To all the Dads:

A note from Dayna’s father. The website is called “My daughters headache”. It

is devoted to the children who are afflicted with this problem, most of whom seem to be girls,

but also to the parents. Dayna and my wife Teena seem to be inundated with contacts from

moms. We have yet to hear from a father or a husband. They seem to be in the background. So

I wanted to give you my perspective. I want the fathers to read this. When your child is sick it

effects everyone in the house. This was certainly true for me. When Dayna got sick it hurt. I felt

helpless. I felt unsure of what to do next. I didn’t know what to say or how to act or react. At

first it was, oh well sorry you felt bad today. Then it was missing school and the slow and steady

realization that we were dealing with a much bigger problem. It got worse still. It was not

cancer or some other well known disorder. It was a headache. When Scotty Pippen got

migraines and missed a Bulls game I laughed. But this wasn’t a migraine. It was debilitating,

not only for Dayna but for me as well. When your child is sick and in pain. When nobody

believes her or your wife that the symptoms are real, it becomes surreal. My daughter was

vibrant and full of laughter and fun. She did well in school. She read so much I thought she ate

books. Then suddenly she was on the couch and unable to read or smile. It was real. To me it

was unnerving. I found myself leaning on my wife for answers as much as the doctors. I also

found myself getting upset and sometimes even distant. I wanted to take the pain away and give

her her life back, even at the cost of my own. But there was no deal to be had. There was

literally nobody. Few who would even believe it was real. Try the bio feedback they said or

more drugs. A sixteen year old zombie is not the answer or a cure. I always laughed at the

axiom that some doctors had to graduate last in their class in medical school. Until I met them.

It seemed like most of them fell into that category and they seem to live at headache clinics. At

its worst (I believe it was when I set up the camera and took hours and days worth of video of

Dayna on the couch) I felt truly lost along with my family. I sat with Dayna. I remember putting

my head on her lap and promising that I would never stop looking for an answer. I would never

give up. I would never leave her to this monster that had taken her from me. Then came the

internet. My wife never stopped searching and ultimately came across an article about a teenage

girl in South Carolina who was helped by nerve decompression surgery. Teena found the child on

facebook (a miracle?) and asked if she could talk with her mother. Mothers again? From there it

was the connection to Georgetown University and Dr. Ducic. And from there two surgeries. I

never prayed so hard in my life as I did during surgery that she would find relief. She did. It is

not perfect and not complete, but the monster is gone and Dayna was allowed to move on with

her life. As fathers we sometimes find it difficult to express our emotions. I privately cried with

relief (a lot). When she felt better I told Dayna that she had to start this blog. That she was given

a gift when so many others were still on the couch fighting the monster. It was hard to find the

article about the girl in South Carolina. It would be easier for people to find this blog. I hear of

fathers in the background doing other things while your wives and daughters are searching and

fighting. I know it’s not because you don’t care or are not concerned, but because you don’t

know what to do next. Read this and understand that you are not alone and there is hope. Put

your head on her lap and tell her you won’t give up. Then consider all the options including the

decompression surgery. Contact us through the blog and talk to us. Never give up. You are not

alone.

Brian

Teena

I am Dayna's mom.

5 Comments

  1. Brian, Thank you for posting this and thanks to your family for your website. Your story gives hope to others and also lets people know about the option of nerve decompression surgery. You describe perfectly what we have felt seeing our 9 year old daughter in pain. Unless you have experienced you could not imagine. Thanks again for taking the time to do this.

  2. Thanks very much for sharing a dad’s side. That was very powerful and much-needed. Some men might react differently when a family member is hurting, and it’s good to hear why, to increase understanding. Glad you hung in there.

  3. Hi Dayna, Teena and Brian.
    Thank you for these posts!! My daughter, now 14, sneezed on Jan 10th 2013, she immediatly developed a headach and now 2 years later she still has that headache. She has been in and out of hospitals on every drug you can imagine and gets no relief. She has been diagnosed and misdiagnosed. Surgeries, ICP monitors, spinal taps never any relief. Tyla, like Dayna was a happy fun loving energetic girl, now the couch is usually where you will find her. Sleep overs with friends went from every weekend to a rare 1 every few months. I cry, I search the internet, I just dont know what to do any more. I came across you article today and I am going to bring this to her Cardiologist she what he thinks about this for her. (She has developed heart related issues about a year after the headaches bagan (POTS)) Did Dayna ever get diagnosed with POTS during her search for answers? We live in NJ but I will take her where ever I need to take her to get my girl back again. I have searched the east coast for a good cardiologist and we now drive 4 hours to Virginia for her appointments but if you want the best…….Any advise you can offer I would appreciate

  4. I am curious how the headaches are now. I feel like I am at a never ending battle with my 17 year old daughter. What was the biggest help for you?

    • Hi Stacie,

      As of now I’m pretty much 100%. I don’t take any medications or prophylaxis for headaches besides going for a run about 4x per week. Staying in shape and watching what I eat has basically brought me back to normal after the surgery took care of 80-90% of the pain. I haven’t had to take strong painkillers for my headaches in over a year. (YAY!)
      The biggest help besides the surgery was having a great support system. My parents never took no for an answer from any of my doctors and we were always asking questions. They were always really positive and we were all looking for a cure the entire time. We constantly had to remind doctors that I was only 16 years old and this was not a normal thing- we needed to find what was causing the problem instead of just treating it.
      If your daughter would like to chat I’m available!
      -Dayna

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