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Living with Migraine

daily chronic migraines last 4 years

  • By provenbelief

    I’m a 30 year old male living in Northern California.
    I’ve been living with a constant migraine since I was 26.
    Before then I would be the type to have multiple jobs, and go out to clubs and parties tues-sat. I was outgoing and the opposite of what I am now, a homebody.

    My story begins in 2004.
    I didn’t even remember that I started getting migraines until an old coworker had to remind me I was going through them – that’s how blurred my pain has become to me.

    From 2004-2011 I was able to work through my headaches and lead a somewhat normal life.

    My migraines started becoming daily in the summer of 2011 and have persisted til this present day.

    I had to take leave from my job at the TSA in summer of 2011 – until they finally let me go in Jan. 2012.

    I’ve had an MRI in 2012 which showed that there was nothing wrong with me.
    I’ve seen a neurologist and so far I’ve been seen by the last 2 directors of UCSF Headache center.

    Since I started getting daily chronic migraines I’ve lost track of the various names of the drugs that I’ve taken. All I can say is that visually – because I threw them out about 6 months ago – I was able to throw away 2 full paper bags full of pill bottles.

    I’ve also gone through 2 rounds of Botox, a hospital stay with an IV drip of DHE, nerve blockers, acupuncture and deep tissue scalp massages.

    At the moment that’s all I remember. Nothing has relieved my pain in the years since this has become constant.

    By the grace of God I have loving parents who have allowed me to stay under their roof rent free. Without them I would have no idea where I’d be. But I’m not sure if they will ever understand the pain that I’m in. Or the anxiety that has come with it.

    I’ve been seeing a therapist to deal with my situation.

    The last few years I’d say from 2012-2014 I’ve been lost. Spent much of that time in bed, unwilling or unable to function like a normal human being.

    2015 came and I think something has clicked in me that I’ve started to have enough of lying on my back.

    I had decided I wanted to go to Wrestlemania for my 30th birthday in March. I had never been to an event of that nature so I figured it was something I could cross off my bucket list.

    In preparation for the 80,000+ people attended event – I had gone to two Golden State Warrior basketball games in Feb as sort of practice or preparation to get used to the crowd of 19,000+.

    For each of these events I went, had lots of fun. But I paid the price – came with at least 5 days each of complete pain and downtime. I liken my downtime as my video game bar being drained and having to take the time to refuel my life bar.

    Also I went on flights to Seattle and New Jersey during times in February and April. I also have upcoming trips this year because I have been invited to 3 weddings – in New Jersey, Hawaii and Seattle.
    Plane flights I’ve noticed also effect my migraine. Ascending and actual flying are fine as they don’t exasperate my migraine further – but when the plane descends it does. My feeling is it’s because of the air pressure changing, who knows.

    I write about my travel because before the times I went to Seattle and New Jersey in Feb and April, I had anxiety/panic attacks in Feb. and March.

    Upon telling my therapist about my anxiety attacks he suggested I look into educating myself about getting a cannabis card. Not so much for my pain, although that could be an option for pain management – but to manage my anxiety.
    I had spoken with the physical therapists who were doing my deep scalp tissue massages about it – and they didn’t see an issue if I was in the pain that I was in.

    I brought the subject up to the doctor at UCSF and while he personally cannot advocate for the cannabis card issue – he said he had been lobbying for cannabis study with some pushback within that organization. He also suggested looking into CBD treatment.

    All throughout this time, my parents have been right there with me in every doctor session – excluding my therapy.
    They seemed poised to being open to the idea of being accepting towards exploring the cannabis card route.

    I had an appointment scheduled with a doctor on May 28 to meet with a doctor who could get me a card. But then my parents decided that they didn’t want me to get a card for their personal reasons a day and a half before the meeting was supposed to take place. I told them I would reschedule and curb the conversation til a later date.

    I understand some of their hesitation – in my earlier years I experimented with substances – but I feel that given what I’ve been going through the last few years and the changes that I’m trying to make this year that I’m a changed person. And I would have no issues going forward.

    Going through this has literally taken chunks out of me. I do not feel whole. The anxiety attacks kind of were a shock to my system that I need extra help that talking to somebody wouldn’t help. And I’m absolutely sick of pills at this point.

    I’m not exactly sure what I should do.
    On one hand I want to respect my parents as I’m living under their roof rent free – but then I also am suffering mightily as well with events on the horizon and I’m not certain I can handle them all by myself.

    I’m not exactly seeking their permission but I would like them to understand where I’m coming from and understand my situation.

    I’m wondering if anybody can help me on what I can/should do?

    I’m sorry for writing such a long story but I needed to get this off my chest..

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  • By Carolyn

    I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with pain and anxiety. Everybody’s situation is different, I’m right there with ya in that sense. Pain and anxiety are a really lousy combination. Air travel makes me totally useless due to the pressure change, too. Fortunately, medical marijuana helps greatly with both, as I’m sure you know.

    Personally, I think that your core intention here (for them to understand where you’re coming from and understand your level of pain and how it would help) is going to get you and your parents through a productive conversation, regardless of your starting point. You seem like the type of person who puts a lot of thought behind his words and actions, so I think you already have the primary tool you need, more than anything I can suggest. =)

    Just a few other thoughts that might help you think about how to start that conversation. Do your parents know that medical marijuana is different than what you might have experimented with in your earlier years? It’s geared much more towards pain, the ratios of sativa to indica have been tweaked for different types of pain and discomfort, and there are certainly types that leave you feeling pretty darn clear-headed and focused, just with less pain, due to their chemical composition.

    Perhaps it would help them feel more comfortable if you suggested that maybe you can try it for a year and see how it goes (or however long your card is valid for in your state before needing renewal). The three of you could perhaps sit down and touch base on the issue periodically, so that you can let them know how you feel it’s affecting your quality of life, then they have the opportunity to either echo that and support it, or express any concerns they might have.

    If they have concerns about smoking itself, or the smell, perhaps they’d be more on board with edibles, tinctures, or vape pens.

    Do you keep a pain log? If you’re comfortable with them seeing parts of it, if you are able to obtain a card, perhaps you could share your pain scale ratings or other symptoms before/after using medical marijuana vs. before/after taking an abortive pill or something. You could show them the front-runners in terms of what’s helping you and how it’s helping, and use that as a starting point for conversations about whether or not it’s worth continuing.

    Best of luck to you. It sounds like you guys have a great foundation of communication and support while you develop a strategy to decrease your migraines.

    Also, I’m a 28 year old gamer, and have pictured that little empty life bar too. I always think of that reddish flashy border that lets you know which direction you’re taking damage from, flashing away at the top of my vision when my head hurts. And sometimes I feel on the verge of a The Sims-style foot-stomping gibberish-shouting freakout. Ah, games. =)

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