My migraine journey - currently trying Zoladex/Goserelin
I had my first migraine in September 2009. I didn't initially know it was a migraine; all I knew was that I'd never experienced a headache of that severity before. The next few months were peppered with more migraines, maybe 2 or 3 a month at first, and it was at this point I decided to seek medical help as they were very debilitating when they did strike, even though they were relatively few and far between. The migraines were often clustered around my cycle but not exclusively. I kept a headache diary as I was convinced they were hormonal, but I disproved my own theory when I'd have a bad attack midway through the month or on random days that didn't coincide with my cycle at all. However, they were noticeably worse and I was adamant there had to be a connection. They were usually accompanied by visual disturbances (aura) and that was the main reason for seeking help. The aura (or 'electric eye' as I call it) was very alarming when I first experienced it and, after doing some research on the web, was the main reason I differentiated it from a regular headache and realised I probably needed some help.
About 3 months into the migraines I was still fairly clear headed on the non-migraine days. I was initially prescribed triptans and it took several more months of experimenting to find one that benefited me most. I settled on Sumatriptan and although it only helps to alleviate some of the symptoms some of the time I had more success with it than Frovatriptan and Rizatriptan (wafer) so I remain on it to this day. The triptan isn't a magic fix by any means. It gives me a kind of muted headache, albeit one that's more bearable, so if I'm not already in the throws of a migraine I have to be pretty sure I'm going to be before I'd risk taking a pill. They make me feel slightly drunk, tired and somewhat tranquilized - not particularly pleasant but they're often a welcome relief from a full on migraine. On the occasions when they don't work, either because I've not taken one soon enough or just because it's going to be 'one of those days', well, I don't need to tell you how awful they are
Anyway, the migraines became more frequent over the years and I now average about 10 a month. The 'clear' head days have diminished almost entirely to the point where I am 'fuzzy' every day.
Fast forward 3+ years and I've had brain scans to rule out anything sinister (they found an arachnoid cyst but said it was an incidental finding and not contributing to the headaches), I've tried preventatives such as Amitriptylyne and Propanolol, I've tried a chiropractor, Magnesium, B2, Q10, Feverview and various other herbal and vitamin supplements - all to no avail. I've had blood tests to check thyroid function and my pituitary gland. I've tried HRT, various birth control pills (combined and mini) and I also did a stint on the Evra patch - the latter was possibly the treatment I had the most trouble with but that's a different story entirely! I've had scans of my ovaries to check for cysts, fibroids etc. as my cycle was also a little erratic initially. As with many migraineurs, I literally have tried it all, with the exception of Topiromax which I declined due to having a history of cataracts in my family.
16 days ago I had the Goserelin (Zoladex) injection to temporarily induce medical menopause. If I notice a significant improvement then I would likely have a surgical hysterectomy. Apart from some mild cramping near the injection site and a prolonged menstrual cycle lasting 10 days (and counting!), I haven't really noticed any difference yet, positive or otherwise. I gather it can take a few weeks to get into your system so I may be premature in looking for changes, but I'm hoping to give my doctor some feedback by the time I'm scheduled to have my next injection in 2 weeks time.
My doctor is great; she's been very patient and understanding and has never made me feel like there's no hope, even though I personally feel like I'm running out of options now.
The migraines have completely changed my life. I no longer plan in advance, I often have to bail out of social events and, worse still, I can get snappy with those around me including my 10 year old Son. I long to be the fun Mum I once was, not the one who often has to lay down in a dark room on a beautiful sunny day...
Have you checked out the new Community Hub yet?