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A Lifetime With Migraines

My name is Nancy. I am a 54 year old woman who suffers with a chronic daily Migraine disorder. It feels as though I have been suffering with migraines for a lifetime, although I didn’t have my first one until I was eighteen years old.

My first severe headache occurred when I was in Army basic training. I had joined the Army right after high school in 1975, for the adventure and educational benefits. During training on a rifle range at Ft. Jackson, SC a bad thunderstorm came upon my unit. We were rushed to a pavilion with bleachers covered with a metal roof for shelter. Unfortunately for us, lightening hit the structure and many young women were injured. Some were taken away by ambulance, but most of us were dazed for a short time and received no medical treatment. As for me I was wearing my hair up that day with a metal barrette, and when the lightening hit the structure it felt like being hit with a baseball bat to the back of my head. I was left with a sore spot on my head and a nasty headache.

I had undiagnosed migraines several times a year until my early thirties. Gradually the frequency and severity of my migraines escalated overtime. I experienced the most severe migraines associated with my menstrual cycle. I was treated early on with the old drug Midrin which was of little help and then with narcotic pain relievers. Then when they came out with Imitrex that helped for a while with acute attacks.

The summer of 2002 was when I started having near daily attacks. Between June and September of that year recorded over 70 attacks. I was so debilitated with pain and nausea that I finally was able to pursuade my PCP to send me to a neurologist. Over the years I tried a variety of anti-epileptic medications as preventive medications with modest improvements. I also developed some other health problems such as Fibromyalgia and Angioedema. Because of the Angioedema I am now very sensitive and allergic to a lot of medications, especially antibiotics and narcotic pain medicines.

At this point I am post menopausal and although I no longer suffer from menstrual headaches I still have well over 15 migraines a month. A recent concussion has exacerbated my condition. I am currently taking Namenda as a preventive medicine. I use triptans regularly, and I have been trained to give myself injections of Toradol when things are really bad. The treatment that has offered me the most relief has been Botox. I am in the care of a Neurologist who specializes in headache management and operates a headache clinic in Indianapolis.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Michelle Bryson Durfee
    7 years ago

    I also suffer from Migraines. I had a head injury 21 years ago and that’s when they started but in the last 3 years they increased to about 10 a month. Right now I’m on a streak of 2 per day for the last 5 days. I’ve been to 3 neurologists and tried all the preventative meds that didn’t work. I am going to a new neurologist in a couple of weeks to beg for them to try botox.

  • Gina Marie Johnson
    7 years ago

    Thanks for posting your story. Sometimes us migraineurs feel alone in our daily struggle. I have had migraines since I was a teen also. I used to get them once a year, then in my twenties I started getting them once a month and it seemed that it was hormone related. Now I am 46 years old and I am getting 15 + a month so I sympathize with you. I have taken everything, right now they have me on 50 mil of Amitryptyline and 160 mil of Inderal (due to when I am in pain my bp gets high) When I don’t have migraine my bp is normal. I also have Imitrex injections that I can inject myself instead of having to take a trip to ER $250 later ugh. I have to take phenergan before I give myself and injection or I will vomit. I went to a migraine specialist for a year and all he has done was had me journal everything I ate and when I had a migraine and how long did it last, where was it located. He has just given me drugs preventatives and triptans and pain meds Percoset. I just wish someone could just tell me WHY I am having these and fix me. I don’t like being broken. Here if you ever need to talk Gina Johnson.

  • Amy Marolda
    7 years ago

    I also have migraines and angioedema it ruins my life!

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