Are you a migraineur? Have you spent countless wasted hours of your life sufferering get with migraine? Are you often feeling like throwing up or having such terrible throbbing pain in your head you don’t know if you can make it from one place to the next, much less concentrate on the work in front of you? Do you avoid making plans so you can contain the effects of your migraine to not disappoint others?
If your answers to these questions are all yes, you are like me. You see, I am a migraineur. I have had between 9 and 10 K migraines in my life, each lasting roughly 12 hours. There was even a time when I had intractable migraine for 6 months straight. After doing the math, I now realize that I had close to 7 years of migraines. No wonder they have a name for us.
The trouble with migraines is that no one can see your pain or measure it. It just is. They can be truly debilitating. For many years, migraines ruled my life. It isn’t pretty, but you can live with migraine.
Migraine drains you of energy and vitality. It’s a thief or robber. It invades you and leaves you feeling decimated. It keeps you from living fully. You are sidelined for hours at a time, not quite knowing when you’ll feel refreshed again.
As a child I used to fear failing down the marble stairs at my middle school and high school. Fortunately, that never happened, but I did fall down a flight of stairs at a conference once, owing to a migraine, and I did flip across one of the Avenues in Manhattan, because of a migraine. Moreover, I tossed my salad onto the cashier once when I was just trying to weigh the damn thing. My depth perception was off. Often when ambulatory with migraine, I had a poor sense of where I was in space. Once, I lost my vision in the middle of a college LaCrosse game, and I had the ball. When the referee blew his whistle, I just threw the ball toward the crowd of players, to simply get the attention off of me.
No wonder I was always a bit cagey about a long drive to work, or one that required me to hop on the freeway. My migraines usually started in the afternoon and peaked in the late afternoon or early evening. I just couldn’t risk having a long commute. It could be a death sentence.
Although I had no treatment for my migraines as a child, I worked with a neurologist on a regular basis from the age of 26, until I was 53 or 54. Most of those years I saw the neurologist once a month. We would work together trying to create the best cocktail to treat migraine both profile tidally and abortive lay when they did occur. I was on tons of medication. And drinking socially on top of all of that was really pretty much totally out. I became what I termed, “a barely drinker!” It was rare for me to drink more than a couple of alcoholic beverages every couple of years! What I learned worked best to manage the migraines was taking an SSRI twice daily. This seemed to bring the pain down to a more tolerable level. SNRIs work well too. This made it possible to work through the pain and be “ambulatory with migraine.” Thank goodness for those medications. Otherwise, I don’t know how I ever could have held down a job.
As promised by one of my neurologists, Saran Jonas, of NYU Medical Center, my migraines have become much less prominent in my life since the onset of menopause. Saran used to always say to me, “Most women lose their migraines in the sixth decade!” I am pleased to say that it looks like I might be part of that group! Now that’s a group I’d really be proud to be a member of!