Worried mom lays on couch holding her stomach, thinking about migraine, medication, and parenting

Heidi Talks Managing Migraine and a Full Home

I had the pleasure of speaking with Heidi, a mom of two kids with a very, very full professional and at-home life. It was important to me to capture middle-aged points of view, especially those diagnosed later in life, which seems to be the case for Heidi.

The beginning

At what age did you start experiencing migraine symptoms?

I didn’t know what it was for a while because my first symptom was a slight headache and intense vomiting. I was about 30 the first time this happened.  It happened a few times a year: not often, thank goodness.

How long did it take & when were you officially diagnosed?

At age 39, I started to talk to my doctor about it.

Do you have any auras or signs/signals that give you time to prepare abortive medications, nausea meds?

Colors become very bright, and my peripheral vision is decreased. And I start to get a slight headache. But sometimes it has hit me in the middle of the night that I wake up with violent vomiting and realize I have a headache. No warning, just wake up with extreme nausea.

Finding relief quickly

Have you tried medications, injections, nerve blocks, or anything natural for your symptoms?

Yes, when I take Imitrex, it helps.

How many medications did you go through before you found some relief?

Luckily the first one I have tried has helped. (How awesome is this??)

Avoiding the stigma of being a female with migraine

Being a female, it's no secret many women feel like their migraine pain and symptoms have been easily dismissed, often leaving the hospital in the same condition, or even worse?

Actually, no one has pressured me to be silent.  It took me a long time to realize my experience was abnormal. It seems it’s related to my hormonal cycle, but it doesn’t happen every month. A few times the last few years, it has affected my ability to parent, and I knew I needed help.

Avoiding the emergency room

Have you ever had to go to the ER or be hospitalized to get your pain, nausea, or other symptoms under control?

No, I have not been to the ER for this.

When you’re experiencing migraine symptoms, do you also experience auras or vomiting/nausea? Do you know what triggers them or certain foods or substances that will set one in motion?

Yes, that is my worst symptom. Uncontrollable sudden and violent vomiting that will wake me up from a deep sleep. I do not find a certain food or environmental trigger, but likely hormonal. In addition to the intense vomiting, I develop an ice-pick feeling behind my eyes; intense stabbing.

Communication and support in the family

You’ve got kiddos; how do you and your partner communicate how you’re feeling to one another and how do you still manage to knock everything out with a very full-time job, too?

I have had to call in sick to work, and my kids had to tend to me. I was vomiting so much I could not make their food and tend to their needs. Taking Imitrex when I feel a slight headache and consistently getting more sleep has been helpful.

In what unexpected ways does your partner find to support you and help out when you’re having a bad migraine day?

My husband has been amazing. He did the research and identified what was happening before I did. He figured out what medicine I should try too. When the sudden vomiting and intense headache has occurred, he wakes up and tends to me. I am grateful for his support and care.

It's been a pleasure hearing Heidi and learning about her experiences and how her journey has transpired. I thank her for her participation and hope others draw inspiration that it doesn't always take years and many forms of unsuccessful medications for the treatment of migraines.

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