My life with Migraines
Last updated: June 2022
I will never forget my first migraine. I was 7 years old and in second grade. My mother picked me up from my grandmother’s house in the late afternoon. I would go there after school until she or my dad finished work. My head was throbbing and I didn’t know why. I figured it was the same type of pain my dad would suffer from when he was curled in a ball on the bed moaning in pain. He got migraines too, a lot. I went home and curled into a ball on our recliner and did just what I had learned to do from my dad. I moaned with pain. The headache was gone the next morning but I will never forget that first experience.
I would get a few more during my childhood. My mom would give me over the counter pain pills to ease the pain. For the most part they worked and I was able to live a normal life. By the time I started college that all changed. My migraines came back in full force with the added stress of finals, meeting new people and having to declare a major by the first year or having to leave the school. I wasn’t sleeping at night. This is when I first went to a neurologist. I was given anti-depressants to help prevent the migraines and to help sleep. I also was given pills to try. This became my norm. I would try pills, experience side effects, they wouldn’t work and I’d be given a new pill to try. Eventually I learned to manage my stress and my migraines and I was able to go back to my “normal” life.
A few years later I got married. During this time with my husband I would be in the ER at least once or twice a year for a severe migraine. They wouldn’t come often but when they did it was much more severe then I was used to. I didn’t know how to manage the pain. I couldn’t keep anything down, which meant when I took medicine it always just came right back up. This would cause me to dehydrate and make my migraine worse. Once I would throw up I knew it was time for another hospital visit. I was even admitted once because the pain was so severe the doctors worried about me.
I got pregnant and that was the longest time in my life that I went without a migraine. I only got one bad one in the first trimester. After that it was 8 months of bliss. After I had the baby was a different story. 3-4 migraines a week. I needed something new. I was given Topamax to prevent the migraines. I was told it was an anit-seziure medication. The side effects were awful but I knew I had to do it. Eventually I had to be given the Imitrex injections. These hurt and I have to have my husband give them to me. But they work, and so far are the only medication I have to take away the pain.
I’ve since switched neurologists. I’ve stopped taking the Topomax because I don’t like having such a strong drug in my system. I still get migraine 2-4 times a month. They effect my life in ways many can’t imagine. My husband as to watch me suffer and cry in pain and have the hopeless feeling of not being able to help. My daughter has lost time with me because I have to come home from work with a migraine so severe I can just curl up in my ball on the bed. I’ve missed events, parties, dates and time with my family because of the intense pain I have. I hate them. I can’t live a “normal” life with them. And what is worse, is I fear I have given them to my daughter (and future children). Both my parents suffer from migraine. I believe this….disease….was passed onto me, and I fear more then anything that I have passed it onto her as well.
I want those who are still suffering to know you aren’t alone. There are people out there who suffer with you. Maybe, one day, we will find a cure. Then no one will have to experience the pain of a migraine. They won’t have to know what it feels like to have your head pound. To have your vision change suddenly while you are driving and know what is soon coming. I hope and pray for this day. For myself, and for my family.
Are the family and friends you will be seeing this holiday season understanding about migraine?