Mother and Teen Share Story About Pediatric Migraines - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Mother and Teen Share Story About Pediatric Migraines

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"It started about a year ago—pain right here behind my eyes," Sydney Kessel said. Like a bomb going off inside the head of this happy, active sixteen-year old. Days and weeks went by until Sydney ended up "just upstairs in my bedroom—all lights off. Window shades closed—just in darkness." No school. No dates. No teen parties. No mall shopping. No relief.

She's not the only one suffering. The migraine is also her mother's pain—passed on to her daughter, as it is in most cases. "It makes me feel like I can't do anything to help her," Sydney's mother, Shirley, said. Unlike her daughter, Shirley suffered migraines at an older age: "I wasn't that young; I never had a migraine at 16."

To understand Sydney's condition, imagine everyday sounds and lights cranked—full blast. A stapler can sound like a jack hammer, and lights appear blinding. Add in constant nausea, and you've got the piercing pain of a migraine. CHOP neurologist Doctor Christine Szperka says the migraines are more common that you may think: "More frequent headaches within a couple years of puberty; we don't entirely understand why." Teens, most of them girls, suffer at a most confusing and stressful time of life.

Sydney's doctor has been trying pretty much everything to dial back Sydney's migraine pain, including diet changes, relaxation therapies, and medicine. Almost all of the medicines were approved for adult use. Some worked a little. Some had awful side effects, but most didn't work at all, until she got Botox. "I kinda laughed. I thought, really, Botox?" Sydney said. The FDA recently approved use of the number one muscle paralyzing, anti-wrinkle injection to relieve migraines. It worked for Sydney's Mom and her older sister, but would it work for a now 17-year old?

"If it works, I'll try it," Shirley said. 41 shots of Botox were sent throughout Sydney's head, neck, and shoulders. This is Sydney's third Botox treatment. It's really expensive, but it is covered by insurance for migraine treatment. The first two Botox treatments and acupuncture eased Sydney's pain enough to get her back in class this school year. She'll even be able to participate in a charity walk for migraine research.

The third time, however, was not the charm. This round of Botox fired. Sydney was back in bed and out of school for weeks again. "This morning she woke up; she was a completely different person," Shirley said.

The migraines continue to affect Sydney. "I get really frustrated because I'm not performing to the best of my ability, and it's not my fault."

Sydney and Shirley Kessel are not giving up and are already working on this year's fundraiser for migraine research.

 Here's how to help:

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation
Telephone :267-426-6500 or 267-426-6500
E-mail -

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