Contently frustrated

I’m 52 and my first migraine was at the age of 14. So I had my first ‘death by brain tumor’ scare many, many years ago. My father thought it was a good excuse to get out of mowing the lawn, oh that I could control my migraines in such as way to be convenient!

That has to be one of the most frustrating things about migraine headaches. Thankfully I have a sincere and caring family who understands and is very supportive.

Over the years, my migraines have presented in different ways. As a teenager, I would have the visual aura or scotoma (I call them angry lines) that would start on one side of my field of vision, grow and then as the aura dissipated, the headache would start on the opposite side of my head. Depending on the veracity of the aura, the headache would vary in pain intensity and length. I can tell how bad my headache will be during the 45 min. to 1 hour aura that precedes it. During that time, migraines occurred on average twice a month. I would be down from pain for a day or two. I tried many medications available to me, nothing helped.

Curiously, between the ages of 20 and 25, I did not have a single migraine. That is the only time period in my life where I had some form of relief. When they returned, I went through the whole process again with a different doctor and came to the same conclusion. However, there were other manifestations of the ‘aura’ that would accompany or immediately precede the headache. over the past 20 years or more, I have experienced olfactory hallucinations, aphasia (super scary the first time that happens), and confusion. None of these are consistent, and sometimes I only have the scotoma with the headache.

Interestingly, I remember some time in my 30’s I began to have a feeling the migraine was coming about 10 minutes before the first aura would present. It was as if I could feel something in my chemistry flip like a switch. Good news is that I have time to get home, switch drivers, etc… before my scotoma starts.

Recently, I have had periods where no migraines will occur for 2 or 3 months at a time. Then, they return with a vengeance. I could have as many as 5 or 6 in a month. I do not notice the confusion as much…maybe my baseline for confusion has decreased. :/

I’ve learned to live with my migraines. My quality of life is not nearly as affected as others I know. My migraines have been a fact of life for the most part of 38 years. I just changed doctors a couple of years ago and he was astounded at the detail and breadth of my migraine story. He asked me if I wanted to pursue any tests or new options to which I responded – ‘No, I’ll just be content with the frustration of occasional migraines.’ My wife agrees as long as I don’t become a cranky migraine sufferer.

Thanks for listening to my story, I hope you find comfort and relief.

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