Migraine Journey Wednesdays (Vol.29 - Sarah)

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My Migraine History

Hi, I’m Sarah, from Colorado and I’m 39 this year.  I had the first migraine that I knew was a migraine when I was 25, with the visual aura, intense nausea, etc. I’d probably been having them for 8-10 years before that unknowingly. What I thought were sinus headaches came with nausea and a need for total darkness. I have a family history of migraines on my mom’s side, but my triggers and symptoms were often so different from everyone else’s that I went for much longer not knowing I really was having migraines.

With the elimination and careful monitoring of my food triggers, my migraines are mostly down to weather changes now, which is unfortunate because I live in a climate where the weather can and does turn on a dime in a few hours. 

I use all my sick days and even unpaid days for migraines, and I work when I’m sick and when I have less intense migraine so I don’t miss more days. After sustaining whiplash in a car accident several years ago, I have a lot of neck/shoulder pain with migraines that often makes it harder to get comfortable when resting, especially when I'm having a migraine. Right now, I have about 8 migraine days per month, which isn't bad for me but the migraines have been lasting a lot longer--I can't depend on a good night's sleep to feel better the next day. 

The People Around Me

My family is very supportive. My mom started having migraines when she was a teacher, and her mom had them since she was a child, so everyone is familiar with the symptomatology, etc. Our dog I my migraine therapy dog - she’s super cuddly whenever I’m down with a migraines, and it definitely helps to have a cuddle buddy to snuggle and pet when I’m feeling terrible.

The Effect of Migraines on My Life 

I miss a lot more work than I would like. When I’m down with other illnesses and I’m probably still contagious but I still go to work because I use all my sick days for migraines. I miss social events and time with family, especially lately because all of my migraines have been lasting longer than 24 hours. I love where I love and never considered moving, but now I think about it all the time, about moving to a less turbulent, more predictable climate. Especially since weather is my primary trigger. I’m going back to school in order to increase my ability to find a better paying job so that I can afford to move to a different state some day.

Treatments I’ve Tried

I’ve tried several medications. One stopped working pretty quickly. I was uninsured for a long time. Now that I have a decent insurance again, it’s time to get back into treatment. I’m excited about the availability of more medications now, and things like Aimovig. 

Days Things Get Unbearable

Sometimes I can’t even take it an hour at a time. When I’m down with a migraine, and it’s really bad, I just start counting to 30. And then I’ll count to 30 again. My mentality is that I can handle anything for 30 seconds, and when I get through that, I can make it through another 30 more seconds. I do that in hopes that I fall asleep through the pain too. 

Be persistent. Be your own advocate and just don’t give up. Try everything, you never know what might work for you, or at least give you a measure of relief. 

Thank you, Sarah 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 Sarah, you may do so here: bit.ly/2rJcpMR 

With love, the Migraine Buddy Team

Emily Neo