Migraines are my albatross.
My new life as a migrainer (my label) began when I hit 40, so forget the stories of midlife crisis because when you suffer with migraines your only desire is to feel better, not to wonder whether or not your new hairstyle or outrageous outfit changes your whole outlook on life and gives you a fresh start. No! All you want is to feel good and get on with life, and I do say life, because migraines work to suck it right out of you.
My migraines snuck up on me, teasing me with the occasional, “I have to lie down cause I suddenly feel so tired. Maybe I worked a little too hard.” I played cards with friends having the time of my life. As soon as we finished, my friends hit the couches to chit chat, but I headed to the bedroom to lie down cause suddenly I didn't have any energy. I walked 3 miles with my 75 year old mother (at that time). When we returned to the house, I began to cry with depression and a deep sense of depleted energy, feeling as though someone pulled the plug out of my arm and let the energy flow completely from my body. I hit the bed while mother just kept going and going. I didn't know what was wrong with me.
I went to my gynocologist thinking it could be hormonal, but tests showed I was sufficient in that department. I took lab test after lab test and doctors told me there were no chemical determinates. I took heart tests, thyroid tests, and MRI's, even some tests & medications I can't recall.
I'm a graphic designer and work at a computer. There were days I would just stare at the screen and tears would roll down my eyes but I had no reason, nothing going on in my life to explain those tears. Then one day, a turn in the road for my migraine saga. Suddenly the computer screen turned gray in the middle of my vision and I couldn't see the words and graphics. A squiggly shape moved across my eyes and I promptly ran into the main work area and screamed I couldn't see. After hearing my experience, a co-worker explained I was having a migraine. I ardently touted, “No, my head isn't hurting.” She attempted to console me by explaining it was a silent migraine, meaning a migraine without head pain, but with varied other symptoms. She did calm me and my symptoms disappeared in about 20 minutes. That particular scenario has never occurred since then, but different symptoms kept coming.
In total the following symptoms began to show up at different times and finally now when I have a migraine most of them show up:
lethargy, pain to joints, depression, sensitive to sound and light, dizziness, sudden and intense sleepiness, sometimes while driving, and to the point I actually feel like I am passing out, feeling of heaviness, eyes glazed over, can't think straight, anger easily, loss of memory – quick recall ability depleted, and occasionally the actual head pain and nausea.
And here is the catcher, most of migraines have happened on the weekend, some lasting an hour or so, and some ruining the entire weekend or taking me from work for up to 4 days. I couldn't figure it out. Over the years, I have missed out on lost work days, and so much fun with friends and relatives from last minute cancellations or leaving functions early. I couldn't understand so finally after days of researching I read where it was experienced by others and doctors could only surmise that we could be having the migraine at work, but the focused attention to details keeps us from allowing sensations to be felt and then on Friday and Saturdays, when our bodies relax, it causes something to happen to our blood vessels and we feel the intensity of it more. I had to accept that since I've found no other explanation since.
Since the co-worker said it was a migraine, I went to a neurologist who put me on Topomax and that stuff made me so happy I wanted to go out dancing. I sang songs at work, I just felt so happy. It really felt like it should be a street drug cause no pill from any doctor had ever made me feel that good. But, in time it began to do something really bad to my arms & shoulder, making it very difficult for my chiropractor. One touch to my arm and I would cry from the intense pain, like an exposed nerve running on the outside of my skin. He was stumped. Then I dug deeper on the internet to read up on possible side effects of Topomax and there it was – depletion of shoulder and arm muscles. I knew that happiness was too good to be true. So we tried something else I can't remember and nothing worked. A friend of mine said her migraines stopped after she had a historectomy. I asked for one, but doctors said that if nothing was physically wrong in that area, they could not do it. I was desperate, but my pleas to several types of doctors were for naught.
Sometimes, because I rarely get a headache pain, I don't even know I'm having a migraine until my sensitivities are off the chart and I'm biting off people's head and giving it to them on a platter of frustrations, disregard and feelings of wanting to be dead. One day at church, in my own mind I was telling a lady to shut up, shut up, shut up and didn't know why. I walked away from the table and went down a hallway where furniture had been temporarily moved. I lay on the floor behind a desk and fell deeply asleep as soon as I hit the floor. It was after that I realized I was sensitive to sound as well.
And now, I am about to turn 65 on Dec. 16th, which makes it 25 years of migraines. No cures, no lasting alleviations, no celebrations! Not even my prayers have worked. This is my albatross. I guess everybody has one, some worse, some not so bad, but they all give us struggle.
I am new to this site and will be reading your stories, looking for some alleviations as you are. May God bless all of you with more migraine-free days and at life's best - a cure.
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