By Meagan Thomas
Christmas is coming twice this year for Eudora resident Tammy Rome.
Not only will she celebrate the holiday on Dec. 25, but, thanks to the Rewrite Your Day campaign, on Wednesday she'll have the chance to relive a previous Christmas that she missed because of chronic migraine.
Rome began having migraines when she was about 5 years old. As she aged, her migraines increased. By age 30 she was diagnosed with chronic migraine, meaning she suffered from migraines and headaches at least 15 days a month, many of them lasting for at least four hours.
"I was either recovering from or getting ready to have another attack almost constantly," Rome said.
The Rewrite Your Day campaign, sponsored by Allergan Inc., the National Headache Foundation and HealthyWomen, is an initiative to raise awareness of chronic migraine and its symptoms. The campaign had a contest to give chronic migraine sufferers a chance to relive a day they missed because of a migraine.
Rome entered the contest in December 2011 and was one of 15 chronic migraine sufferers to get to have a special day rewritten.
"I missed out on the opportunity to spend time with family and enjoy their company," Rome said. "I've missed work, but when it comes to what really matters it's the time that I've missed with my family that is probably the toughest loss to take with migraines."
Mindy Weiss, owner of Mindy Weiss Party Consultant and coordinator of the events for the winners of Rewrite Your Day, planned a winter wonderland Christmas for Rome, complete with a cookie exchange, decorations and extended family.
Rome missed Christmas with her family in 2007 because of a migraine, and it was a memory she wished she had. In 2011, Rome was finally able to find a team of specialists who have helped reduce her migraines.
"I got angry at seeing my daily life being limited by the pain and the neurological symptoms instead of taking that anger and lashing out at people or feeling sorry for myself, I decided to find a way to get better," Rome said.
Rome said the Christmas she missed is just one of many events she wasn't able to attend or didn't have good memories of because of chronic migraine. Even though she can't get back every day she's missed because of the disorder, Rome is grateful that the Rewrite Your Day campaign is allowing her to create a new memory.
"I get to regain an opportunity to connect with people and let my loved ones know that I am getting better, and not to think of me always as the person in bed and hiding," Rome said.
Weiss said she enjoyed helping the winners of the contest getting to relive a special day, but the awareness to get help is the most important part of the campaign.
"That way they don't have to miss the memory (in the first place)," Weiss said.