The more I become involved in the Spoonie community, the more I hear about different illnesses that plague our community and those who are fighting to live with these often debilitating conditions. As I get to the age where I will be considering having children within the next few years, I find myself anxiety ridden over my child having some type of autoimmune disease like I have or another invisible illness that cannot be seen or easily diagnosed. Remembering the pain that I suffered as a child being sick and misdiagnosed makes me vow to never have my child (or children) go through what I went through. This is no knock at my parents. They always had me seen by the best doctors and looked into whatever medical information was available. Back when my parents were struggling to find answers the internet wasn't alive with knowledge like it is now. I am so incredibly thankful that when my children are born, I will have the power to be their own health advocate just like I have to be for myself. The information that is available now is so infinate and continues to grow thanks to all of the new research and those who publish the findings on public sites and forums.
When I saw a presentation by the Diamond Headache Clinic, shedding light on the symptoms and misdiagnosisis of Abdominal Migraines, Migraine Headaches, and Cluster Headaches in children, I knew this was something that I wanted to share with you all in hopes that it could help a child who is suffering and has gone undiagnosed. Symptoms of these invisible illnesses are so easily misinterpreted for other sicknesses such as the flu or a cold or just 'being anxious'. They aren't like a scrape or a broken bone where there is physical evidence of what is causing the pain. Sometimes there is but sometimes there isn't. When I read through this presentation it really struck me that at least as adults we can express and do what we can to ease our pain but children do not have that same freedom. I can choose to work from home one day because my pain is too bad for me to leave my sofa. A child is at the mercy of their gaurdians telling them they must go to school whether they beleive their invisibile symptoms or not. I can choose to take medications that will ease my pain. A child, again, is at the mercy of their gaurdians. They cannot fight to be their own advocate. They don't have the resources. But we do. We as parents, god parents, aunts, uncles, brothers. sisters, or friends have the power to listen and to do the research and help get to the bottom of what is causing pain and harm if a child around us is suffering. Let this serve as a reminder that even if you can't see it, it could still be there.
As a parent or any of those identities previously mentioned, I urge you to take 10 minutes of your day to review the information in this post that way if a child you love is suffering, you may just be the one to help them realize that there is a solution and a way to get treatment. Take a look through the presentation below:
If you know a child who is struggling with any of these symptoms, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Diamond Headache Clinic. We all deserve to have our voices heard and our pain addressed even if someone else has to advocate for us.
As always if you need a friend to reach out to or just need someone to share with and vent about your story to, I am always here. That is what Crohnically Blonde is all about. Last, I want to send a ton of love to parents raising children with invisible illnesses. I can't begin to imagine your undying strength and I am so thankful for all of you for raising children like me.
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.