What "chronic migraine" looks like for me

I live with chronic migraine. For me, that means I have a low-level migraine 24/7/365.

I know many of us think 'low-level' & 'migraine' don't belong in the same sentence, and I get that, really I do. But for me, they can in fact coexist. I am never symptom free -- there is always something (usually several somethings) going on. My migraine disorder involves head pain plus a host of other symptoms: nausea; vertigo; light, sound, smell, and motion sensitivity; confusion and memory problems; burning and pressure in my sinuses and behind my eyes; vision loss and visual hallucinations. I spend my days with these various symptoms flitting between a 2 and a 4 in shifting combinations, wondering what's next.

Then once or twice a day I get what most people think of as a migraine 'attack' -- throbbing head pain, symptoms spiking to an 8, and all I want is a dark room, an ice pack, and a pain killer that might actually work. If I'm lucky, the triptan works, and I return to my pre-attack, 'low-level' state. If I'm not, I move into status migrainosis and end up in the ER a few days down the road, trying to break the beast back down to a manageable 2-3.

I was most of the way through my PhD when this crashed down on me. After trying to finish my dissertation for 2 years, last month I filed for indefinite medical leave from my doctoral program. I cannot work like this. I cannot think like this.

My kids do not remember me healthy. My friends are slowly drifting away -- they do not know what to do, and I'm so rarely well enough to get together or follow through on plans that I can't blame them for finding other people to be with. But I'm lonely.

I've had MRI's and CT's. I've tried every prevention medication out there. I have a Cefaly. I take magnesium and CoQ10 and B2. I get Botox shots every 12 weeks. I'm on my 6th triptan. My veins are wrecked from IV's in the ER. I am running out of options. I am running out of hope that I will get better. I am starting to accept that this is how my life will be, and I am afraid.

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