OK, that's enough!
Last updated: October 2013
I've had migraines since I was a little kid. I remember covering my head and not wanting to get up to go to school and stomach pain and head pain. I remember crying and rocking in the bed. The picture of this scene is very dark and the room appears dark and I'm taking my head out from under the covers to peek at the sun coming in the window and considering how firm I had to be about staying home from school today. I remember pain of moving my head to look at the light.
I'm 70 next month.
I think my journey started about a 2 years ago because of my mom. I was taking some really really dangerous drugs to stop the pain in my head and maybe start living. I mean, you've seen the ads on TV. The way drugs interact with my body, I figured that death as a side effect really wasn't a good thing. I woke almost every night with a headache, or I developed one during the day or – you know – and the fog of one coming on and the eyes not quite working right. This was 28 days out of 30. Ask me, how I managed to raise four kids, work, educate myself, etc. I haven't got a clue.
I was taking not only a lot of drugs but a lot of different kinds over the past 40 years. Imitrex, Migranal, Axert, Amitriptyline, Cymbalta, Nsaids, Aspirin, etc. etc. and a lot of different ways – nasal, pill, injection. That stuff along with all the other meds for high blood pressure and whatnot. Goddess knows what those drugs were doing to my body. My first husband (50 years ago) asked me one day what happened to the bottle of 100 aspirin he bought home earlier in the week. I had taken them all. I didn't even realize that I was having migraines until he said that. I hadn't realized how many aspirine I had taken. I got to be very paranoid if I didn't carry something with me or have a supply in the house to stop the headaches. I tried to manage the meds so that I didn't get rebound headaches. I still carry Imitrex just in case.
Maybe my reactions, maybe the headaches themselves, are coming from the drugs? You know, starting one drug for something that causes a reaction that isn't recognized as a reaction and given another pill to cope with that reaction with also causes a reaction. And so on. I asked my doctor one day why I was taking them. I couldn't remember anymore what did what and why I needed it. She said “I don't know” and turned her back on me and left the exam room. I sat there for a while staring at the door.
I stopped taking everything. I started looking for a new doctor.
My body was seriously unbalanced – still is. I could feel it in me that things just weren't quite right.
So I demanded tests of every doctor and every kind of doctor I went to. I tried talking with them about what I wanted to do and achieve. I wanted to stop the headaches. Period. I wanted to stop them without dangerous drugs. I wanted to do this naturally and restore my body to its balance. I needed testing to keep track of where I was. Most of the doctors were angry. I could feel it and see it in the way they looked at me and their attitude and inflection of voice after telling them about the headaches. I think they were angry because I was “using” them to find my own way or maybe they thought I was exaggerating. I don't feel that any of them believed that I had a headache every single day. Every day. Without fail.
And, I was using them. I had to start somewhere.
It was a glorious thing not to have a migraine or to be between migraines even though my eyes wouldn't focus or I couldn't regulate my temperature. One of my symptoms, after getting off everything, was sweating – I mean really sweating – especially on the head and face. That lasted about six months. Very embarrassing for a woman. Fortunately it stopped. Probably part of the detoxing process. The doctor said to use antiperspirant on my face. He was a well loved and well respected older doctor. I couldn't believe he said that to me. I still can't. He's a doctor right? It might have been the best cheapest answer but was totally unacceptable to me. And, he gave me no reason to believe that that was the best method. He said it while laughing/chuckling. He also didn't offer any alternatives.
I found another doctor. At the same time, my mom, now 92, bought herself a computer. She found Migraine.com this February (2013) and told me about it. Something clicked. I'm not a Facebook/community website type of woman. I can't believe that I taught her to search the internet and I never Googled “migraine”. Even now, after starting this journey, I had become so accepting of my doctors and their “knowledge” that I still hadn't looked for myself even though I thought myself progressive. It was through reading the multitude of letters on the migraine.com website that realized that I was not participating in healing myself. What I really was doing was demanding the doctors “heal me”.
I looked for alternatives and found Boswellia, magnesium and B2 via a suggestion on the website. I've been taking them now for 2-1/2 months I am now without a headache for 20 days. This is a miracle. I don't know if you realize that but this is a capital “M” miracle. 20 days free of migraine and its auras.
But there's more. In reading about self help I started learning about pressure points. They really didn't help me with the migraines, or maybe I was using them wrong, or something. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I got a “crook” in my back and had my partner lean on my back to pop it in place – this happens a lot – but this time it didn't help. I'm way too cheap to see a chiropractor on a regular basis but I finally did. You've gotta consider these things when on Social Security. Anyway, so to help myself in the future I purchased a BodyBackBuddy at about the cost of one chiropractor visit. It's this large S curve piece of heavy plastic that has knobs protruding from it. Check out Youtube. This did the trick with pressure points. Really did the trick. Terrific tool to have on hand. I found spots that hurt that I didn't know I had much less that hurt.
While using the BodyBackBuddy I found that I have almost all of the tender spots for fibromyalgia of which headache/migraine is a symptom. The Boswellia is an alternative medication for fibromyalgia too and I do have to say that I feel better all over for taking it. It was then that I remembered that the chiropractor pushed on a few of these pressure points used to diagnose fibromyalgia and I had almost jumped to the roof (exaggeration). He must have suspected but he never said anything about it. I'm not a regular patient. He just put my back in place and that was that.
I'm seeing the doctor next week. We've been working pretty good together over the past two years. He's listening to me. He suggested Sjogrens (the tests were negative) and this last time he suggested Lupus. I took the blood tests about two weeks ago but haven't been back to see him. I think it's fibromyalgia. I could be wrong. It could be old age. It could be something I just have to accept. But, to have a diagnosis, even if there isn't a cure will allow me to finally get to say “See I'm not crazy, lazy, etc” because I finally said “OK, that's enough, lets try something else.”
Thank you everyone at migraine.com who inspired me with your stories, up and downturns, your ideas and thoughts. You kept me going on those nights that I couldn't sleep and to read the screen I had to dim it way down. But, your stories helped and helped a lot.
Do you have a migraine toolbox for when an attack hits?
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