I got my first migraine when I was 12 years old. I was shopping with my stepmother and stepsister at a craft store when I started feeling a searing pain in my head. It was unlike anything I’d ever felt or could have imagined. It stayed with me for a few days, and when it finally broke, I was relieved but didn’t think much more of it. I had no idea that that was the beginning of a long, painful journey that I would face. After that, I got migraines a few times a year, usually related to my menstrual cycle or when I got sick with anything else, a migraine would always accompany it. I got on birth control to help ease some of my endometriosis pain and PMDD, and I got through those years without too much trouble.
I had my first daughter at 21, and my son at 22. When my son was born, I had some health complications, and it seems like everything going spiraled out of control from there. The migraines had increased in frequency and severity, and I finally sought treatment specifically for them. My pcp was as helpful as he knew how to be, and prescribed a few different medications, including narcotics. That started me down a path of addiction that has brought me and my family even more pain. The only way I was able to make it through the pain of my migraines was with the pain medication, and I got trapped in a vicious cycle of needing the meds to do anything. This was before I was finally referred to a neurologist, so I was just doing the only things I could to survive. Over the next few years, I finally saw a neurologist and was prescribed many different triptans which were very helpful. So I survived between a combination of narcotics and triptans.
Eventually, my use of the narcotics became all consuming, and I needed to go to rehab to get off of them. It was a very dark time of my life, and I am incredibly grateful to God for bringing me and my family through it somewhat intact. After rehab, I was able to work closely with my neurologist to control my migraines with a combination of preventatives, triptans, botox, and occasional fioricet. It was still a struggle, but much more manageable than it had been. The botox was a life changer for me, and I made it a couple of years thinking I had finally found my cure. But sadly, I started developing hemiplegic migraines, and my neuro said that sometimes the migraine brain will basically find a way to have a migraine despite all the ways you are controlling them. So I’ve had to stop doing botox, because the hemiplegic migraines were so disabling that I was unable to function. It’s been a couple of years since I stopped botox, and I’ve tried many different things. Last year I had a partial hysterectomy, and had four months migraine free. I thought I had finally escaped the hell I had been in.
Unfortunately, the ovary that hadn’t been removed developed cysts, and my migraines came back. I had that ovary removed, but the migraines stuck around. That was a year ago, and the last year has been unmanageable. During my last pregnancy, I started having adverse reactions to triptans, and haven’t been able to take them since. So I am stuck with very little options on how to treat my pain. As of the last 6 months, I went from chronic to daily. I take a preventative, and I try to treat with midrin, fioricet, kratom, and recently medical marijuana. And I have also gotten a small supply of sprix, a toradol nasal spray, that I have used as a last resort before going to the er. But I can’t use any of those often. I have to avoid medication overuse headache, and with my history of addiction I am trying to use the marijuana sparingly. So most days I suffer through. My neurologist is no longer covered through Obamacare, so I had to wait on a referral to a new neurologist who can’t get me in until june. So I haven’t seen a neurologist since November 2016. I got in with a pain management Dr, who is willing to do nerve blocks, but not until June 12, and ketamine infusions, but I’m unsure when that will happen. I’m also waiting on insurance approval for a neurostimulator implant. But in the meantime I am in agony each day, not knowing how I am going to make it through. I am hopeful that one or all of the treatments coming up will be a life changer. But right now I just try to fight through each day the best I can. My family is suffering and I am heartbroken that I am the source of that.