Let's start the new year with a success story about a young man who experienced tragedy and was well on his way to developing chronic migraine.
Josh Biddle was 23 when he lost his mom to cancer and soon after quit his job due to his health. That’s when the 24-hour dizziness started. And the headaches. He didn’t have headaches all the time, but they were extremely painful when he did. He coped by pushing down the grief and ignoring the pain.
This coping method didn’t work for long. In 2019, Josh ended up in the emergency room, so dizzy he couldn’t stand. Unfortunately, he received treatment that only ended up putting him to sleep. Nothing helped the dizziness on a regular basis. His job was affected when he couldn’t help but call in sick, too dizzy to drive, too dizzy to work. He used up his sick time and his short-term disability. His employer canceled his health insurance offering him COBRA to continue his insurance but at more than twice his monthly rent.
His quality of life was very low. He could only do chores by sitting in a chair and go for walks using a cane. Last winter, he experienced a setback causing him to go into a deep depression during the winter season.
He went to doctor after doctor for six months with head pain, dizziness, neck pain, balance issues, and extreme sensitivity to light. He was treated for heart issues, completing a stress test and his blood pressure was through the roof. He suffered from severe depression because he could not work. He went from his bed to the couch and back to bed – this was the entirety of his day’s activities.
In the meantime, Josh was fortunate to find employment working from home and was approved for Medicaid. This arrangement worked much better for him because he could remain seated, relax in his own home and still earn money.
He was sent to an Ears, Nose and Throat doctor because of his dizziness and extreme sensitivity to light. His MRI was clear. He was then sent to three ophthalmologists for further tests. The last one heard his symptoms and immediately said, “Migraines.” Her strong opinion was that he had migraine disease – she ordered TheraSpecs for him and recommended Josh talk to his primary care doctor about amitriptyline. Once he was on that, the dizziness eased, and he could drive again.
However, now that his dizziness was less severe, his head pain was much more noticeable – and bad. It took four months to get in to see a neurologist. He spent a year fighting his insurance and waiting to get in to see the proper doctors. When he was finally able to see the neurologist, he was prescribed Topamax. Josh knew this was a controversial medication in the migraine community, but he was willing to try it. And he was so glad he did! He noticed a positive difference within the very first week.
He decided he wanted to lose weight, with his neurologist agreeing it could be very beneficial for him. Now that he feels better, his quality of life has drastically improved. He is able to work four 10-hour days per week without having to call in sick; he meditates, takes relaxing walks and is in therapy. Now Josh can do more housework and is happy to have a more tidy home. The best part is he gets to spend more time with his fiancé without suffering a migraine.
At 29 years old, Josh is celebrating the new year with fewer migraines, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and weighing 18 pounds less. What a great start to his new year and healthier life adventure!