Meet Donna Love, a South Bend, Indiana, native, a woman with chronic migraine and one of 15 winners of the Rewrite Your Day contest. As a winner, Donna got to work with celebrity event planner Mindy Weiss to re-create a special moment lost to chronic migraine.
by Donna Love
I was diagnosed a year ago with chronic migraine, a neurological condition where I experience 15 or more headache days per month, with headaches lasting four hours a day or longer, but I have been living with migraines and headaches since I was a child.
Chronic migraine has taken many moments away from me, the most important being those that involve my children. As painful as chronic migraine can be, there is nothing that hurts more than having your young daughter ask you, "Mommy, is this going to be a day you can play with me or do you have to stay in bed because of a headache?" Unfortunately, last Christmas was no exception.
Every year, I get excited to play hostess during Christmas dinner with my family, but I also worry about having a migraine that will stop me from participating in the festivities. Last year, I was hoping for the best, since it was the first time my 2-year-old son could really enjoy Christmas and my whole family was coming over to celebrate. Unfortunately, my worries were not unwarranted, because I got a migraine that lasted through Christmas Eve.
As a person living with chronic migraine, I am familiar with my own tell-tale signs that a migraine is coming on. And so I woke up the morning of Christmas Eve with what I call the dreaded "twinge"—a tingling feeling in my head that signals to me that a migraine is about to start. I told myself that I would work through the pain, but I knew that it was only going to get worse throughout the day.
Despite experiencing severe nausea, I was able to be with my children in the morning, but by afternoon, the piercing head pain had taken hold. As my children began to open their presents, I could barely smile at the sight of watching my young son rip apart wrapping paper for the very first time, and it was difficult to share my daughter's excitement about her new toys. I eventually had to excuse myself to go lie down and spent the remainder of the evening in bed and missed the family dinner I had prepared. It breaks my heart that I had to miss out on that Christmas with my family due to a migraine.
Chronic migraine still takes over many days in my life, but I have been seeing a headache specialist who is helping me better manage my condition. I looked forward to sharing my story so that people can better understand how difficult living with chronic migraine can be. I also want those living with this condition to know that there is help available and the first step is locating a specialist who can find a treatment plan that works for you.
I was so excited to work with event planner Mindy Weiss to re-create an amazing Christmas dinner for my family. I couldn't wait to be part of my children's excitement about Christmas and celebrate with my family the way I was not able to last year due to chronic migraine.
The event took place at a local restaurant where Mindy worked with the staff to plan a traditional Christmas meal. In terms of decorations, Mindy incorporated a red and green color scheme to complete the Christmas theme. She even set up tables where my family could play card games—a Christmas tradition. For our cookie swap (another family tradition), there were festive boxes to take our cookies home in.
I was so thrilled that I was able to spend this time with both sides of my family, as well as get to enjoy my children's smiling, excited faces as they opened presents. Lastly, it was so great to be able to take some family photos. Usually, I am the family photographer and last year I couldn't take any pictures!
To learn more about the campaign or to find a headache specialist in your area, visit www.RewriteYourDay.com. For more information on chronic migraine, click here.