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geometric face with clear container as the top of the head with a distraught figure inside.

Migraine: Life On The Inside

I began having episodic migraines at age 43. My wife, however, started her journey with migraine in her teens. I have been with my wife since we were 14 and we are now both in our 50’s. We have always tried to be there to support each other no matter the situation, after all, we are partners in marriage!

Family history of migraine

We have 3 daughters and two of them suffer from migraine just as my wife did when she was in her teens, 20’s and 30’s. They are quite accustomed to the various tactics we use to ease a migraine attack as well as seeing the compassion we have for making it through an attack. Unfortunately, that wasn’t always the case for my wife and I in our early years before my migraine attacks started.

You can’t just be a spectator of migraine disease

I can blame it on my youth or any other number of things, but the fact is I was not the compassionate, supportive person I am now. I had heard of people having migraines and even my sister had them from time to time. It didn’t really affect me because I was still living outside the realm of any knowledge about migraine. I didn’t care to know about it either since it wasn’t my problem.

I remember seeing my wife in bed or on the couch with ice packs and shielding her eyes from the light as she struggled trying to take care of the kids and keep the home running. I was ignorant and at times just unkind to her situation and the battle she was fighting. I brushed it off as just another headache. If you live with or know someone who has migraine disease don’t be like I was. The condition can’t be fully understood if you are just a spectator.

My first migraine attack was vicious

As the years went on and the children grew her migraines gradually eased up and got farther apart. The doctors surmised the attacks were hormonal. It was great to see the attacks winding down in her life. It was great until I had my first attack. It was a month long, viciously brutal assault on my body. I couldn’t find relief using any of the things my wife and kids used. Medications were so strong in some cases I would be like a zombie for hours at a time.

When the attack finally broke and the migraine hangover faded I knew what I needed to do. Apologize to my wife. Even though many years had passed and I don’t think she would have expected it at all I knew it was long overdue. From that point on I started arming myself with knowledge about migraine disease. To this day I still research and try to educate others about migraine and how invasive it can be to a person’s life and family.

Feeling lonely during migraine attacks

Living with migraine disease is hard. You feel isolated and alone especially during an attack. Migraine presents itself differently with each individual, but among its sufferers there is common ground. My experience went from living on the outside of the migraine circle to being thrust inside literally overnight.

A new life with migraine

Treatment and healing need to come from both sides of the proverbial coin. Arm yourself with knowledge about migraine so you can be a better help to those with migraine and also to yourself. Go to your next doctor appointment with questions written down and have a healthy dialogue with your doctor. If they won’t listen to you seek out another doctor who will work with you. There are so many ways to treat migraine which is promising. The new CGRP injections are now available and many have payment assistance cards or programs as well as Botox and a whole host of oral medications. There are several migraine blogs out there and support groups as well. Lastly please remember to be compassionate to migraine sufferers and be kind to yourselves. Life is hard enough without battling migraine disease!

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

  • madihwa
    10 months ago

    My migraines are hormonal, I guess. They started with my periods when I was 13. I thought, hope, they would stop or at least lessen with menopause. No such luck. I’m 75 & they’re still going strong. I take topomax to help prevent them–it works. When I tried to cut the pills down to one, they came back viciously. So I take 2 a day. I take Fiorinel (aspirin with codeine) to stop them. It’s terrible on my stomach. I have very bad reflux. My current migraine is mainly my own fault. I found a new author & a new series which I can’t put down. That’s really dumb & I know it. If I didn’t have medicine I wouldn’t do it.

  • Leslie Coutsouridis
    10 months ago

    Tom, thank you so much for sharing your story. It is in sharing that we find I believe some type of relief. Relief from the feeling of isolation. But the physical isolation is real as we all try, each one of us together, to find our path to living the best way we can. Leslie C.

  • Nikita212
    10 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your story and your honesty. I do feel it’s something other people can’t understand unless they have felt it themselves.

    Unfortunately, my husband was one of those people. He started out trying to be helpful, but when the migraines became chronic, he grew impatient.

    I’m on my own now and have recently tried one of the CGRP drugs, which, miraculously seems to be helping.

    I think this disease has given me great compassion for another person’s pain regardless of the source.

  • lizlasvegas702
    10 months ago

    Dear Tom,

    I do appreciate the support you provided your wife and daughters with their migraines for all those years. Like my husband, I’m sure there were times you felt helpless and hoping you can just wish their pain away! I am also saddened to hear that you encounter them too now . I’m so sorry Tom.

    It’s such a vicious disease that so many people can’t fathom let alone empathize with the pain and struggles we deal with everyday. I thought migraines alone was the most painful thing I would experience until 4 years ago, I started having episodic stroke like symptoms. I have Hemiplegic migraines for 4 years now along with chronic migraine headaches.

    There is no medication so far that I’ve taken in the last 42 years or the past 4 years for hemiplegic migraines that takes the pain or episodes away. I can go days and weeks with no relief until I finally say enough and ask my husband to take me to the emergency department.

    I will pray for you and your family and hope that one day you will all find that one medication(s) that will help with the symptoms and number of episodes you experience.

    Thanks for sharing your story and know that we are your family and support as well!!!

    Warm regards,
    Liz

  • Roquie33
    10 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your story. And thank you for apologizing to your wife. That meant a lot to me, I can only imagine how much it meant to her! Best of everything.

  • glassmind
    10 months ago

    Thank you for sharing. I experienced my first migraine at 38. The compassion and understanding for all the folks I had ever known to have migraines changed dramatically. It is one thing to have logical sympathy and quiet another to have experiencial empathy.

    Your story is very moving.

    Thank you again.

  • Tom Picerno moderator author
    10 months ago

    @glassmind I’m glad my story resonated with you. Thanks for taking time to read it and share my experience.

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