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Migraines stole my life

Following chemotherapy, I had had a couple of migraine like headaches with mild nausea. One day, I was sitting in a classroom during a teaching workshop and, much to my horror, realised that I couldn’t understand what was being said! The head pain followed a few hours later. That was my first introduction to the brain fog. Life continued much as normal because the attacks were very infrequent.
However, a few years later (at the age of 53) my life was turned upside down! I was at work and had a migraine headache. I fought the nausea and brain fog but, as the headache started to ease, I began shivering. It was 38 degrees centigrade, but I couldn’t stop shivering violently. The school nurse took one look at me and wrapped me in a blanket. The shakes would be followed by a high temperature and extreme weakness. The migraines came every five days and lasted about 48 hours. I took sick leave from work because the intensity increased, causing vomiting, leg weakness, inability to comprehend; even how to use my mobile. I would be shaking under four thick blankets for at least an hour in mid Summer! I couldn’t make arrangements with anyone and felt isolated from all the joys in life. Chemotherapy had been easier than this!
After several trips to doctors, I finally found one who put me on Amitriptyline. The migraines lessened to one every three weeks, enabling me to return to work. On this website I saw someone mention that cutting gluten from his diet had helped. I have cut gluten out of my diet by about 95%, and the migraines are now about once a month. They may last two to three days, but are much milder with no vomiting or chills. I feel more in control of life again.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Jerick
    5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story, Jenny! I am also on amitriptyline. How much are you taking and what has been your experience with the drug? Are you remaining on the medicine along with the gluten-free diet?

  • Jenny Ash author
    5 years ago

    Hi Jerick,
    I hope the Amitriptyline is working as well for you. I was started on 10mg and the first two days were awful; like I was in a fog and working in slow motion. I persevered, and soon felt normal, but didn’t have a migraine for two weeks. They continued to be once a fortnight for three months. I went back to the doctor and he upped the dose to 25mg at night. They were then coming once every three weeks, lasting about three days, and much milder. After continuing on the meds and avoiding gluten, they are about once a month, for two days and very mild. I could work through most of it this time.
    How are you getting on with Amitriptyline, Jerick? I was concerned about long term side affects of the drug, but several people have been on it for years without problems. Have you had any problems with it?
    I also eat very little sugar and processed food now.

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    5 years ago

    Jenny Ash,
    I’ve heard from others that chemo is easier than Migraines. I wouldn’t wish either one on anybody! Congrats on beating cancer.

    I’m so glad that you’ve found preventatives that work for you and are able to return to a more normal life. Remember that whatever triggers you had before are still triggers so be sure to continue to stay away from them.

    Good luck and I’m glad you found help on our site!

  • Jenny Ash author
    5 years ago

    Thanks, Katie. Yes, I’m still avoiding the triggers, among which are cigarette smoke, cheese, bananas, bright flashing lights and noise. Your site is very helpful; connecting with others in the same boat really helps.

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