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Life long victim

I started getting migraines when I was in third grade. My father, also a chronic migraine sufferer, spent his life treating his headaches with Excedrin migraine. A necessary vice in his life, and once I was old enough, a vice for myself as well.

As a child, I suffered from completely debilitating headaches. It was all I could do to lay down in a dark room, a wet rag over my head, and try not to think about my need to expel my lunch. I’d never actually had my migraines diagnosed by our family doctor because she felt, “She probably isn’t having migraines, just headaches, no need to look into it further”. As I grew older, the headaches didn’t go away, but for the most part I was able to keep them under control by taking over the counter medicine on a regular basis and double or triple dosing when I had a really bad headache.

By 23 during my second year of graduate school I started getting migraines every day. I continued treating them the way I always had, but my ability to concentrate was almost entirely gone, and I began to realize my appetite had severely decreased as well, a function of my medicine overloading no doubt. I finally decided to go to the doctor on my own starting with the basic cat scans and a daily preventative. I was still finding myself with near daily headaches, and worst off began suffering with depression. Self diagnosed I’m assuming it was a combination of always having headaches and the blood pressure medicine I was taking to “control them”. I eventually found my way to a neurologist who informed me that my extensive need to have caffeine is likely a major player. I quickly quit the wide awake drug and cut back on other known migraine triggers. Immediately my headaches went away and I only experienced one every 3 weeks or so.

Once summer hit, my headaches came back with a vengeance, and I’m still uncertain as to why. My caffeine intake is almost at zero (admittedly, I slip up here and there, but never drink anything with more caffeine than green tea), and I try to keep my triggers low. I’m hoping the humidity of Virginia is playing a role in my head trauma lately, so we’ll see what happens this fall. I’m also planning to completely cut out migraine triggers, although my time constraints from graduate school are making it more difficult than preferred to start being serious about my eating habits. I’m still uncertain as to why my headaches kicked up so quickly, and it is my biggest concern. I’ve never had them on such a regular basis before, and never kept an eye on my diet. Currently, I’m trying to exercise regularly, watch what I eat, wake up earlier, and cross my fingers that one day I will be migraine free!

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


  • Leland Baumgard
    7 years ago

    This is my husband’s facebook page. I’m the chronic migraine person. There’s a great inexpensive tool out there that my biofeedback coach at a recent Pain Cliinic at Tampa General Hospital I was privileged to attend as an outpatient for one week, specifically for chronic migraine’s available on Amazaon. for as little as $3.00 answers a lot of?, like migraines in the stomach., etc. It’s calledMIGRAINE BRAIN by Carolyn Bernstein, MD.

  • Kim Leonoudakis
    7 years ago

    Has anyone had luck with in-patient 5 day DHE treatment? I felt great with only a little pain when I left the hospital and the next morning everything was back to the horrible pain and nausea. Do home injections work?

  • Holli Mapes
    7 years ago

    Hi. I have migraines daily and have suffered since I’ve been in third grade. I am now 22 and can hardly function. I have tried DHE through IV, but it did not work. However I am part of a support group that consist of young adults like me who suffer from daily chronic migraines. Many of them love DHE and sometimes they do their treatment in the hospital, but their doctor has written a prescription for DHE compounded in the form of a nasal spray. That way if you are nauseated and you throw up, you didn’t lose your medicine. Also for those who suffer from chronic headaches and migraines, you may want to check out Dr. Ken Reed in Dallas, Texas. Just type it into google and he’ll pop up. He implants a neuro stimulator to patients that have chronic debilitating headaches. With in his patients 75% of them are now pain free. If you need more info, you can email me at Hope you all feel better!

  • Lana Lavoie
    7 years ago

    Hi Kim,
    I give myself injections of .5 mls of DHE at home when I wake up with a migraine already going strong. I’ll sometimes have to give myself another .5 mls between 1 and 3 hours later. It works pretty quickly for me a majority of the time, but I have to take 2 Gravol and a Zofran about 1/2 hour before the shot or it makes me very, very sick. If I wake up without a migraine and one starts to creep up, I take 1 Oxycocet tablet right away, and that often does the trick, although I might have to take another one in 4 hours to keep it from sneaking back. I rarely have to take a third one. You can only use a maximum of 1 ml per day or 6 mls per week of the DHE, however, I try to alternate days between it and the Oxycocet as much as my symptoms will allow, because either of these meds can cause rebound headaches when taken too many days consecutively. Unfortunately, for about the last 18 months I have been getting headaches that feel exactly like my migraines except they do not respond to any treatment, and they last weeks or months. My Neurologist and I are trying to figure out how to treat them – I really hope we can find something soon! I hope this was helpful to you, and good luck (I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you).

    Happy Day!

  • Kim Leonoudakis
    7 years ago

    Has anyone had a bad experience with Propranolol/Inderal? I did! I started hallucinating and my vision was so blurry that I couldn’t even read. I ended up in the ER and after 8 hours of psychiatrists thinking I was crazy the second neurologist said it was this drug. Scary! Be careful.

  • Linda Castellano
    8 years ago

    Could some one kindly tell me where to find the article that was put on my Facebook yesterday 1/12/12, I came on this site to read the article about having all the migraine symptoms without actually have the head pain. I very often experience this and I really wanted to read about this because I honestly thought I was alone feeling like this. I would really appreciate this I have added my e-mail on this site if that would help, Thank You! Linda Castellano

    8 years ago

    Hi Linda – You can read more about acephalgic (or “silent”) migraine here: You’ll also find some helpful information on this page, which outlines migraine stages and symptoms:

  • Karen McGloughlin
    8 years ago

    Mine kick up in the spring ans summer as well and they tend to be weather related. I take a daily preventative and also abortive as needed. The worst ones are when severe storms are building and then once the storms break, so does my migraine. the abortive helps but only the storm breaking truly “breaks” my migraine.

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