Living a life with Migraines

My name is Lanette Harris Gonzales and I have just had my 64th birthday. My first migraine was when I was 11 years of age. My uncle was helping my cousin and me study for a test and my eyes started messing up. The way that I explained it was like the old black & white televisions when they would start flickering and zig-zagging! (my words) I could not see and I got so sick to my stomach. That happened before the pain started.

When my head started hurting, I cried so hard. My grandmother and aunt held me and did all that they knew to do for me. We didn’t know what was happening then. However, the headaches did not stop. It was the beginning. Both of my parents had suffered from migraines and the doctors would later tell me that I was a prime candidate for the headaches. Nothing was ever done to help me for years. Just lay in a dark room, be quiet (except for my crying). No one understood in the medical field, it seemed to me.

Eventually, medications were started but I would throw them up if I swallowed anything. I even went to biofeedback. It helped at times. I tried so hard to help myself – thinking that maybe I was to blame. Isn’t that so foolish? When I was engaged to be married at the age of 25, I got so sick and my fiancé had come over and he took me to the ER. A doctor gave me a shot and told me that I should not have to suffer such pain. The shot put me to sleep and I slept the headache off. When I awoke, I felt better – just very tired and sore. I didn’t always go to the ER.

After I was married, there were times that if I could not get rid of the headache, my husband would take me to the doctor or the ER and they would give me a shot. My story may sound very boring but I have had a long difficult and sometimes very heartbreaking time. I have had doctors look at me with the “Yeah, you are a drug-seeker!” I worked as a Medical Transcriptionist in hospitals. I even had one ER doctor tell me one time that he was going to tag my chart if I didn’t stop crying. He was just a temporary ER doctor and when I told my doctor what had happened, it made him very angry. That ER doctor had treated others badly also and he was not asked back to our local hospital.

I have been tried on the injections in the stomach that we did at home but that did not help. I have taken so many medicines but some increased my blood pressure. I have some other medical problems as well. When my headaches get so bad, an injection is the only thing that really helps me but so many do not want to do it anymore. A narcotic plus Phenergan is really what helps me. I go to sleep and usually when I wake up, I do not get the headache back. Very few times have I gotten another headache right away.

In 2002, I had a brain tumor and had surgery. While taking me to recovery, I hemorrhaged and they had to operate again. I lost almost all of my own blood and had transfusions. The doctors at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tn. said that I might not live. They were wonderful to me and I am here today. I am a miracle. I now have seizures and I still have migraines but I have a wonderful neurologist at Vanderbilt. The problem that I still have is, having someone to understand when I do have to go to the ER.

Sometimes I feel that I am not understood. Unless a person has gone through a migraine, they do not know. Some people say they have a migraine and they go to work, the ballgames, go shopping, watch television and go about their daily lives. I do not think they are having a migraine. They have treated me as if I should be the same way. Well, if they are having a migraine, they would not be able to do all of those things at the time of the attack. That is how I feel. I have just wanted understanding and people to believe me.

I have never gone to the ER for drug seeking. Why want to go to sleep when there is life to be lived. Also the cost involved. That is my story. 11 years of age to 64 years of age. I feel that I could write a book and teach a class and as some of the elderly people have said before that didn’t have much education – I could learn them a lesson or two. ha!! Thank you for listening to me.

Lanette.

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