My Migraine Journey – Kathlene

D560F31B-3F6F-42C5-9F4E-5806EED24282 - Kathlene Kelly.jpeg

I was born in Germany and grew up in Japan. I’m now 56 years old and live with my partner and 3 dogs in the US. I was a health care provider and a college-level educator before illness forced me to stop working.

My Migraine History

I had my first migraine when I was 5 years old after being in a roll-over car accident. I’ve been having them with varying frequency and intensity for over 50 years, though I have more now than ever before (123 in 2019).

My most frequent triggers include a pattern of interrupted sleep, occipital pressure/pain, and fatigue. Over the years I’ve been prescribed multiple medications in the course of treatment including prozac (!), topamax, and imitrex.

I have a lot of the typical symptoms people have with chronic migraine – the worst (for me) is severe giddiness and vertigo. There have been a few odd symptoms as well. Among the stranger symptoms have been: temporary global amnesia and olfactory hallucinations.

The People Around Me

As far as I’m aware, no one in my immediate family has a migraine history. My family is very supportive and understanding but the problem impacts them too. In 2019 I had an average of 11 migraines per month and that took its toll on my relationships, especially because I don’t bounce back from migraine very quickly. The prodrome stage is frequently longer than the migraine. I typically spend the recovery time between episodes trying to catch up on the things I couldn’t get done because of the headaches.

What I’ve Tried

I’ve tried a lot of non-medication treatments for migraine: stretching, guided meditation, acupuncture, chinese medicine, all with limited success. Some of the things that do help are staying hydrated (I drink 3 to 5 liters of water a day), and self-massage. In the past, when I was able to afford professional massage, I used to have a massage therapist who specializes in headache treatment. That was very beneficial.

How I Cope On Unbearable Days

My first choice is to try and sleep when things are really bad. Because of vertigo, there’s not a lot I can do to cope. If I can’t sleep, I try to stay in bed for a while anyway, to reduce stress in my head and neck muscles, and to try and do some meditative breathing to manage the anxiety having migraine usually causes.

My Migraine Buddy Experience

The Migraine Buddy app has helped me keep track of the frequency of my migraines as well as my symptoms and treatment choices. I’ve just found a neurologist that specializes in headache medicine and I plan to use reports generated by the app to share with her.

“Remember that you’ve been through the hours of a migraine before… you can do it again if you have to. You are the expert when it comes to how you feel and what you need. Take care of yourself at all costs. You cannot take care of others – not your family, not your co-workers, not your friends – if you aren’t taking care of yourself first. And on the days when people just don’t understand, remember that their lack of compassion isn’t about you, it’s about them.”

– Kathlene. K

Thank you, Kathlene, 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 Kathlene, you may do so here:

With love, Jenny and the Migraine Buddy Team

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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