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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…

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

  • oxswife
    2 years ago

    Hi Vonnie. Ive just read your story which eerily very much like my own. You have all the same symptoms as myself. I have been suffering migraines for over 15 years and believe they are hormonal however they are not usually consistent with period time. In saying that, my periods have always been irregular. I had my tubes clamped due to having Cerebral Ischemia and therefore on blood thinners and cannot take the pill as the pill thickens the blood.
    I also have a mirena inserted just to control the hemorrhaging at period time. 4 days ago I had the Zoladex injection to see if going into menopause ceases the migraines and if it does, decide what to do from there.
    i see your post was back in 2013 and would like to know how things are going now. I get migraines every 2 weeks which I reckon at ovulation and mensuration times. Im a bit worried about the menopausal symtoms which I havent started yet. The Dr said about a week then will hit abrubtly. I work long hours and volunteer at footy on the weekends. I have 21 and 20 year old sons and a 17 year old daughter who all live at home. They all know when Mum has a migraine, however I dont let it beat me. I push myself.
    Anyway, you may have left this post etc but I thought Id try as your story was so close to mine….Therese

  • DonnaFA moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Oxswife, I just wanted to pop in and share a list of articles that deal with menopause, in case Vonnie misses your post. I hope you can find something helpful. You might also want to post on our Facebook page. Thanks for being part of the community! We’re glad you’re here. -Warmly, Donna (Migraine.com team)

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    6 years ago

    Vonnie69 – Zoladex actually begins to work within days. First it causes a surge of hormones, then it basically shuts down production of hormones. I talk quite a bit about Zoladex in this thread you might be interested in: http://migraine.com/topic/hormonal-changes-in-women/

    ~Ellen

  • Alana de Bruyn
    6 years ago

    You are describing my 15 year old daughters life as well as yours, we are about to put her into menopause, how did it go with the analogue zoladex, did it work, should we start there first?

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    6 years ago

    Alana de Bruyn – This is a very serious step for someone of your daughter’s age. She’s not finished growing or maturing yet, and those hormones are pretty important. Here is a fairly extensive conversation about these types of treatments: http://migraine.com/topic/hormonal-changes-in-women/

    I’m guessing by your response, that you haven’t had a chance to see a Migraine specialist yet, so that would be the very first thing I would suggest to you right away. This could be life-changing for your entire family. Other doctors don’t have the training necessary to even know how to prescribe preventive drugs appropriately, let alone figure out other treatments. Even diagnosis is often goofed up by doctors that are trying and using the knowledge they have, that is unfortunately just insufficient. You wouldn’t go to a bone doctor for skin cancer would you? A Migraine specialist is really important. Here is where you can go to see if your doctor is a Migraine specialist, and to find the closest specialist to you: http://migraine.com/blog/looking-for-a-migraine-specialist/

    The fact is, it takes months to try a single preventive drug appropriately. http://migraine.com/pro/preventative-treatment-for-migraine-overview-and-approach/ There are so many medicines that it would literally take 25 years for a patient to try them all singly, let alone to try them in combinations, which is what often is the key to getting better for many patients.

    Hang in there mom. I can tell you’re so very worried about your daughter and desperately seeking help for her. Thank goodness she has you to stand up for her. The key though, begins with getting the appropriate doctor, and educating yourself so you can work together as a team for a better outcome.

    ~Ellen

  • Alana de Bruyn
    6 years ago

    As an analogue that is, we like you have done all the other drugs!!!!

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