Newman receives chronic migraine treatment every three months. Around three to four weeks before her treatment was due in June, she received a call from her hospital with devastating news: the facility was stopping all appointments.
Newman says she understood why this happened – resource conservation and virus-prevention spread were necessary considerations during a global pandemic. But accepting that she would not have access to her treatment, an essential component to managing her chronic migraine, for the foreseeable future was more difficult to accept.
Born from necessity, a sliver of hope surfaced through her disappointment. Perhaps she no longer needed treatment, she thought. Her migraine, which appeared when she was 18 and never quite went away, was just a mounting pressure ebbing and flowing after years of management; maybe she would be all right with no treatment for a while.
But then the agony returned. “When I felt the pain, it was like, ‘Oh, I’d forgotten this old friend,’” Newman says.
Although Newman says she hasn’t been affected by the pandemic as much as others might have been given her ability to work freelance from home, that headache following her first missed treatment in years marked the moment she realized COVID-19 had the potential to impact her life, too.
For Newman, the pandemic has highlighted a crucial fact regarding her chronic migraine: receiving consistent treatment is critical. She knew her scheduled treatment regimen lessened her pain and made her episodes less frequent, but it wasn’t until her care changed that she realized it.