Migraine Journey Wednesdays (Vol.16 – Jennifer)


My Migraine History

IMG_20140929_183539 - Jennifer Gerardi-Fross.jpg

I’m 39 now but I can always remember experiencing headaches as a teen. I remember when Advil liquid gels first came out, I was super excited! Those were the days, now I wish Advil would help my headaches. 

My headaches have progressively gotten worse over the years. When I was 25 about 3 months after my daughter was born I was rear ended in a car accident. When my head flew back I can remember the headrest slamming into the base of my skull. Ever since then my headaches have got worse. They use to be in the base of my neck then creep around each side of my head to my temples.

The 1st Doctor I saw said they were tension headaches and gave me Fioricet. After about a year of those so called “tension headaches” I started to get isolated pain on just the right side of my head. I was then diagnosed with migraines. 

It’s almost like lightning bolts that shoot down the side of my head. Sometimes it’s a horrible constant stabbing pain or an optical migraine where I feel so much pressure behind my eyes and it’s like a vice grip is on my temples. My migraines can vary along with symptoms. Signs of an oncoming migraine can be seeing spots, smelling cigarette smoke, sensitivity to light, getting tired, and the newest symptom I’ve experienced is excessive yawning. 

I am extremely sensitive to smells, the wrong perfume sets me off so fast sometimes that meds don’t work. After a few trial and errors my doctor put me on Topamax, Imitrex and Fioricet. My headaches have gone from 4 to 5 per week to less than 10 a month, but that’s only in a good month. Unfortunately when I do get them they come hard and fast and can stay up to 24 hours. 

The People Around Me 

I don’t feel anyone around me is supportive or understanding when it comes to my migraines. Unless it is something they have experienced for themselves, they will never understand. I feel to them it’s just a headache. I hate when I get a migraine to have someone say to me “again??” It almost makes it worse. 

The Effect of Migraines on My Life

My migraines can be 100% debilitating. I can spend the whole day in bed trying to get rid of one, just to spend the whole next day with a migraine hangover. My body will hurt so bad after a severe migraine it’s crazy. When they happen at work it’s the worst because I need to grin and bear it as best as I can. 

What I’ve Tried

Propranolol & Cyproheptadine were the first things my doctor tried on me. However, they lowered my blood pressure so much I was falling asleep at work in the middle of the say and they seemed to make my headaches worse. Then I was switched to Topamax and so far that has helped me reduce the amount of headaches I get every week. During a migraine attack I take Imitrex and Fioricet.

On Days Things Get Unbearable

Sleeping and an ice pack helps me the most. However, it has to be a dark, quiet, cold room. And if that is not possible, I get 4 shots of espresso from Starbucks for an added kick with my Imitex and Fioricet. I also have a migraine oil roll for my temples.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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