Meno(non)pause Migraine Melo(NOT)drama!

No one knows exactly what your headache feels like – do you ever think that? I do. I often would like to feel someone else’s Migraine, and visa-versa so that there could be a little bit more objectivity. What if I could put my headache in your head and you could rate it saying “that is not too bad, I wouldn’t even be bothered by it”. Would it make my head hurt less when the headache was returned to its original cranium? Or what if the person said, “oh my God, I am going to die, hurry, take it back, take it baaaack!”, would that then make me feel smug? Or would the headache hurt worse?

My best friend at this time in my life is another person who lives where I do and also suffers from headaches. We are both post menopausal and share out headache stories and sometimes our remedies or hopeful remedies.

I can talk a lot. About Migraines. I started getting them when I was very young. I remember watching school children out on the playground during recess and thinking “how can they do that and not get a headache?” while they ran, swung, jumped, screamed, etc. I was a side liner – mainly because of the headache monster. I have always had lots of personality and am entertaining. But most of my activity is inside my head.

For now, I am going to tell you a sad truth…I have never tried to figure out my triggers. I have had migraines for about 50 years and still have not bothered to do the research. How lazy I am. I have discovered that if I eat more than a small portion of a baked yam I will get a migraine. That is a start.

I do know that I get what I call Jazzy Neck before I get a migraine – or rather at the beginning of a migraine. It feels rather electrical. I also have a different feeling of pulse/heartbeat that is hard to explain but it feels closer to the surface and lighter…a little bit like nervousness but not quite. Also as I have gotten older I notice that often all of the symptoms that accompany the pain are the most annoying. Odd visual perception, VERTIGO, diarrhea, nausea, and the hardest – loss of short term memory – loss of focus and being able to do anything other than the most simple of job duties. I started to think I was having dementia, until I realized that on the days when I had NO shadow of a headache even, I could think and function just fine. I also experience some odd facial numbness and cobwebby feeling around my nose and mouth area about 30% of the time I develop or have a Migraine. And of course as soon as the migraine starts to blossom I also develop what could be a tension headache to keep it company.

I have tried lots of things. When I was younger and the headaches actually hurt worse, I would occasionally go into Emergency to get a shot of Demerol. That is about the only drug that actually have ever worked. Do not ever give me Imitrex again, please. My headaches have become chronic in the last few months. I tried Topamax. No thank you. I am very sensitive to anything that may have the side effect of Vertigo and Topamax had vertiGOGOGO as well as made me feel even more like I was losing my mind. I like to try to take one Excedrin as soon as I notice any hint of Migraine, however, I have to be careful taking any med with caffeine for long. It makes me terribly incontinent. And you know people can’t always tell if you have a headache but they can usually tell if you have peed your pants.
And aphasia – what is that word? Lately with the increase in my headaches I have also begun to have more problems with language. Is that really a word, I think to myself – for instance someone was saying district and I was sure they weren’t saying it right. And I had to keep saying it to myself, quietly, to talk myself into the fact yes, that is how you say it. And my spelling is ridiculous when I have a headache. I also have depression. And like to spend lots of time to myself. I am usually ON or off. Kind of bipolar but it seems like that is more dependent on headaches than anything else.

Right now my two favorite aids are Tiger Balm – extra strength – the white kind and a bed of nails cervical type pillow and of course ice. I find that drugs don’t seem to help that much and since I have either become so used to the pain, or the pain has lessened, I don’t want to add any complications to my lessened intellectual capacity while I have the headache. I HAVE TO WORK – being working class and all.

I do have FMLA for work/migraine only.

Okay – that is enough for now. And if you read this bless you with no headaches!

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

View Comments (24)
  • MJJarrett
    6 months ago

    Hi. I found this Post you posted from six years ago to be quite helpful in my current situation. I am post menopausal and my headaches for the past year have gotten worse. Sometimes they are one day long and sometimes they could stretch up to a week. I’ve tried chiropractic care, tons of Advil, Xanax, I cannot take prescription medications as it seems to affect me in the opposite way and make everything worse. I was curious if you ever found her came across anything that did help you. BTW thank you for your post because I thought I was going crazy! Regards.

  • Mandi Fitzgerald
    7 years ago

    The first paragraph words it perfectly, and I can definitely relate to the third! You can tell people you suffer from migraines, but they’ll never be able to tell how bad they really are unless you do a switch, not many people take ‘I have a migraine’ or ‘I suffer from migraines’ as a serious health issue, as a good enough reason to take the day off, their response is to ‘take a painkiller and get over it’. Well, if it were that simple, there wouldn’t be any problem, but it’s not that simple. Painkillers don’t work for me, heck, even my meds I’m on to stop my migraines don’t work all the time, it’s not that simple, it’s not bearable, I can be curled up on my bed, curtains closed, clutching my head and digging it into the duvet to block any source of light, they can be that unbearable. “No one knows exactly what your headache feels like – do you ever think that?”

  • Cindy Dalton
    7 years ago

    DivanDiva, I love your name. A lot of your symptoms sound like mine, especially the “Jazzy neck” thing and the pulse/heartbeat variation—what I call a “giddy” feeling. I have had migraine attacks for 54 years (perhaps longer, but I can’t remember much before age 4). I was diagnosed with Hemiplegic Migraine disorder in 1986, which makes me have right sided paralysis and mimics stroke symptoms. I finally figured out that my main triggers are weather changes and asthma. Teri Robert on Facebook helped me a lot. She also has a website that you can find if you Google her name. Hope you feel better!

  • Alice Pearcy
    7 years ago

    It is worse when you cant afford medical insurance and you are low income. I have to suffer each migraine through to the end without taking anything. Over the counter meds do not do anything for me. I wish there was something that I could do.

  • Jessica Barnes
    7 years ago

    Cindy Dalton feverfew never worked for me…i have never tried butterbur…right now i am trying to get my hot flashes under control also and taking lot of different vitamins…..

  • Raven McMurrin Yeltatzie
    7 years ago

    And of course Cannabis Sativa/THC can also be ingested – but the whole dosage thing is so tricky. It doesn’t help my migraines at all and makes me all the more mentally challenged.

  • Raven McMurrin Yeltatzie
    7 years ago

    I am so sorry. I just don’t understand that our country thinks it is okay for people to not be able to afford medical care. So mean!

  • Cindy Dalton
    7 years ago

    Alice, I have a low income too—Social Security—so I understand your financial struggle. You might try Butterbur or Feverfew and also take magnesium. They are pretty inexpensive if you order online from Puritan’s Pride. Marijuana is definitely NOT what you need. Breathing other people’s stinking smoke is one of the main triggers of my asthma and migraines. Smoking dope is not the same as swallowing and digesting the natural herbs that our Creator provided for our healing. Prayers for you to feel better…..

  • Alice Pearcy
    7 years ago

    for me that just intensifies the migraine…already tried it before

  • Laura Price
    7 years ago

    thanks for the warning on Topomax – I took it for 3 years and think its a HORRIBLE drug – it helped briefly with the headaches, but the relief was only temporary. It did mess up my memory and that has not returned to normal : ( also got written up at work for “stuttering” when it was actually the expressive aphasia, headache pain, and anxiety due to being harrassed at work (in part) for having headaches and being sick – a visious cycle.

  • Cindy Dalton
    7 years ago

    Topomax made me crazy, too, and I could have died from taking Imitrex, Inderal, and Ergotamine Tartrate years ago. I would take anything the doctor gave me to keep me working so I could help support my 3 children. Now they are grown and I don’t work anymore—I would rather live frugally and pinch pennies than to have to put up with the abuse I took from uncaring people at work.

  • Lynette J. Plude
    7 years ago

    Sorry for typos all…on my phone using swype!

  • Lynette J. Plude
    7 years ago

    Your story sounds so much like mine it is scary. I used to sir in the school or my house and cry to my mom that I just want to be like the other kids playing, but never could. I do know my triggers and I have been to many different doctors over the years. I too find that demerol was the best thing for migraines and no one will give you that as an injection anymore. I can’t tolerate getting hot at all and sadly the post menopausal hot flashes are killing me and I go thru this day and night so I get very little sleep anymore. I have many fios I must avoid. I can’t stand fluorescent lighting so when I was in school or at work I suffered horribly. I ended up developing seizures courtesy of medicine a pain doc put me on to ween me off the evil narcotics…thanks alot doc! I am now 56 still suffering chronic migraines and can’t tolerate any of the meds like maxalt. I have all but given up and treat them the best I can and fortunately my current doc knows my history well and understands what works for me and what doesn’t. I believe that one medication is just as bad as the next when chemicals are involved so I am unafraid of opoid and I am very careful not to abuse. In some of our lives they are necessary and I am never going to allow anyone to try and shame me for it. We are treated awful in the ERs so I do my best to avoid them too. Don’t know what the answers are for any of us, but I well never give up for myself or the younger generation behind me!

  • Cindy Dalton
    7 years ago

    Lynette, have you tried MAGNUM, the online migraine website? They were able to help me tremendously. I have the rare Hemiplegic Migraine disorder, so when all other medications failed, a calcium channel blocker called Lotrel (Amlodipine/Benazepril) helped me have far less pain and stopped the vomiting. I also have high blood pressure so the sudden pressure drop it causes doesn’t affect me adversely. If your blood pressure tends to be high, you might ask your doctor about it. Hope you feel better soon.

  • Kelly Robinson
    7 years ago

    I got side effects from Maxalt so had to top taking them but get on better with Naratriptan. The problem is you’re supposed to wait until you get the pain before taking them – though it usually shortens the duration. I think the biggest hinderance to migraine sufferers is that the term is banded around too much by non-sufferers. I’ve heard so many people state that they have a migraine when they mean a bad headache. My family have always been good about it as they’ve seen what I’m like but many people don’t understand.

  • Brenda Kent
    7 years ago

    Your story sounds a lot like mine, but my migraines started @ 8 years and stopped from 23-34 years, and then started back with a vengeance! Never have figured out the trigger(s). I am taking
    nadolol 60 mg every evening. My headaches became chronic @ 55, when I started working on a computer all day. Two years ago my neurologist put me on the beta blocker and it is a miracle for me. Only 4 headaches in 2 years. I always think I am having a stroke as I am getting older. My mind goes away…it is very frightening.

  • Linda Castellano
    7 years ago

    I honestly never thought of another sufferer feeling the same pain that I do.That is probably because the pain is so intense I cannot bring myself to the fact that someone else could possibly feel the way I do. However having said that I feel terrible to admit that when my family is so sick of seeing me on the couch plugged into the heating pad and my favorite ice pack on my temple and then they ask me to go get dressed–lets go out and do something it is beautiful out, why waste the day! I say to myself Are you kidding me, do you see what I see? If not for nothing more than 5 minutes go ahead try out this pain level and I can promise you not one person in my house would ever ask me anything again except–can I get you a glass of water or is there anythin else you need? This almost sounds better than finding a cure for migraines!

  • Emily Jennings Pittman
    7 years ago

    I too wist my family could feel my pain. They don’t understand. They think I am crazy and that I make them up. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve tried everything…

  • Cindy Dalton
    7 years ago

    Emily, only migraineurs like us can understand what another migraineur goes through. There is an excellent page on Facebook called Prayer for Migraineurs. Even if you don’t believe in the power of prayer, there are people on there who can sympathize with you and comfort you. The administrator of the page is a young woman who is virtually homebound from migraines. Her name is Cyndi Jordan. I hope you will check it out.

  • Charlotte Price
    7 years ago

    emily i told you to get them to check your magnesium level, and vit. d it may help also dr. oz likes butterbur an herb . research it it may help

  • James Belshan
    7 years ago

    Emily, my wife has had migraines her whole life. They stink. She definitely knows your pain. You have my sympathy, and I hope it gets better for you and her both.

  • Rose Atkins Stalnaker
    7 years ago

    so sorry Emily…it is a very real pain, excruciating, and until someone lives with this they have a hard time accepting it. Like Fibromyalgia; you just have to learn to say no to certain things and take care of yourself. I do hope they find the right thing for you someday. I think you should try the HRC clinic….just a suggestion….but it can have a great deal to do with pre-menopause….been there myself.

  • Linda Barham Nabors
    7 years ago

    I was told to find my triggers so I did. I was told to stay away from those things. Well, we just have to quit living. If your trigger is a food or something that is easy to avoid it is worth finding out. Most of my other triggers just leave me out of most of life. If you are happy not knowing, then don’t find out. I was told to journal about my headaches, but I just can’t. For me it is just too depressing. I try to take each headache as it is. After 27 years they are each different and useless to try to understand. They have a mind of their own. I hate them. I do wish my husband and son could feel what they are like. I would not wish them on anyone, but it would be nice to have them know what I feel.

  • Cheri Mandeville-Douglas
    7 years ago

    Have you ever tried Maxalt for your migraines. Imitex is useless. Maxalt has saved my life and my job.

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