Last updated: October 2020
I have familial history on both sides of the family. I thought I started getting migraines when I was 14, but can remember having severe headaches when I was even younger. I don't know if these were migraines, but I know the headaches I started having later were. This was back before there were abortives you could take. You basically had to take some aspirin or acetaminophen and tough it out.
Back then, I could link it back to something I had eaten, so as long as I avoided those foods, I got along fine. For about 20 years I was migraine free. My doctor told me that I probably grew out of them.
About 10 years ago, I started having them again. I was still avoiding the foods I knew were triggers, so I really didn't know what was causing them. I was working at a computer more, so I thought this could be the issue. I tried to take breaks during the day, but I still would get them. I would treat them with Maxalt or Imitrex by mouth with good results. When the aura would start, I'd take one, along with 800 mg of ibuprofen and I either wouldn't get a headache at all, or if I did, I could work thru it.
I got to a point where I would have 5-6 migraines/week. I scheduled an appointment with my regular physician and he put me on Topamax. I worked my way up to 50 mg twice a day. I didn't last long on the Topamax. I felt like I was being poisoned. I couldn't concentrate, I got severe tinnitus (which I still have periodically), my food tasted bad, and I could barely carry on a conversation with someone. So, I went back to my doctor and he weaned me off the Topamax and started me on something else that worked for about 6 weeks then stopped working. I've tried propranolol, amitriptylline, and I'm currently under the care of a neurologist that has me taking 20 mg of nortriptylline, with good results. I maybe only get 1-2 headaches/month. I've tried to wean myself off of it, but after nearly three weeks, the headaches come back and I have to restart it.
I never know when I'll get a migraine so I have to carry Imitrex with me wherever I go. It's definitely caused me a lot of stress and uncertainty in my life. I hesitate to go anywhere for fear I'll get a headache. If I happen to forget to grab my meds, or I'm out of them, I have anxiety episodes. I've even cancelled outings with friends and family, because I forgot to grab my meds. I keep some at work, and also have my wife carry some in her purse, so that problem has been reduced, but there are still occasions that I'm without my meds.
Now the embarrassing part of my story. These meds I've been on for the past three years can cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect. Bad enough that sexual intimacy is out of the question. This is the main reason I've tried to wean myself off the meds. I know with age that gets to be a problem with most guys, and I'm not saying that isn't part of the issue, but I never had a problem before I started taking the meds.
I've read about Cefaly on here and I'm going to visit with my neurologist about it. I'm hoping he'll agree to let me try it, and I hope I can get off my meds altogether.
Stay tuned for updates.
Do you have a migraine toolbox for when an attack hits?
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