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The Purse

A large, crossbody bag is the center of my life. It carries all my medications. It never leaves my side. And it’s heavy.

No one was really surprised when I was officially diagnosed with migraines at age 12. I’m a third generation chronic migraineur. Out of four kids, one of us was bound to have inherited it. What did surprise them was the way it presented.

There is a picture of me as a toddler, curled up on the couch with my throw up bowl. I’d had another “episode” as we called it, where I’d be woken up by vertigo, vomiting, unable to focus my eyes or walk without help until it passed, usually 4 days later. No one could tell my parents why this kept happening. Their best guess was allergies, and I would likely grow out of it. I didn’t.

I was around 12 when I got my first painful migraine. It was due to hormones and lasted a week. I learned the hard way that triptans don’t work for me.

Between the vertigo and the migraines becoming chronic, college seemed out of reach, but I wanted to try. So I started carrying the purse.

It started out with a bottle of Advil and my allergy medications. A water bottle so I could take them and also avoid being triggered by dehydration.

Then came ear plugs and a rotating list of migraine meds I was trying. Topomax, Imitrex, Frova, Depakote, etc. None stayed long.

The biggest addition was the bottle of liquid Zofran that the neurologist who finally explained the vertigo episodes were actually migraines prescribed me. For whatever reason, this was the first time a doctor thought to give me something for the nausea. First he tried pills, which didn’t stay down. This did. My quality of life improved.

It took longer than planned, but I graduated college and found a job with good benefits.

Living in the city and elimination diets added more to the purse- noise cancelling headphones, an Epi-pen, and safe foods. Tramadol for the pain. A reminder card for Botox.

There have been times when I hate that purse, but often I’m comforted by the little bit of freedom and control it has given me when I felt like migraines took it all.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Crystalrz4
    2 years ago

    I had to laugh out loud when I read about THE PURSE! I’m known for the “PURSE.” I carry my life in mine, at least what I need to survive my life. I’ve had migraines since I was 4yrs, I’m now 65yrs and am 3rd Gen Migraineur on both sides of my family, (So is my older sister). I suffer from both Chronic Daily and Familial Hemiplegic Migraines and a several co-morbities.
    My purse weighs 11.1 lbs. I keep everything I need for dealing with my migraines. I’m actually thinking about getting a rolling briefcase to see if that might make life easier…
    or else I’ll trip and kill myself trying to manage with both my cane and a rolling brief case. Makes life interesting, Right?!

  • DonnaFA moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi texotexere,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. I’m so glad that you found a doctor that found a treatment protocol that makes life bearable.

    It’s understandable that you have a love-hate relationship with the purse. Depending on the day it can feel like a tether or a lifeline. I’m glad that you have it, but I’m sending all good wishes that someday you won’t need it. -Warmly, Donna ( team)

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