Meet Karen Spencer of Pittsburgh, Penn., a winner of the Rewrite Your Day contest, which is awarding 15 people the chance to work with celebrity event planner Mindy Weiss to re-create a special moment lost to Chronic Migraine.
by Karen Spencer
I was officially diagnosed with Chronic Migraine when I was in my 30's, but I have been living with migraines since the age of nine. Like many others who have Chronic Migraine — a neurological condition that causes 15 or more headache days per month with headaches lasting four hours or longer —it has impacted many aspects of my life. There were days that I could barely take a shower on my own or prepare a meal for my family, because of blurred vision and jackhammer-like pain on one side of my head associated with my migraines. But, one of the most special moments that I've missed due to Chronic Migraine was my 32nd wedding anniversary last year.
My husband is such an important part of my life and celebrating our anniversary year after year is dear to both our hearts. One of my sisters passed away recently, reminding me that every milestone should be celebrated and every special moment should be honored, so our last anniversary was going to be a day that I made a point to cherish. I knew that there was potential for a migraine or headache, but we still planned to go to a waterfront restaurant and enjoy a romantic dinner that evening, exchange gifts and share a toast with sparkling grape juice —our simple, but meaningful anniversary tradition. We even considered going to a movie followed by dessert. Unfortunately, we never made it to dinner, the movie or dessert, because I came down with a migraine that kept me in bed all day, too weak to shower, dress or get into a car. We didn't exchange gifts, and I wasn't able to even buy a card to tell my husband how much I love him and value our many years of marriage.
It's been a year since my last anniversary, and my Chronic Migraine is now better managed, but I still have episodes several times a month. I have been fortunate to have found a headache specialist who is helping me to find a treatment plan that works for me. As the wife of a pastor, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our fellow church members who have helped me when my migraines and headaches become too difficult to bear, which is why I am so happy that I can now do something for others. By raising awareness of Chronic Migraine and the impact this condition has had on my loved ones and me, I hope I can help those living with this condition to seek the help they need.
For my anniversary re-creation, I worked with celebrity event planner Mindy Weiss to plan an intimate vow renewal ceremony, which included a beautiful serenade by my talented niece and a well-known Pittsburgh-based violinist. Following the ceremony, we enjoyed an intimate luncheon reception where my husband and I got to celebrate with our closest family and friends. This was my dream anniversary, and I'm thrilled to have the memories of this special day.
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.