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My Journey with Migraines

I have been a migraine sufferer since the age of 6. I am now 35 years old and this has been a long and painful journey. By the time I was 12 I was put on medication to try to control the migraines but it seemed that after a while I became immune to anything I was put on so it seemed pointless to get more medicine. Throughout high school I had some bad ones but it wasn’t until I became an adult that my migraines became out of control and nothing seemed to ease the pain.

One of my biggest triggers is peanuts. If I eat even 1 peanut I will get an instant migraine. I now get about 3 migraines a week and that is no way to live. At times my migraines will last for 3-4 days and I am not even able to get out of bed. When they get that bad I end up going to the emergency room where they give me a shot of demerol or something to help me. Sometimes I will get an aura and sometimes I won’t. Sometimes I will be throwing up non-stop and sometimes I won’t. I have tried everything under the sun to try to control my migraines but nothing seems to work for me.

I live on a small island in SE Alaska where my options are very limited. We do not have specialists here so I end up just suffering because I am not able to go to another state to see a specialist. I would give anything to not have migraines and I would not wish them on my worst enemy. As I am writing this, I am on day 2 of a migraine. This is no way to live for anyone.

The only time I was completely migraine free was during my pregnancy with my son and thank God I didn’t have any migraines because I would not have been able to take anything for them. Migraines are heredity and do run in my family. I have an aunt and a cousin that get them almost as bad as I do. My son who is almost 14 was also diagnosed with them when he was 6 years old. If I could find a way to get rid of them completely I would do it. At this point in time, I am willing to do anything to be migraine free because I am not sure how much more of these I can take.

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

Comments

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    8 years ago

    Heidi,

    In my long post, I forgot to ask you if you have ever done a Migraine Diary? This is a great way to give your doctor (and yourself) a better picture of your Migraine attacks. Migraine.com has a great tool you can use online to help track your attacks – Migraine Journal: http://bit.ly/hgE7DK Use it to learn more about your attacks, or so your physician can learn more about your attacks. If you were lucky enough to have a Headache Specialist to see, this is one of the first things they would ask you to do for them.

    Let me know if there is anything else that might help you…

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    8 years ago

    Heidi,

    Your situation is more difficult, but you can do this, you really can. Thank you for sharing your story because others will read it and know that they are not alone.

    It’s more difficult when you don’t have a specialist, but by becoming an educated, proactive patient you can help your doctor to help yourself. You’ve already got a good start because you have begun researching for yourself. You may be a Migraineur, and you’re going to be a smart one 🙂

    Learn as much about Migraine Disease as you can, but it’s okay to take it slow. Absorb what information you can, then take it to your doctor and begin a discussion. Because of your remote circumstances, you might want to ask if there is a way you can contact your doctor (perhaps via email) if you have a question or want to share information with him/her.

    One important place to start is to make a list of the medications that you have tried. Don’t let this overwhelm you, but if you can include the dosages you used and the period of time you used them, it will be helpful later on. You can often get this information by requesting paper copies of your medical records from your doctor. (I always tell patients they should keep these copies if they have a chronic illness, as they can prove to be extremely helpful sometime when you least expect it.) Make a notation if the drug helped you at all, and mention any side-effects. There are many, many medicines out there that can be helpful. Sometimes they’re used alone, sometimes in combination. One of the tricks is to give it a long enough trial. This step is often not followed very well, especially by those of us in a lot of pain. Additionally, a medication may not have worked 10 years ago, but it may be helpful now, or in combination with another medicine.

    Trying to find some of your triggers will also be very helpful. Do you know of anything that you eat or do that might trigger your Migraine attacks? How about your son’s?

    Has anyone ever told you about Medication Overuse Headache, or Rebound?? These too may be something to look at as you consider your Migraine picture.

    It’s not unusual for women to be Migraine-free during pregnancy. It is also common for women to experience their very first Migraine while they are pregnant. This may give you an important clue though. Estrogen levels rise during pregnancy. So do progesterone levels (progesterone is the hormone responsible for maintaining the pregnancy) If your Migraines are responsive to hormones, this can sometimes be treated by regulating them. It can be tricky, and it can take some time to get it “right”, but if it works, it’s worth all that effort.

    Heidi, unfortunately as you already know, Migraine Disease is often genetic, and there is no cure for us. Just because our bodies are made in such a way that we CAN experience Migraine attacks, doesn’t mean that we have to. There ARE treatments. Lots and lots of them. You didn’t become a chronic Migraineur overnight and it will take some time to figure it all out. Don’t get discouraged though. Each medication that fails is a step in the right direction because you know something that does NOT work. That is positive progress even though it may not seem like it at the time.

    Remember to take each day, each hour or minute one at a time. You are already a step further along your journey.

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