A living nightmare

I’m a 44 yr old woman and if you can believe it, I’ve had migraines as far back as when I was 5 years old. My paternal grandmother suffered severe migraines and living in a multigenerational family, it was often her who stayed up all night with me, crying because my head felt like it was going to explode. She held my hair back while I threw up on a very regular basis and respected the dark room, no noise, no smell, no movement environment I needed.


I was never migraine free. I had a migraine every day of my life, and it really wasn’t much of a life. I did what I could though to make the best of the lousy hand I was dealt. There wasn’t treatment at that time…no triptans…just aspirin (which tore up my stomach) or Tylenol. They were somewhat bearable until I got to my mid 20’s. Minimum pain scale 5/10 every day…and that was a good day. I tried seeking medical assistance only to be put on antidepressants—I will admit it is pretty depressing to feel that bad all the time. I lost friends and relationships because of it. I never felt well enough to go do anything.

I kept a migraine diary, knew all my triggers, tried alternate therapies…to no avail. A neurologist tried me on Topamax which I could not tolerate. Then I was prescribed Verapamil. It was so-so. These migraines scared the living out of me because they became an extremely neurological process, meaning I would weaken on the left side of my whole body. I wouldn’t be able to see out of my left eye, my speech was slurred, and I really couldn’t walk because my left leg didn’t understand I wanted it to move. I FINALLY, just within the last few years got so fed up, I demanded my doctor help me. I did not care what I had to do, the pain was so bad. ER visits weekly and living in a vicodin haze.

Being a Social Security Disability examiner, I actually qualified for disability benefits. I think that would have already sent my depressed state down the toilet. I was referred to another neurologist who had great success with Botox, but of course my insurance wouldn’t pay for that. So a potential treatment was just out of my reach and I was frustrated. I was also sent for a lumbar puncture and was diagnosed with pseudotumor cerebri. I was begging to get LP’s for the short lived pain relief. Try telling people who already think “it’s all in your head” that you have a “fake brain tumor”. I just got stupid stares. Then word from my neurologist came that the Botox would be covered. I got my hopes up way higher than I should have, but considering I have chronic intractable migraines, I needed that hope. Amazingly, they worked!! Now I’m not 100% migraine free, but 2-3 a month is a heck of a lot better than every day.

Treatment options are a personal decision, so I would never push Botox on anyone. My experience was favorable and I’m finally able to live a much happier 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.

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