During the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final, China versus the United States, I remember a U.S. player coming off the field with a “headache.” I thought to myself, “Really, suck it up, you are in the biggest game of your life, it’s only a headache.” Michelle Akers was having a migraine and was taken back to the locker room for treatment.
In 1999 I had no concept of what a migraine was or how debilitating they could be. There was no sympathy on my part all. Now more than 4 years into a “chronic daily migraine,” my perspective has changed considerably. The way I feel towards others with hidden pain has been a complete turn around.
Last week I was at the Air Force Marathon Expo, selling my book to help raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project. The expo is where all the runners(15,000) come and pick up their bibs for the race and shop for the latest and greatest in the running world. I met Terri who is a mother of a wounded warrior. Her son was shot in the face in Iraq. He suffers from nerve damage and gets Cluster headaches. Terri and I talked about what he is going through and that I could relate in a small way. I tried to convey hope that good things will happen. Each of us started to cry as the we talked. The two of us held each other and cried as hundreds of people passed us. This moment will be etched into my memory for years especially when someone tells me, “just get over it, suck it up.”
My understanding of others has changed because of the pain I’m going through. Sometimes it is better to understand, than to be understood.
Ted Goodwin is a speaker and author of the book “Lessons from a Headache.” In June of 2009 Ted was diagnosed with a “chronic daily migraine” headache. Despite constant pain since the headache began, Ted has not allowed it to stop him from living life to the full. He lives a life that is active, rewarding and full of joy. He diligently trained for and completed his first marathon in September 2010, despite the migraine.