Is your Mom a Vampire?

I am 50 years old and have had migraines as long as I can remember. As I was writing my story I realized I could write a book! So I deleted everything and decided to condense 44 years of migraines and all of my diagnoses into a paragraph.

I was 16 when I went to our family doctor for migraines. He referred me to a neurologist. My mother and I were told most likely I had a brain tumor. We both were devastated! I had my first MRI. Thankfully, I didn’t have a brain tumor. I was introduced to prescribed narcotic and triptans.

Since then I have been treated for seizures, depression, told I had MS. I have had so many MRI’s I lost count. At least 3 spinal taps, EEG’s, EKG’s, vision test….you name it I have done it. I have seen physiatrists and physiologists. I have been locked up in a mental hospital for suicidal attempts. I spent 2 weeks in Michigan Pain clinic. I have had at least 5 different neurologists. I have had a PFO closure. For those of you that don’t know what PFO is, it is a whole in your heart from birth. In some cases closing the whole in your heart will relieve some if not all of your migraines. In my case the PFO closure did not help my migraines. I have had back surgery. I have had Botox injections. I have been to the ER so many times they look at me like I am a drug addict. I have EVERY migraine trigger known to mankind. If I am in the sun to long I get a migraine, If I overheat, smells, not enough sleep, too much sleep, hormones, weather, sex (yes an orgasms will trigger a migraine), caffeine, chocolate, alcohol. The list is endless and along with my triggers I have visual migraines and my whole left side feels like pins and needles sticking me. In 100 degree weather the wind can blow against my skin and I get goose bumps because the left side of my body is so sensitive.

All of my symptoms are blamed on “Complicated Migraines”. I get so sick I vomit for hours until there is nothing left to vomit. Then I dry heave for hours more. Two husbands, 4 children, 2 grandchildren and many test, many ER visits, medicines out the ying yang, medical bills that have left us bankrupt 2 times, and 44 years later I still have the same migraines I had at the age of 16. I have lost several jobs. I can’t make any kind of plans. I don’t have a social life. My 2nd husband of 20 years and I are now going through a divorce. I have to blame some of it on my health. Friends of my youngest two children, ask if there Mom is a Vampire? Because our house is always so dark and cool and they never see me outside. I don’t like to live like this, but it is how I have to live. My migraines dictate my life! I do get disability, but it isn’t enough to live on and I would much rather work my butt off than to have migraines! My name is Nora Kiefer and migraines rule my life!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (23)
  • Ziggy1710
    6 years ago

    I forgot to mention the following. Don’t hesitate to contact me about my experience with this particular acupuncturist, I’ll give my e-mail address on request to anyone who’s interested.

  • Ziggy1710
    6 years ago

    Dear Miss Kiefer,

    I am 22 (female) and reading your story feels like reading about a less than positive outcome of my own future. First of all, I admire the strength and courage you put into fighting this devastating disease and most of all, in sharing your story. And as for the comment on writing a book, why don’t you? Go for it. Word needs to get out. I have tried various preventative medications, I’ve been on more types of painkillers than I can count, I’ve had blood pressure medication, I’ve tried triptanes (which I will never take again, what a horrible feeling!),avoiding triggers (still have many attacks) and tried changing diet. None of the above helped and in some cases made my attacks more frequent and/or worse. In no way do I compare my path with yours because your fight has been going on much much longer, but I want to let you know that I have some idea about how desperate migraine can leave you. I wanted to reply because I wondered if you have tried alternative medicine and if you did,what kind? To be clear, I am a very sceptical person. In no way do I lead an extremely alternative lifestyle, in fact, I’ve always been very wary of practices like homoeopathy and especially, acupuncture. Recently I have been starting to see an acupuncturist, but not of the traditional kind. After all the agony of doctors visits and having a body ravaged by painkillers, at just 22, I finally decided to go on a different route. The man I’ve been seeing has his own patented needles,which look like big golden needles that start as a spiral on top. As I said,I never believed in acupuncture and I’m well aware that it doesn’t work for everyone so I stepped in his practice with a highly sceptical mindset. His belief,plain and simple, is that negative energy causes all ailments. And not in a figurative manner or as something strictly mental, but something that will physically ravage you. My first treatment was one of agony because I felt like he was putting out cigarettes on my entire body, but he was only poking me with perfectly cool needles. I have had 3 treatments so far (this treatment doesn’t require as many sessions as traditional acupuncture where the average is 15, depending on how grave your condition is of course)and I dare say I’ve had less attacks. He also advises to try and take medication only when it’s absolutely necessary because it conditions your body to stay in this negative spiral. Now I do know very well that that’s basically all the time, when an attack occurs. But because of this treatment I have managed to go through migraines for the first time ever,without taking any of the of the heavy medications we need to take. With the exception of one attack that lasted 4 days non-stop. All I want is for you and everyone else out there to try less invasive procedures and consider alternative treatment. I understand, feel and breath the despair of trying to find a relief. But conventional medicine, as you very well already know, doesn’t have all the answers. I will share the link of my acupuncturists official site. I cannot promise it will work for you, but after reading your very courageous story, I’m hoping you still have that same fire, the same will to live and the energy to still be open to alternative treatments like this or similar. Keep that light burning inside you Nora.

    PS: English isn’t my mother tongue so excuse the mistakes

    http://www.47wordsofgod.com/healing.html

  • tooxquizit2die
    6 years ago

    Hello everyone who knows what it’s like to suffer from migraines, or any severe headaches of any kind.

    I’ve found, at least, some partial answers, to get rid of migraines and have had some success. I think, in time, all of my migraines will be gone forever. I just have to stick with what I’m doing to be migraine-free.

    Some of you won’t believe what I’m about to share…or some of you have been in pain for so long that you’ve resolved to live in pain and manage as best you can. I understand all of these stands and am in no way want to impose any view point on anyone.

    However, for those of you who hope for a migraine-free life, as I do, and don’t want to give up on such a possibility, I share what I know thus far in hopes that what has helped me might help someone else.

    My migraines began occurring on a regular basis in 2008, although I do remember having one in 2002. Because I was in an intensive schooling program at the time, I didn’t have time to research and look into treatment, so I just did what helped the most at the time, which was sleep them off. Occasionally, the next morning, I still had a residual migraine, but the sleep and dark always helped. The worst I had lasted two days, but I’m aware that some people have them for much longer. I share all of this so that you know that I’m not someone who doesn’t really know what it’s like. While in the school I was in, I had to miss a day of classes here and there because of a migraine. Mind you, this was a music school, so the noise, of course, was a problem when I had a migraine. After school, the migraines went from one every 10 days or so to twice a week.

    I started seeing a homeopathic chiropractor who put me on a treatment program for them. At first, I thought this program was really going to work because after my first treatment, I didn’t have a migraine for a full month. The treatment involved homeopathic medicines and infared sauna. I went consistently every week for saunas for a over a year. In the end, I was still having migraines but they were less frequent, at least. My chiropractor tested for some other possible causes and concluded that some element of my immune system was missing. He ordered another supplement supposedly and told me to come back when it arrived. He was to call me to let me know. I never heard from him.

    But I wasn’t going to give up on my dream. One day about 3-4 months ago, I was sitting in my apartment thinking about putting it on the books to check out some live music. But then I thought, “But what if I plan it and then have a migraine that night?” I caught myself midway in that thought and realized how I was living my life in fear of the next migraine. That’s when I put my foot down.

    Out loud, I vocally got really angry at the Lord God Almighty and said, “I’m your daughter and You said that you came that I would have abundant life! Well this isn’t abundant life; I can’t even live!!! I’m your daughter and You’re my Daddy, and You’re not taking care of me! You need to be taking care of me!!! I’ll do whatever I have to to get rid of these migraines, but You have to show me what that is!” I call this my hissy fit at God. (Fyi, I don’t advise including any cursing if you decide to do this, just remind Him of who He is and who you are to Him.)

    To make a long story somewhat shorter, this is what I’ve done because of the Lord showing me what to do:

    1. Had a “perfectly good” root canal per ADA standards removed. Dead teeth harbor bad bacteria and that is what a root canaled tooth is.
    2. Had a crown removed that I thought was porcelain, but was nickel underneath and also contains mercury, removed.
    3. Had a complete dental revision in which all the dental material in my mouth was replaced with bio-compatible materials.
    1-3 cost me around $3000 because I had it done in Tijuana. I also figured that, even if the bad dental work wasn’t the cause of my migraines, it would at least take a huge load off of my immune systems. For more info on all of this, check out Hal Huggins and his Alliance and/or American Biodental Center in Tijuana’s website. They have a lot of info and videos on their site, some of which can explain why some people have migraines due to “perfectly good dental work” per the ADA. Fyi, the ADA took away Dr. Huggin’s license when he discovered the detriments of mercury fillings, yet offered it back to him 20 years later when they realized he was right.

    I am now on the GAPS diet and am having good success. The length of time between migraines is increasing and the severity and length of each migraine is decreasing. This diet was formulated by Natasha Campbell-McBride, a neurologist. GAPS stands for the Gut And Psychology Syndrome. Basically, everyone’s digestive tract is connected to the brain and neurological systems. So if your digestive tract is damaged, it can not only affect any other system, but also and especially your brain and neurological system. Symptoms of digestive-tract damage are not just expressed as digestive orders but ANY symptom and vary from person to person. So, for example, the damage is expressed in my brother as stomach problems, my niece as acne, my other niece as candida, my mom as sinus drainage, and me as migraines. If one heals the gut first, then the is causing problems is usually solved or, at least, narrowed. The longest stretch I’ve had thus far without a migraine is 5 weeks. The GAPS diet is all about healing the gut. It gets damaged in the first place from:

    white flour and sugar, MSG, and most chemicals in food
    foods with GMO’s
    antibiotics and RX drugs
    hormones and antibiotics in meat products
    chlorine in water (PUR and Brita filters do not filter out all chlorine.)
    fluoride
    chemicals in your hair and skin products, etc.

    For more info:

    http://www.gapsdiet.com

    There are also youtube videos on it.

    Natasha Campbell-McBride also has a book on it entitled by the name of the diet “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”.

    [Moderator’s Note: Please do not post personal contact information.]

  • meggie0228
    6 years ago

    As I sit here reading all your posts, I am both encouraged and discouraged equally. I read here that many of you have had migraines for many years, without relief. That is the discouraging part of all of it, as I have been on my migraine journey for 14 years this January. The encouraging part, I am not alone. In all of this I see several threads that we share. We like cool dark places, we can never get the help we need, and hand in hand with migraines depression seems to come, if we realize it or not. The withdrawing from people, pushing people away, and isolating ourselves, because of the pain. At 28 I have been there done that, been to Diamond head clinic in Chicago, and am not being seen for the second time at University of Michigan in hopes of even easing the pain of what has become my life. I have no kids, have been divorced, have no social life. I have had all the tests, ct, mri, spinal taps, hospitalization for both chronic pain and psych. I have been on every medication, all the herbals, and tried everything anyone has ever recommended and let me tell you that list is extremely long, and none of it has worked. I feel for all of you, every moment of every day. Know that you are not alone in this painful fight to be heard. Even with our silent cry’s.

  • barbarafiedler
    7 years ago

    “and the er drs dont think that migraines are an emergency. you can sit in the er for hours waiting for them to treat yhou and then its just a shot that last for a couple of hours..” I am quoting this from someone else’s post!! This is so very true!! And if you just happen to NOT have a migraine at the time you could very well DIE!! (My husband experienced this last year and almost did die from and infection that eroded the tiny bone between his sinus and brain!) He had emergency surgery and lived thankfully, but was treated twice like a migraine in the ER. After hours of sitting in a brightly lit ER and then finally being seen, he was administered anti nausea drugs and a pain drug and sent home. The second night in a row that they tried this I had to fight like a dog to get this man really SEEN and examined because he does NOT have migraines. (I truly believe if they had listened the first night he might still have sight in right eye) Finally admitted and treated like a real patient. Why aren’t migraineurs treated like “real” patients from the get-go??? I am the one with the migraines and let me tell you, every single one of you have my sympathy! When I look at your stories, I know exactly how you feel and you are all worse than I am!! I have an excellent doctor here in Texas at Scott & White hospital. He is educated, and by that I don’t just mean schooling! He listens, he understands and he keeps himself up to date. And my treatment isn’t typical either. And for the first time in many years, I have average (not completely pain free) days. My headaches aren’t gone, but they are tolerable and manageable. And very important, for me, I understand things so much better now!! And he advocates for Dawn Marcus every time I see him! :o)

  • KAZ
    7 years ago

    I feel for you! I’m also a vampire-I say Mole, but my sisters are, too. I also miss things because I have “a headache”, and I’ve given up trying to explain it to my husband of 18 years… Blessing sent!

  • robbincwilliams
    7 years ago

    I remember my very first migraine, it was the first day of school of the 4th grade. I am now 39 years old. I have also been asked if I’m a vampire because I avoid the sun, wear dark sunglasses when I do go out, and my bedroom is very dark with curtains to block out the sun. I have resorted to using relaxation techniques to control my migraines because it has gotten to the point where medication doesn’t always work. I have had to go home from work with a migraine. People think I’m crazy but I have gotten to where I do not care. They have never experienced one they cannot judge.

  • Cheryl
    7 years ago

    I am 54 years old and have suffered with migraine headaches for 41 years. The only thing I have found that has helped me is a medication prescribed by my neurologist. Maxalt 10 mg. Try it. Hopefully it will be your “miracle” as well.

  • One2gh
    7 years ago

    I am also 50 years old. I had my first migraine at 21 when I went on birth control when I got married. Went off birth control pills and the next migraine showed up when I weaned our second son in 1991. I have chronic migraine with 20-25 a month. I have been to several doctors in several states. I have FINALLY found a doctor who has changed my life! I have been on every seizure drug out there, every anti depressant beta blockers, Botox…..I’ve done it all. At one point I was on 11 different drugs and the combination I gained 120 lbs! I am on an exercise regiment which has helped and a good combination of meds. My neurologist also tells me that he feels like as I progress through menopause my migraines will improve. From his mouth to God’s ears! I have missed so much of my children’s lives over the last 21 years. I want to be a fun swinging grandma, not one always down with a migraine!

  • jennifercampbell
    7 years ago

    I can relate to all of you! My mother has had migraines since she was 6 years old. The headaches seem to have gotten worse since her mother passed away in 2010. She stays in bed ALL the time and never goes any where or does any thing and it’s taking a toll on my step-dad. He has to do his own cooking, laundry and cleaning and goes and does his job. She has lost interest in all her hobbies and sadly to say, her family! She has had numerous trips to the E.R and after hours clinics and is treated and looked at like she’s a drug addict!! She had one nurse refuse to give her a shot and I had to get nasty and ask for the Dr. to give it to her. She has been on every medication made for migraines (that she’s not allergic too)and none seem to give her any relief. the doctors tell her to use her nose spray as soon as she feels one coming on, well, that’s the problem…her migraines come on in the middle of the night when she’s sleeping so they’re hard to get a handle on. She takes shots for the migraines and they work sometimes, but she sleeps for 3-4 days straight and then the medicine has worn off and it’s back to the migraines again. It’s a never ending battle. I wish more doctors understood that these migraines are a serious health issue and not “it’s all in your head” as they put it! I too have migraines, but nothing like hers and my son has them and his are bad at times. This is a health issue that needs to be taken seriously and the patients need to be treated with respect and dignity like any other patient with a serious illness.

  • norawright-kiefer author
    7 years ago

    You are wise beyond your years! God Bless your family!

  • Monica
    7 years ago

    I can really relate to your story. I am also on disability and would “rather work my butt off than get migraines” too 🙂 Nothing has helped, and I’ve done pretty much everything aside from the PFO.

  • norawright-kiefer author
    7 years ago

    The PFO closure is still in trial stages. I think a migrainer could lessen a few of their migraines having the PFO…It depends on your triggers. I do believe I have them all. :/ Good Luck to you!

  • sherrioneal
    7 years ago

    i too suffer from migraines..everyone picks at me because i wear a hat and sunshades all the time..even at night. someone told me that i should be singing i wear my sunshades at night all the time. clicking on a flouresent light can trigger one, strong perfumes, cologne, and even body sprays can cause one, have had to leave places because of the smell. we are doing preventative measures now..use mag oxalate each day and migrinal nasal spray once one starts. if caught early enough that will stop them. otherwise its an ice pack on eyes or back of neck, with an ace wrap, laying down in dark room, with fan going, if its too hot i can get one, i also get them if the barametric pressure changes fast.and the er drs dont think that migraines are an emergency. you can sit in the er for hours waiting for them to treat yhou and then its just a shot that last for a couple of hours..have been hospitalized a couple of times when migraine last over 2 weeks..sure wish there was something else i could try but being allergic to sulfa and sulfates there are not many i can use.

  • norawright-kiefer author
    7 years ago

    Prayers to you!

  • blue fairy
    7 years ago

    My empathy for you is HUGE. I have an identical history. Been there, done that. For over 40 years I have had migraines and have taken all the tests, been to all the hospitals for weeks on end, and been a regular at the E.R. Went to the E.R. a couple of weeks ago and the latest from that doc was a caffeine drip. OMG, I couldn’t convince him otherwise so I had to follow the plan. Then, when I finally took off the hat and sunglasses he remembered me, pulled the drip and gave me morphine. Go figure. Had relief for about 2 hours. I settled for that. Then my doc gave me steroids to try to break the cycle. (they make me feel crazy) That didn’t work either. Just had to ride out the storm. Took about 2 weeks. So after all I know; (which I’m convinced is more than the doctors) and all I do, and all I refrain from doing or eating I still have migraines. I will never know why. I will forever be in search of an answer and keep trying everything I can. Good luck in your search for less pain which is all we can ask for, because complete pain relief for chronic migraineurs may not be in our future.

  • norawright-kiefer author
    7 years ago

    Good Luck to you as well! I too will be forever in search for an answer!

  • friend
    7 years ago

    Two dear females who have touched my life suffered interminably from migraines. Both had, in my opinion, mothers who were emotional vampires, each expecting her daughter to live her “unlived life.” Neither daughter would explore this basic tenet through such psychiatrists as Dr. Judith Orloff who coined the term “emotional vampires” or through the writings of early feminist Simone de Beauvoir in “Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter” circa 1958.
    We, as both child & parent, do the best we can. But somethimes there’s a deep wound and only unlimited exploration can identify, redefine and heal. Can our psyche affect our physical health? Indeed. I send each of you loving thoughts of comfort and courage.

  • norawright-kiefer author
    7 years ago

    I do believe your psyche can affect our health, but I also know there are many migraine triggers that have nothing to do with our psyche. Thank you!

  • friend
    7 years ago

    P.S. Yes, I realize that the “vampire” was the one living in a dark room due to migraine pain. But the author’s own words sparked my inquiry.

  • kathyhorton-bishop
    7 years ago

    I hear ya and feel your pain…..your story is very similar to mine..except for the fact that I was recently widowed and have had severe and nasty reactions to most of the traditional and non traditional migraine meds….I live in a dungeon of darkness and cold….I have black out blinds on all my windows and they stay closed….I feel like a prisoner in my own home but at least here I have some control…..this is my life such as it is….and I too live a life ruled by migraines and a ton of triggers…..

  • norawright-kiefer author
    7 years ago

    My heart goes out to you! I can only pray some day that migraines will be taken more seriously by everyone…friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, Dr’s, nurses…the list goes on!<3

  • vruiz76
    7 years ago

    I feel your pain. I really do, im going threw aura migraine for 2 days. I’m 35 yrs old married with one 18yr college boy. My husband is said to me the other day it seems that, i rather be a miserable all the time. He doesn’t understand about our pain, nausea, dizziness and so on and on.
    I sometimes can’t handle my pain with my IMATRIX with tramadol i have to go get a rescue injection of Demerol 150mg. I get a hard time from the doctor they look at me as a drug seeker.
    No respect whats so ever they see you vomiting and they just roll there eyes.

    So, i know your pain and your not alone.

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