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Don’t Give In to Desperation

Several years ago, I reached a point of desperation with migraine and decided on a course of action that could have ended in medical and financial disaster. I will be forever grateful that my plans failed. Left with no other options, I was forced to accept that the only path toward better migraine management would be the one I’d been avoiding.

I began my search for a true headache specialist and embraced the slow and steady approach of trial and error. I stopped focusing on simply aborting attacks as they occurred and started looking for patterns. That headache diary I had been keeping became a tool for unraveling the mystery of what factors actually triggered my attacks. I opened my mind to treatment possibilities I would have never considered before.

Prior to that change of heart, I would have readily embraced any number of wild internet “cures” without a second thought. I would have scoffed at the idea of using standard treatments by claiming, “Doctors are no help,” and I’ve tried everything already.” Neither of those statements were actually true. Regardless, I had convinced myself that “nothing could help” and would not be swayed by the facts.

I was looking for a shortcut, a way to eliminate migraine forever. Ignoring the facts, I believed I could outwit migraine all on my own. My stubborn refusal to accept the truth delayed effective treatment for years and most likely contributed to the development of chronic migraine due to decades of untreated migraine. I nearly created irreversible damage to my body from surgical procedures that would have likely done more harm than good.

Since that time, I have been determined to share my story as a cautionary tale in the hopes that others will be spared a lifetime of pain and disability.

  • Trust the experts. Believe what they say.
  • Don’t give up hope. Keep working with a headache specialist to find just the right combination of treatments that will eventually make all the difference.
  • Keep your expectations realistic. Migraine has no cure. There is simply no way to guarantee that you will never get another migraine attack. Accepting that some attacks will be part of your life makes it easier to gauge your progress.
  • If you’re looking for a cure, you will be disappointed. It is reasonable to expect that a successful treatment will result in a 50% reduction of either frequency or severity of your attacks. Anything more is a happy accident. To insist on complete eradication of all attacks is a pipe dream that will only lead to bitter disappointment.
  • Making peace with migraine and learning to accept its presence in your life is essential to any good treatment outcome. Fighting against it will only bring you frustration and depression.

We can limit its visits and reduce their impact on our lives, but migraine is here to stay.

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

  • Jan Me
    3 years ago

    This is a wonderfully refreshing article. I’m 64 and I’ve had migraines since I was 10. I feel too that I’ve done every possible drug, prescription and OTC, used every natural remedy, followed every natural (and some unnatural) remedies, and taken every suggestion offered. Migraines are still here. The best advice I ever had was from one ‘no nonsense’ neurologist who questioned and discussed why I thought it was “unfair” that I suffer from migraines. It took me a while to gain his meaning but when I did the peace and acceptance was enormous. Yes, the migraines still exist, “monster in my head” still waits to appear when I least expect or need it. I have a great neuro, a supportive pharmacist, a drug regime, a strong mindset and a loving family and migraines till I die. That’s ok.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Jan Me, thanks for joining the conversation! the road to acceptance is such a personal journey for each of us. Thank for sharing the story of your journey. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Mardie Crucchiola
    3 years ago

    I just had 2 rounds of Botox. At first. They were worse then after a month I went about 2 weeks headache/migraine free. 2nd round it’s been bad again . ;don’t know if I’m going to do 3rd . 3k dollars later.

  • Tammy Rome author
    3 years ago

    That’s a lot to spend! Do you know about Allergan’s patient assistance programs? They have one for those without insurance and another to help with the cost of co-pays and deductibles. You might want to check them out before your next appointment.

    https://www.botoxsavingscard.com/
    https://www.botoxreimbursement.us/Resources/PAP_Application.pdf

  • daw49
    3 years ago

    Hi Tammy, thank you for your story and your honesty. I’m a female age of 67, I’ve had occasional migraines since I was in my twenty’s. Then over the years they increased in number and severity. For the last two years I’ve been seeing a headache Dr. to receive Botox injections. Beginning June of this year I experienced debilitating daily chronic migraines. My Dr. believes it is due to the monsoon season here with the changing barometric pressure. One of the hardest situations is the guilt I feel in seeing how my husband is/or isn’t coping with this. I’ve had to cancel many scheduled events. I wish I had more control over these migraines. Godspeed & thanks for listening.
    Daw49

  • maureen52
    3 years ago

    This is not a real reply…I am 64 in a few weeks and always had headaches, whcih turned into official migraines in my late 50s (years AFTER menopause). Last December I got what I thought was a migraine–stomach and headache, but it has stayed for the last 10 months. I may get a week w/o headache, but have light and odor sensitivity–can bring on a migraine. I have not eaten normally since December–am avoiding many things, taking 3 different preventives and never enough meds for a medication overuse headache, regular exercising. It has caused many problems in all areas. I constantly see “stars” or “sparkles” in my left peripheral vision. Have had MRIs, MRAs, carotid ultrasound. I am writing because I have never heard from anyone else who developed a complete sensitivity to EVERYTHING this late in life. And I wonder about my “sparkles”. I would love to know if there is anyone else out there with my issues.

  • DonnaFA moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Maureen! What you’re describing sounds like visual aura, and you may be particularly interested in Visual Disturbances Involving One Eye and Familial Hemiplegic Migraine which speaks to visual aura, single affected side, and sensory effects. I hope that some of these, and the accompanying conversation is able to answer some of your questions.

    Please know that we are always here to share information and support. We’re glad that you’re part of the community. -All Best, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Tammy Rome author
    3 years ago

    Barometric pressure changes are my achille’s heel, too. Fortunately, Botox does make me more resistant to those changes. Keep on trying. Never give up!

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