I always hesitate to write any personal information about my children, but when my youngest son asked, “Why aren’t you telling your readers about what happened with my headaches? It may help someone.” I figured that was all the approval I needed to let you know about his amazing journey from a migraine sufferer to a normal teen.
At the end of his fifth grade year, Joseph started complaining about headaches. The first thought was that he needed glasses. Off we went to what was the first of dozens and dozens of visits to doctors and specialists who all said he didn’t need glasses but concluded right away that he had every symptom of migraine headaches.
The short run-down is we tried everything. Changes in diet, medications, acupuncture, and none of it worked. Going outside seemed to make it worse, so we thought heat or bright light had something to do with it.
To see my growing boy curled up in pain and knowing there was nothing I could do about it ripped out my heart. Saying Joseph usually has the energy of an entire army is an understatement, but I would watch as he’d leave a basketball game or a swim party to come inside and lay down in his dark room. Family trips were interrupted and he missed church and school activities. Even though he’s extremely bright and in the gifted program, his grades suffered because often, he either missed school, or was so sick he went straight to bed when he got home and would have to stay up late to finish hours of homework. Even though he felt terrible most days, Joseph learned to keep going. I once saw him run a cross country meet with a full-blown migraine. The pain on his face was heartbreaking, but he refused to give up.
We finally visited a new doctor’s office to try yet another new procedure. He mentioned that perhaps we should go to an ENT in Mobile who is known for helping those with sinus issues, and thought Joseph’s problem could be related.
We met with Dr. Mark Harrison at Premier Medical Group, and within a few minutes of examining Joseph, he boldly claimed he was 95% sure sinus surgery would cure the headaches. Dr. Harrison said that although most migraines have other causes, doctors are now understanding sinus issues can be linked to migraines.
A few days after school was out, Joseph had surgery, which lasted twice as long as normal. 14 polyps were removed and I would be lying if I said recovery was easy, but before he had even fully healed, Joseph claimed he already felt better.
Almost a year has passed, and Joseph has been migraine free.
With South Alabama’s heavy pollen and humidity playing havoc with our sinuses, we thought a stuffy nose every now and then was normal and considered it a separate issue. Looking back, we also suspect Joseph’s school buildings, which had issues with leaky roofs and sealed environments with recirculated air systems, also aggravated respiratory complications.
It’s shocking to me that the medical community is just now figuring out the link between sinus complications and migraines. As we were awaiting our surgery date, we even had one specialist tell us there was no way the two issues could be linked and surgery would never alleviate the headaches.
No one should ever have to suffer this kind of pain, especially when they’re young. This solution may not be the answer for all those who suffer from migraines, but if it helps even one person, we are happy to spread the word.
And speaking of happy . . . he is, and we are.