Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Victim? Survivor? Hard to choose.

I am a female, age 54, who has suffered migraines for at least 25 years. They were occasional to begin with, one every other month or so. Over the years, they have increased in severity and frequency. Now I have 3 to 5 a month. Thank God for FMLA time. My job is a year-round, outdoor-indoor second shift blue collar, dirty job. I’m a baggage handler, with a midweek weekend.

Trying to manage migraine, I’ve eliminated MSG and other dietary triggers, as well as avoiding odors, fumes and the light triggers (strobe lights, overly bright lights).

My doctors have done the CAT scans, etc. We tried the preventative (anti-seizure type) drugs. These drugs made me feel like a zombie.

I’ve used Imitrex (in all its forms), Maxalt, Frova, Axert, and Relpax. Currently, I take Relpax, when it works, and otherwise a low dose narcotic with a muscle relaxer.

Today is day 4 of the most recent bout. Christmas was spent laying in bed with my head feeling like it was full of throbbing hot snakes. The last few days have been better then worse again. Just when I thought I was having “rebound” headache, it went back to the original aura, and ensuing “new” migraine.
Since I can see well enough to be online, you may think this makes me functional. I’m not. I’m unable to drive to the ER, or I’d be there for a shot of something. Toradol? Demerol? Who knows.

Please, does anyone have any advice to offer?

It would be so nice to have a full two week paycheck and be able to keep up with my bills, and responsibilities. It would be nice to be able to do my own lawn care and upkeep on my home.

I guess things could be worse.

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.


  • Lady Banks
    5 years ago

    Hi Melinda,

    You are a survivor. I can’t say that I know what you are dealing with, but I have had migraines for almost 50 years.
    I read that and I can’t believe that I am typing that. I have read what everyone has shared and I don’t see that anyone else had gone the path that I did.

    I tried the beta- blockers and other meds, but they in fact made me feel out of control. So I did some research and went a more holistic route. I started with chiropractic at 13 years old,this helped, but I wasn’t sure why. But after two children and wondering how I was going to care for them whenever I had a migraine, I found a chiropractor that I feel saved me.

    The details are not important, but he really gave me quality of life. Did it “cure” them? No, but the frequency is much less. So now I use chiropractic.I found acupuncture, it also helped with menopause,and massage.

    I found that cold helps, my massage therapist tells me some people prefer heat when having a migraine. This may sound funny, but when I do have a migraine, I have my husband make me a frozen drink, or purchase one, and I drink it slowly holding the ice in my mouth until it melts. This reduces the pain. Others I know use cold packs on their necks.

    I suppose what ever anyone needs to do to relieve the pain is what a person has to do, but I wish I saw more people using more holistic means.

    Enough said.
    with prayer for all Migraine Suffers.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    5 years ago

    Hi Melinda,

    Survivor! Absolutely a survivor and I’d like to thank you for sharing your story with us. A full-time job on second shift and being a home owner are among a few of the challenges people with migraine disease live with on a daily basis. Life isn’t easy in general but adding a chronic condition to it makes it that more complicated. Coming here is a wonderful step for support and information.

    Please don’t lose hope on a migraine preventive regime. There are over 100 medications that can be used to treat migraine disease. As Lisa mentioned below we do have an article on migraine preventive medications by Teri Robert you can read about in this link;

    It sounds like you’ve done a great job trying to track down and manage your triggers. Unfortunately there are many other triggers out there including becoming dehydrated, fluctuating hormones, changes in the barometric pressure an irregular sleep schedule and many more. Let me share this information on trigger identification and management if you’ve not seen it already;

    Sleep issues can be strong triggers for many of us with migraine. It’s vital to maintain the same sleep schedule all week long – even on weekends, whenever they may be. We have a three part series with good information on sleep triggers in this link;

    Many people go online during a migraine attack, you are not alone in this. They find it distracting, however I’m not one of those folks. No judging here, we are all for support.

    I hope you find this helpful,

    Happy New Year,


  • slhart
    5 years ago

    It sounds like we have been down the same road with our migraines. I pray that you find some help soon. I have tried botox and the magnisium (Natural Calm) with no luck but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

  • Lori
    5 years ago

    I can tell you what is working for me. After 30 years of migraines I’m feeling some hope! I’ve started taking magnesium. I had tried this in the past and it didn’t help. I am taking a powder form called “Calm” I buy it on Amazon. I mix 2 tablespoons with water each night. It’s so wonderful to wake up without a migraine! This has cut down my migraines by about 80%!

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    5 years ago

    LOVE Calm! Glad you’re finding help from it.


  • Myriam E
    5 years ago

    I’m sorry to hear about this – I have awful bouts myself and have had to switch many meds too. I recently tried Botox (combined with the Topomax I’m taking) and while the first week left me with a very stiff neck and back, I haven’t felt this great in over 10 years. If you can have a talk with your neurologist about it I would highly recommend it. It seems to be working for me – at least for now. Best of luck!

  • BethBlue
    5 years ago

    I wholeheartedly agree that Botox is a good course of treatment to try. It has been working for me, and I’ve been undergoing the treatment for almost two years — I receive the injections every three months. If your insurance covers the cost (or even part of it), then by all means, do it. And please, don’t get discouraged. I’m 53, and I have become very depressed over the past seven years that I’ve been unable to work, but I’m confident that there’s still a silver lining out there somewhere. It’s so difficult — believe me, I KNOW — but I come to this website and try to remember that I’m not the only one. It helps. Good luck! 🙂

  • Lisa Riley
    5 years ago

    I can empathize. I will tell you that the anti-seizure meds aren’t the only ones that work for migraine prevention, although they’re the first ones they go to. Somewhere Teri Robert has a list of all of the meds on the site. I’ll also tell you that you are doing the best you can with the resources you have…although there may be others if you’re willing to drive to get to them. I don’t know where you’re located, but there are some fabulous headache/migraine doctors that I know people have driven hours or flown to see. Don’t give up. I’ve just looked at the calendar, and realized that 2014 will mark my 36th year with migraines. I’ll be 49 in March.

  • Stacy Weichel
    5 years ago

    I have found that combo of medications- Amitriptyline and Topomax control my migraines. Have your docs tried Amitriptyline at all? It sounds like you are miserable with them. I know that what works for one person doesn’t help for everyone though. I have everyone and their brother always telling me other ways to control my migraines although my meds do a decent job.

  • Poll