Migraines for life

I was told by my mother when I was younger that my pediatrician told her when i was around six weeks old he thought. I might be suffering from headaches. One morning my mother picked me up to feed me and she said I was cold and clammy and whiny, (which she said I had never been as my nickname was Happy). She said as soon as she sat down with me I started to throw up and it lasted for hours. She carried me to the ER and the docotrs couldn’t figure out what was going on so they just gave me a shot for the throwing up and kept me there for a little while to see what was going to happen. This began happening more often as i got a little older and no one knew what it was until after i turned two years old.

Mother heard me in the living room one day and when she walked in there from the backyard I was laying in the floor, throwing up, crying and beating my head on the hardwood floor. After that doctors visit they determined it was headaches. All of my life I have had migraines so severe, that most of the time I would wind up in the ER with a very strong pain shot in each hip and a shot for vomiting. Of course then I would be out for about 3 days.

After I had my second child and they continued to the point of one a week and sometimes two…I started losing weight like crazy. I was so sick all the time and even had to give up driving because driving became dangerous. I would be driving down the road and the car in front of me or the one i was meeting would appear to just “fly apart” right in front of me causing me to slam on my brakes and and even stop on the side of the road to avoid what i thought was about to be a collision. My OBGYN sent to an oncologist because he had no idea what was going on after a 20 pound weight loss in less than 2 weeks. That was in 1968. The very first thing the oncologist dod was take me off birth control pills. He said I could either stop them or go blind. They were affecting my entire brain as well as my optic nerve.

After many years of suffering and spending days in bed I finally found a doctor that knew what a migraine was and started to work with me. He gave me a list of triggers and a list of foods with Tyramine that I should avoid at all cost. I tried all the migraine drugs on the market and with 4 small children I could not afford to be “spaced out” on the sofa all day with cafergot, space tabs, etc….The librarian at my children’s school told me about Niacin that she and her family used. It worked for a few times but I would about have a running fit from the flushing, burning and itching that it produced.

I started to research as much as I could and one Sunday I picked up the Sunday paper to read and in the little magazine that was in ours, Parade?, there was an article about an herb called feverfew made from Chrysanthemums, that was being used in Great Britain to control migraines. Well I went on a mission to fond this herb and tried all the local health food stores, every pharmacy within a 50 mile radius and finally found it in Atlanta at a GNC. Not long after that they opened one where I live and they would keep me a supply there. It had worked for me as lo g as I take it. I have had a harder time lately finding it so I buy extra now when I find it. GNC will order it for me but I try not to ever run out. If i take it every day I am not as likely to go into one, but If for some reason I cannot take it everyday taking 6 at the onset of a migraine will stop it within minutes if taken with 2 Excedrin migraine.

I am 63 years old and still have them often so it is not hormones as some tell you for me. If the barometric pressure rises or falls…I get one. If I eat too many of the foods on the tyramine list…I get one. If I am subjected to flashing lights, such as a strobe light…I go into one within minutes. If I eat milk chocolate even such a small amount as an M&M..I get one. Stress is a horrible trigger, but the migraine doesn’t hit until the stress starts to subside and I begin to relax…then it hits like a brick wall. Too much heat and especially a “steam room”…will send me off the deep end. I have even passed out from it. I could keep adding things down the page, but I think you get the picture.

I have finally learned after all the years of suffering horribly with them not to panic and to reach fro my feverfew. I have even had a stroke that they told me was in the cerebellum and. I was very fortunate I was awake when it hit or I might not have wakened from it. Spent a couple of days in the hospital with that one and it took me 2 years of living in denial to realize how bad it could have been. I kept moving and never looked back….even though after having a real estate closing on Friday morning after having the stroke earlier in the week, it took me 2 years to remember my clients names.

I am all right now with very minimal residual effects, but I never take a day fro granted for i have no idea when or if it will happen again. Today is Sunday and it is beautiful outside. We were out for a drive Friday afternoon and a migraine hit me in the car. I immediately reached for my purse and told my husband to stop and get me “coke”….took my feverfew and within 30 minutes I was walking through Walmart shopping for a few things I needed. I hope this will help someone to find a way to get through the horrific pain and trauma of migraines. God bless and keep you.

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