The first migraine that I remember occurred when I was seven. From about age thirteen on, I’d get a migraine two or three times a year until my mid-twenties. At that point they started increasing in both frequency and intensity. Now, at thirty-four, it’s rare to go a week without having one. I end up at the doctor’s office or ER at least once a month. Sometimes they last for seven or eight days, only to go away and return the next week. [Tweet this.]

My migraine symptoms are never the same. Sometimes the pain starts in my neck, radiating throughout my body and echoing with each tiny movement. Other times it starts in the back of my head and burns like water up your nose. I’ve also started getting ice pick headaches and nausea. Just two weeks ago I was throwing up so much I lost two and a half pounds in thirty-six hours. The pain is always constant. At least five days out of seven I have a migraine that requires me to take my meds or a shot.

I don’t have health insurance and am a stay-at-home mom, so paying for doctors and medications is daunting. And, it’s hard to find a medication that both works and I can afford. Sometimes I feel hopeless, as if I’m destined to live in pain for the rest of my life. Surely somewhere, someone can help. But here in rural Arkansas, my choices are limited. I’ve learned to deal with it most of the time, but toddlers don’t wait for migraines to go away. I dream of one day being free from pain: free to enjoy the fleeting moments of my daughter’s childhood and concentrate on filling her life with joy, not ridding myself of yet another migraine.