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Jimmy Miele

Headaches Vanish for Young Ballplayer

Holy Name Migraine - Jimmy Miele

Every time Jimmy Miele's baseball coach went to pat him on the head for pitching a great inning, the youngster ducked away. He quit rough-housing with his brother and gave up jumping on the backyard trampoline, too; all to avoid any contact to his head.

At only 10 years old, Jimmy was suffering from increasingly frequent and severe migraines that eventually morphed into one that stretched for six straight weeks. He slowly gave up most physical activity in favor of lying down, hoping to stave off the waves of nausea and pain that swept over him. He missed a lot of school, and when he was there he was a frequent flyer in the nurse's office or sat in class with his lunch ice pack against his head.

"It was horrible – as a parent, you feel like you let your child down and can't help him," said Jimmy's mother, Sandra Miele. "I didn't know what to do for him – we had taken him to every doctor you could imagine and no one knew what it was. They said it was allergies but we had him tested and he wasn't allergic to anything."

Just when Sandra was running out of options for tests and doctors, Jimmy's pediatrician told her he heard that Dr. James Charles, a headache specialist and neurologist at Holy Name Medical Center was very good with migraines. Jimmy's first appointment with Dr. Charles put her fears to rest.

"Dr. Charles looked at me and said he was going to make my headaches go away," Jimmy said. "He talked to me, not my mom. And he was right! They did go away."

During a two-hour consultation Dr. Charles posed questions no other physician had asked – such as whether Jimmy used to get stomach pains before the headaches started. He explained that migraines manifest as stomach pains in young children and sent Jimmy for an infusion treatment at Holy Name.

The infusion is a combination of medications, which differ for each patient, given to interrupt the pain pathway causing the migraine. This pain-producing process, which involves activated neurons in the brainstem secreting pain messages to the brain, normally shuts off in most individuals. But in those suffering with unrelenting migraines, the cycle continues until medications shut down the pain mechanism. Dr. Charles' expertise enables him to know precisely what type and dose of medications will be successful in each patient.

"I had never been to Holy Name but the people couldn't have been greater," Sandra said. "We got there about 5 p.m. Friday night and they got us all dinner because they knew we'd be there a while. They were so professional, amazing really. The nurse was just like Dr. Charles – so confident they were going to be able to help him."

The medications Jimmy was given made him sleepy and "a little out of it," Sandra said. He went to bed that night and woke up feeling only slightly better. But by lunchtime, his headache had vanished.

"When I had the migraine, you could rub my head but if you patted it, it hurt so much," Jimmy said. "But when it went away, I could do all the things I used to do and eat all the foods that used to make me sick when I had it. I want to tell people my story so no one else has to have it. Dr. Charles can make you better."

Learn more about Headache Treatment Program at Holy Name