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The day my life changed…

On the night of February 21,2010 I was driving home from my EMT class when I was suddenly overcome by the worst pain I’d ever felt. My hands went numb and I had a horrible, stabbing pain traveling through the right side of my head, down my neck and into my back. With my medical training all I could think of then was that I might be having a stroke. I was terrified! The headlight from the cars approaching were only making the pain worse. I used all the power I could to make it one town away to a friends house. When I got there I sat on the couch with my head in my hands and cried as the pain grew. I started feeling like I was going to get sick so I tried to make it to the bathroom, but I never made it. I passed out in the hallway and next thing I knew, I was in my friends car on the way to the ER.

Now, when you walk into a hospital and say “I’m having the worse headache I’ve ever had” that’s just code for you’re getting the largest workup you and think of… just below what you’d get if you thought you were having a heart attack. I went through blood test, CT scans, and finally a spinal tap all in an attempt to find an answer to what was happening to me. Everything came back normal, but I was still overcome with horrible pain (even with a Morphine drip). I was sent home after 8 hours in the ER. The next day I woke up still experiencing the headache, but now I had a new symptom. I could barely walk. My boyfriend was terrified so he took me back to the ER. I was doped up with Morphine again and sent to for MRIs of my entire spine. After finding no evidence of anything a blood patch was scheduled for the following day to hopefully relieve what was now being considered a “spinal migraine“. (Thanks for making things worse spinal tap) Now, if you’ve never had a blood patch done you’re a lucky person. These make the migraine feel like a bump on the head. By far the most painful thing I’ve ever gone through, but luckily it relieved the headache almost instantly.

After this three day ordeal I was hoping my life would finally go back to normal, but it didn’t. Ever since that night in February I’ve been dealing with the constant battle of chronic migraines. I have no insurance so I’ve racked up a debt about $20,000 deep (some was paid off by the state). I’ve been admitted to the hospital 4 times and have been to multiple doctors, had more tests than I can count, and have tried just about every medicine known to man. These migraines have landed me in the ER for IV pain therapy at least 20 times. I’m at my whits end. A year later, I still have no answers as to what’s going on and now it’s to the point that most doctors won’t even listen to me. They all treat me like I’m making it up. About two months ago my depression got so deep that I took a handful of pain killers because I was so tired of living every day with the pain. This landed me in the hospital for a week where I realized that the suffering had only created one more problem. I was now addicted to pain killers.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m not getting the migraines quite as often, but when I get them, they’re debilitating. I’m doing everything in my power not to take anything other than Advil and Tylenol, but they honestly don’t do anything. I’m only 24 and it’s to the point that every day I wake up, take the handful of prescriptions I have and then suffer the anxiety and fear of wondering if I will make it through the day pain free. I just don’t know what to do anymore.

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

  • Buffie Hayes Perrell
    8 years ago

    I take BUTALBITAL just about every day, sometimes 3 or 4 a day. When that doesn’t work I have an rx for DILAUDID (which makes me sick) so I have to take PHENERGAN with it. My Migraines are worst the week before, of, and after my period. So normally I will have 1 good week each month without a migraine. Except now I’m having a menstrual period every 2 to 3 weeks….. I feel your pain. I’ve had migraines since 5th grade. Hang in there!

  • April Kenney
    8 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story, this is a good place for you to teach and learn. Hang in there.

  • Nesha Timmins
    8 years ago

    changing birth control helped my migraines.

  • Jen Beaty-Love
    8 years ago

    Don’t give up. It may not seem like it now, but your circumstances will change. I’ve been there and it’s hard, but you owe it to yourself. Feel free to add me to your friend’s list if you want to talk. Best of luck to you in any case.

  • Doreen Iorio Porzio
    8 years ago

    I am a chronic pain sufferer for 30yrs! Migraines being one of them, along with bulging discs in neck & back! Car accidents played a role in that! Have fibromyalgia along with spondylarthritis…. I hear you loud & clear! Migraines are debilitating! I also have to go to the hospital to get a shot when my imitrex does not work! First of all, I am on a preventative medicine for the migraines! You didn’t mention that! I am on Topamax, 2oomg am & pm! Regular pain pills like a vicodin,(controlled substance) does not help a migraine! If u keep taking (acetiminophen,) you will actually bring on rebound headaches! Motrin or Aleve is a nsaid which doesn’t bring on headaches! Fiorocet is a medicine to take for migraines that is not as strong as Imitrex! You should only take that on the first onset of migraine! Again, this contains acetiminophen! You can only take when really needed! Do not overdo, as it will give you rebound headaches as well! Imitrex works on the blood vessels in your brain! These types of medicines are more effective when you have a severe migraine! Sounds like You certainly do! I hope I was a little helpful to you! I also had a spinal tap to see if I had MS! Also experienced the “Spinal Migraine” in & out of the hospital 3x’s in the week! Had migraine for 1 wk straight! Wanted to Kill everyone! They use Demerol shot on me when I have to go in! Good Luck!

  • Crystal Davenport Cooper
    8 years ago

    I am in the same place now. I have found a doc that will do emergency pain treatment (shots of narcotics and anti-nasuea meds) but all the preventions meds and onset meds have done me no good. I wake up with one, and if I don’t, I almost always have one by the end of the day. Like, you, I worry that I will have an attck even on good days. I am depressed all the time. I am tired. I am sad b/c my children spend hours with me waiting to see my doc when all they want to do is play. It breaks my heart. I feel like a burden to everyone I love, and I feel like most docs just ignore it or think I am lying about it. Anyway, you should try naproxen instead of tylenol or advil. Naproxen (aleve) works much better. You won’t get total relief, but it is better than nothing. Also, try wearing sunglasses all the time. Light, especially florescent or sunlight, will trigger one very fast. I hope you find something soon. Right now, I am draining our income and still no relief. My doc hooked me up with a neurologist that does botox for migraines. Haven’t been yet, but it may be something you can look into. Good luck!

  • Angela Toblessed Tobestressed
    8 years ago

    I can totally relate to you, I am a severe migraine suffer to. It has totally taken over my life also, and please don’t mention the pain killers, I think I have taken everything under the sun, and I also have anxiety and other things now because of it… So, my heart really and truly goes out to you, your sister in Christ…

  • Ann M Dow
    8 years ago

    I’m sorry for your suffering…I hope that you keep looking – both for treatment and for causes of your migraines…a good neurologist and understanding pcp are both essential…also , I’ve found this online community a godsend when it comes to venting and knowing you are NOT alone…I pray you find strength to carry you through your days and nights and answers that help you to acheive some measure of control and or peace for in your life…just don’t give up!<3.

  • Jennifer S McFarland
    8 years ago

    I’m so sorry.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    8 years ago

    Brandy321,

    Thank you for telling your story here. I know it will help many people who read it.

    Probably the most important question I have for you right now is – are you seeing a Headache Specialist? A headache specialist is a neurologist that has been specially trained in diagnosis and treatment of headache disorders like Migraine. Because this is their specialty they have many more tools up their sleeves than the average PCP or neurologist. They are usually very determined to work with patients until proper management of the attacks is achieved.

    Something else to consider might be the phenomenon of Medication Overuse Headache. This is when the medication you’re taking to kill the Migraine pain actually begins to cause the pain. Pain killers themselves are not the first line of medication for Migraines anymore. Medicines like Triptans are much more effective and target the Migraine very specifically, unlike pain meds which can become addictive and eventually cause headaches themselves.

    I highly recommend making a Migraine diary. There is a tool here on Migraine.com http://bit.ly/hgE7DK that will help you do this. This is usually the first thing a headache specialist will ask you to do, so if you have it with you on your first visit you are that much ahead of the game. Determining triggers is vital and the journal and going on an elimination diet may help you discover some of those. There are medications that can be used to help prevent Migraine attacks too. So many that if one doesn’t work, there are many many more either used separately or in combination with others that may be able to cut down the number of attacks if used properly.

    Additionally, there are other ER protocols that are much more effective for most people with Migraine. Magnesium IV and steroids are just two that come immediately to mind.

    Making sure your health is at its optimal best is a great way to start taking charge of your Migraine attacks. Watch your diet, your sleep habits, your stress levels. Instead of focusing on the stress of “will I” or “won’t I” get a Migraine today, try to enjoy the day because it’s beautiful, and you’re feeling good enough to be up and functioning.

    Good luck. I would like to invite you to participate in our forum here http://bit.ly/fsfTeo where you can ask questions and read about many aspects of Migraine management. We would love it if you’d keep in touch with us as your treatment progresses 🙂

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