Life with Migraines
I was born in winter of 1955, in south Louisiana. My mother had a history of Migraines, and had a lot of her characteristics. My first migraine was at the age of 8. I was out riding my bike when I turned a faced the afternoon sun, like I had done many times before. I fell off my bike in severe pain that was my first experience with "Light Sensitivity". In those days you took an aspirin and went to bed in a dark room.
Later in life around the age of 20, I started getting more frequent migraines and went to see a specialist. They did a CT scan (took 4 hrs to complete) and found nothing in my brain, and put me on Midrin. By 1979 my migraine were so bad that I would bang my head against a concrete wall on the opposite side of the migraine, so as to take my mind of that pain.
Over the next few years with such severe pain, I would experience Personality change, becoming easily agitated, threatening family and friends. Of course, none of them understood what I was going through. The pain led to depression and suicidal thoughts. Antidepressants removed the depression and a strong will to survive surface. I fought back, still experiencing the pain, I would isolate myself when in pain, I took prescription drugs to relieve the pain, as well as high doses of Tylenol. Ergotamines cause severe rebound headaches, appetite stimulants helped but then I gained weight. Ice packs and a shaved head became part of the remedy.
I saw several Neurologist from 1987 - 2001 & had many more CT scans (I saw that machine evolve in to what it is this day), finally I saw a neurologist a couple of cities over from where I am now living. He did an MRI and a Sleep Study, the MRI was negative, but the Sleep Study revealed that I had Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea. After starting CPAP therapy, I found relief from the daily migraines. It appears that when I was in REM sleep, that I would stop breathing, for longer than normal periods, much longer. In the last two years I noticed the migraines coming back, more & more frequent and more with increased severity of pain. A recent sleep study revealed that when my jaw relaxed, that my mouth would open & I would lose oxygen. Easy fix, a chinstrap.
Now my migraines are manageable with Imitrex 100 mgs by mouth taken as soon as the pain starts, along with three Aleve. This past week I've had a migraine everyday, big storm coming. But pain is easier to control now.
Life is getting better, and I found my smile again, along with hair on my head. I may never be Migraine-free, but I will have better days and be able to be me again.
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