My Ever-Changing Pain Monster
Hello, my name is Robert and I’m a chronic migraineur. My relationship with migraines began about twenty years ago, following a move to the beautiful state of Colorado. My first weekend in Colorado, I decided to venture into the mountains to explore the beauty of my new home. It is there in those mountains that I experienced what I would later come to call, my first migraine.
My first migraine began with sharp, hot poker type pains on the left side of my head, near the temple area. The pain quickly intensified bringing with it sensitivity to light, sound and smell. I was bedridden for three days. My PCP incorrectly diagnosed it as altitude sickness. After all, I was new to Colorado and had just visited the mountains. It was only with subsequent episodes that did not involve high altitude that she began treating me for migraines.
Those first few years, I only had two or three a month, which was quite manageable with traditional migraine medications. As the years ticked by, the monthly numbers began to climb. Three turned into six, which turned into twelve. I stabilized around a dozen a month for many years. IMITREX was my rescue drug of choice, along with 800mg of ibuprofen.
In 2010, I began to experience a sharp increase, fighting over twenty migraines every month. My PCP felt it was time for a neurological evaluation. It took me three months to be seen by a Neurologist. He diagnosed me with chronic migraines and recommended Botox. It took my insurance company another two months to approve the injections. By the second round of Botox injections, the number of migraine days dropped to ten per month. From twenty-three to ten…that’s a miracle. I finally dropped to three per month and felt like Botox was my miracle drug.
Fast-forward to 2015. I’m suffering almost daily migraines. They sometimes begin with the wonderful jagged half moon aura; followed by the sharp, hot poker pain on the left side of the head behind the temple. Nausea is usually present and often results in bouts of throwing up. It now takes two Imitrex to experience any relief and even then, it often only knocks the pain level down to 5 or 6. I’ve been in ER twice in the past few months, unable to control the pain on my own. My wife and daughter take vacations without me, only because I know they won’t be stuck dealing with my chronic migraines. So I suffer alone, wishing I could be normal again.
I have a deep compassion for anyone living in chronic pain. Even the most basic life tasks become a challenge. Perhaps our greatest gift is our tenacity in seeking a treatment path that will finally quiet the pain monster within our head. Relief is possible. We need only keep looking, one day at a time.
Wishing you all a pain-free day :)
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