It ends up that feeling hopeful takes a lot of work.
Last updated: September 2018
Like many migraineurs, I started getting migraines as a child. From the age of 11, I experienced migraine attacks a few times a year unless life became especially stressful. Other than the time I entered an inpatient headache unit when I was 16, my migraines were manageable.
Then in February 2007, when I was 35, I began getting migraines a few times a month. Since that time, I have experienced migraine attacks anywhere from a few times a month to almost every day. I have tried to work and go to school, only to find that I cannot function normally without the frequency of migraine attacks increasing. I finally gave up trying to go to school or work 5 months ago. In the last four and half years, I have found that when I am under stress, my migraine attacks increase in frequency. Over and over, I have assumed that by leaving emotional and environmentally stressful situations, the migraine attacks would decrease in frequency. (By environmental stress I refer factors that can trigger migraines such as light, noise, and smells.) I have been very wrong.
I am sicker now than I’ve ever been. In the last 25 days, I’ve only had 2 days when I did not have a migraine attack. Since February 2007, I have been under the care of various migraine specialists. I have tried several preventative medications, attended physical therapy twice, been trained in two forms of biofeedback, practiced meditation and relaxation most days, changed my diet, gotten Botox injections, and entered an intensive outpatient program for migraine patients for 10 days at a clinic 4 hours away from my home. Many of these treatments have helped short term, but none have given me long lasting relief. I try and try to get my nervous system to calm down. And I do notice improvements, but I continue to have almost daily migraines. I feel so discouraged. I know it’s too soon to give up because there are many treatments I have not tried yet. But I’m so tired. I’ve found that having hope takes a lot of energy.
I’m thankful to have to one of the best migraine specialists in the country. He continues to have options for us to try to break my latest migraine cycle. We started a new treatment a week ago. I’m hoping this will stop the cycle. I need something to work because I am feeling isolated and frustrated. I have been unable to leave the house often because the emotional and environmental triggers of leaving usually kick me right into a migraine. Yesterday I went out for the first time in 12 days. I had to get out of the house or I would go bat crazy. I was shocked that I did okay. It was very sunny—one of my big triggers. I had to take a shot of abortive meds when I got home, but I feel okay within a few hours. It’s odd to me how sometimes the sun will set me off within an hour, and other times it won’t. It feels so chaotic—I feel like I have so little control over whether I will get them or not.
Through this all, I have been very lucky to have a supportive husband. He has been amazing through this experience. He assures me that something will work. In the meantime, I continue trying to calm my nervous system down. I try not to get too excited when I don’t have a migraine because the excitement might give me a migraine! So I try to stay balanced in my emotions. What a joke that is. I am anything but balanced, but I try. And I’ll continue to try. There has to be something that will make me better.
Do you have a migraine toolbox for when an attack hits?
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