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Service Ending Change

Let me start with a fact that many do not believe, I am a MAN that gets Migraines. I know I am in the minority, I accept it, but I do wish others would. I guess that is why I am here. The First Migraine I ever had was complicated by me basically dying from a fever. I was on active duty in the Marines, when I started to not feel well. Typical flu stuff, chills and aches, but my head started to feel like it was getting blown out from the right side and I could not tolerate light. I tried to trudge on through a briefing, but ended up passing out. I don’t remember too much after that. Apparently I was admitted and discharged from the ER twice, and on my third visit was admitted to the hospital with a fever spiking in the 107 range. I was run through a battery of tests including a lumbar punture (spinal tap) that I remember all too well, ct scans, etc. I also cussed out a Navy Captain (equal to a Colonel in other branches) for turning the lights on in my room, which I gladly don’t remember but made a point to appologize to him for obvious reasons. Official diagnosis was I had a virus, a nasty virus that nearly killed me but a virus no less. Every since then the migraines became lingering side effect of a week in the hospital burning my brain up.

So what have I learned? Well the learning curve was a bit of a cliff more than a curve since no one in my family gets migraines, and I didn’t know anyone that got them. So I did what I was trained to do, observe, locate, close with, and destroy the enemy. Observing and learning the patterns of my triggers is an ongoing process. So far not eating in a timely manner, a lot of women’s perfumes/air fresheners (especially vanilla ones), stress (by the way I do have a mild case of PTSD), and weather (especially heat) are the most common violators. My symptoms typically include an aura (for me it is blury vision with increasing sensitvity to light to the point of being photophobic), weakness in the hands to where I cannot even open up my meds, tremors, difficulty speaking, loss of balance, loss of conciousness, general weakness (crawling to go to the bathroom for example), sensitivity to sound, nausia with occasional vommiting, memory loss, and it also seems like my digestive system shuts down (oral meds have little to no effect and I have no BM’s) The destroying part is a bit more difficult. So far I use Excedrin Migraine, 800mg motrins, Vicodin, Imitrex, injections of toradol and anti-nausia meds, anything else the VA will give me, herbal supplements like feverfew, and heat/cold therapies.

Migraines are a pain (pun intended) but the thing I notice is the lack of understanding others have toward people with migraines. Statistically 3 times as many women are reported to have migraines than men. If this is due to under reporting or other men just not knowing, being diagnosed, or admitting they have migraines is beyond me, but it does put that much more of a burden on myself and other men with migraines. My hope currently is to manage and learn more from my migraines and help other veterans and migraine sufferers that are out there reading these posts. Let me know what you out there think, and if you have questions and I can answer them I will be happy to do so! Semper Fi!

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.

Comments

  • Migraine Monologues
    7 years ago

    Yes Sir! Can I just say that “observe, locate, close with, and destroy the enemy” should now be the official motto and treatment tactic for all us migraineurs. In fact we should have T-Shirts printed right now. Thank you for sharing your story, it’s important you have and I know I’m going to get a lot of grief for saying this – but now I can say “well I heard of this Marine who was floored by migraine’ and that changes the image & stereotype people have in their mind of a migraine sufferer as a middle aged spinster. I have sadly only met male migraineurs through my migraine blog and on twitter – and most seem to suffer Cluster. I wish that male celebrities who suffer with migraine would stand up for the cause more. Mean while I’m off to observe…locate…

  • Aaron Day
    7 years ago

    Thank you very much, I don’t mind being the “poster boy” for how bad these things get, but I would rather be able to help others and find relief for myself. As for your op, happy hunting!

  • Kathy Jo Horton Bishop
    7 years ago

    my husband had migraines they were really bad the last few months of his life…..I think they had to do with all the crap he inhaled working as a structural welder…..unfortunately he recently passed away from a battle with esophageal cancer…….he had migraines and understood them all too well……it made him more understanding of my chronic migraines and our two daughters who get them…..people who have never had one just have no clue…best of luck to you on your journey..be careful with the vicoden it can cause rebound migraines in some…..diladid works well for some but if you have a tendency to get headaches from wine or sulfites don’t let them give it to you and try to stay away from zofran an anti nausea..the number one side effect is HEADACHE..phenergan works wonders more doctors should prescribe it cause it also makes your pain reliever last longer…..Best of luck to you I am here and am a book of info cause I’ve been through just about every med..have had migraines since age 4 diagnosed finally at 27 been chronic since 2007 and am now on disability because of them I am 44..I truly understand the pain of migraine…. KJ

  • Aaron Day
    7 years ago

    Thank you Kathy Joe, I think I will pick your brain on some potential new meds, My doc at the VA put in a consult for me to talk with a Neurologist. Probably a good thing wince the last one I saw for treatment was about a decade ago. I really should have been using the VA better instead of slugging it out on my own. Thanks again!

  • Mildred Smith
    7 years ago

    Your uncle was a welder in the Navy and the doctor also feels this is part of the cancer that he has gotten also. nasalpharangeal cancer–

  • Danielle Turney
    7 years ago

    I inherited migraines from my dad and my moms mother. My dad got them so bad that it would put him down for days. As for myself I have suffered with them for 27 years; to the point I can’t work and I basically live in a blacked out bedroom. I get more than 15 migraines a month; which causes me to be depressed because I can’t function and I also suffer from PTSD. I feel the pain that you have described and totally understand that lack of understanding from others. Only a fellow migraineur truly understands your pain, those on the outside have no clue what we suffer. In my thoughts, they think we make to much out of a “headache”, when that is so far from the truth. I hope you find some kind of relief soon.

  • Danielle Turney
    7 years ago

    Aaron Day the hardest part is lack of time with my son. He turns 18 in December and will graduate next May. I have missed so much time with him and that is the worst pain of all. He says he understands, because he is starting to get migraines too. I can’t make up childhood days with him and that breaks my heart.

  • Aaron Day
    7 years ago

    Thank you Danielle, yet another good person put in a cave…don’t get me wrong I do like the cave I have set up, it is the outside that is the burden. Take care of yourself and don’t let them (the migraines) get you down, live for the off days! At least that is working for me!

  • Aron Blackwell
    7 years ago

    I was so happy to see your story. My father and my son both have migraines. The VA wasn’t helping my father for a long time but has recently offered him surgery to help with the pain. He is addicted to all kinds of drugs and suffers terribly. I get them from both parents. I have tried all medications including beta blockers. I hope you find relief soon. Thank you for serving our country.

  • Aaron Day
    7 years ago

    I am so happy to hear your father finally got some help. I am studying to be a paralegal so I can help as a Veterans Advocate so veterans like your father don’t slip through and get denied treatment.

  • Christina Bosman Fulton
    7 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing this. My father gets migraines, although he’s never been diagnosed. He’s in his late 80’s now, but just recently got relief from adding magnesium to his supplements. I have some degree of headache every day of my life, but have been able to get the really bad ones down to a couple a month. I’ve had to stop taking Exedren Migraine because of rebound headaches and have now started with magnesium, riboflavin and butterbur. I wish you the best and urge you to keep telling your story. Sometimes the very best medicine is knowing that you’re not the only one.

  • Aaron Day
    7 years ago

    I can’t say that I have ever had a rebound headache, but I can say that I would be royally peeved with one after getting of the big M. I am sorry you have those side effects. Thank you for letting me know that I am not alone!

  • Mindy Manon Messinger
    7 years ago

    I can totally understand. I to am a Marine Corps Veteran. I never got migraines til my last Anthrax shot. (which they tell me is not why I get them) never had them before as soon as I got it had to be rushed to the hospital for the migraine. No one in my family has them either.
    Semper Fi

  • Aaron Day
    7 years ago

    Semper Fi Mindy I think it is impossible for anyone to rule out the interaction inside a body with a shot, you and I both know that we end up being pin cushion guinea pigs LOL.What kind of symptoms do you typically run into?

  • Tammy Elder Rome
    7 years ago

    Thank you for your service and the sacrifices you have made. Semper Fi from a veteran squid! I inherited my tendency toward migraines from my father so I have absolutely no problem believing that men get migraines. All of my uncles do, as well as my own son. Hang in there and keep fighting. Migraines are a relentless and difficult enemy to eradicate. You cannot quit because they never will. HOORAH!

  • Aaron Day
    7 years ago

    Hoorah Tammy, thanks for your comments and your service as well. As you know surrender is not in our creed so that won’t happen. It is “nice” to know that there are more men out there and that the heredity can help people learn about migraines and hopefully treat them sooner.

  • Aaron author
    7 years ago

    Thank you Melisa for your thoughts, and if I may, please let your oldest know based my my experience, blindly charging through and not observing your triggers just leads to a life of needless pain. I am sorry to hear of your stroke, bad glad you are still upright. That after all is the important part!

  • Melisa71
    7 years ago

    Both of my sons (ages 15 and 22)get migraines, and unfortunately, I know they get it from me. My 15 year old is learning his triggers, but has a hard time following through on timely eating, regular sleep schedule etc. My 22 year old hasn’t learned his triggers. He just goes to bed. My boyfriends roommate also gets migraines (though not as serious as my sons or I). I had a stroke due to migraines and your symptoms are SO familiar! I am on Topomax 200mg/day for life.
    I’m glad to see your post, you are correct that there is not enough attention on men that get migraines. Statics, I think, have a lot to do with that. Good luck to you and good health!

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