Over the Years

Hello, I am Kim. I have had migraines for over 20 years. I was officially diagnosed 21 years ago, but I know it has actually been longer than that.

The question, “What have you tried?” is rather much an irritant. It’s been over 20 years, let’s see: preventative medication (over 12 categories of medications), abortives (at least 30), acupuncture, chiropractics, elimination diets, vitamins & herbs, occipital nerve block injections, and the list just goes on.

What has worked? Some things have worked now and again over time. All end up losing their effectiveness over time. The only one that might be effective is acupuncture, but it is not in my budget at the level where it was effective.

What am I doing now? Between a pain clinic that provides occipital nerve blocks and other injection related treatments and seeing a migraine specialist at U of M in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I think I might be on a path to find relief. However, part of the plan from U of M was to take two new medications. My insurance has denied both of them. So, I have to take older medications that provide many undesirable side effects until the doctor then tells the insurance company that I must have the newer medications. As usual, not thrilled with insurance on many levels. But it is a necessary evil.

What does migraine mean to me? My migraines, fortunately, vary in intensity from 0 – 10. Okay, so they are rarely 0, but often under a 5. The effects of migraine are remarkable to me: nausea, sensitive to smell, sound, & light, dizziness, numbness in pieces of face, upset stomach, mood swings, fever, and who knows what will come tomorrow. As for the pain: it can be shooting, throbbing, hemisphere based, quarter hemisphere, entry & exit point, or even in one or both eyes.

I continue to work, often while I feel miserable. However, it’s a vicious cycle. No work = no insurance = no treatment. Fortunately, my supervisor is very sympathetic to migraine, as her daughter is also struggling with them. She too is going to U of M as well. I can come in late when we don’t have events, and work until I have my hours in. I don’t know what I would do if I weren’t blessed with this supervisor.

I do count my blessings, say my prayers of thanks, and say prayers for healing. I couldn’t go on if it weren’t for both my faith and my sister Cheri. She suffered greatly from epilepsy until she died from it at 43 years of age. She endured her disease with grace and dignity, even when it took her job and her driver’s license. Knowing what she endured with beauty and that God is ever present, I continue to seek treatment.

I pray for all who endure migraine in any form. Granted, I am a cranky puss who finds it hard to believe that anyone can control migraine with mere over-the-counter medication, so my sympathy wanes. However, I foolishly made that attempt at the beginning as well. I also have issues when people don’t fully try a preventative. I’ve never been on one that worked overnight. So, I know the frustration of trying for weeks or months with no relief while hoping for relief that might never comes. If the pain is true, it is worth the battle.

My heart goes out to all here.

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