Hi. My name is Scott but I’m not who this is about.
His name is Jeffrey. When he was 5 he started experiencing headaches. I remember him telling me things like memories of having to sit away from the radiators in the classroom because the heat would give him a headache. This began a life of people seemingly not ever to be able to understand the pain he endured and why he would sometimes, in life, need ‘preferential treatment’. He would leave class to go to the nurse’s office for a pain pill and a “1/2 hour rest and then send me right back to class like I should be all better.” He missed a lot of school and at one point looked as though he may not finish. But his determination exceeded his obstacle and he walked across the stage with his high school class. He probably worked harder than most of the others sitting there. None of them aware of the pain he had to suffer through to just get where they were. He left to always wonder what he could have actually achieved if not for the headaches holding him back.
Never wanting to sit still long, he started taking college classes intent on furthering his education to work in the travel industry. “Free cruises.” He’d say. But by now, his headaches were much more severe lasting longer and longer with shorter and shorter intervals of relief. The pain medication wasn't working and the Doctor’s seemed reluctant to up the quantity to cover all his headaches. Eventually he had to put his college plans on hold. This is something he regrets having to do to this day. But he was not given a choice to do well or not as other’s get. Again, this is another misunderstood situation in his life by many.
By 20, after trying a couple turns working, he was spending a lot of time like he spent during his childhood, in pain, in bed, and in the dark with a cloth over his eyes and forehead. Eager as he was to make his life better, he used his ‘up time’ creating a successful eBay trading business for himself and was able to help others when he could. Through the pain he had been able to help his sister build her Habitat for Humanity house where she and her children still live today. He also helped his parents with the redesign and decor of their house when they first moved in.
By 25 he was starting to spend more time in bed than he was out it seemed. The depression caused by all the years in pain and the lack of understanding or help from his doctor or community was wearing on him and his outlook was starting to look bleak. This is when I met him. He was living with a friend and outwardly seemed to be getting along all right as far as could see. He loved to decorate and he collected many things and liked to show them off and his love of music was like nothing I had ever known. In time I learned that there are times in his life that music is literally all he has. I didn't know anything about migraines or headaches or chronic pain at the time. I had no idea how much there was to learn.
For reasons that have nothing to do with the story, Jeffrey moved back with his parents this same year. While fighting through his anxiety of the change he managed to immediately begin to make the room he was now occupying more pretty. The anxiety, of course, brings on tougher headache keeping him from ever being able to see the end of his project coming to fruition. It lays there half done, sometimes, with him lying in his bed thinking only about getting rid of the headache so he can finish and move on. To his credit, the moment that he feels that he has enough “power built up” he gets up and gets it done. Even if he knows he will pay for it later.
Over the past 8 years, I have personally taken him to most of his appointments. All he wants is for the headaches to go away. It doesn't matter how. Procedures? Medications? Anything. He’s already tried even the most extreme procedures I could imagine. (Though I am sure there has to be more.) He’s had everything from holistic methods from massage and acupuncture to bio-feedback and chiropractic care.
Medically, he’s had numerous combinations of medications over the years. Topamax seems to stick out as what helps best as a preventative. Because of his pain and other medical and psychological issues the amount of different types of medication he is on is much more than he would like. Some he needs for sure but others…well, I’m not a doctor. But it just seems like he is on a lot of things and nothing is working. Presently he is on Topamax and another preventative. He is given only 15 fioricet to last a month long headache with no treatment for the rest of them. Antidepressants and anxiety medicine as well as Requip for his restless leg syndrome.
He’s certainly not a “pill seeker”. He is willing to try anything. He has had Botox Injections to stop the headaches. He had the nerves cut in the back of his neck to stop the headaches. Thinking it might be sinus related he had several times where they stuck a long Q-tip in something and stuck it far up his nose to stop the headaches. I’m sure there’s more. Through it all, he appeared so brave to me. Sadly nothing has yet to work.
As for his headaches, they are at different levels throughout the day but he never without a headache anymore. Dreams of the things he’ll do when the headaches had been getting him by but they aren't as strong as they were. As time goes on he feels like the chances of the pain going away is less and less as does his will.
At 33 he still lives much as always has. He lives in the attic at his parent’s house. The room is darkened most of the time. On his good days all he wants is to make whatever is around him better or nicer in some way. Even though his depression has started to enter a desperate area, he’s still in there waiting for the headache to go away so he can make things better. All things better.
So, this is a cry for help. As the one in love with Jeffrey for 8 years and watched him suffer day after day yet try so hard to be ‘normal’, I am asking for someone to please help him. Please. I don’t want him to think that anyone’s life would be better without him in it for any reason.