How Migraines have Changed My Life

My name is Brianna and I work as an RN and Nurse Practitioner. In November 2008, I suffered my first real migraine. I had pain in my left temple, nausea, and it became unbearable. I had been suffering from daily headaches for 3 months.

I was taking Motrin 800 mg 3 times a day, plus Excedrin Migraine. On November 26, 2008 I was admitted for my first Migraine. I had Toradol, DHE, and Ultram. Four days later I was released and exhausted. Two weeks later I was in the ER with a terrible stabbing pain in my eye, a rash on my body, and feeling worse than ever. I was told the rash was stress induced. I was finishing second clinicals for Nurse Practitioner School. The next semester was terrible. I was going to the doctor monthly, however the Neurologist only increased my Topamax by 25 mg each time. I was having 3-4 migraines a week.

In addition, my job and school did not understand. My instructors tried to get me kicked out of school. Thank goodness I had resources await me in the future. My clinical preceptors told the school I was not lying about my clinicals. The instructors were discriminating against me and not following procedures. I knew I was looked at differently by all of my instructors. My boss continually made comments about my Migraines. In May I was admitted for 2 weeks into the hospital. The neurologist I had did not understand. I ended up with complications, and nothing was done to help me. I was sent home, and told if I came back the Neurologist would not admit me. I followed up with my Neurologist, and begged to get admitted. My head was killing mean I wasn't eating and drinking. Only sleeping and taking my medication. The next day the medication had built up in my system, and I was slurring my speech and stumbling around. I was finally admitted, however I had the same Neurologist and she said nothing was wrong with me. I was miserable and upset. I had already set up an appointment with a new Neurologist. Two days after getting discharged I saw my new neurologist. The most wonderful man in the world.

The school failed me unjustly, and I had to go to several hearings and file a complaint with the Department of Education. I realize the discrimination would not just be at work,but at school as well until I graduated. So began my journey of changing medications to try to control my migraines. I was admitted again in August for 1 week. I saw the neurologist at my hospital that told me she would not admit me, and she didn't. She said the treatments did not work last time, so there was no point. I had to go to another hospital. Was this going to get better. After getting discharged, I had several urgent visits to the office for pain medication. One medication caused me to swell in my lower legs, which I could tolerate. When the dose was increase I was so puffy everywhere we had to stop the medication. Yet another set back. September and October were terrible months, I had Nerve Blocks and medication adjustments, but no really help. In October, I settled my issues with the school,and agreed to retake my semester. Why you may ask? Otherwise the investigation through the Department of Education would pose a threat of me starting my semester. Therefore postponing graduation. However, many changes were made to the classes, and faculty were moved around from their current positions. I knew I mad a difference.

Stress is a huge trigger for me, so that semester I had 3 ER visits. I had Botox in March, which decreased the pain somewhat and the frequency. I awaited my next treatment. I graduated in May with my Nurse Practitioner Degree...Finally! In July 2009 marked my 15 admission to the hospital. Why me I always ask? I don't know. I have been on so many medications, some side effects are tolerable. Some side effects are not and I have been taken off the medications. I have a twin sister, who suffered migraines as a teenager, and my mom before menopause. However not anymore. In August, my twin sister realized my hair was not longer thicker than hers. It always had been. I was taking Topamax 400mg daily. I had noticed some hair falling out with showering, but I never realized how much my hair had thinned out. We started decreasing my dose. In September 2010 I had Radio Frequency Ablation on my Occiptal Nerve. It was extremely painful, but it helped so much. I finally was improved in such a painful area. Fall was a terrible season for me. I suffered 6 weeks with only 4 free migraine days. I have read many books, and identified my triggers somewhat. I have now lost track of all my hospital visits, but I had 6 ER visits in 2010. I work at a hospital, which is where I have to go for treatment. I am treated like a drug seeker. I am miserable when I go there, but the doctors only see the diagnosis and my frequent admissions. They have never understood all of my failed treatments, suffering, and lost days of work. December 2010, I decided to get allergy tested to see if that would help. I was allergic to 29 of the 51 allergens I was tested for. I was told that Fall is terrible time for my allergies...and my migraines. I will begin allergy shots 1-2 times per week for 6 months. Then I will started monthly injections. This is supposed to help my migraines, and I look forward to it.

I don't really remember my life before migraines. I know I was happier, and on way less medication. My family does not understand even though they are healthcare professionals. I have another treatment Botox in January and I cannot wait. I am awaiting my next ablation treatment. I feel lost. I am tried of the looks at work, and the comments from family and coworkers. I start a new job in February. Acupuncture will be covered at my next job, so I am looking forward to trying that as well. My Neurologist believes my new job will hlep my stress and migraines. I look forward to life with improved migraines. I have realized my migraines my never go away. So many factors I cannot control. Why did this happen to me. I cannot answer. The thing I know to do is continue my current treatments, look for new ones, educate myself, continue my biofeedback and hope someday my migraines will be controlled. Until then I will wait.

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