From the Background to the Forefront: Migraines Have Become a Daily Nuisance

As someone who has experienced migraines on and off again since childhood, I’m no stranger to the impact they have on my life. Depending on the severity, I’ve had to restrict light and sound, use medication, ice, and sleep to ward off or abort migraines at any given time.

There have also been a few distinct chapters in my life when it comes to dealing with migraines.

When were my attacks well controlled?

From age 10 until nearly 25, my migraines were well controlled by something admittedly strange - ice skating. I joined the sport accidentally, attending a birthday party on the ice and then signing up for lessons, but a combination of the cold air and endorphins caused my migraines to fade away. I skated competitively, training nearly everyday for 8 years, and then I transitioned to coaching and teaching private lessons during college and graduate school. I fell in love with the sport, and my migraines played along nicely.

When did I experience hormonal migraine?

Then, there was the chapter of hormonal migraines. They came for me with a vengeance in 2018 when I began fertility treatment, and flared up with each cycle of IVF, affecting me worst during and after the several miscarriages I experienced. These migraines often landed me in the emergency room, requiring an IV cocktail of medications to break the cycle and provide me some pain relief.

About 2.5 years ago, I sought out a migraine specialist at a headache clinic, and I began a regiment of both preventive and abortive migraine treatments that put my migraines mostly in remission. I’d still experience a few migraine days a month, but I could treat them at home, and they didn’t disrupt my daily life.

When was the worst attack of my life?

This past winter, I was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, or an infection and swelling of the brain, and I experienced the worst migraine of my life. For weeks, I had to lay in the dark and the silence, I couldn’t look at screens let alone send a text message, and I couldn’t listen to anything like music or a podcast. I was so frustrated and so discouraged, but my neurologist kept telling me once the meningitis was treated, the skull crushing migraine would dissipate as well.

Unfortunately, that’s not been my experience.

How have they been since?

It’s now been 16 weeks straight of dealing with a migraine and migraine-like symptoms. The first 8 weeks were the absolute worst, just as I described above. The past 8 weeks have given me a little relief - I can work on my computer for a few hours at a time, I can watch TV in small doses, but the throbbing in the back of my head is still there. It’s always on my mind.

Seemingly overnight, my migraines went from well controlled to a daily problem, one that my doctors collaboratively have not yet been able to fix.

Where am I now?

Every morning I wake up and wonder how many hours I have of functioning before it becomes too much for my brain and I’m forced to lay down and rest. It’s become so discouraging that I’ve been trying to seek out treatments alternative to medications - such as chiropractic care, alternating heat and ice, as well as acupuncture, but I’ve had no success. This daily nuisance has become almost too much to bare - and I just keep waiting for the day where I wake up and feel better.

Have you ever experienced a lengthy migraine in which traditional cycle breakers didn’t stop the pain? How did you cope? I’d love to hear your story below.

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