Last updated: February 2013
My migraines began around age 8, but I wasn't diagnosed until my freshman year in college. It was during a test on greek gods and godesses. I started having trouble focusing on the test questions, then noticed my hand felt funny holding the pen. By the time I finished the test (one of a rare few tests I ever failed) it was all I could do to walk back to my dorm room across campus. By then I couldn't feel my right arm at all. This scared my roommate who made me go to the campus nurse. Just when she came at me with the thermometer, I jumped up to puke in the little sink in the room. She knew exactly what was happening, had me lay down in a dark room with a cold cloth and gave me 2 different medicines.
As a child I would get a "stomach bug" waking up with a headache behind one eye, then throwing up for 12-24 hours. My mom only occassionally would get a visual disturbance, not with any pain or nausea though. But my dad's sisters some delt with migraines. My dad deals with positional vertigo, but I don't know that it's related. Anyway, they have now become more consistent with age - now 40. I often get them between 4 and 6 pm coming on with pressure behind my nose on left side, as if sunset has a hand. They are especially bad just before, during and after the monthly. I'm hoping menopause will help! My insurance is terrible, so surgery is not an option financially to help with this. BUT as long as I have my naratriptan, hydrocone when needed and the most wonderful thing - phenegrin gel - I can function most of the time. This gel is a godsend. Hometown pharmacies can often "compound" this for you with a perscription from your doctor. It's gel put in a syringe like thing with no needle. You just squish out the amount you need onto your wrist and the nausea goes away!!! SO when I get a migraine come on at work, I can take the phenegrin gel when too nauseaus to keep down the naratriptan, and get home without having to drive while throwing up (yes - I have done this, perfected it actually during pregnancy). It does make you sleepy, and has to be kept away from young children. But then I can take the naratriptan and be not in agony within 4 hours.
My daughter started getting them at age 9 or 10. We can give her a smaller dose of the gel, along with a caffeinated drink and 1.5 ibuprofen. So far that usually works for her.
Unfortunately the antiseizure drugs don't help me at all and cause extreme eye twitching. Amitriptaline does help to reduce the frequency of my migraines when I use 50 mgs, but I get so crazy hungry on it. I use to be boney and never thought I would have a weight issue, but it makes me soooo hungry that it's almost impossible to not eat.
Please spread the word about the phenegrin gel option. Seems lots of folk don't know about this option and it's much more pleasant and instantaneous than supositories.
In the past year, has insurance made it difficult to get your migraine treatment?