I've been suffering from Chronic Migraines since I was 8 years old. I am 24 now. When people ask how I deal with it, I reply with "I am use to it". When really I am dying inside. My head is killing me, in many ways. How is it possible for me to survive this, when every migraine stops me in my tracks?
I suffer From Chronic Migraines, Depression, Anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, Neck and Back Pain, Hypothyroidism and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Some of these issues cause more pain and disabling symptoms than others, I will admit. It’s what I have to endure through any given day that makes it difficult to work and hold a job. Much less cope or function in general.
While enduring a headache or migraine my symptoms can range in severity. I could have a dull headache allowing me to function a little, Or have a Migraine so severe that I can not leave my bed until it passes. My head throbs with pain along side my head, in my face, my teeth, behind my head to my neck. I sometimes become very nauseous and end up vomiting because I am sick to my stomach from feeling lightheaded or experiencing Vertigo. More often than not I have a Aura as a warning sign. When I do I see little flashes of light in my peripheral and the light surrounding me becomes brighter. I become extremely sensitive to light, sound and smells. Which are three senses that you can not always avoid. I don’t wear perfume and I remind family members and friends to not wear sprays or perfumes while around me. I have blackout curtains in my house, giving me a safe place to rest my eyes from the light. I barely listen to music or watch Tv because of the loud sounds. My dog’s barking can be an issue as well, which is why my Grandmother helps me at times take care of them. My scalp feels tender, as if someone is always pulling my hair. My moods shift all the time. I am very irritable and depressed when I have a migraine and as often as I have migraines, I believe it is a reason why I am depressed. Not only do I experience symptoms during a migraine but I also have a hangover effect. After a migraine, I become more fatigued; Drained both physically and mentally. I had just battled through an intense amount of pain in my head that I can not ever control. The best way I can explain the pain is for you to imagine someone opening up my head, pouring razor blades in, then consistently shake my head around. It is absolutely dreadful.
I have tried to Identify my triggers and what causes my migraines within my environment. It could be the florescent lighting in a grocery store or the lavender scented trash bags we bought on accident.. The pollen from the neighbor's tree or the perfume a lady walking by was wearing. Something I ate, lack of sleep or too much, too much caffeine or not enough. If I get too hot. Don’t drink enough water. A lot of the time I have woken up with a migraine for no apparent reason. It really is hard to determine what all of my triggers are but the ones I can identify, I do avoid as much as possible. Keeping a headache diary has helped me notice trigger patterns but still it is hard to identify what all of my triggers are. I avoid what I can control, but some things in outside environments are uncontrollable. I have changed my diet around repeatedly, hoping that more vegetables and fruits would make a difference. Completely cut out red meats. But haven’t noticed it changing anything. I learned recently from my biological father (Just entered into my life) that he has experienced migraines since he was a teenager. He is now 51 Years old. His mother, My grandmother also endured migraines from a young age up until she passed away.
Currently there is no known cure for chronic migraine, although there are treatment options available for prevention of some types of migraines. It all boils down to which treatment plan is going to work for me. I have tried several medication preventatives including over the counter aids. So far none that sufficed. The very first medication I tried was ‘Topamax (Topiramate)’. I was prescribed that specific medication for roughly 7 Years. My dose was increased throughout the years trying to find a dosage that my body would respond to.
When I moved to a ne city I spoke with my new primary Doctor. We then increased my dosage in attempt to try again. After some time I was referred to a specialist. He prescribed me ‘Verapamil’. Its primary use is to treat Hypertension. Within three days I was admitted into the hospital because I was experiencing Vertigo and My migraines increased severely, along with other symptoms from the medication.. I endured a Migraine Crisis lasting roughly Ten days. I was immediately taken off Verapamil and Prescribed Gabapentin. This medication worked for about a month. I had fewer migraine days, yet still would endure them throughout the month. My dosage was increased from 300mg 3x a day to eventually 900mg 3x a day. I have always kept a migraine diary and was able to see whether or not I was experiencing less or more migraines. I noticed that I had periods of time where I would have 1-3 days a week with a migraine and then periods where I would have 5-7 days a week with a migraine. I have received a Second opinion on my condition and saw a Neurologist in Seattle at Virginia Mason Medical Center. She Increased my dosage and ordered a MRI. She was unable to find a cause for my migraines in the results but was able to clearly determine that it was in fact Migraines that I was suffering from. She has since then prescribed nortriptyline, I have been on this medication for a month now and do not feel my migraines have gotten any better. I noticed that they have worsened in comparison to how I felt while on the Gabapentin. July 19th, 2017 I go back to see my Neurologist so we can figure out what my next option is for treatment.
I don’t have a consistent work history. It isn’t for lack of trying. It really is because holding a stable job entails that I can follow a concrete schedule. That truly is impossible for me. I can not predict when I will have a migraine or how long it will last. So I have always had to call in sick or miss work. So much so that my job was on the line for it. During a migraine my ability to work productively is decreased immensely. I can’t concentrate on the tasks at hand or get them done efficiently in a timely manner. I have tried different types of careers, in hopes that I can find a job that caters to my needs and disability. I do have to avoid certain things, just so I don't trigger a migraine. Most work environments have multiple factors that do trigger my migraines. Such as Florescent lighting, odors / Perfumes from others, Loud noises or using a computer for a long period of time. I do wish to have a job, a purpose, so that I feel useful in some way. I just haven’t been able too, it makes me sad.
I feel like I have tried everything. I feel like I am staring at a brick wall. What more can I do? How much more of this can I take. I've broken down many times, but when will be my last break down?
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