My Life With Migraine
I am 56 years old, and my earliest recollection of head pain was at age 4. We were on a road trip and I remember holding my head for a long time, crying, then vomiting. Migraine was not even a thought back then. To me, it was "sick headaches". The doctors told my mom I would "grow out of them". As a result, I did not know what to do about them, or even take them seriously. I never wanted to stop an activity, or not go to an event, because my head hurt. So, I would keep going until the pain was excruciating and I would end up vomiting. I was embarrassed and mortified that this happened to me. Then I would hear the inevitable sigh and "Sharon has another headache". I was ashamed. When I met my future husband, I did not know to tell him about my "headaches". I had spent my childhood ignoring them, so it was not even an idea to tell him. Then he took me fishing. Well, that morning I had a headache and took a couple of aspirin. HA! We ate breakfast and went fishing. The pain got so bad that I just sat on a rock. He knew I had a headache, but had no idea how awful it was. Then I started to vomit. And continued to vomit all the way home. That was our first outing together and I was 17 years old. Mortified does not even cover it. And he was trying to understand, but of course no one that has never experienced migraine cannot possibly understand. We married, and I continued to "ruin" all sorts of things with my head pain. Then when I was 22, I overheard a co-worker talking about migraines, and she was describing my life! All of a sudden I had a name for what was happening to me. No doctor I saw ever even mentioned that word, and I always asked them what I could do for this pain. I talked to my co-worker at length, and learned what she did for her pain. Still not much in the early eighties. But I was finally empowered to try. After trying several pain relievers I found Excedrin helped the best, for a while anyway. After a while, I was taking 4 at a time. The last time I took Excedrin, I took 6 as the pain was so-so-so horrible, and I started feeling like I was going to faint, and lost vision in both eyes except tiny pin pricks of light. Scared the poop out of me. Then I found Advil. To this day that is the go-to otc med. At age 32 I decided I had to find real help, as I had two babies that needed their mom. I went to a neurologist that specialized in migraine. After 3 years of trying everything in his arsenal at the time, he said there was nothing else for him to do to help me. And again I was left in the cold. Plus, one of the preventatives he had me try, not sure which one, dried me out so bad that some of my tear ducts were destroyed and I now have chronic dry eye syndrome. After several years i found a doctor that wanted so bad to help me, and she did come up with great ideas, all of which many of you have tried. Of course, she grew frustrated as well. The best thing she did for me though was to introduce me to Maxalt. Imitrix made me feel like I was having a heart attack, and Relpax did nothing for me. As of now, I get 12 Maxalt per month, and I buy the large Advil from Costco like there is never going to be another bottle made. I know my triggers, but sometimes I just want a banana, or potato chips. You know how it is.
Well, that is my story, and thank you for allowing me to have a forum to tell it. I am thankful to have people who know what I am talking about, even if you all are in cyberspace :-)
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?