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Eileen Kelly

Family Migraines

Holy Name Headache Treatment Program - Eileen Kelly

In a strange twist of fate that life sometimes takes, Cayleigh Kelly's two concussions ended up helping her family. Her recovery led to the successful treatment of a similar, debilitating medical condition in her mom and sister.

It started with when Cayleigh was 12 and hit her head in gym class. Only days later, she headed the ball in soccer, which sent her stumbling off the field with what she later learned was her second concussion. She missed three months of school from severe headaches and fatigue.

Once the headaches had improved enough for Cayleigh to function, she didn't mention that they never went away completely. Actually, they worsened over time, and three years later they were so excruciating that she confessed to her mom, Eileen Kelly, that she couldn't take the pain any longer.

Her admission sent Eileen on a months-long unsuccessful quest for effective treatment. Finally, she read an article about a teenage girl with the same symptoms, also caused by a concussion. The high school student had been treated by Dr. James Charles, a neurologist and Medical Director of the Headache Treatment Program at Holy Name. She made an appointment with Dr. Charles.

"Dr. Charles immediately puts you at ease and makes you feel like he knows you," Eileen said. "He is extremely intelligent and takes his time explaining things and answering questions."

Dr. Charles' treatment – including a 6 a.m. appointment before the family left for a trip to California – proved so effective that Cayleigh's recovery started almost immediately. But just as Cayleigh's headaches were lessening, Eileen started developing migraines. She would see spots, endure severe pain in her right temple and was often off-balance. She had been under the care of a different neurologist but the medication prescribed made her unable to focus and she needed to wear sunglasses all the time, even indoors. She knew she couldn't live on this regimen, and switched to Dr. Charles.

"I was surprised at how fast Dr. Charles was able to heal Cayleigh so I was hoping he could help me," Eileen said. "He did – after his first treatment, my headaches subsided significantly."

Less than a year after starting treatment, Dr. Charles is weaning Eileen off her medications and she continues to feel well. Meantime, her older daughter started experiencing migraines, though hers caused an aura followed by throbbing pain throughout her head. She travels nearly 50 miles from Keyport, NJ, for treatment from Dr. Charles.

Eileen said all three family members are "so grateful to Dr. Charles for his care. Cayleigh is doing great, Dr. Charles is weaning me off my medications and my other daughter is also feeling so much better. He makes you feel like he's got this and he really does."

Dr. Charles said he's just happy he could help all three members of the Kelly family. "Both Cayleigh and Eileen had daily headaches and their turning point was the infusions, an inpatient procedure given once or twice as needed. All three women responded well to the medications and are feeling good enough to engage in their daily activities. I'm so glad they put their trust in me and Holy Name and we were able to get them back to their active lifestyles."

Learn more about Headache Treatment Program at Holy Name