They came, they went, and now they are back....
Last updated: October 2022
I had my first full blown migraine when I was 16. I had no clue what it was, but I remember it was at night and my bedroom was next to the driveway. Someone was parked in the driveway with their lights on and I remember the pain and crying because it made my head hurt so much worse.
I didn’t get another migraine until I was 18 and had graduated from high school, and then they started happening almost every day, for the next 2 years. I would start feeling extremely exhausted and then my head would feel like it was going to explode from all the pounding.
My migraines have never been confined to one side; they are always on both sides and start at the temples, behind the eyes. At this time, the only other really bad side effect that they would cause was extreme forgetfulness when they would hit. When I got pregnant with my first child at 20 my migraines actually eased up.
As I neared 30, I noticed a change in my migraines once again. In the afternoons I would feel exhausted and if I could rest, possibly nap, even for 15-20 minutes, I could keep the headache away. Sometimes it would develop into a full blown migraine, sometimes not. But last year all that changed. My migraines came back full force and worse than ever.
I had been having migraines daily for a few weeks and one Saturday I was out running errands and I started seeing floaters and then suddenly my left arm went numb, then my right arm, then my tongue, then my ears, and by the time I made it to the emergency room my legs were starting to go numb. I thought that I was having a stroke or something. My hearing was affected- everything sounded like it was far away. Then the nausea set it. This was unlike anything that I had every experienced before. After the emergency room doctors wasted a couple hours determining that I was not a drug addict, they finally did an MRA and discovered that I had a narrowed artery behind my right eye and that I have a fenestration in my basilar artery. They also did a CTA hours later to confirm both but after they had given me medication to help with the migraine (which it didn’t) it had actually helped with the artery issue and that had thankfully went back to normal size.
My migraines are caused by my basilar artery fenestration. I am on 100mg of Topamax daily, I can only take Excedrin Migraine every other day, even if I have a migraine every day, and no two of my headaches are ever the same, except for the nausea and the pain. Sometimes it may last for 30 minutes, sometimes it may last for 3 days. Sometimes I may go a week between headache, sometimes just a few hours until the Excedrin Migraine wears off. I am 32 years old and because of the type of migraines that I live with, I have an increased risk of stroke every day, which is scary for a mom of 3 kids.
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?