00:00 [Maria on camera, Music playing in the background throughout the entire video.]
Maria: Looking back, I now know it was migraine all along.
[Slow pan of Maria looking at photos or picking up old dancing shoes.]
00:09 Maria: Life before migraine was so different. I was a passionate person, living a full life. Always active and inquisitive, I found one of my truest passions was to dance. It was my connection to the world, a way to express myself and connect with people.
[Maria dancing/laughing/being free.]
00:27 Maria: But one day everything changed. It started with recurrent headaches that felt different.
[Maria talking to camera.]
00:34 Maria: Soon the headaches became frequent, unpredictable, and were impacting my life. But, I did what I had to do, and just pushed through.
[Maria holding her head. Transitions to footage of her dancing.]
00:43 Maria: The word migraine did not come up in my initial doctor appointments, and my headaches kept getting brushed off. “It is just a headache,” was often said to me.
[Maria putting photo album on the shelf.]
00:53 Maria: But the pain, the nausea, the light and sound sensitivity, the fatigue, and the inability to focus kept pulling at me—a force stronger and darker as time went by.
[Maria talking to the camera.]
01:14 Maria: It got to the point where I could no longer push through the pain. The life that I knew was dramatically changing.
[Maria holding a little girl.]
01:19 Maria: It didn’t happen overnight, it started falling apart as if in slow motion.
[Maria looking out the window with ballet slippers taken off.]
01:24 Maria: Some days the impact of what I was going through made it so that I couldn’t get out of bed.
[Maria on couch with knees pulled into chest.]
01:29 Maria: It dawned on me how bad it had become when I could no longer dance.
[Maria closing a drawer with ballet slippers inside.]
01:34 Maria: It was like a piece of my heart had been removed.
[Maria laying on pillow looking like she is in pain.]
01:41 Maria’s sister: “It’s difficult to watch someone you love suffer and not knowing how to help”
[Maria’s sister talking to the camera.]
01:45 Maria: I saw many doctors and tried a laundry list of medications, none of them specifically for migraine.
[Maria researching on computer.]
01:54 Maria: At this time, no one was thinking or talking about migraine.
[Maria talking to camera.]
01:58 Maria: Despite the pain worsening, I refused to give up. The spirit inside me kept pushing me to find answers, and to keep fighting.
[Maria searching on the computer and husband brings her coffee.]
02:10 Maria: Finding the right doctor changed everything. It gave me hope. I finally had someone willing to listen. We had open and honest communication. They asked me questions that other doctors weren’t asking, like how the symptoms I had been experiencing were impacting my life.
[Maria carrying her photography equipment into dance studio and preparing for photo shoot.]
02:29 Maria: My doctor and I came up with a plan. We worked together and tried different treatments until we found one that started working for me. It was a long, winding road, but I was closer to my old self again.
Because I had more migraine-free days, I was able to get back to the things I enjoy. I was able to reconnect with my creative spirit and my passions. Photography took center stage in my life and became a new creative outlet for me. In a sense it is like dancing too. It is all about being able to be focused and centered, to tell a story, the same as with dance.
[Maria talking to camera transitions to her taking photos of ballet dancers as they are dancing.]
03:09 Maria: Because migraine had less of an impact on my daily life, I started dancing again. Of course, dancing isn’t the same as it used to be, but it is still fulfilling, just in a different way.
[Maria hugging her husband transitions to Maria dancing with other dancers.]
03:20 Maria: My life would be completely different if I didn’t make it a mission to advocate for myself.
[Maria photographing dancers.]
03:26 Maria: The memory of the darkest times can still be haunting, but I choose to look forward—to celebrate the milestones achieved, to smile every time I dance, to enjoy every beautiful moment without migraine, and continue to fight for better treatments. It takes enormous strength to keep pushing forward through the pain. There are so many unknowns.
[Maria talking to camera transitions to Maria dancing and laughing with family.]
03:50 Maria: Everyone’s journey can be very different, making it very isolating, confusing, and terrifying.
[Maria admiring her photography on computer screen.]
03:57 Maria: To anyone else who is on this journey, don’t give up or lose hope.
[Maria speaking to camera.]
04:04 Maria: I can tell you from experience, there is hope that things can get better. You just have to keep fighting.
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