50 Years of Pain

Last updated: March 2022

I started getting migraines in my teens. At first, I didn't get them often but in 1994 they became an everyday and night companion.

Most of the time they were 10 or more on the pain scale. I was put on several kinds of meds both to try to prevent them and pain meds as well. Nothing worked... being a single mother I had to work so I'd look at my kids each morning, got dressed, and went to work. Working an 8-hour shift in 10 + pain was so hard. I often went to the bathroom to cry and then plant a smile on my face and continue to do my job, while trying not to look like I was in agony.

Job loss and disability

I held 1 job a year for 10 years. I would get fired or laid off because I missed too much work. When I got home I'd take a couple of pain pills and a couple of wine glasses of whiskey and soda then lay down in my dark bedroom with ice packs on my face hoping and praying to fall asleep or pass out for at least a little while.

In 2004 my boyfriend moved in with me and I continued to try to work that first year. He was a Godsend. He took me to SSI and helped me get on disability. I was still in agony but at least I didn't have to go to work. I also suffer from panic, anxiety, and agoraphobia which we think also aggravated the migraines when I had to go out to work. We continued to go to doctors to find something that would help me but nothing worked.

Trying to find relief

I went to a chiropractor for a while twice a week and it did help some. The pain level would go and stay down to between 4 and 7 for a few days but I was still in pain. After a while, the chiropractic treatment stopped working. I even tried smoking medical marijuana but that didn't help either. I spent a lot of time in the ER to get a shot for the migraines, but after a while, they just label you as someone seeking drugs.  So we continued to see different doctors in the hopes of finding something, anything, that would give me some relief.

A wake-up call

At home, I popped the pain pills and drank a LOT just trying to pass out and feel no pain for a few hours... it wasn't the best thing to do but oh how I loved those few hours of unconsciousness. At one point I went into the garage, turned the car on, and laid down in the back seat praying God would take me and I'd finally be pain-free, my boyfriend woke up (it was like 3AM) and found me. Was he ever mad! I had told him many times I just couldn't do this anymore it hurt too much, but he wouldn't let me give up...

He researched everything he could find on migraines and we went to many more doctors for a few more years. Finally, one of the doctors sent us to a neurologist (the second one I would go to) and they prescribed and gave me Botox shots.

What works for me

I get 33 shots in my head, face, and neck every 3 months. For me, it was the first serious treatment that dulled the pain but I've been getting the shots for about a year now and finally, the migraines are under control... I can live again.

I still stick to my migraine diet... avoiding any foods that can trigger them, we still keep the lights off or down low in the house and I still wear sunglasses when I'm outside (I wore Welders' glasses before the Botox!). I try not to get upset by things. For me, caffeine triggers my migraines so there is nothing in our home with caffeine.

I still get headaches and migraines now and then but the pain meds now usually stop the pain within 4 hours. My main fear is that someday the Botox shots will stop working. I hope and pray they will work forever and I pray for everyone else who has debilitating migraines. Hoping they too will find something that will work for them and give them relief.

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