Not Like Moms

I’ve had migraines for as long as I can remember. So did my mother, several of my cousins and aunts. We lived in Colorado when I remember my first debilitating migraine (I think I was about 12). My mom insisted that I had a sinus infection/headache due to weather changes and my allergies, that it couldn’t be a migraine because she had migraines and my symptoms weren’t the same as hers.

Mom had/has light, smell and sound sensitivity, and the horrendous headache…needs a dark room and her Imitrex for a few hours, has her migraine hangover and she gets on with her day. Even if that’s the next day. I had all of that. I also had vomiting, dizziness, weakness, neck pain, aura, eye pain…Mom stuck me in a hot shower, gave me sinus medication (probably Sudafed) and propped me up in bed with a vaporizer and a glass of water. Well, I know now that weather changes, allergies and sinus issues could have brought on the migraine; but at the time Mom said it wasn’t a migraine. I believed her. And I kept believing her for many years. Through the years, four children, birth control brought on a horrible headache that my doctors did tell me were migraines but I would seemingly stop getting them when I would go off a particular type of pill and onto a new one. For a few months anyway.

Fast forward to August 2005, I was terribly sick for days. The worst headache I’d ever had, vomiting, unable to even get up. My boyfriend at the time took me to an Urgent Care clinic where they asked me, “How long have you been getting migraines?” They rehydrate me, gave me two shots that I don’t even remember what they were now, and prescribed Imitrex. I was surprised! From 1983 I’d had these headaches, and not one person had said migraine!

I worked in a casino on the main floor…full of flashing lights, noise, people, smoke, fast pace and stress. Starting in December 2008 I was getting fairly nasty headaches. I’d pop Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen, and go on with my day. The headaches got worse and my days off were usually spent in bed with my Imitrex. February 4, 2009 I woke up with the WORST migraine I’d ever had! Called in to work, told them I’d taken my migraine pill, and if I could get rid of it, I’d be in. I got up to go to the bathroom and fell. My right side didn’t work. Damn. I got back to bed with the help of the wall and fell back to sleep fitfully for a few hours. I woke up vomiting, but couldn’t get to the bathroom. My roommate cleaned up and brought me a bucket. I noticed I couldn’t see very well either. I figured it was the worst migraine I’d ever had as my head felt like it’d be better off my body, and I fell back to sleep until the next day. I couldn’t hold down water, nothing. We went to Urgent Care. Meds for nausea and and IV for hydration. Day 3-Bland food stayed down, still can’t walk well, vision still blurry. Day 4-Back to Urgent Care. Diagnosed with vertigo. Day 5-Feeling like I’ve been on a 5 day bender except I can’t walk or see well. We go to the ER and find out I had several small strokes followed by a major one. I spent 5 days in the hospital, 6 months with a cane and on blood thinners, and 3 months off work. It took the doctors several months and countless vials of blood to realize my stroke was caused by what they called complex migraines.

I spent 2 1/2 more years working at the casino, and just was terminated in June due to “excessive absences”. I’m looking for a job I can do without as much noise, smoke and lights. Headaches are scary not just for me, but for my kids. We no longer have a roommate, so it’s just us. I stay on top of the smallest twinge and don’t take any chances. My boyfriend now is very supportive and understanding. Knows where my Imitrex is, knows that if I happen to get a migraine all he can do is give me dark and quiet…we’re still working on coming in all the time to check on me. LOL

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