Dealing With Lifelong Pain

I don’t know when it truly began…I’ve had headaches for as long as I can remember. My mom says they started when I was about 4. But I don’t believe they were true migraines until my first pregnancy 14 years ago. At first I didn’t know what was wrong with me! I started getting auras, sometimes a couple of fingers would start tingling like they were asleep, but the scariest episode was when I was in bed talking to my husband, and I knew what his name was, but I couldn’t say it. I couldn’t say anything. When I finally did talk it was just a bunch of gibberish. I can tell you that scared the heck out of my husband!

14 years later and migraines are just a part (sad) of my daily life. If I have 1 day a week that I am not plagued with a migraine or severe headache, I am ecstatic! I feel terrible for my family, because I know this has to be hard on them. Be quiet, mom has a headache — turn down the light, mom has a headache — where’s mom? Oh she’s in her room, she has a headache!! When I think of all of the things I have missed out on over the years!!

Fortunately, thanks to copious amounts of medication, I am able to work a full-time job. Luckily I have my own office, so I can make it as dark in there as I want! I miss about 1-2 days a month with a really bad headache, but miss out on most of my weekends.

For this entire journey, I’ve had the same doctor and we have tried EVERYTHING that we could think of: beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, high blood pressure meds, anti-seizure meds, and anti-depressants. He’s run out of options. So he sent me down to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and I went through 2 days of testing with a neurologist — NOTHING. The neurologist even wrote a letter to my insurance company and got them to approve Botox injections — 20 of them all around my head! (ouch!) and I immediately got a migraine when I left the office and I was one of the 2% (according to the Dr) where the Botox actually made my migraines worse!

I’ve done the holistic route also: acupuncture, vitamins, herbs, gels you put under your tongue — all to no avail. I’ve tried to sign up for a couple of migraine studies they’ve had in this area-but I was disqualified because I have TOO many migraines!!

I was overweight with sleep apnea, so my Dr thought having gastric bypass and losing weight would help my migraines. Well, I had the bypass 2 years ago, don’t have sleep apnea anymore, lost 90 pounds, but my migraines are no better.

So what am I doing now? Well, I am on a daily anti-depressant and when I get migraines I take Relpax. For pain my wonder-drug was Darvocet. I was SO upset when they discontinued that drug!! Even my Dr was upset. He said that there was no good reason for it to be taken off the market; it was just getting misused by people, which can happen to ANY drug. So now what do I have to take? Vicodin. Thank you government, now I have to take a worse drug. I have Percocet for my really bad ones. I am a walking medicine cabinet. I freak out if I forget my pain meds — I don’t go anywhere without them!! But that is just another issue for me to worry about. Should I take the meds or not? Am I taking too many? Am I going to become addicted? Is this one a rebound headache? Just a vicious cycle.

Then about once every 3-4 months I end up in the ER with a truly bad one and I get a shot of Toradahl and a shot of Morphine. Lucky me. Unfortunately that knocks me out for 2 days straight!! So I really try my hardest not to have to go in to get that!

I’m going to a counselor for some of my depression issues, and she has the gall to tell me that my headaches are my coping mechanism to deal with my problems and “escape”!! WHAT??? I’m sure that whatever stress I’m under is only adding to my headaches and making them worse, but I truly believe that there is a medical reason for my migraines! I would much rather be “dealing” with life than living with the constant daily pain that my life has become…..

I guess I just keep hoping that someday they will find some wonder-drug or wonder-procedure that will take my pain away, until then…I just deal the best I can.

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