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Fighting my Chronic Migraines by facing it head-on!

I am a 36 year old wife, mother of three, and author who suffers from Chronic Migraines so debilitating I haven’t driven in over a year. My migraines started when I was 10 and got exceedingly worse as a teenager. I use to black out from them and wake up not knowing where I was or how I even got there.

My neurologist gave me Imitrex injections to use at an onset of one and they worked wonders. For years I was able to rely on Imitrex until a few years ago they stopped helping me. I would just wait out my migraines; whether it be me going into work 2 hours late to sleep it off or hide in a dark room or closet until I could be around lights again.

This past year I woke up from the feeling of the room moving around me and my life hasn’t been the same ever since. I ended up in the ER having every test done imaginable only to get referred over to an ENT Specialist for a severe case of vertigo. Every test they ran on me came back perfectly fine. I was struggle to walk because my balance was off and so was my motor skills. I felt I was constantly on a merry-go-round with no way of getting off. My vision blurred or doubled while my head felt like someone was kicking or stabbing something into it. I slept 18-20 hrs a day because it was impossible to do anything else. I was nearing a mental breakdown and wanting to lock myself in my dark room to never resurface since being around people was the last thing I wanted.

It wasn’t until I attempted vestibular physical therapy to regain use of my balance and motor skills that my therapist concluded I had a different type of migraine. He got my ENT Specialist to refer me over to a Neurologist and I was diagnosed with Chronic and Vestibular Associated Migraines.

I then began taking a variety of meds thinking I would feel some kind of relief. Things only got worse from there on out. The troubling symptoms I had before made it worse for me to get around. People had to come check up on me during the day or stay with me because I was falling from my severe dizzy spells or terrible balance. I couldn’t cook unsupervised because I kept burning myself. I was beginning to feel useless and it was taking major emotional toll on me.

My pain levels were at a all time high. I wanted to throw in the towel, but my family, friends and readers always sent words of encouragement telling me to believe that I was going to get better.

I continued taking test after test. Changing the dosages of my migraine meds or changing the type of meds all together. Then one of my CT’s indicated a low level of blood flow in one side of my brain so I had a cerebral angioplasty to open up the blood vessels hoping that might help with some of my troubling symptoms. It didn’t and I was back to square one.

A month later my neuro suggested trying Botox because she felt I could actually benefit from the injections.I went for my first round in May and my second round in August. For the first time in 240 days I went 2 whole days without any migraines or the symptoms associated with them.

I finally felt like a part of my old self was back. My head wasn’t giving me as much grief as before and I was able to write again. My husband and kids were thrilled to see me getting around without holding on to objects to stop me from falling.

During this whole ordeal I somehow found the strength to keep going no matter how bad things were starting to get for me health wise. I joined several support groups and found more reasons to continue fighting to get better. I am now a advocate for migraine and headache disorders. I have big plans to help raise money for migraine/headache disorder foundations/organizations. If I can find ways to help raise money towards research then I will do whatever I can to make it happen.

I still have high pain days, but they are a day or two a week instead of everyday. Even my symptoms are starting to become much easier to handle. Because my health was much more cooperative now than it had been in he past, I was finally able to work with my editor on publishing a book I had to put on hold from last year.

I truly believe that botox is the answer for me and hope that others will benefit from this form of treatment just like I have.

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.


  • Shawn Carrillo
    6 years ago

    I too have thought about getting Botox injections in my back and shoulders. My husband works in surgery and apparently its pretty common and works well for migraine sufferers. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism during my third pregnancy, they said I probably had it for years but just got missed. Huh! I have since then had it removed and my levels have been up and down for the last 7 years. I suffer from terrible back pain on top of everything else and a lot of times it contributes to the onset of a migraine. I went to a spine surgeon and he did xrays and said I was fine, gave me lyrica and said you have fibromyalgia and have a nice day. GREAT, one more Diagnosis, nothing solved. I am now seeing a neurologist in hopes to find something to get relief. I had a CT scan today so my fingers are crossed. I have spent a fortune in medications and doctor bills and still have no idea why I have had headaches since I was a child. This is the worst, I feel so depressed sometimes because my husband does not understand. He always says “whatever, you always have a headache”. He does not believe I really do, and it’s creating havoc in my marriage, my job is suffering because I struggle to get through everyday. I just want to go on disability some times but then I feel like that would be giving up. I hope to find some peace in all this soon…. I am glad you found something that works for you. I hope I find that something too..

  • JP Summers author
    6 years ago

    Thank you for reply Shawn. I completely sympathise with you and your frustrations over our condition. It is difficult to live with migraines while managing a relationship with a spouse and your kids. 9 out of 10 times your migraines win then you lose out on quality time with your loved ones. I am always left to feel like the bad guy because no one can blame the migraines in your head; they can only blame you, the person who had to back out of plans/events. The bad part about our migraines, is that our bodies control how the meds/treatments are going to work on us. Some people say botox works wonders on them while others say it didn’t do a single thing to help them. To be honest, I was dead set against botox when I first heard about it being used on migraines. I read the articles and couldn’t believe all of the side effects involved with the treatments. Of course, that was before everything my ENT Specialist and Neurologist failed me. I was desperate to try anything just to get one day where I wasn’t in pain because of my migraines. When I was offered botox as option, I immediately agreed to it. After my first treatment I got so physically ill for two weeks someone had to come over and take care of me. I was in tears over the outcome at first. I thought my body hated me and I was never going to get any kind of relief. Then the third week rolled around and a miracle happened. I finally went 2 days pain and symptom free! I was thrilled and ready for my second round of treatments. When I got my second round, 3 months later, I felt a significant difference. My pain levels lowered and so did my symptoms. I still had the same issues as before with my health, but it is a little more tolerable for myself and my family felt I was physically starting to show improvement.
    Again, our bodies are all programmed differently so what works for one of us may not work for others. I hope you find something that works for you too. I wish you the best of luck with everything and keep me posted if you do get botox. I always like to hear stories from others about their results.

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