My Migraine Journey – Chris O. E.
Hello, my name is Chris. I’m 54, from the U.S and I’m a retired mom.
I’ve probably been getting migraines since grade-school. My mom used to give me a grated apple (an old family remedy) and send me to sleep it off. We thought of them as “sinus” headaches, but they were never so frequent until after my son was born.
I finally quizzed my allergist about what could be wrong with the sinuses on the sides of my head. He gently informed me there were no sinuses there, that what I was experiencing were migraines. At first, my GP gave me permission to take five ibuprofen to “knock down” my migraine and that did work, but it also murdered my stomach after awhile. They also tried me on calcium channel blockers (If I recall correctly) which I so wanted to help but it didn’t, not a bit. I went to the Internet, and folks on the Herblist told me about feverfew, which I grew myself for awhile, full of optimism. I still love the plant, it is beautiful and smells great, but never gave me noticeable relief. I kept track of triggers and gave up chocolate, coffee, things that are smoked, red dye, each of those things was tough, but giving them up seemed to improve things. But somehow I was still having more and more migraines. Period week was the worst. Out of five days, I could usually count on three bad migraines.
My next GP put me on Depakote. It was bad. I wanted it to help. It didn’t help. She asked if it was helping, I said maybe, in a spirit of hopefulness. But it was making my hands shake so bad I could not draw or sign my name legibly. I found out these tremors could become permanent. I asked to be taken off Depakote. My GP said no. “It’s helping.” Never tell a doctor something is helping unless it is really actually helping.
I switched doctors. My new doctor referred me to the neurology department. The neurologist had me try amitriptyline “is it helping?” “I think so?” (no) “Would you like to try acupuncture?” “Yes!” “Is it helping?” “I think so?” (no) “What do you think about adding some Topiramate?” “Sure.” “What do you think about trying biofeedback?” “Sure.” (Scheduled the appointment, went to the appointment, got there, oh, we don’t do biofeedback at this office anymore, but if you want psychological services at this office in the middle of nowhere we’d be happy to do that. (thanks) “Want to try more Topiramate?” “ok” “Is it helping?” … “No.” “For real, how many headaches are you having a month?” “15 to 18.” “How many treatments have we tried?” “Just in this office, or all together?” “Would you like to try botox?” “Yes.” “Is it helping?” “Yes.” (yes) “I’m down to 8 or 9 migraines a month.”
At this point the headache nurse suggested I use Migraine Buddy to start tracking everything about my migraines. So much easier than the paper charts I’d been using, especially during an attack. So much easier to spot patterns!
Just this summer I’ve started being assertive with my allergy crew about my steroid nasal sprays – that I think they trigger my migraines, and I refuse to use them anymore. Not going to try any more different ones, not going to try different dosing schedules, etc., just not going to use them, period. Once I stopped, my migraines dropped from 8 to 9 a month to 2 (so far, knock on wood, this is crazy. I have allergies & asthma, who knew a prescription might have been ruining my life for literally decades).
The People Around Me
My husband and son are always great. Some friends are awesome, some friends are all like “what? I get headaches too. Just take a tylenol and get on with it.” One had to see me projectile vomit before she got it.
My medical professionals are as good as the info I give them. But the effect of migraine on my life is that I have so many migraines I had to quit my job.
How I Cope On Unbearable Days
I take my sumatriptan 100 plus naproxen 220 for synergistic effect, drink a big glass of water, take a hot bath. If it’s bad, I get out the head-on and a hot water bottle and a soft hand towel and I lay down in the dark and try to steam the pain away until the meds kick in.
How Migraine Buddy Helps Me
It has helped me communicate with the nurse practitioner who is really my go to person as far as headache treatment in my health system. I get so much info down w so little effort (important when you’re impaired, and I’m not eloquent when I’m migrainey). It also helps me see patterns like yes the nights I stay up late really are bad the next day, eating late really does mess with my headaches, etc.
I have a terrible habit of saying yes something is helping because I want something to work.
#1 if the number and severity of headaches haven’t gone down, it hasn’t worked yet
#2 If you don’t see clear improvement, it’s not better. There are tons of things to try, something will work for you!
Thank you, Chris, for stepping forward to share your migraine journey with the community.
When you share your stories, it not only helps others but you heal in the process too. If you would like to share your story and let your voice be heard like Chris, you may do so here: http://bit.ly/MyMigraineJourney
With love, Jenny and the Migraine Buddy Team