Migraines changed my life
Last updated: October 2022
I used to be normal. I used to be active.Then, my body turned on me, & now I often feel cheated, because the migraines keep me from doing almost everything. I try to stay positive, easier said than done.
Migraines came on me later in life. As a child & young woman, I was very healthy, & active. I had three children, with easy pregnancies & deliveries. I worked, as a nurse, part time. I got the occasional headache, took Tylenol, & kept on going. Those were not migraines.
The first time I got what would turn out to be the beginning of my chronic migraines was when my husband & I went to the Grand Canyon. We had hiked down about a mile, were coming back up, when it hit. At first we thought it was due to dehydration, even though we had been careful to drink lots of water, or maybe the change in elevation. I took Tylenol, no to avail. And, it lasted throughout the night, & into the next day, making me, sick, light sensitive & miserable! What was going on?
The headaches kept coming back, every few days, for the rest of that vacation. As soon as we got back home, I went to the doctor the next day. You see, I also have another health issue. And it makes a world of difference. To make a long story very short, I've had 6 blood clots since 1998, in my right subclavian vein. Because of this, I'm on 2 different blood thinners. Why does this matter? It matters because it severely limits the medications I can take for the migraines. I can't take anything that will compromise my clotting situation, either making my blood too thick, where I may clot again, or conversely, enhancing the anticoagulant, where I could bleed too easily. I'm walking a fine line all the time, as it is.
I had to stop working. I was trying so hard to continue, but it was really becoming impossible. I would wake up in the morning & wonder if I could go in. Then, my husband would drive me in, since it was so early, the headlights would do me in before I would even get to the workplace. I wore sunglasses when there & a hat, & had a special tent like structure over my work cubicle, to protect from the fluorescent lighting. Even so, way too often, I would have to go home before my shift was over. Once, a supervisor who didn't know me very well almost called 911, because I stutter when my migraines are severe, & he thought I was having a stroke! Fortunately, a co-worker who did know me, was able to talk him out of it, & my husband came to pick me up.
I've had so many Scans & MRI's, I can't even tell you. I have 4 stents, all telescoped into each other. I had my top right rib removed because they thought the collar bone was compressing the vein between that & the rib. That seemed to have worked for a couple of years. Then I got 2 more clots. Two of them while I was on the warfarin, the heavy duty blood thinner. So, I'm in no way able to take any risks with meds for the migraines.
I've tried accupuncture, biofeedback & Botox. I've gone to an herbalist, who was quite limited with what she could recommend for me, for the same reason as described above. I've seen an Ear,Nose & Throat specialist, in case it had anything to do with my sinuses. I've gone to a big teaching hospital where the doc made an erroneous recommendation with regard to me taking Tripans.
My husband determined, through logging when I got my headaches, where we were at the time & how severe they were, that a major trigger of my migraines was relative humidity. Because we lived in a very humid area right on a major water way, we moved. It's been somewhat better here, but far from as good as I'd hoped. I'm currently taking Topamax & my neurologist recently increased the dosage. I can take a bit higher dose on this, & then there's one more anti-seizure drug I can try. If that doesn't work, I'm out of options, as far as preventative medications are concerned. Then, I don't know what I will do.
I've missed out on so much. Family gatherings, neighborhood picnics, work parties. I don't really drive much anymore. Even if I don't have a migraine when I leave, there's no guarantee that I won't get one before I have to get back. And there's no way I trust myself to drive when I have a migraine. My perceptions & reactions are completely messed up.
Anyway, that about covers it, I guess. I keep telling myself that it could be worse, that it isn't fatal. And that's true, of course. And, I'm also blessed to have a wonderful husband who takes incredible care of me when I'm sick. I also have 3 great kids, 2 great stepsons & 5 wonderful grandchildren & an absolutely fabulous 95 year old Mother, who is in good health & who I love with all my heart! Count your blessings, right? Right!
I don't know why the migraines happened to me, or the blood clots, either, for that matter. I believe in G-d, & that everything happens for a reason. Just because I don't get it, doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things. It's just not pleasant, & I can't help but pray for some relief.
For anyone reading this, if it helped you, I'm glad. It does help me to know that I'm not alone in my discouragement & frustrations by reading the posts on this site.
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?