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Lifelong Migraines

I am 62 years old, have had migraines since I was 11 years old. They were called all sorts of things back then: tired eyes, hormonal, allergies, sleeping too much, sleeping too little, and on and on. In my 20s the word “migraine” came to be. I enjoyed wonderful migraine-free months with each pregnancy! So hormones did play a part. Various doctors prescribed meds; friends suggested home-grown herbs or other fixes (putting hands in ice water while putting feet in hot water!) In the 90s, sumatriptan came on the market Yay! although the first few years it was injected and packed a crazy punch – both at the injection site and then this sensation that the top of my head was coming off! And it was expensive so I waited until the headache was full blown before I took the med. And as we know that never works. I have been in several emergency rooms over the years and been treated with narcotics, morphine drips! I held out hope that once I hit menopause they would go away…they didn’t. I know my triggers and do my best to avoid them: food, food additives, smells, sleep patterns. I can’t control the weather and this year that seems to cause the most…and I have had too many headaches, both ocular and ‘regular’ migraines. I have been reading alot about the new tens unit from Cefaly that looks like a WonderWoman headband that delivers pulses through electrodes on the head. I just received it this week and tried it yesterday. The headband isn’t for use with a headache but rather a preventative or a ‘lessening’ of the attack. You wear it for 20 minutes a day. So I will report back as to how this works. Supposedly no side effects, other than getting used to the impulses. I have been averaging 15+ days a month this year with a migraine. Who talks ‘regular’ headaches? The ones that people say they take Tylenol for? I wish! I am keeping a diary and will let you all know.

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Comments

  • Eleanor R.
    4 years ago

    I can report on the Cefaly device, which I’ve had for over 6 months and used over 200 times. For me, it did nothing to reduce the frequency of my chronic migraines, but it does often take the edge off the pain in my forehead, where one branch of the trigeminal nerve ends. I paid for it myself, but I have no regrets since even muting the pain is helpful.

  • Munch1958
    4 years ago

    I suffered with daily migraines until 2006. As part of a treatment plan at the Fibro & Fatigue Clinic (FFC), I had a simple blood test that changed my life. It was a LEAP test which stands for Lifetime Education & Performance Test. My blood was mixed & compared to all these different foods in a test called MRT testing which stands for mediator release testing. I would say the test is fairly accurate as it picked up on reactions with many different foods & medications. Since I went testing I’ve gone from almost daily headaches down to headaches only when it rains or I get my cycle. Now that I am 57 my cycle has finally stopped. I have gone from 1-3 boxes of Imitrex a month down to 1 box of 9 tablets a year.

  • Munch1958
    4 years ago

    Some of my food triggers are very common foods that I used to eat every day. It is very easy to cut these foods out of my diet since figuring out that they were the cause of my headaches: bananas, sulfites & nitrates, food dyes especially red #40, yellow #5 & green #3, green and other colored peppers, aspirin and ibuprofen, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, saccharine, aspartame, wine, caffeine, tuna, turkey, annatto coloring, oranges, grapes, corn, wheat & soy, string beans, dill, mint, parsley, cashews, macadamia nuts, beets & pistachio.

  • wdjbaxter
    4 years ago

    WOW. I didn’t realize there were other people out there that lived like I did. I am 37 and have been having daily migraines since shortly after my first one at 16. I have a daughter that is 15 who has been getting them since she was 6, luckily hers are not daily (yet). I have been in and out of ER’s, doctor’s offices, neurologist’s offices, etc. I am on so many meds that am actually more worried about their effect than the migraines sometimes, but then the pain comes and….
    I definitely struggle with depression as does my daughter. It is hard to love life sometimes when you are in constant pain. But most days I would rather be alive than not. I do have 2 beautiful kids to live for after all. I can only hope they come up with better treatments before my daughters life is completely over taken by migraines. I do not want her to have my life of pain.

  • k_nelson
    4 years ago

    I am 16 and have migraine also. I know how your daughter feels. It always helps me to think of how much worse others have it, and that chronic migraines aren’t the worst. I know meds don’t always work, they don’t help me either very much, I hope your daughter finds some hope.

  • Jackie
    4 years ago

    I am waiting to get the Imitrex patches just coming to the market. It is so new that the pharmacy doesn’t even have it yet. I also thought when I went through menopause my migraines would cease. I have had them since I can remember even before grade school. I have implant wires in my head to try and combat my migraines. They have progressed to when they are the worst during monsoon I slur or stutter or can’t think of words. I have to see yet another neurologist to find out what the problem is now.

  • mb
    4 years ago

    Do you have any updates about the Cefaly device yet? I am very interested in if you think it is helping. Please give us an update. Thanks!

  • Eleanor R.
    4 years ago

    See my comment above on Cefaly. I think it’s worth checking out.

  • Eleanor R.
    4 years ago

    I posted on my experience with the Cefaly device — check my comment above…

  • atg67
    4 years ago

    Your story is so similar to mine. I am so happy I found this website. People with the same problem who understand. I am 65 years old and haven’t had a headache free day in over 20 years. I don’t think any of my friends or family except for my husband and 2 adult children understand what the life of someone with chronic migraine is like. I struggle to get through each day and try to live as normal a life as possible, but the pain is always present. I always try to remember that there are people out there a lot worse off than me with terrible diseases. It is so sad to read on this blog all the stories of much younger people who have been robbed of so much of their lives by this painful, debilitating disease. Let me know if the Cefaly gives you any relief. I will be thinking of you and hoping it helps you.

  • Jules2dl
    4 years ago

    Your story sounds much like mine; I’m 56 and have had migraines since I was 11. I was told by my pediatrician that little girls don’t get headaches.
    I have to laugh when others tell me that Excedrin Migraine works for their headaches…as you say, I wish!
    I actually had a complete hysterectomy when i was 43 because I thought it would help the migraines. It didn’t. After going for most of my life with 15+ migraines per month, they became daily migraines about 4 years ago.
    I also suffer from depression and have been suicidal in the past. I think about my faith in the Lord and that helps get me through the rough bits. I think about the fact that almost everyone has something they suffer from, and there are many things worse than migraines. I’d rather have migraines than MS, diabetes, or Huntington’s disease. I think about the things I want to be around for, such as seeing my daughter get married and my grandson grow up, as well as the births of future grandkids. I try to count at least 5 blessings every day, and realize that migraines have made me a much more compassionate and empathetic human being. Once in awhile I allow myself a pity party for a day.

  • lisa
    4 years ago

    you have had migraines so long I have had them for 26 yrs about 13 a month im so depressed how do you not think about suicide? can you tell me how you go day to day please

  • Jackie
    4 years ago

    While I haven’t seriously thought about suicide I have wished I could go to sleep and not wake up. I have a belief that it isn’t for us but God to decide when we go. Besides I have been married to my best friend for 36+ years and I couldn’t leave him like that. They recently put me on Elavil and are increasing the dosage as I need it.

  • kateymac
    4 years ago

    Lisa,
    I, too, suffer terrible depression, sadness, and grief over my chronic migraine situation. I hope you don’t mind if I urge you to get an evaluation for depression. Even though depression is a reasonable reaction to this unbearable illness, it can also take on a life of its own, and may need to be treated as a separate illness. Depression often occurs alongside migraine, as a “comorbid” illness, because of similar brain chemistries in the two illnesses.

    My point is that you could get relief from the degree of depression you are having. I find that to be true for me. When I’m on the right antidepressant, I don’t cry all the time, I don’t have suicidal thoughts, and I’m able to see beyond the intense darkness I would otherwise be feeling; even though the migraines haven’t improved. That’s just my experience, but I thought I should share it in case it would apply to you or get you some relief from that piece of this misery.

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