Migraine headaches — cured!

May 2, 2016


Leslie Anne TarabellaI 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.


migraine headaches related to sinus issuesAt 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.

migraine headaches
Having all the symptoms of migraines, our son was repeatedly diagnosed with this form of headache.


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.

Four years went by and the headaches only became more frequent and severe.

Leslie Anne Tarabella

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.

Leslie Anne Tarabella


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.

Leslie Anne Tarabella, Joseph Tarabella, Fairhope Alabama
photo credit: Joseph’s big brother Harrison Tarabella.

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.



Leave a Reply

  1. That is so great! Glad to hear he is doing better! I have experienced migraines in the past but never related them to my sinuses. Plus I have several friends who suffer from them dearly. Mind sharing the physician’s name who assisted in this?

  2. I’m so glad to know these procedure helped your son. How terrible he suffered from these headaches so. My daughter had migraines for years and finally found out it was her birth control meds doing this to her! Sure was. Glad your son is better. I know this had to be very hard on you too to know you couldn’t help! I do hope this info will be useful to someone.
    Be a sweetie and thanks for popping in to see me,
    Shelia 😉

    1. Thanks Sheila. I’ve already heard from several people who are going to investigate this possibility with someone they know, so let’s hope . . .!!!

  3. Great post, Leslie Anne. Many people, including me at one time suffer from migraines. So glad you son is pain free. I think a lot of people will be grateful for this post. Enjoy your week.

    1. Thanks Katie. Glad you are feeling better. I can’t even imagine what it must be like!

  4. I am so glad Joseph has found relief. My late father had what he called his “sick headaches,” and he just had to go to bed in a dark room. Sometimes it took a few days before he was back to normal. I can only imagine the suffering involved.

    1. The field of medicine has advanced so much over the last few decades. People just a few generations ago had it so much worse than we did, and also had the uncertainty of just not knowing, which is often as bad as the pain. Thanks Ellen.

  5. Heart breaking story Leslie Anne, I can’t imagine what he and your family went through…what an amazing guy, wow…

  6. So glad Joseph has been migraine free! Mark is an old friend of mine and always happy to hear how he is helping others!

    1. How wonderful! Dr. Harrison was so confident, that we loved him immediately. He really knows his stuff!

  7. I had terrible head aches in high school. Painful and nauseating. Had what sounds like the same surgery..NO MORE HEAD ACHES! Recovery from surgery was a little tough.

    1. You’re right about the recovery being tough, but overall, wasn’t it worth it? Glad you are better now!

  8. What an amazing story Leslie Ann! It is hard as moms to see our children suffer and I am so happy this had a happy ending.

    I had emailed you a response to your question yesterday and realized that your address is listed as “no reply blogger” so of course you never received it.

    GREAT question!

    I update the LIW post as there were a few readers who also wanted to know the answer. Laura temporarily lived in New Hope (near Westville) in Florida with her cousin Peters family. Laura HATED the humidity and so they quickly left. 🙂 Peter and his family is buried in the cemetery behind the Mt. Ida Methodist church and it has a marker saying Laura attending there but that is all.

    1. For anyone else reading this, Laura is a descendant of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and if you click over to her blog (click on her name above) you’ll see the post we’re discussing.

      Thanks for the info Laura. I can understand LIW’s aversion to the humidity!

  9. I have suffered from migraines for most of my adult life. I am definitely going to look into this.

    1. Oh Margaret, I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope this information helps. Keep me posted.

  10. I will be sharing this information with a teaching colleague, she and her boys suffer with migraines that can’t seemed to be cured. Thnak your son for suggesting you share his story.

    1. I told him he was brave a second time for allowing me to share. Hope everything works out for your friend and her sons.

  11. I’ve never heard of this connection but have children and other family who suffer from migraines. I’ll pass this on. Thank God it helped your son!

    I tried leaving a comment on your current post on privacy but it never loaded. Such a good post, why is it we’re so afraid to speak up where the medical community is concerned? You write these informative posts with such humor too, Leslie Anne!

    1. Hope the headaches in your family get better, and thanks for letting me know about the comments not working. I’ll see what I can do.

  12. Leslie Anne, I am so glad you shared this story. I had a similar issue with my sinuses, and a few years ago when my 1st grader started describing her headaches as a mirgraine, I took her to my ENT, and sure enough she had a blockage. I don’t have a blog to share my experience, thank you for sharing. I know the ENT helped my daughter and me.

    1. So glad you figured it out. For some reason, many doctors don’t even make the connection to sinus problems. I say it can’t hurt to investigate every option! Thanks for reading and glad you and your daughter feel better.

  13. This is so helpful to know. I’m researching migraines to help my niece find a solution. We live in a place with high humidity as well so it’s possible that she’s in a similar situation. I’ll pass this on to her. Thanks for the great information.

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