minor footnote to the whole ordeal.
I fervently researched anything I could in RN school, NP school, and among hospital protocols- hunting for any clues into this problem whose only consistency was interrupting my life. I found little information, and even less in terms of effective treatments. It wasn’t until I met Dr. Henry that the pieces of the puzzle finally came together- that I had a lifelong neurological condition worthy of attention and treatment. After a nerve block at my first appointment, I had 10 days completely headache-free. I realized that instead of being a fatigued half-human with occasional good days, life was supposed to be full and vibrant with a few headachy days as the exception. I was so hungry for any and all information into my disorder- this unpredictable, life-wasting monster finally had a name, a pathophysiology, and a treatment. It is because of this gift that I received from Dr. Henry that I am compelled to pay it forward— and delighted to do so— working alongside as a nurse practitioner treating migraine disease. Simply having access to hope- hope that there are treatments for migraine now, and there are many more to come- has proven to be the most transformative concept both for my patients and me.
I am married with two girls (4 & 6) and I run a business. I began getting migraines when I was pregnant, and they continued after that.
A couple of years ago the intensity of my migraines increased and I started getting aura migraines meaning my hands go numb and I feel nauseous and my head hurts. It made it impossible to drive, take care of my kids or work. I would have to call my husband to come home from work and take care of the girls.
Since meeting Dr. Henry, I take preventative medicine daily and I have rescue medicine when I do get a migraine and it allows me to continue my day. If my migraine continues for more than 2-3 days, I get nerve blocks. I also get these before traveling as a preventative. They have been life changing. They instantly take away my migraine.
Since taking all the preventative medicine I no longer get aura migraines.
I’m so grateful for the work that Dr. Henry has put into migraines. It’s allowed me to continue my life, without being in constant pain. I didn’t realize how often I had migraines until I stopped getting them.
My migraines started when I was around 16. I had just started high school and was getting migraines almost every day. It was very discouraging to not be able to enjoy high school the way I had planned. I had to make major changes in order to focus on dealing with my migraines. My migraines got so bad that I couldn’t get out of bed. I wasn’t able to find any relief and it seemed like I would never get better. Eventually I was able to get all of my credits to graduate high school and had plans to start college in the fall. I began my first semester but quickly had to drop out. Although I was on medication that gave me some relief, it wasn’t enough to take away the pain I was having every day from my migraines. Over the next couple of years, I started going back to school on and off. Trying to move through life with migraines was exhausting and discouraging, making me feel beyond hopeless. I wanted so badly to feel normal, pain free, and be able to enjoy life.
Fast forward about seven years and my life has completely changed. I am living life pretty much migraine free and am enjoying life the way I always wanted to. I am so lucky and grateful that I had Dr. Henry by my side. He really believed in and never gave up on me. Eventually we found something that worked. I started Botox treatment and finally found relief. As I have continued getting Botox injections over the years, I have now reached a point where I am pretty much migraine free (only getting one or two less severe migraines a month.) I am currently a full-time student as well as working full time. I have loved getting back into school, being able to concentrate, focus, and learn. I am about to apply to nursing school and could not be more excited in this chapter of my life. Looking back, I never would have imagined that I would be where I am today, migraine free, living happily, and progressing towards the goals in my life. I feel like I finally have my life back.
I was a migraine and daily headache sufferer for about 15 years and visited several doctors in hopes that someone would be able to help me without any luck. A co-worker (Sarah Fillmore) suggested that I meet with Dr. Henry and after a few months of convincing, I finally scheduled an appointment. I was immediately impressed with how thorough he was in his questions and in test taking. For the first time I felt like all of my feedback was actually being listened to and analyzed. Dr. Henry eventually decided to start me on Amitriptyline to help improve my sleep schedule, Rizatriptan as a preventative medicine, Reglan for nausea, and then he gave me instructions to come into the office for emergency shots/treatment (to avoid another $1200 ER visit). In addition, he gave me detailed charts to fill out each day so we could narrow down my triggers and determine which solutions worked for me.
While I saw results almost immediately, it wasn’t until month 2-3 when I got to the point where my daily headaches were almost nonexistent and I was getting migraines less and less often. I went from daily headaches and 2-3 migraines per week to mild headaches 1-2 days per week and MAYBE 1 migraine a month. Rizatriptan works so well for both headache types that all or most of the pain is generally gone within about an hour. I haven’t had to deal with a tough migraine in OVER 5 MONTHS NOW!!!
I truly can’t explain how much better my life is now that my headaches and migraines are under control. I owe all of my thanks to Sarah, Dr. Henry, and even Danielle. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.
I am 17 years-old and for 3 years I have suffered with migraine headaches. The pain does not cease and is almost always debilitating. My home has become a prison, my body in shackles from the pain.
Living with this illness is exhausting physically as well as mentally and emotionally taxing. Avoiding triggers is like navigating a minefield and flairs are like stepping on one. It is strange to say that I look forward to having painful injections in my neck, head, jaw and face, but I have to do whatever I can to find a reprieve from the pain.
For me, chronic migraines are the result of a traumatic brain injury. Unfortunately, the neurologist I saw did not take steps to help me and refused to see me for several months, calling my symptoms “typical”. He eventually saw me again and informed me that he could not help. He proceeded to tell me that I would have to deal with the pain and symptoms for the rest of my life and to see a psychiatrist.
I started seeing Dr. Henry who began treatment right away. Very slowly, through trial and error, we have been making progress. It is not a lot but it gives me hope that not everything will be terrible in the future.
Dr. Henry changed my life. Two years ago, I suffered from chronic ear pain. I saw tons of specialists and no one had any idea what it was. Dr. Henry suspected it was migraines, so I agreed to the nerve blocks. Within a couple minutes I felt 80% better, then 90% better, and then it was gone. It lasted a few weeks and then I had to get more. I had to get the blocks less and less until I only had to get them every three months. Now I am migraine free and have not had blocks for migraines in 9 months.
When Drew was ten, something changed, from one day to the next something was different. He had chronic ear infection as a younger child and had always complained of ear pain, he was on his third set of ear tubes. He woke up one morning saying his ears hurt. Everything was a trigger to increasing his pain. Speed bumps and potholes would send him over the edge, loud noises…daily life. We began looking for answers and after consulting many different specialists, we were left without any. We were told that he was going to have to get used to this and there wasn’t any real explanation or anything that could be done. As a mother my heart was broken, and I wasn’t willing to look at this once happy kid and give up. I was at baseball with him one day and he pointed to his ears, something he did all day every day, and said he needed to go home. I told him he was doing great and to keep trying. A close friend said, “It’s just baseball, he looks terrible, take him home.” I began to explain what we had been told and she said, it sounded like a migraine and I should see Dr. Henry. I have chronic migraines, but Drew’s seemed to have different symptoms than I was used to as migraine.
We saw Dr. Henry and our lives were changed. He met Drew and talked to and treated him as he would an adult patient. He offered nerve blocks as a solution to what he thought were migraines. We all agreed to try it, we had nothing to lose. Within minutes, Drew said “I feel better, I don’t think I have ever felt like this.” That was the end of Drew’s pain, he was back to himself, he looked different, he was lighter, and he was pain free. That was two days before Mother’s Day, it was the best Mother’s Day I have ever celebrated. I had my son back and my fears of what his future held as someone with chronic pain were laid to rest. He still gets migraines, but knows the signs and asks to go in. When a child is asking for eight shots in their head, you know it works. Our lives were forever changed the day we walked in Dr. Henry’s office.
The physical symptoms of migraine tend to get all the attention, but the emotional distress of living with migraine has had an equally significant impact on my life, the pain, nausea, fatigue, and brain fog. Migraine is the biggest and most constant source of grief in my life. The list of losses I’ve endured because of it is long When I was first diagnosed with migraine, I just wanted my life back. I tried everything I could to make the symptoms go away. About 10 years ago, I found myself sick, frustrated, and stuck. My migraine pain reached at least an 8 out of 10 every day for years, I could barely keep myself fed each day, much less feel like I was living a full life. I was also stuck in despair and grief and fear.
I found myself longing to have a life back. It didn’t have to be the life I had before becoming disabled by migraine and it didn’t have to be a life without migraine. I wanted to feel like I was living again, not merely surviving. I wanted to be happy in the life that I had, not always fighting for the mythical life I didn’t. Not long after that mental shift began, I found myself in a mindfulness-based stress reduction course for pain management. Unsurprisingly, meditation was part of that class. And I wasn’t happy about it. The first time I meditated, I was in tears within minutes. I didn’t have a sudden epiphany where meditation became the answer to all my problems. I never even started a regular meditation practice. What I did learn was how to be mindful and aware of my emotional and physical reactions. I learned that grief is normal and that if you try to run from it, it only gets stronger. I learned to feel my emotions without having them overwhelm me.
This is the point in the story where people want me to say, “I learned how to manage my emotions and my migraine symptoms went away.” That’s not how it happened. In fact, I don’t think these emotional changes have had any noticeable impact on my physical symptoms. Yet the change still feels miraculous. By learning to deal with the emotional distress of migraine, I became more skilled at dealing with the physical symptoms, too. That’s not migraine relief in the way we normally think about it, but the emotional relief has made as much of an improvement in my life as any physical reprieve has.
I am thrilled to be writing this update because I feel like a whole new person since the last time I shared my voice. Life has changed a lot the last two years, and all in good ways.
Two years ago, I was starting to feel like I had my life back. My migraines were managed with daily preventatives and Botox. I was finally starting to see a future that could be happy, fulfilling, and mildly pain free. In my wildest dreams I would never have expected to be doing as well as I am now.
When I started my chronic migraine journey, I was bedridden for over 6 months. Simply taking a shower would take all the energy I could muster. I started seeing improvements after about 6-9 months of treatments with Dr. Henry. After about 18 months, I had accepted that living with pain would be my life. My husband I decided to move forward in starting our family, although I was terrified what pregnancy and postpartum would do to my migraines. Much to my surprise pregnancy was a breeze! After Nora was born, I kept waiting for THE migraine. You know the one I’m talking about, the migraine that would knock me on my back for days or even weeks. I kept waiting but it never came. My little Nora is 14 months old now and I only have 2-4 migraines a month that are easily treated with my rescue med and I no longer need any preventatives. I feel incredibly blessed to feel as well as I do. I don’t take a single migraine free day for granted. To not only have held a job for 3 years but to have a beautiful daughter is unbelievable to me. I’m not convinced I will never have a bad streak again, but until then, I’m enjoying every ounce of pain free living I can.
If I could say one thing to someone with migraine, it would be “DON’T GIVE UP!” There is hope and a bright future ahead. Keep moving forward with life and treatments and you will feel like yourself again. I am happy to be living proof that life can beautiful and lived to its fullest while living with Chronic Migraine Disease, all thanks to Dr. Henry and his knowledge of migraine treatments.
The biggest update is that our entire household has migraine disease now— myself, my husband and all three of my daughters. I am constantly trying to not only manage my own daily pain, but their medications, care and treatment as well. Watching them suffer is the hardest part.
My 12 year old is trying to adapt to her first year of Jr. High with migraine. She will have an abdominal migraine and be vomiting during the night and several hours later have migraine with aura hit by third period science class. My ten-year-old has chronic daily headache pain that a preventative medication prescribed by Dr. Henry has greatly lessened.
My 4-year-old was recently diagnosed by Dr. Henry with migraine. She has most likely had them since she was a tiny infant. It was such a relief to discover that her car sickness, screaming every time she was in a car seat, over sensitivity to smells, nightly awakenings, reporting that her “tummy hurting” and “fever hurting” are a result of migraines. Doctor Henry was able to give us answers that I had been searching for since bringing her home from the NICU four years ago.
Dr. Henry, Ruth and team continue to be amazing in helping us navigate our treatment for migraine disease.
Migraines are real. They are debilitating. We are so grateful for generous contributions and support that give me and my family hope!
My migraine journey started when I was 15 years old. For many years, they were predictable, surfacing around my menstrual cycle. In my 20’s, the pattern changed and I got them more often. I began journaling and tried what seemed like a hundred different “remedies”. In my 30’s, it got worse, sometimes 20+ migraine days a month.
In 2009, for the first time in my life I felt suicidal. The depression and anxiety that comes from living with chronic migraines is very real. I managed to start my own business, get two bachelor’s degrees and even go to graduate school, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t suffer. When I felt suicidal I wanted to end the pain. I didn’t necessarily want to die. I wanted to live, but I didn’t know how I would get through the next day. I went to many specialists, trying all the medications and any suggestions they had.
Finally, my PCP told me about Dr. Henry. We tried various treatments, but again to no avail. I asked him if I could try Botox one time. He felt that since I have more than 15 migraine days a month, insurance would cover it, but I had to show one more month of 15+ days to meet the “requirement.” I shook my migraine journal in his face and said, “with all due respect, I can’t DO THIS another month.” Dr. Henry did something unexpected. He gave me a hug and whispered, “I hear you.” It gives me goose bumps as I write this. I FINALLY FELT HEARD! Two weeks later, I had approval. The first round was nothing short of a miracle! My migraines decreased from 15+ days down to 4-8 a month. I felt a whole new lease on life! I was a newly single Mom who had just finished grad school and I finally felt like I could “function.”.
While I’m not cured, I feel like I can start living my life. I received my master’s degree in Marriage and Family therapy and hope to specialize in chronic pain and help those who suffer from migraines. I am forever indebted to Dr. Henry and his staff! They CARE and they LISTEN! THANK YOU!
After seeing 7 different specialists, thank you to Dr. Henry for being the very first person in my life to never settle without a solution!
My migraines started in February of 2009. I can remember looking at Valentine’s present a friend had gotten his girlfriend and my vision started to blur and I could not read an engraving right in front of me. Since then I have never had a full day without pain.
I’ve seen over 10 different doctors all who knew exactly what was causing the problem, and had the magic answer. I went through multiple tests, drugs, and other treatments all ending in the same frustration of being turned away. Being told there was nothing more to try, and to start from the beginning with a new doctor starts to feel hopeless. Everything in life is planned tentatively around it being a good day or a bad day, knowing that at any moment I can go from tolerable to laying flat out in the dark.
I’ve been seeing Dr. Henry for over 2 years now and since then I have been able to hold a steady job and go back to school. Dr. Henry is the first doctor to not stop trying; he is constantly looking for something new to try. He helps me manage my unbearable pain and nausea. Whether it’s fitting me in for a last minute IV, working around my 70-pound service dog, or planning a nerve block right before my final so I can focus on the important things in life rather than pain.
Being able to cope and manage pain is very different from having it be cured. I’m enthralled to see how much awareness this Foundation has raised. It is far worse than any headache you can imagine and it’s never as easy as popping an Excedrin and powering through. Managing depression is also a constant battle, but having hope is what drives me to keep trying to live a life as normal as possible, hope that this is something that can be beat and eventually will take away my pain.
At 21, I started getting severe migraines every month that were related to hormones. When I was 39, I got a migraine that lasted from October to March. I barely continued working every day; it was difficult being sensitive to light and sound.
Some years later, I now have chronic migraines; only one medication works to abort them, and it can cause rebound migraines.
Life with migraines is like walking on a high wire with a net that has holes in it.
In 2016, I was having daily migraines and nausea and discovered I needed gallbladder surgery. Following that, the nausea and migraines continued, which led to the discovery that genetically I don’t have the enzyme to digest sucrose and fructose. I now take the oral solution of Sucraid with my meals which has reduced the number of migraines I have to about 12 to 15 a month rather than daily.
Restorative yoga through the Daniele Byron Migraine Foundation Headache School has offered relaxation and stretching, which helps me deal with my migraines, along with the information provided during the sessions by the experts.
This smile quickly faded until it was almost a lost art. He struggled with chronic migraines and try as he may, his life of happiness faded and the migraines completely took over.
I lost my son in my eyes. As a parent, my heart ached and I just wished that I could take the pain away. I thought I’d never get my child back.
After a few years of no comfort and several physicians later we came to know Dr. Henry.
Within just a month time I was able to see my son return to the amazing and happy child that everyone used to know. Truly, we are so blessed. His favorite thing to do now is to write inspirational letters to everyone that he sees that needs just a bit of cheering up.
He is an active, thriving, inspiration of perseverance.
By Melisa Olsen
I’ve tried several medicines, and have joined a support group for teens with chronic migraines. Recently I was admitted into the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and I hope that that will help. I only wish that migraines were better understood and that it were a simple fix.
For our entire lives, my husband and I have been dedicated to fixing things and making our world a better place. Identify the problem, find and implement a solution, and get running again – that is what we have done all our lives! It is so frustrating to find that we can’t help our child, we can’t fix chronic migraines.
Migraine is a neurological event that medical researchers can now see occurring on functional MRIs. They can see a wave called “cortical spreading depression” spread across the brain during a migraine. This unexplained occurrence has been happening in my son’s brain every week, once a week for almost two years now. Right there in front of me, I can see a migraine happening to my son but I can’t break down why it is happening or find a way to stop it from happening.
Two years ago I did not know what a chronic migraine was and we went to the doctor to “fix” the problem. I assumed we would get a pill or some means of fixing the health issue and move on with our lives. The doctor diagnosed the condition I had never heard of, declared my son disabled, and handed me a 504 letter. I had never heard of chronic migraines and did not know what a 504 letter was. I went very quickly from having a “gifted” child to having a sick child.
This has affected our family in so many ways. For a teenager to get control of this difficult disease is a far greater challenge than many can understand. A doctor can tell you to learn to live with a disease, but in day-to-day life, you start to find out how hard that is to do. The medications can cause terrible side effects and switching medication can cause depression. There is panic when a migraine hits at the worst possible time and constant fatigue that can impede your child’s life more than the migraines.
The misunderstanding and underestimation of the effects of this disease have made the journey much more difficult than we had ever imagined. There is hope, there is happiness, and there will be a happy ending one way or the other. It just will take more time and determination than we had anticipated.
After years of searching for answers and relief from doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, cranial orthopedics, surgery, medication, sleep studies, a daith piercing, and Botox she was FINALLY diagnosed with New Daily Persistent Headaches by Dr. Henry. He has been instrumental in helping Savvy.
Just recently we were able to celebrate the first day in seven years that she hasn’t had a headache because of a nerve-block injection. While it hasn’t completely eliminated her headaches, she has found some relief. Dr. Henry is our hero and we love that he has dedicated his practice to helping those who suffer from migraines and headaches.
Even as early as two days before a migraine begins her mood and well-being are compromised by irritability, depression, sensitivity to light and sound, difficulty concentrating and fatigue. It affects her speech and her comprehension is also impaired. My daughter is brilliant, a member of Mensa, making it especially heart breaking to see her wrestle with these symptoms.
Next comes the actual headache, which is so severe that she keeps her house cool and dark, even going so far to put the deepest light-blocking treatment on her windows and keeping the blinds closed. She struggles with accomplishing anything other than going to work (and frequently having to cut her day short) and sleeping. She is not able to have much of a social life because she never knows when she will be in so much pain that even plans to attend her favorite sources of entertainment — concerts and plays– must be cancelled. Teardra has always been active, accomplishing much in life. The headaches have forced her to take a step back from the citywide book club she runs, the side business she founded, weekly volunteering and ongoing academic endeavors. My husband and I help her out with homework, yard work and housework at times because she is feeling sick so frequently.
Migraines are a debilitating disease that only the sufferer and her family members can know the full extent of how it impedes a person’s ability to live a normal life.
Jessica’s husband of 18 years and her children have also learned many things from this experience. They are hoping for the right solution to heal her, and are continually adjusting to find ways to better support her. She now realizes all that she took for granted in being pain free and is optimistically searching for a solution with the help of Dr. Dan Henry.
All of this finally led me to the most caring and compassionate person on my long road to treatment: Dr. Henry. He literally saved me from having a migraine every day. Now I have a mix of nerve blocks, magnesium drips, Botox and rescue meds and have a migraine 1-2 times a week. It is a daily struggle. When I think, “Maybe today is a good day and I won’t have migraines anymore,” one comes along and wipes me out. It’s hard to explain the pain you feel to coworkers, friends, loved ones, your spouse. It’s not “just a headache,” “no, I’m not flaking out on you,” “it’s not you, it’s me.” You feel unreliable, tired, waiting for the next shoe to drop. I’m hopeful though. I see that more and more treatments have become available in the past 5 years, than in the previous 20. Thank you to Dr. Henry for fighting so hard for his migraine patients!
My guilt eats at me as I have to explain to my 6 year old why I’m napping or telling my husband I can’t go in a hike. Dr. Henry has given me hope that I can get through this disease with medical help. I’m comforted he is there and understands.
Thanks to Dr. Dan Henry’s expert care and compassion we were finally able to have another miracle baby join our family following a six year wait.
Dr. Henry has helped me through my darkest and most hopeless times. He treated me week after week with a passion and concern I have not otherwise experienced. He has restored me to a level of functioning I have not had for years.
I feel like I have missed out on so many fun times with family and friends because I am not feeling well. When my little 3 year old proudly came upstairs and handed me his first ice pack he made for mom all by himself – I wanted to cry. It puts into perspective how this affects my family.
I am thankful for all of the treatments currently available, but I wish there was more understanding from the public. When I would rather have shots into the base of my skull and around my head than feel the pain, that should be a great example of how bad a migraine feels. I am so thankful to Dr. Henry and the staff at Foothill Family Clinic for taking care of me and my family (many of whom also have migraines). Let’s spread some awareness and promote understanding about migraines and what we go through on a daily basis!
Even those I love start doubting me, wondering how I can really be in this much pain with a headache. So, I doubt myself, I feel like a burden, I feel like I am too much for everyone else, it gets exhausting and I am already exhausted from the pain! It’s a vicious cycle, one that I hope to end. Thank you Dr. Dan Henry for giving me hope, and more pain free days, so I can live a more normal life.
This feeling still keeps me from making too many commitments – because I feel if I say “yes”, and have to cancel because of a migraine, people will think it’s just the “same old excuse” – even though it’s the truth.
In my 20’s my migraines got much worse. I saw many neurologists who wouldn’t even look me in the eye, just asked me what medications I wanted and sent me on my way – I didn’t want medication, I wanted help, some sort of resolution
After many failed neurologist appointments a friend referred me to Dr. Longe at Foothill Family Clinic. He was such a blessing, and a wonderful doctor, and the most amazing thing he did was refer me to Dr. Dan Henry. I’ve been under Dr. Henry’s care for about 8 years now, and although I still experience migraines, they are so much better than when I started seeing him. Dr. Henry truly shows compassion and understanding for and about this disease and his patients that no other medical professional I’ve seen has. He has a passion to help his patients and I am so grateful for all the help he’s given me. I am SO excited for what the future holds for the migraine community with Dr. Henry at the forefront of migraine treatment and research! Thank you Dr. Henry!
My life has completely changed. I used to be active in sports, pottery, and always on the go. Now I often have to sleep during the day or drag myself around to accomplish anything. Most people don’t understand me or think it could not really be that bad. There are doubters all around.
I have to fight off the depression when I tell people I can’t go because I am in too much pain, too tired or exhausted. I keep hoping there will be something in the future and I will get my old life back.
I have benefited from attending the Headache School since it began. Migraine Disease is complicated and needs numerous avenues, modalities, and suggestions from a wide variety of practitioners. The school has provided all of those. Seeing Dr Henry has also helped give me hope and courage to continue in my search to find what can help. Continuing with Botox has lessened my pain. I hope to continue to find new ways to help me in my quest with my migraines.
This year I’ve continued to listen to my body but have come to the realization that stress is a huge trigger for me. Living with Chronic Migraines at 21 is difficult because I should be going to school and building my future. Unfortunately, my future has been put on hold until I learn to control my body under stress.
Because of the success of last year’s fundraiser, The Danielle Byron Henry Migraine Foundation has created the Headache School and an adolescent support group. The adolescent support group has been the most impactful for me. The other participants have been amazingly supportive. I love having a group of friends who truly understand what I’m going through. I no longer feel so alone.
I’ve changed my lifestyle and will continue to make adjustments until I’m able to live a life that is as close to normal as possible.
Thank you for supporting me and my fellow migraineurs by coming tonight! You don’t know what tonight means to us.
The worst part about this disease however, is that it is invisible. There is no physical evidence of Migraine, no bumps or bruises, any hair loss or discoloration. Because of the covert nature of migraines, I am often misunderstood. My friends don’t understand why I skip out on activities, or would rather go to bed early than go to a party. My family doesn’t understand why I can be so irritable sometimes, but it is hard not to be frustrated when my head is always always always hurting.
I don’t remember what it feels like to wake up and feel “normal”. Not even good, not even great—just simply normal. I wake up every day wishing that this will be the day that I don’t have a headache anymore, but that day hasn’t come yet. I am hoping that with increased awareness and research, the cure will soon be found! Until then, I would advise everyone not to jump to conclusions the next time someone they know doesn’t want to go out, or seems a little frustrated. You honestly never know what other people are going through—they might even have Migraine disease.
After graduating with a degree in Special Education, I started teaching. While working with a particularly energetic and oppositional student, I received three separate blows to my head. At first I dismissed it, but this pain was different. They sent me to an ER where I was given narcotics for the pain. When there was no improvement, I was referred to a neurologist. I was unable to return to work due to the concussions and eventually was dismissed from my position. The kids were my world, they needed me, and I could not even tell them goodbye. I was recovering from concussions and trying to remember my routines and now everything had changed. I was scared to say my head hurt because I wanted to see the kids I loved so much. I wanted to as much as possible “put things behind me.” I started looking for a new job teaching special education. I did not want the migraine and trauma to follow me. I had an opportunity to start a new job. I still lived in pain. I was still emotional. I still felt depressed and I was still upset. Even in the summer I was having migraine. I was locking myself in my room for days to cry and sulk, and sleep. Bright lights continued to bother me. I was missing out on life. I was sad because I knew this was not just migraine. This was Chronic Migraine.
My first visit to Dr. Henry was in January 2017. I cried tears of joy knowing there is a doctor who knows about migraine and cares. I attend Headache School and yoga weekly. It has been a huge support for me to learn there are other people like me. I am grateful to learn there is hope. It is difficult sometimes not knowing the exact cause, but my migraine journal helps me track triggers, symptoms, times, and treatments.
Recently they have progressively gotten worse, I have missed more school physically and mentally this year than I have in my entire life and my grades have suffered.
One of my worst migraines ever was in March, I couldn’t move. I was in bed for 36 hours straight taking medication after medication, trying to get it down to a sustainable level. Even after could I get it down to a level at which I could finally get out of bed it would be difficult do things because of the pain in my head.
Worst of all, it means an inherent lack of understanding from most people and an automatic judgment about you. You just want someone who ‘gets it’. In reality, until people don’t have to experience the agony of migraines to comprehend what you’re going through, it’s better if they don’t get it, because you’ve been there, and you wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
In the year since Shine Her Light, Dr. Henry and his treatments have been a godsend. I don’t know how I can ever thank him and the foundation for always being hyper vigilant for those that suffer from the same affliction that I do. Without their constant support, I never would have been able to achieve my lifelong dreams.
The information I’ve gained has helped me to spread awareness and knowledge to those around me. My family, friends, and colleagues now know so much more than they ever did before, and that alone has improved my quality of life immensely. Understanding is key to just feeling that our pain is real – and that means the world.
Even if my migraines are as much a part of me as my eye color, having someplace to direct others to gain information about this disease that will always be a part of my life, has been so important.
Nothing about migraines is good, but they have taught me so much: compassion, understanding, and to savor the good moments, because those moments can change so quickly. Being able to let the people closest to me know what I go through and struggle with makes all the difference in my life. All I’ve ever wanted was someone who understood, and now I have a community that knows.
Thank you for all you do – every single one of you. We are stronger for our struggles, and better for the work the Danielle Byron Henry Migraine Foundation does on behalf of all of us.
So many people do not understand how debilitating migraines can be. Dr. Henry helps me get closer to becoming the mom, wife, and friend that I want to be. I will be forever grateful to him and his efforts to help those in need.
Donna was finally diagnosed during her junior year of college. Fighting nausea along with the pain was a lifelong challenge, and finding sustainable pain relief was a futile search. Ultimately Imitrex provided some relief, but it became available only a few years prior to her contracting breast cancer, too late in her life to significantly alter her course. She spent much of her adult life in pain and depressed. Her ability to function was always a factor in planning family activities. Many were cancelled, or, more likely, determined to be unsafe to plan. Perhaps her greatest disappointment was that her migraines kept her from establishing a speech pathology clinical practice, the work she overcame so much to qualify for. Her migraine-related depression accelerated after the children left for college. Migraines were a big factor in her delaying treatment for her breast cancer, which ultimately claimed her life.
I tried alternative therapies – massage, chiropractors, PT, TENS, elimination diets, meditation, yoga, but the headache frequency and intensity continued to increase. I stopped planning social events and travel. I cut back at work thinking work stress must be related to the migraines; however that month, I had migraines 28 of the 31 days. It was then that I finally realized I was just like my siblings – a chronic migraine sufferer, and I needed a migraine preventive, too. After some trial and error, we found a preventive and rescue regimen that works most of the time. I recently had 8 days in a row without headaches (AMAZING!) and then the following week had 5 days of headaches.
Though I strongly dislike having to take any medications, I realize that my new shelf full of headache medications is just the way it has to be for now. I am so grateful for the headache free times, and I work hard not to panic or become angry with myself when I realize a headache is starting. Though not at my “preheadache” level, the fun me is making a comeback!
I am so grateful for the compassion of Dr. Henry and his devotion to curing this disease. He gives me hope that one day I might be able to live a normal life. That the pain will someday stop, and I can finally feel relief!
As I raised my kids there were many times when I had to call neighbors or friends to care for my children as lay in bed with a migraine. Now after turning 50, I suffer from chronic daily headaches as well as migraines. But I am a successful 3rd Grade teacher and despite daily headache pain, I rarely miss a day of school because of the advances in medications for migraines and because of Dr. Henry’s care.
My life and the lives of my three children, who also suffer from migraines, are not always easy. Migraines affect how we live, what we eat, and what activities we do. But we have great hope that our quality of life will continue to improve with more public awareness and greater medical advances.
I have missed more family events, social gatherings, and given up more work days due to migraines than I can count. I have spent endless days in a dark room pushing on the pain in my head praying it would vanish to no avail.
It took me YEARS to find a doctor who finally took the time to help! He understood my migraines and understood migraines are a serious, serious disease. It is only because of Dr. Henry, I continue to improve and continue to survive one more day with migraines.
Migraines and the plague they are need much, much more awareness and attention. We cannot continue the way we are without the continuing support of those health care professionals like Dr. Henry. We cannot survive without them, literally!
In 11 months, I finally graduate from BYU with a degree in communications. Dr. Henry is confident I’ll be healthy enough to commit to a full-time job upon graduation. I’m not as sure as he is, but I’m pretending to be.
My greatest fear is that I’ll never be able to be a mom. Or if I do become a mom, I won’t be a good one. But there is something inside of me that tells me that I will graduate, I will be able to work a full-time job and I will become a wife and mother. That something is called hope. And it’s the reason I’m still here. My hope is fed by the hope of others that love me— my parents, Dr. Henry, my grandparents, my Savior and my Heavenly Parents. This hope gives life to what often feels like a lifeless Amanda. This hope sustains, lifts and carries me. This hope enables me to love, not blame, my Father in Heaven. Above all, this hope is evident of God’s love, awareness and never-ending grace.
Migraines have robbed me of the life I’d imagined for my family and myself. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, and in 2009 my husband and I were blessed with a healthy baby boy. He is the world to us! After many health challenges and failed attempts at getting pregnant again, we’ve come to the realization that we aren’t able to have any more children of our own. That has been earth shattering for me.
Migraines took my successful career away from, and ended relationships because I’m not always dependable. They steal time and memories from me because I’m unable to attend events. The guilt is insurmountable when I have to explain to my 8 year old that mom can’t come to something special of his because “I’m sick again!”
Migraines can steal a lot of things from me, but it can’t steal my smile or my life – I won’t let it! My fight and stubbornness has become a great strength and power in helping me fight off depression, self doubt and pity. I’ve learned to be easier on myself and to have compassion for the battle I’m fighting, even when others don’t.
Migraines are a lonely disease.
The cycle continued for three years, but life was busy and I didn’t think much of it until I developed a stomach ulcer from all the medication I was taking. I hadn’t realized how dependent I had become on the medication and truly how bad my migraines were until I went to see Dr. Henry.
Although I have only been seeing him for 6 months, I am already feeling so much better! I am off of my daily medication regimen and only have to take my rescue medication a few days a week. My overall mood has improved now that headaches don’t plague my daily life anymore. I am so grateful to Dr. Henry for giving me my quality of life back.
I am currently 9 months pregnant, waiting to have this baby any day now! Dr. Henry was by my side the entire way with nerve block treatments so I could have a pain free and medication free pregnancy.
I’m confident I will be able to be an attentive mother because of the treatment and understanding I receive from him. My life and my family’s life are forever changed because of Dr. Dan C. Henry!
On a very important business trip to Washington, D.C. a volcano exploded. In a very public setting, I crashed from a three-day nightmare. My wife and I decided it had to end.
We saw Neurologists, Orthopedic specialists, and a long string of doctors. After a visit with Dr. Azarcon, my family doctor, he recommended that I see Dr. Henry who was specializing in treatment of chronic headaches. From the first visit he dug into the symptoms, causes, triggers and spent an enormous amount of time with me. We began a personalized treatment plan and it has taken two years to get the headaches under control, but it is working. I’ve gone from daily headaches to 1 or 2 headaches per month and I can treat them quickly and effectively.
My wife and I decided it was time to retire and eliminate stress triggers from my life. I was old enough to retire but felt a little forced into it. Now we have a home on a modest little farm in Cache County. It’s not a completely headache-free life, but very close to it. Life is good and I feel liberated.
It’s my hope that Dr. Henry and his foundation will be able to produce results for millions of sufferers by providing better education and awareness for patients, primary care physicians, and other caregivers.
Living with migraines is tedious, painful, and isolating. Migraines affect social and professional lives because you to have to cancel dinner plans or miss work. There just isn’t another option. Even going to the grocery store during a migraine cycle can be impossible. There are many times where I can’t even hold a normal conversation because I can’t focus on anything but the building pressure in my head. About every other migraine, I’ll beg my husband to drill a hole in my head because I’m convinced that doing so will FINALLY make my head feel better (obviously, he declines). It can be discouraging to fight something invisible to others while trying to explain that it is so much more than “just a headache”.
Although I have watched others suffer unfairly from migraines, I’ve also learned invaluable lessons. I’ve found that those who suffer from chronic diseases are among a rare group of the most kind and understanding people. That group includes the Henry family. Dr. Henry has shown me kindness, support, and a light for the future. He has given me options I previously did not know exist. Because of the Henry family’s work, many like myself can live functioning, “normal” lives with migraines. Within the Danielle Byron Henry Foundation, there is hope for those who feel hopeless and misunderstood. There could be no greater mission for a foundation than that.
I’m lucky to be self employed, else I may very well be unemployable. That doesn’t always mean I can go lay down and relax when one comes on. Often, I have to suffer through them, and when they come on multiple days at a time, depression starts to sink in. It’s really hard living and working through pain. They affect my personality, my relationships, my livelihood and my hope. I know I’m still “me” when they’re less frequent, but when I’m in fog of 10-15 plus migraines per month, I feel like I go away for a while and lose myself in the misery of feeling awful. When people say they get migraines, my heart aches for them. I am desperate for a cure so I can be the happy, successful, driven person that I am when I feel okay.
However, there are more things to be thankful for in my life than I can count: my family, students, and Dr. Henry. My family has made great sacrifices to help me survive this disease; their prayers and encouragement have been key to keeping me here on this Earth. I am able to work again and my job gives me a sense of purpose and great satisfaction. My students give me hope that future generations will have more compassion and awareness of migraine disease. In this photo, I am with a small group of my kindergarten through third graders, all of whom have at least one parent who experiences migraine disease. My students question why I often wear a hat and two pairs of sunglasses, my FL-47s and regular wraparound sunglasses, indoors. They wonder what color my eyes are. They exclaim how beautiful I look on the rare occasion that I might take my glasses off. Please do not take for granted your ability to make good eye contact with others.
Eventually, I found Dr. Henry and have since been able to manage my migraines. I was able to graduate from Utah Valley University last month and am currently applying for graduate school. I got married two years ago and enjoy many of the hobbies and activities I once had to miss out on. I still suffer from migraines but have learned how to take care of myself. I now know that I can live a full, happy, and migraine managed life.
I have learned to avoid some activities. But I also decide that quite a few others are worth it. I love to play sports with my grandsons, and wrestle with them on the floor. I love to fish, hunt, camp, drive our ski boat for my family. All of these things are worth it to me because they make me happy. My family doesn’t understand my headaches, but they know they are real, and are understanding if I don’t participate.
I am one of the lucky ones among those afflicted with headache disease. Dr. Henry has taught me so much about my headache, and has helped me manage them and handle the pain. He has given me tools with which I live a happy, productive life. I do have some days without headache, at least at a low enough pain level that for me it is a good day. I’ll sometimes string together 2 to 4 or even 5 days like that when I don’t need to take medication. If you didn’t know me well, you would probably not even know that I deal with this health issue. I know there are many who suffer much more than I do with headaches. All things considered, I have to say, like the stick-figure logo on T-shirts and hats states, that “Life Is Good”.
Through this whole ordeal I was lucky I found Dr. Henry! He was the one who said I would get through it and never stopped believing in me. He has been patient, kind and understanding in helping me find ways to treat my migraines. He was right, and although it has been overwhelmingly hard, I got through it! I am currently on Botox and now only get 1-2 migraines a month! It has been such an amazing change. I am now able to work as a nanny for four kids, and am in college full time. I never thought I’d be here 5 years ago. I finally have my life back.
1. It has been disabling. I have missed out on a bit of life. I haven’t been able to be the person that I believe I think I could be. I am tired of telling people I cannot attend “because I have a migraine.” I miss work. I cannot hold down a job. I am depressed.
2. I am compassionate. I live life to the fullest when I can. I am a good listener. I am patient. I have a soft heart and charity for those who live with chronic pain. I don’t think I would trade this trial, because it makes me who I am, a tender and benevolent person.
When I started getting headaches 10 years ago we thought I had a brain tumor or some horrible cancer, I couldn’t believe the pain could be so bad. I went to multiple doctors. I have had allergy shots, sinus surgery, tubes put in my ears, tubes taken out of my ears, acupuncture, chiropractors, hormone treatments, multiple drugs with multiple side effects, multiple injections in multiple places, including 32 shots in my head, all to no avail. I still have migraines. I can’t go skiing or biking or hiking or camping because if my heart rate increases, I get a migraine. I still work some days as a children’s therapist, but I can’t be depended on. I never know when it will hit. I spend most of my time lying down with ice on my head. I just want my life back.
I got my first migraine when my fourth child was about six months old. My three older children were 5, 3, and 1 ½ at the time. Fast-forward 17 years, and another six children, I’m now in a much better place!
Dr. Dorothy Williams and Dr. Dan Henry became my salvation when I found them about two years ago. These physicians are fully committed to listening, understanding, and responding, in the utmost kind, compassionate, and professional manner. After incorporating a multifaceted approach (with a lot of trial and error with medicine and other treatments), I am, finally, seeing a decline in the number and intensity of my migraines.
I live my life to the fullest, not letting the disease prevent me from doing the things I love – taking care of my 10 children, and living an active life: playing tennis, skiing, singing, hiking, going to concerts, volunteering, teaching, creating art, and spending time with my awesome husband!
“Life is Good” is no longer a clever motto for T-shirts. It’s become my reality following almost two decades of living in a hellish prison inside my head. I’m sincerely thankful that I made it out alive, and I love how it feels to feel good.
During the time my head migraines sparked, I also began experiencing stomach migraines. At the time, I didn’t know these two were related and I had many medical tests done, with again no answers as to what was causing my stomach such discomfort each time I ate anything. I dreaded eating because of the pain I knew would come, which led to unhealthy weight loss.
Migraines are truly disabling. Dr. Henry has helped me manage my migraines and I now am even able to experience many headache-free days! I am so grateful for the care of Dr. Henry for helping me feel healthy again.
From consulting with the Mayo Clinic, helping get us into the Jacob’s Neurological Institute to look for additional answers, calling me after hours, to making room in his busy schedule for me. His compassion has carried me through very dark times when I wasn’t sure how I would get through. He’s never given up on me and has continually worked to find better, more personalized solutions.
His continued dedication has lead us to answers that have allowed me to have a full and fulfilling life. With his help, I have gone from having migraines that lasted days or weeks, that left me unable to participate in daily life, and required frequent intervention to minimal migraines due to preventative measures. Our family is forever grateful for the love, compassion, and service Dr Henry has provided to us.
Thanks to Dr. Henry’s help, I continue to get stronger after my migraines became so severe, they left me re-learning to walk and unable to take care of my kids.
I am happy to report, my migraines are more manageable than ever due to Dr. Henry’s specialized nerve blocks in my eyebrows, forehead and base of my skull. Dr. Henry also provides helpful in office IV treatments as needed as well.
Right now, my biggest migraine related concern is for my daughters, ages eight and ten. They are already battling migraines. It breaks my heart to see them suffer.
It gives me great hope to think of a comprehensive migraine treatment center that could be there to support them through the rest of their lives.
My hope for my daughters is a life free from the ravaging effects of migraine. How grateful I am for the Danielle Byron Henry Migraine Foundation for turning my hope for a migraine managed and pain free life for my girls into a reality!
It was not until I felt hopeful that I looked back on the suffering I had been hiding or trying to ignore all those years. I realized that pain takes me away from myself and loved ones because it is impossible to be fully present while a sharp, stabbing pain throbs in my head. Working, my concentration, sleep, even driving felt disrupted. I could not be at my best, ever.
Thankfully, after many months of effort, times of relief from the headache have come. I am so grateful.
I made an appointment with my family practitioner that sent me to a neurologist. I felt like no one was taking me serious. After an MRI and CT, I was told I might have Lou Gehrig’s disease. I sought a second at the U of U Neurology. I was overjoyed when she told me I suffered from migraines and did not have Lou Gehrig’s disease. I was given a new drug, literature, and information on identifying my triggers. After 10 years of suffering, I felt like I had an answer to help me regain myself. My life was better. However, I continued to suffer migraines up to 4 times a week. They were beginning to affect my life again. I thought there was nothing more I could do.
A little over a year ago, my sweet husband signed me up for a migraine study. I wanted to try anything. I met Dr. Henry. He…was…amazing. He was the doctor I should’ve met years ago. He understood my migraine disease. I started the study and had a very successful year with this new drug. I didn’t suffer hardly at all from migraine attacks. I was getting my life back. Once the study ended, I continued to follow-up with Dr. Henry. Through his knowledge and experience, we are getting my life back. We are trying things I never knew existed. I tell everyone I meet who has migraines to see this amazing man and he will change your life. I know I still have a long road ahead, but I also feel like I am more in control than I ever have been. Now, after nearly 20 years, I feel free.
Becky also suffered from bipolar disorder, which was undiagnosed until she was a senior. Her mother’s death sent her into a 10-year tailspin during which time she couldn’t work, and suffered both from almost constant migraines and reactions to meds prescribed for the bipolar disorder. In 2012, Becky was offered an entry-level job at Western Governors U, and with the support of an understanding supervisor excelled through 2013. This came at a price as her use of NSAIDS, anti-nausea drugs, and prescribed narcotics had begun to affect her general health.
On August 10, 2014, Becky was admitted to the Diamond Headache Clinic in hopes that the specialists could come up with a management plan. During her stay, she suffered from at least a level 7 migraine every day. By August 20, her doctor determined that they had done what they could and that she could go home. The next day she developed a fever and died due to a very rare reaction to haldol, neuroleptic malignant syndrome. No matter what we did, the presence of the migraines threatened her capacity to function, her happiness, her goals, and her very life. In the end, the migraines took it all.
I have been to many doctors to help with my migraines for 10 + years. During my first visit to Dr. Henry, I was so impressed by the care I received. I hope this helps others – you are doing great things. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
During 9th grade, she began screaming, “Help me, help me!” The doctors had no explanation for her inability to eat, attend school, socialize, sleep or learn. The doctors recommended that she be placed in a medical coma long enough to give her body a rest. They were not confident that they could bring her back out of the coma and our family declined this advice.
One year ago, we met with Dr. Henry. Britten had a pain disorder, and he had many options to help her improve the quality of her life. Within 2 minutes of a nerve block, she said, “I have never felt this way. My head has always had stabbing pain like ice-picks going through my brain non-stop day and night.” When I asked why she didn’t describe her headaches to anyone, she said she thought everyone felt this way and they handled it fine. She thought she was weak.
I will be indebted to Dr. Henry forever. Britten is in physical therapy, exercising and practicing for the Ice-skating Olympics. She has hope for her future. She is planning to work. Dr. Henry and his remarkable staff gave Britten a quality of life that most of us take for granted.
I am so grateful for Dr. Henry and the help he has given to my children and myself. He is a great man and so kind to my children, they think he is pretty great.
I excelled my freshman year, and I was stage manager for the theater department. I was taking care of myself by taking my medications and sleeping 10 hours. Sophomore year I overcommitted myself and started getting sick again, missing the entire year of school. I cut as much stress out of my life as possible, and after a few struggles, I finally finished my sophomore year. I have learned a lot about my body, but the biggest thing I have learned is that being a migraineur is walking a tightrope that is constantly changing.
At 36, it was no longer a question if my head hurt, but a constant question of, “How bad is my head hurting right now?” I avoided daylight, extreme heat, direct sunlight, and noisy restaurants. My job required travel, which was difficult, and I became increasingly neurotic about my medications. By 47, it was rare that I did much more than work and go home. I had a headache for about 16 straight years. I was miserable and almost hopeless. Although my son was an adult, giving up completely was not an option.
Dr. Henry changed my life, which is an understatement. For the first time in 15 years, I came away knowing I was going to get the best treatment available. Nine months later, we found a combination of treatments that worked – it was nothing short of miraculous!
I am 50 and continue to do well, traveling, enjoying my weekends with family and friends and working. I am so grateful for the care and compassion of Dr. Henry.
Migraines have taken away my ability to be in noisy situations. Migraines have taken away my willingness to travel by plane, because the altitude and tight space makes my head feel like it’s near exploding. Migraines have decreased my school performance as well as attendance, and now work performance. It has decreased my motivation and made me want to do nothing but sleep. Migraines have limited my ability to be social, physically active, and do things I want to do. Migraines have given me mood swings that make people like me less, and instead have to learn to tolerate me. Migraines have decreased my self-esteem and self-worth, as well as increased my depression immensely. But I will never stop looking for a solution because I know I’m not the only one. And migraines are more than serious; they’re a disabling disease. They took away my ability to be a normal teenage girl even though I look it on the outside.
Who gets excited about heart surgery?
It was not until recently when I went to Dr. Henry that I was informed that I have chronic migraines. Every day. I am a mom and a wife and have the most patient husband and children. My children are missing out because I don’t have the energy to play with them after I have worked all day plus fought a migraine all day. It breaks my heart every day that I am not able to be the person I want to be. Dr. Henry is the first doctor who wants to figure out what works for my migraines and get me the relief I have searched years for and in turn give my family the mother and wife they deserve.