How a mild concussion turned into headache hell

Lucy Rossiter, 41, organizes her life in Fredericton around her daily headaches.

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woman with a headache

Photo: Getty Images

Six years ago, Lucy Rossiter was on her way to becoming a psychologist, working on her PhD and raising her three-year-old son. One afternoon she bent to pick some shoes up off her deck and hit her head on a metal bar, causing a mild concussion that led to chronic migraines. She struggled to finish school and start a private practice, before realizing she couldn’t have the life she planned. “I was an Irish dancer, I played squash — now a 20-minute walk triggers a headache.” Her disability tested her marriage and caused financial strain. People ask why she can’t work and whether she watches TV all day. “The perception is you’re just lazy, but being in constant pain is nothing short of exhausting.” Worst of all is the impact on her son. “He feels my absence during acute attacks, and I can’t do physical activities with him anymore, like go skating or ride a bike.” Watching him play squash one day, Lucy suddenly decided to join him on the court. “He was overjoyed — it was worth every second of pain for the look on his face when he saw a glimpse of my pre-injured self,” she says. “My pain has made me appreciate the things I can do with him — and it has taught him the power of accepting limitations and moving forward in spite of them.”