Where To Next?

My migraines started when I was a teenager. I don't recall my first as they seem to have just been there all my life. But I remember having a conversation with my dad who used to suffer terribly with them and I remember him telling me "mine stopped when I turned 40. Just suddenly overnight I stopped getting them."

I'm 48 now and still waiting...The first migraines I remember felt like my head was literally splitting open. I'd lay in bed with a black t-shirt over my eyes clamping the right side of my head as hard as I could to try and get some relief but it never came. I'd occasionally be sick but not always.

Searching for relief

They would usually be triggered by a change in routine. What I mean by that is, if I ever had to go somewhere outside of a normal daily routine. A trip to London would do it for sure. A train ride, a meeting...but also family events. Weddings, Christmas parties... and my best friends one night where I literally sat at the back of the comedy club praying for the lights to just stop! And then being violently sick in the back of the limo the way home and not through drink. I hadn't touched a drop. (I daren't touch wine, even a sip would trigger an episode).

The first day of any holiday would see me in bed whilst the rest of the family went exploring the town. They used to last only a few hours 4 to 5 max back then! But as I reached my 20s they peaked. 7,8,9,10 hours of the most severe pain in my life with no relief. Paracetamol, ibuprofen, OTC migraine tablets, little pink and yellow pills? May just as well have been smarties. In fact, they made the sickness 10 times worse and I started being violently sick after.

Learning my migraine triggers

Then I hit my 30s. By then I realized what my triggers were. Wine a definite. But for me, my biggest trigger is flashing lights. Driving on an autumn day with the sun flickering through bare trees in my peripheral vision...guaranteed attack! My migraine was changing. I stopped being sick so much but there were days I couldn't even get out of bed to get my kids to school. Just lay there crying with pain, wishing it would go away. I remember just grunting at my kids when they wanted mummy to make breakfast. I felt like a total failure as a mother.

Changes in symptoms

Now I'm in my 40s...still hoping my father's words will one day come to fruition...but sadly not as yet. They have evolved again. My attacks are milder pain-wise. As in I can now at least function on a basic level. But they last a lot longer. 24 hours almost to the minute. If I start to get one at 3 pm...I literally could down the time the next day knowing that by 3 pm I should be OK. They are also a lot more frequent. 1 or 2 a week on average but they do seem to be more cluster-like. I've often wondered if indeed they are migraines now and not cluster headaches...but I do also get a lot more headaches. I suffer with 'just a headache' for 4 to 5 days in a row and then it will 'turn' into a migraine.

Relief from migraine pain

I found sumatriptan only about 5 years ago and it was a lifesaver for me! Why I had never had then before I'll never know. But they work for me 9 times out of 10. But it's that 10th time that is debilitating. And I know if I ever get a migraine on my left side there is no hope at all! Just a dark room, t-shirt tied tightly around my head and earplugs to just ride out the next 24 hours. And my last 2 episodes have been very confused to the point it's frightening. I believe this is my migraine next iteration. Severe brain fog, inability to find words and phrases, and general confusion. Where they go next is anyone's guess...but I'm still pinning my hopes on my dad's words.

Impact on family and work

Migraines have ruined relationships for me. My ex-husband would say ' not another one' and huff and puff like it was my fault. My friends stopped asking me to go out as I'd always have to leave early and would never drink. My children had to make their own breakfast at a very early age as 'mummy is grumpy and wants to sleep. And my career has suffered too, ' why so many days off Jane?' It's not just the severe head pain, nausea, tiredness, irritability, and confusion. It's lost precious time with friends and loved ones that you can never get back.

Where to next? I don't know but right now it's looking like confusionville!

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