Former law enforcement, resigned out of safety concerns.
Last updated: September 2018
My migraines started when I was young, in childhood, but were quite rare then. They really only happened when I went from a low to a high altitude in a short time period. It was an easy trigger to avoid, so they didn't affect my life too much.
I took up a career in law enforcement when I was 21 and was soon working in a maximum security prison. As with some migraineurs, age changes things. Within a few years I was getting migraines more frequently without an altitude change. At first I used OTC stuff and hoped 'it was just a phase.
But they didn't stop, they keep getting more frequent. Lasting longer. My primary care doc, who I had finally started seeing regularly by this point thought my chronic sinus infections were the cause. This led to nearly 2 years off and on antibiotics, some steroids, and finally an ENT that swore my 'They're so tiny!' sinus passages needing surgery- and that would cure my migraines. Well, it didn't.
The next step was oral surgery. Those horrible wisdom teeth that weren't bothering had to be pushing on the nerves and causing my migraines. So those had to be surgically removed. And I still had the migraines.
I logged my food. No luck there. The Neurologists I saw didn't really seem to have any answers and the meds, well, we know how the meds are if you're trying to lead a normal life. It's sorta like if they work there's either crazy side effects, they are too expensive, or the insurance pays for so few of them we have to hoard them 'for the big ones'.
Finally, I purchased a mountaineering watch - it was ridiculous and huge- but it had a built in barometer. An air pressure gauge. I figured if going up in the mountains as a kid if what started these years ago. And that was it. It was the weather. Drops in air pressure were my trigger. I found this out in 2003, and at that time I couldn't find anyone that seemed to have any knowledge about it.
Sadly, even knowing the triggers, did nothing to prevent them. It's the weather. And I just kept getting more sensitive to it, my work performance and attendance began to really suffer and I was beginning to develop some serious anxiety about making a mistake that would get someone seriously hurt (or worse). A supermax prison is not a very forgiving environment.
Eventually, a lack of empathy from the administrative staff, forced me to resign. I didn't want to get anyone hurt, so I sought out employment in safer jobs. That worked for a while, but like a little monster the migraines kept getting worse. Even jobs that seemed simple were getting difficult.
It got to the point that I realized I resigned the first job for safety concerns- yet I was driving around to other jobs- often with an aura starting - and I was putting everyone on the road in just as much- if not more danger than if I was a drunk. I had a bit of a breakdown over that. I may not be able to work in public safety anymore, but I never thought because of migraines I might be a road hazard in my mid thirties.
I've since applied for disability, which I also hated doing , but I hope it gives me a chance to regroup and find something I can do to safely contribute.
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?