Ellen


Let me start by saying I bought the book “Migraine” by Dr. Oliver Sacks not once but two times. Yep, I bought the same book twice, a couple of years apart. But I never read it. Because I realized I was terrified that just reading it would give me a migraine. Only migraineurs (that’s us) can truly understand my “logic.”

I’m 63 years old and had my first migraine at age 26. I was with my husband-to-be (now my ex) when it hit–I told him I thought I was having a stroke and we went straight to the ER, where the doc instantly diagnosed me with “common migraine.” Since this was 1974, there were no pharmacological treatments available except ergotamines. But I couldn’t take vasoconstrictors. I was on my own to deal with twice a month migraines. No aura, just a vague feeling of unease and sometimes pain behind my left eye. I called this “the premonition,” which invariably led to a one-sided migraine that lasted a minimum of 24 hours, requiring a lot of vomiting and then going to bed in a darkened room with no light or sound except the white noise of a fan to block the outside. Then would come the “aftermath” day, when I would have a miserable “regular” headache and feel half-dead. Sound familiar?

This went on and on, affecting my two children, who had to suffer having Mommy go to bed and be unavailable to them, and the same for my then-husband. I still feel awful about this.  Finally I hit menopause and amazingly the “vomit/bed” migraines transformed into what I call “walking migraines,” like walking pneumonia. These were terribly painful but there was no nausea and I could, with a great deal of effort, go out and go to work. But it took a huge effort, and I was beyond exhausted at the end of the day. The “walking” migraine also lasted about 24 hours and left me with a splitting headache. This change in the nature of my migraines led me to believe there is definitely a hormonal component, at least for me.

I’m being treated now by a wonderful neurologist who told me during my first appointment, about a year ago, that he never gives up. We’ve tried a number of things and finally have hit upon a treatment, which has knocked out the “walking” migraines. However, I still get horrible headaches that last for days. For these I take something else, which helps but doesn’t make them disappear. However, I remain hopeful that maybe I’ll finally find relief. My heart goes out to everyone who suffers from migraines. I think only we can understand each other’s pain. [Tweet this.]