If I only knew back then...
Last updated: November 2015
If I only knew back then…
I can still remember my life before migraines. I was so much fun. Night clubs and concerts were weekend requirements. A few years later the night clubs were replaced by a home, a husband and a radio playing our favorite music during dinner. Those concerts were replaced with my baby banging on pots and pans. I loved every minute of it. Just when I thought I couldn’t be any happier baby number two came along. My life was complete. I had a great family, great home, great job… great life!
Then I was Thirty, I woke up one day and I felt dizzy. Not like a normal dizzy. This type of dizzy I couldn’t explain. Some people say ‘It feels like the room is spinning’. To me the room was spinning. Objects in the room would move faster than my eyes were moving. After about two days of this I went to the doctor. My doctor diagnosed me with vertigo. I never heard of this before. She handed me a month supply of medication and sent me on my way. I took the medication as prescribed and the vertigo went away.
My second child was about 4 months old when the vertigo happened. She was about six months old I experienced my first really bad headache. I never experienced a headache before other than the ones caused by my loud music, partying days. This headache was different. It came out of nowhere. It was only on the left side of my head and it lasted for two days no matter how much Tylenol I took. After it was gone I said to my husband that I never wanted that to happen again. It didn’t happen until a month later. Then the next month, and the next month. I went to my doctor and she said take Midol during your periods, which I did.
Month after month I suffered these headaches no matter what I took. I finally went back to the doctor and told her that Midol isn’t working. She said that there is nothing she could do. She advised me that headaches during periods are natural and as long as the headache goes away I’m fine.
Three years go by and now I’m starting to get headaches in between my periods. I went back to my doctor with tears in my eyes and she looked at me and said ‘What is really wrong?’ I bit my lip and swallowed hard. I said as calmly as I could ‘My head hurts beyond a normal headache and it has been like this for years.’ She asked me if I had a headache now and I said ‘Yes’. She took out a light instrument and shined it in my eyes and I instantly slapped her hand away from my face. That light felt like fire going straight into my eyes. I have never felt that before. I started apologizing but I couldn’t see anything. Everything was white. I started apologizing however since I couldn’t see I didn’t realize she already left the room. I heard a man’s voice asking me if I struck the doctor. Before I could get the word out he asked me if I could see. I said NO! I felt an ice pack go over my eyes and someone help me lie down. I can’t remember how long I was lying on the exam table but as soon as I could see again I jumped up and ran out of the office, never to return.
So I'm Thirty-Five and so far I have been living with untreated ‘headaches’ for five years. They are happening more often and they are lasting much longer. I still have two children, a husband, a home and a job that need attention. Life is miserable. The house had to be dark and quiet. My friends call my house "the cave". I have good days but bad days seem to trump them. I didn't have any hope until I received a little miracle in the form of a letter saying that my doctor is leaving the office and I have been assigned a new doctor. I immediately called the doctor’s office and asked for an appointment.
My new doctor was young. Real young! I smiled and joked that we might actually be the same age. She looked at the chart and she informed me that I was a few months older than her. She asked me what brought me in today. I told her that I was experiencing headaches for about 5 years and that no amount of medication helps. She asked what my previous doctor did and I said 'nothing'. She went to grab the same light instrument and I said ‘please do not shine that in my eyes’. She told me to look up and as the light came close to my eyes my eyes started to water. She asked me if I was Ok and I said yes. A bunch of questions later she explained to me that I do not have headaches, I have migraines. I was put on Nortriptyline. That worked for a few months then it stopped working. Then I was put on Midrin. That worked for a few years. Years of MRI’s, tests, medications and treatments came up with nothing other than migraines. Then devastating news hit just a few years into treatment. My wonderful doctor was moving out of state. Before she left she gave me the greatest gift. She referred me to a neurologist. I no longer see a PCP for my migraines.
Flash forward to the current day. I am Forty-Four years old. My neurologist is awesome. She is also young and fun and recently started me on Botox. Although I have only had one round of Botox I am optimistic that I will be virtually medication free within a year. I am determined to get my life back!
Although my house is still called "the cave" and there are still bad days, medication helps and I can see a virtual light at the end of the tunnel even though all my doctors know never to flash that light instrument into my eyes!
A few months ago my daughter who is now going to be fourteen found a video tape of my first born son banging on those pots and pans seventeen years ago. My house used to be full of noise and life and laughter.
If I only knew back then…
Do you have a migraine toolbox for when an attack hits?
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