Independence Day Brought a Second Chance to Woman Living With Chronic Migraine

 Meet Indianapolis resident Dana Hartman, a winner of the Rewrite Your Day contest, which is giving 15 people living with chronic migraine the chance to work with celebrity event planner Mindy Weiss to re-create a special moment lost to the condition.

I’ve lived with migraines since the age of 16, but two years ago I was officially diagnosed with chronic migraine, a condition that causes me to experience at least 15 headache days or more each month, with headache lasting four hours or more. I have not been able to enjoy many special moments due to chronic migraine, including birthday parties and family gatherings. Last year, I missed my family’s annual July Fourth party due to a migraine, which was especially heartbreaking since it was our first Independence Day without my wonderful father-in-law who passed away earlier that year.

My father-in-law loved holidays with our family, especially when cooking and fireworks were involved, so Independence Day ranked high on his list. I wanted this first July Fourth without him to not feel sad for my young daughter, husband and extended family. I was focused on celebrating the day, which we decided would include a family party where we could eat, play and share memories of the great times we had with Dad.

Unfortunately, I awoke that morning to a fuzzy, sleepy feeling, which typically signals to me that a migraine is about to hit. The symptoms started quickly—neck pain, nausea, stabbing pain in my head. I could barely lift myself off the couch, so my husband ultimately decided to go to the party without me, taking our daughter along to play by the lake and watch the fireworks show. I was so disappointed I couldn’t be there to support my husband and his family and take joy in my child enjoying a summer holiday that she’ll remember nostalgically when she is older, though I won’t be part of that memory due to chronic migraine.

I am now working with a headache specialist to manage my condition. I am hopeful that together we will be able to find a treatment plan that works for me. I urge anyone who is living with chronic migraine to find a specialist who can help diagnose and manage their condition. Help is available; you just need to take the first step.

Dana’s Re-creation

Although I can never get back last July Fourth, I am thrilled I was given the chance to re-create that day thanks to celebrity event planner Mindy Weiss and the Rewrite Your Day campaign. Mindy helped plan a festive red, white and blue celebration that would have made my father-in-law proud. I was especially excited to see how enamored my daughter was by all the festive décor and delicious food, and I feel fortunate that I am now part of new July Fourth memories for her.

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