In honor of Migraine Awareness Month and my friend Michael Fernandez (a migraine sufferer and patient advocate) migraine discussions.com, I have decided to share my migraine story.
My migraines began around age 17. I had many triggers back then, but the one I remember the best is pepperoni. If I ate it cooked (like on a pizza) I would get a terrible migraine, but if I ate it raw (like they sell it in packs at the store) I wouldn’t. I never could figure out how that worked. Anyway, I tried many medications, but the one that helped the most back then was the sumatriptan injections. Back then the medicine was new and cost me a hundred dollars for two injections. Luckily I worked at the time and could afford them. At one point, though, I was having up to three migraines a week. I even went to the ER because of them on a couple of occasions. Literally anything would set them off.
At age 19, I had gastric bypass surgery and the migraines mysteriously stopped. I might have one once a year or once every two years, but nothing compared to before the surgery. Since the timing was right, I thanked the surgery for curing me, but later found out that it was just good timing.
In 2011 my migraines returned with a vengeance. I went to see a neurologist and I was told that sometimes migraines will go into remission for a while, but they usually end up showing back up sooner or later. This time, though, I seemed to have only one trigger…the sun. Anytime I went outside that summer I would get a migraine. I tried sunglasses, but just couldn’t find ones dark enough to shield me from the UV. Luckily after that summer the migraines eased up a bit, and I could go out in the sun, but if I stayed out for a good length of time the migraine would set in. My new neurologist started me on preventative medications that first summer that really seemed to help by the time the second summer rolled around. I also began using a medicine called Maxalt for when I would get a migraine. I still use it to this day if I think a migraine might be coming on. As soon as the headache starts I can take the Maxalt and it keeps the migraine from getting too bad.
I still get migraines now, but they are much weaker than before. Sound and light still bother me, but it is out of the ordinary these days for it to get bad enough to cause the nausea and vomiting that it used to. I would still love to find a good pair of sunglasses to help me with my sensitivity to light. I wear prescription eyeglasses, but after asking around found out that when the optometrist puts the UV shield coloring on, it really doesn’t get that dark. If I could find a pair of glasses that truly helped, I might look into wearing contacts again. I had to stop at one point because I take so many medications that my eyes stayed too dry to allow me to wear them. I would love to find some glasses that could be made according to my prescription strength, but I’m afraid to think of how much they might cost. Another problem I’ve run into is finding frames that cover enough of my area of vision. Usually the sun still seeps around the edges of the frames.
Even though my migraines have gotten better thanks to the preventative medications, I’m always scared of the day when they might return again with the same intensity as before. Here’s to hoping that the meds keep them at bay.