Chronic Migraines

I’ve had migraines since I was 13 or so, although they weren’t properly diagnosed until about two years ago. In the past six months they’ve gone chronic, with 15-20 migraines a month and hypersensitive periods of daily headache.

My neurologist is a migraine specialist, and he’s unhappy with how my body is responding to medication treatments. (I’ve failed many preventatives — or they’ve failed me. Topamax helps some, but we have to increase the dosage every two to three months to maintain the same effect.) He’s been treating me with nerve blocks for about four months, and they down my migraines by about half. I’m having surgery to decompress the occipital nerve later this month. That should provide relief similar to the blocks without the monthly injections, at least for a few years.

I’m struggling right now with how migraines have upended my life. At 29, I’m on intermittent FMLA and my managers are clear that my absences from work are hampering my career. It’s difficult for me to date or make plans with any but the best of friends and family because I might have to cancel due to an attack. And when I do go out, there’s a long list of can’t-dos (loud noise, cigarette smoke, flashing lights, alcohol) lest I trigger a migraine. I’m learning to adjust, but it’s frustrating.

My new year’s resolution is to start posting at some online forums again, to build a community that understands. So hello!

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