My Internal Dialogue During an 8-Day Migraine Attack

My Internal Dialogue During an 8-Day Migraine Attack

Day One

I actually thought I was doing well today. I went running down to Woodley Park and back, 2.4 miles. I lied down after showering to rest before meeting friends for Mexican food. As I got out of bed a big old piece of my vision was missing. I have a migraine with an aura. No fajitas for me tonight. My friends were kind enough to bring me ice cream after dinner though.

I’m 4 hours deep into the pain and I want to bust through the walls. Around my right temple it feels like my brain is going to explode and my eyeball might fall out. I used lavender oil on my head and temples to reduce inflammation. I took one shot of DHE and then a second shot 4 hours later. For good measure I took some Toradol to reduce the inflammation. After hours of dealing with the pain, I think it’s time to bring in the sleep aid to knock me out.

Day Two

My BF is across the country at a Bachelor party. Lucky him that he doesn’t have to deal with me right now, he could use a break. I was planning an easy weekend alone. Maybe visit a few friends and their kids out in the ‘burbs, check out a museum, organize the kitchen, or write a bit. But now, it looks like I’ll be stuck in the apartment, sleeping. I wish he would come home so I could curl up in his lap while the pain works through my body. Dealing with it alone can get sad.

The last few weeks have been hard but I knew it was related to the wearing off of the Botox. I got a new set of Botox injections 3 days ago, but that’s still not enough time to sink in and make a difference yet.

Day Three

I had to call my parents and let them know I was going to miss a family BBQ today. Knowing that my BF was out of town, they offered to come over and kidnap me back to their house so I could recover with them. I declined, hopeful that I would have more energy today. They made me promise to call tomorrow if I needed to go to the ER. ”Don’t let it get out of hand,” they said. I’m sure I’ll be stubborn for a few more days.

A friend graciously offered to help out. Yes! I needed to fill a prescription, but more importantly I needed French fries! For some reason I crave salt (especially fries) when I’m like this. Our short little jaunt wiped me out.

To avoid medication overuse headache, I need to stop taking DHE soon and I hate using painkillers more than two days in a row. We’ll see how I feel in the morning. I’m sitting in my completely darkened room, shades closed, AC on full blast. Mellow music playing in the background, I should fall asleep soon.

Day Four

Ok. I need to pull it together. Staying inside is making me crazy. I went for a short walk, hoping that it would jumpstart a recovery. Lying in bed makes me stiff and weak. It only perpetuates the headache. I’m glad I went, but I slept for 4 hours afterwards.

I still don’t feel like I’m in the recovery phase yet. It’s a lot better than yesterday and the day before, but I can’t concentrate. I’ve gotten nothing done around the house that I had hoped to do while my BF was away. He’ll understand. I know it’s just me feeling guilty about only being able to sleep and watch TV.

I’m a positive person, but when the headaches get this bad it’s hard to think of the light at the end of the tunnel. No one wants to be stuck here. It takes so much energy to get out of the rut. I try hard not let it get me down. Today it scares me to think that I could repeat these cycles my entire life. I want to fight against it. I have to believe that it won’t always be this way.

Day Five

My body is sore from being curled up into a ball as I sleep. I went a little further on my walk today, so I feel good about that. I did some basic yoga for about 15 minutes too and that is helping. I even showered! Maybe this is turning around!

Day Six

My BF came home on a red-eye this morning. I had planned to go to yoga class today, but I slept through it. This evening I woke up from my nap and felt confused and out of it. I’m definitely regressing back to another Migraine cycle instead of getting better.

I walked down the street to meet my BF  to grab quick food. Two blocks after I left the house, I wanted to curl up on the sidewalk and fall asleep. I really had to focus to make it the next two blocks. I had an Alice and Wonderland moment. I made it to meet him and he could tell without a word that I was hurting. He asked if I needed to go to Urgent Care. I want to wait it out. Maybe this was a fleeting moment of pain, maybe in the morning it would be better. It’s been 6 days. Crap. How am I going to get there? What time can I go? How am I going to manage the pain until then? This sucks.

Day Seven

I gave up. I went to Urgent Care. I have a standing order of what to do for me, but you never know if they are going to honor it. I was there for a good 6 hours. Two bags of saline, IV Magnesium and Solumedrol, and two shots of Dialudid. This should do it.

My friends have been texting and calling. Makes me feel great to know they love me. I can’t wait to get out of the house. I’m falling behind on responding to emails and working on Migraine.com. I’m so exhausted.

Day Eight

I can definitely tell that the Migraine has finally broken. Sweet relief. Just a few more days of feeling like I got hit by a Mack Truck and I should be good as new.

What time of day, what day of the week, what month and what season am I in?  During these hibernations, I completely lose track of time. The days run together. Maybe when I stop sleeping 16-18 hours a day, I’ll figure it out.

What do I need to do first when I return to the land of the living in a few days?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (21)
  • LydiaE
    4 years ago

    Great blog and great site. So sorry you’ve had to go through all this. Mine started in high school. But I had a lot of stomach issues as a child so who knows. My paternal grandmother and paternal uncle had migraines. Mine started getting out of hand in late twenties growing increasingly worse until age 40. I applied for disability. 2 big reasons were I was averaging 18 migraines a month and they were brutal. And I had fibromyalgia and I guess the 2 can go hand in hand. I find crying brings them on. If it’s time for Botox I get them. I’ve run out of migrelief and I think it’s the high dose B-2 I’m missing presently. Always, always something isn’t there.

  • Tara
    4 years ago

    Man, how I wish I didn’t relate so much to that story.

  • tammay
    4 years ago

    Thank you for posting this. It’s so true to what it feels like to go through a migraine episode and even leaves out a lot of details. I’ve been relatively lucky in that my migraine episodes haven’t lasted more than 3 days, but those are 3 horrific days when they do come on. It’s exactly like this – at some point, you just get tired of sleeping and you want to do something but you’re so limited with what you can do. My migraine episodes are usually accompanied by nausea (but not vomiting, thank goodness), which I think is worse than the migraine itself. Camomile tea helps a lot!

    Tam

  • Clairie
    4 years ago

    You describe the experiance very well!

    Kept wondering though – are you on disability? I just always feel like I miss too much work and couldnt picture having such an extended episode and still be employed!

  • Shirleyanne
    4 years ago

    Hi Katie,
    I have enjoyed all the topics on Migraine.Com. I am in the UK, but this site is by far the best. Your blog rang so many bells with me. The only thing that is impossible for me is sleep, I am in so much pain, this is not an option. I have noted that many of your bloggers can go to ER for treatment. I finally gave in and called an ambulance and they offered my paracetamol and told me that if they took me to hospital that,because it was jus a “headache”they may make me sit out in reception and I may not be seen for hours, and I may just as well stay home. I have hadd Botox twice and it has not worked, also Greater Occipital Nerve Blocks, no good either. All sorts of cocktails of drugs, no good. I a currently trying cefali which I bought myself, not recommended by my neurologist. I would like to thank every blogger for their stories it is comforting to see so many others that I can relate too and that can understand.

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator
    4 years ago

    Hi Katie,

    I’m glad you’re feeling better! Your experience is so similar to mine. And now I know I’m not the only crazy person who tries to walk and do yoga during such an attack!

    Lisa

  • Jackie
    4 years ago

    Katie,

    I have been struggling with migraines. I am scheduled for trigger injections and will start having Botox every 12 weeks. The newest thing is violent diarrhea. I looked it up and along with the nausea and vomiting I now deal with this. It is difficult to work and explain to people who can’t understand how a headache can hurt that bad. I have had implant surgery behind my occipital lobes for my chronic but my classic migraines aren’t affected by that. My neurosurgeon and pain specialist think I should have wires implanted in my forehead to cancel the pain.

  • Jackie
    4 years ago

    In the Phoenix area we were slammed with rain and that seems to bring on my migraines. We are waiting for the rain water to recede. I know I am going to the ER at some point today.

    Jackie

  • Jackie
    4 years ago

    Thanks Lisa. I have had Botox before but now I will have it more often once the insurance gives the go ahead.

    I do have a question for everyone. Does your spouse or family ask you “well are you going to have a migraine today?” I know living with a person who suffers from migraines is difficult but I can’t say on any given day whether or not it will happen. I don’t mean to be a spoil sport and I certainly don’t plan on having an attack just before going somewhere. My friend said I ruined our cruise because I suffered from migraine on the trip.

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator
    4 years ago

    Wishing you luck Jackie! My fingers are crossed that the Botox will help so you don’t need to consider a second surgery. Let us know how you are doing!
    Lisa

  • shannondv
    4 years ago

    Katie,
    I am so sorry for your pain. But, thank you so much for sharing your struggle. I can’t tell you how much it helps to know that I am not alone in my struggle with migraine. Sometimes I feel that if I were stronger, I could manage better. But I know that is not the case and is just guilt talking. It helps to know that there are others with the same struggle as me and that I am not alone.

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator
    4 years ago

    Shannondv,

    I agree it’s so good to read other people’s stories as it validates how we feel. Migraines are no joke and I’m sure you are plenty strong for having dealt with them!

    Lisa

  • Jules2dl
    4 years ago

    Katie ~
    As I was reading the description of your attack there were a couple of things which really got through to me in a big way. The first was that you are fortunate to be able to sleep so much during your attacks. How I wish I could sleep through the pain, but I rarely do. Often when I do manage to sleep I’ll dream that I’m having a terrible migraine; over the weekend my husband said I was crying in my sleep, calling out to my mom (who passed away in 2004) to “get the pain out of my head”.
    The other thing is that you are so incredibly lucky to have such a large network of people who are willing to help you!! How wonderful!! I live about an hour and a half away from my old support system, and my husband just doesn’t get it, no matter how much I explain things to him. He thinks it is debilitating to stay in bed during bad attacks. I agree with him, and I’m up and around even during a 7 to 8 migraine. But I know when I need to lay low in a dark room with my ice packs, and I know if I don’t I’ll end up in the ER. I’ve told him time and again that it is too painful for me at those times to get up to get food, water, meds, or walk the dog. But when he gets home from work he never comes in to ask if I need anything. He always says he thinks I’m asleep and doesn’t want to disturb me. I know he loves me, I just don’t get this behavior. I’ve shown him multiple articles and posts on migraine.com and he still doesn’t get the hint. But I’ve gone off track….you’re incredibly blessed with your network of people who understand and are willing to help!
    You’re in my prayers,
    Julie

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator
    4 years ago

    Hi Julie,

    I’m sorry to hear how sick you can get. I so understand! Often my husband also innocently assumes I want to be left alone too. Are you able to send a text message when you have a migraine? Sometimes, if I squint and don’t look at the screen too long, I can give my husband a text asking for something, as shouting outloud is certainly not an option! If you can come up with a system of reaching out to him when you need him then you can get the help you need while he don’t worry about bothering you. Hope you can figure something out!

    Lisa

  • PlummInk
    4 years ago

    Katie-
    So sorry for your horrible attack. I totally understand. I usually only make it 4 days and then head to the ER. Unfortunately my ER won’t take standing orders, and they don’t usually call my neurologist, so I just get compazine & toradol. The toradol helps with the pain for a few hours, but then it comes right back. I’ll be talking with my doc about toradol for at home or something else I should be doing if I go to ER
    God bless & continue to feel better!

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator
    4 years ago

    Hi Plummink,

    That’s a good strategy to see if there’s something you can take at home! You might also ask your doctor to write and sign a letter with his treatment recommendations for if you still need the ER. Hope this helps!

    Lisa

  • Mary Butler Groom
    4 years ago

    Hi all. I have been to Mayo Clinic Neurology for my chronic migraines. I get to the point where the pain escalates sosoooooo fast – even after taking my triptan (of which I have tried them ALL) and pain med (non-narcotic). I ended up in the ER on a weekly basis. At first they thought I was a “drug-seeker”. But over time and my paperwork I would bring in that I got from my neurologist, they changed their tune. Mind you, there are docs and nurses that are annoyed they have to treat me….I’m there so much it is a bit embarrassing. But, at a certain point (could be as quick as a day and a half) I cannot handle the 9+ pain. I do not use any narcotics at home. But at ER, they give me Dilaiudid and Zofran. Sometimes Toradol. One mg of Dilaudid works 50% of the time, two mg works the other 50% of the time. I recently got back from MAYO CLINIC IN ROCHESTER MN. RECOMMENDATION: Botox. Finally got approved by insurance today and scheduled for a consult with a neuro that specializes in Botox. Then within ten days, start the Botox. Thought I’d share my ER story and went off on a tangent! Sorry. But in the ER i’ve learned that you have to speak up if you aren’t being taken seriously. Speak up if you are in pain. They need to respect that. If they don’t, you need to get in touch with the Patient Advocacy department for that hospital. Good luck.

  • Tammy Rome
    4 years ago

    You nailed it! You’re stronger than I am. After 3-4 days I am at the ER begging for help. Glad to hear you are on the mend.

  • Tammy Rome
    4 years ago

    Mary,

    My neurologist is the only neuro with privileges at my hospital, so I get treated very well. Never had any problems with being accused of drug-seeking. They know what works for me, which is an IV combination of Toradol, Compazine (or Zofran or Reglan), and Ativan or Benadryl. Depending on what’s going on with a particular attack and my blood work, I may also get Magnesium, Solumedrol (steroid), or Dilaudid. It’s very individualized based on the duration and quality of the attack.

    I haven’t been to the ER in over a year mostly because my neuro has prescribed Toradol injections for home use. Unless the Toradol fails, I don’t go. Even then, I call him first. Last summer I had a long round of cluster headaches that would not go away. I called in and went straight to inpatient for 3 days of infusion therapy, skipping the ER completely. It was so nice to be treated like a legitimate patient in need of real treatment.

    It wasn’t always like this. I lived in a small town when I first started getting cluster headaches. I didn’t know they weren’t migraines and neither did they. Some of the ER doctors were very cruel. Thank God I haven’t had that experience in over a decade.

    I know that I am very fortunate to have this quality of care. Many people do not fare so well. My heart breaks that there are still places where migraines and cluster headaches are not taken seriously.

  • Mary Butler Groom
    4 years ago

    I guess I should clarify:
    1. What treatment (medicine) do you receive?
    2. How are you treated as a person?

  • Mary Butler Groom
    4 years ago

    Tammy L Rome: How do you get treated at your ER?

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