My Adventures with Chronic Migraines

I think my first experience with migraine came as a result of playing certain video games for too long a stretch. While the migraine was horrible, it didn't happen often at all. They really started to bother me about 6-8 months before I retired from the military.

It started as an annoying little headache that would not go away. Seriously, this headache lasted 2-3 months before I saught treatment for it. I was fortunate enough to be stationed someplace that had a headache specialist on staff and was blessed to be sent to him right off the bat. What ensued was several years of trying to get these suckers under control. I've been on many meds with sometimes initial good results that were unfortunately short lived.

I've been on amitriptyline, nortriptyline, gabapentin, depakote, topamax, propranolol LA, ambien cr, regular ambien, methocarbamol, imitrex tablet and injection, the nasal spray, relpax, fiorinal, naproxen with imitrex...I think thats all of them in the last 6 years.

The propranolol LA (Inderal LA) started out with pretty good results but eventually we reached a dose to high and I had some adverse effects. (low heart rate/unable to stay awake)

Topamax, which I had told myself I would wait out the side effects to determine if it helped the headaches. It worked decently, and I was able to get through the side effects except the one that eventually messed with my eyes. My eyes would hemorrage. One second they would be fine, the next it would look like I had a bad case of nasty pink eye. So, I can not use topamax or any of the anti-seizure meds as they all mess with my eyes.

Amitriptyline caused the hangover effect in the morning and I had a hard time getting up and staying up.

The abortives worked so-so. Sometimes yes, most times no.

My migraines, when at their worst would have me throwing up and unable to really focus or concentrate. I used to still go into work sometimes having to pull over and throw up on the side of the road. Finally realized how dangerous that was and told them if I was throwing up there was no way I could drive into work.

My current treatment is Propranolol LA (lower dose), Nortriptyline, amitriptyline (for sleep) and my abortive is fiorinal. I find that when I feel a headache coming on, if I take some fiorinal and lay down for a while, I get the best results. I had to retrain myself to take the medication earlier instead of telling myself it (migraine) wouldn't be that bad.

Still trying to find the right meds to help with my sleep as the lack of sleep contributes to my migraines. I am also very scent sensitive. There are certain scents that will trigger a migraine so fast I almost can't make it to the restroom in time. Sadly, some people like to bathe in their cologne and don't think of how it can affect others.

At there worst, I have daily headaches with really bad ones (8-10 on the scale and vomiting) 8 to 10 times a month and missing work sometimes 2 days weekly.

I quit working in April. The migraines are under better control. I think it may be more from the lack of work related stress, but I am still tweeking things with my Dr. If not working keeps my migraines down, I'm all for it, but I know not everyone has that option. I refuse to give in to this disease though and I will live my life. I know there are many that don't understand how horrible it is to live with this and I know they have no clue the strength it takes to do things sometimes so I don't miss out on certain things because of them.

Hopefully science will continue to improve on the therapy's available to us and starts to tailor things that are migraine specific and not an Oh by the way, this seems to help migraines too.

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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.

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