Thursday, October 11, 2012

Living with Migraines

I knew it was inevitable that at least one of our children would fall victim to migraine headaches. I suffer from them, as does Himself, both my parents, and Himself's mother. Talk about a stacked-against-you gene pool.

This past year was the year of the migraine for Miss Priss. She's had a few, some with vomiting and some without. Some with weird eye issues, such as flashing light or focus problems, some without. Thankfully, basic Tylenol is effective. But first she had to master swallowing pills. Here's what works for us: I bite them into small pieces for her. Just another thing mamas do.

This morning when she told me her right eye was flashing, we knew what to expect. But the Tylenol didn't take effect quickly enough. Lying down made her head hurt worse, so she propped up on pillows, nauseated. Eventually she came downstairs to sit on the couch. Then she fell asleep. When she awoke, she felt much better but is still taking it easy for the rest of the day.

Oh, that it would always be that way. It's hard enough to see her suffer now, to wring wet, cool cloths for her forehead -- an ultimately useless but still somewhat comforting measure. What breaks my heart is that the headaches are sure to get worse. Mine did. Her dad's did. We just don't know exactly how the headaches will affect her.

Himself has about one BIG classic migraine per year. He has Imitrex injections for those. Mine are (were) different; I lived with daily headaches. A couple of times per month I'd have big headaches, but mostly I just had minor headaches every. Single. Day. I tried several kinds of meds. For the Big Ones, I used Imitrex 100 mg.

Finally, about a year and a half ago, I tried a daily SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) commonly used to treat depression. These have been found to be successful in some headache suppression. It works for me. Now I have only a mild headache a few times a month, treatable with Tylenol, and a breakthrough moderate headache a few times per year. What a difference this has made in my day-to-day living!

I know that my nearest forebears were migraine sufferers, and, since migraines tend to be genetic, I'm sure many of my ancestors suffered, too. I can't imagine how they managed. I am thankful we live in an era where we have medicines readily available.

Which makes me think. Perhaps there will be even more fantastic treatments and cures for migraines in the next few decades. Wouldn't that be something?


  1. Hi Ellen, From one migraine sufferer to you: we have used a combination of osteopathy (craniosacral therapy worked for my daughter) and chiropractic to treat migraines. Both I and my daughter do not take any medications now. I know everyone is different but we do not take meds if we can help it. Every blessing, Kelly

  2. Oh, I am sorry to hear this.

    Ellen. In all respect, and not dismissing your pain or the value of the meds. Have you ever consider alternative medicine?

    My husband fell very sick two Augusts ago. While he still went to a traditional doctor (he was having chronic prostatitis, bloatness and a void feeling to go to the bathroom), and he had no infection, no other things, just lots of stress... it made him develop insomnia, things got complicated.

    Well, this NAET doctor.
    but find A GENUINE doctor, while he did not eliminate his problem completely, he truly worked wonders with his overall health, which helped him improve to the point of almost having his condition gone, still there a bit, but very manageable. So my husband allergies improved, his asthma is almost not there, he has not gotten a cold, insomnia, anything else in a year. He has been to the urologist, and takes one pill every other day for that, and some vitamins, he does not have certain foods, and exercises now a bit every day. But the alternative doctor has been a total BLESSING.

    You may all have allergies to foods that block your channels and result in those head aches. This doctor will treat your allergies one at a time, and once treated you can go back to eat whatever you want, but his unblocking or cleansing treatment WORKS.

    Forgive me, again. I never intended to advice you or offend you. Take it as my testimony of something that helped my husband with a chronic bother.

  3. Ladies, thank you for your kind suggestions! I am always glad to hear about therapies that have worked for others. Migraine is like childbirth: at once unique and individual. Different body chemistries respond differently. I myself tried chiropractic several years ago for about two years, to no avail. I've also researched and experimented with several homeopathic options with very little success.

    In the end, I went with the therapy that worked for several family members -- genetics again! -- and am now living a much more normal life. And I am so thankful.

    It's funny, too, because I tend to eschew medicine use, which irritates Himself when I have a cold! I'm a neti pot and peppermint tea kind of girl then. :-)

  4. Ellen, I'm so sorry to hear about this awful suffering. I have no advice to offer, but I'm sure that your girl, like you and your husband, will find ways to manage the problem. As I am discovering about ME/CFS, there is so very much that we humans don't understand about how our bodies work!

    Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog - I'm always happy to see your name there!

  5. Hi Ellen, I so hate that A is suffering like this. I'm really worried about M too because she is already (age 8) complaining about a "vibrating head" that causes her almost daily headaches. R just bought me a book called *Living with Migraine Disease* but so far (one chapter in and skimming) it has just made me more depressed. I've just started Amitryptiline on top of the seizure med Topomax as a preventive but I'm not sure they make much difference. I think the weather and allergies is my biggest problem along with hormones, which I've just had completely checked out. I'll tell you about it .... If you discover any breakthrough kid controls, let us know! The main point of the migraineur book is about being aggressive in finding a support network :(


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