A glimpse into my life: Parenting a teen with chronic headaches & migraines

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I love most about reading blogs and being involved in online media period is that feeling of learning from someone else’s experiences and knowing that I’m not alone in dealing with something.  To that end I thought I’d do a little glimpse into my life type series where I share something that I’m dealing with as a parent, or a wife, or a woman and hopefully we can learn from each other’s experiences and, let’s face it, mistakes.

 

My first entry in this series is a hard one to write because it’s so long and so intricately involved I’m not even sure where the beginning is and I’ve been taught to always start the story where the story starts!

 

My daughter has had a headache of some degree every single day of her life for over two years.  Some days the headache is severe, sometimes it’s more minor but her head always hurts.  I sometimes feel like dealing with her headaches and the residual side effects of the headaches has taken over my life and then I immediately feel guilty for feeling that way because I’m not the one in pain!

 

My daughter is 14 years old, she is in 8th grade.  Let’s be honest here, that’s a difficult phase in a girl’s life anyway without feeling like your brain is too large for your skull. She’s started complaining of headaches in 6th grade and our journey began!  We tried the eye doctor, getting her glasses prescription changed, then we tried changing her to contacts instead of wearing eyeglasses.  We went to our regular pediatrician, who suggested an ENT.  The ENT sent us for sinus x-rays.  All negative.  No sinus issues, nothing showing on any x-ray that should be causing a headache.

 

Back to square 1 we go.  We then went to an allergist.  Full allergy screen revealed an allergy to dust mites, my daughter has used allergy medications since kindergarten (before that she had trouble with sinus infections).  We tweaked her allergy medications, all the congestion disappeared but the headache remained.

 

We went to a chiropractor and massage therapist.  They were at least able to offer some temporary relief.  On the days she felt absolutely miserable they could bring her pain level down from a 9 or 10 to a 4 or 5 for a few hours, but it would eventually climb back up.

 

That led us to a pediatric neurologist who first diagnosed her with chronic daily migraines, that diagnosis was later changed by the same pediatrician to chronic tension headaches and acute migraines.

 

It feels like we try something and get a small measure of success for a while but it’s always short-lived.  They put her on a preventative medication and she thinks it’s better for a while, but then it always flares back up again. They increase the dose, and there’s side effects.  At our last visit we spent a lot of time talking about the fact that she also doesn’t sleep well, so now we’re going this weekend to have a sleep study done.

 

The hardest part for me as a parent is knowing that my child is suffering in some way that I’m completely powerless to help.  I’m NOT the type of person who randomly pops pills to solve a problem and yet I’m giving my daughter a list of medications to help her sleep and to help her not be in pain.  I think the hardest part for her is that living with a chronic headache means she constantly feels like her plate is full and any extra stresses or complications in life make her feel completely overwhelmed.  A bad day at school, a test doesn’t go exactly the way she wanted, or even a disagreement with a friend and she’s in tears.

 

Do you have a parenting issue you deal with that makes you feel frustrated, or even helpless?

 Originally posted on WriterMom's Blog

WriterMom Angela
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