I had my first migraine in kindergarten. My mom had migraines, and became sensitive to light and sound. She had to go in a dark room and close her eyes.
In school one day, I started feeling off. I had sharp head pain, and the lights were suddenly too bright. Everything was too loud.
”I think I have a migraine,” I said.
”Oh honey,” I was told, “migraines are serious. You just have a headache!”
That’s when I threw up.
I wasn’t diagnosed with migraines until middle school, when an ENT looked in my nose and ears and said “all clear. You’re just having migraines!”
Migraines followed me through life, mostly episodic. Sometimes I’d get one a month. Sometimes one a week. Then, in 2013, everything changed. I had chronic migraine.
Chronic migraine is defined as more than 15 migraine days out of a month. Sometimes I would have a migraine every day. I tried triptan after triptan and preventative drug after preventative drug. My neurologist decided it was all in my head— which, technically, it is— and I ran out of options.
During pregnancy, I had many fewer migraines.
Postpartum, it came back full force. Daily. Intractable. Migraines.
After waiting for at least eight months, I was able to see a headache specialist. She is a neurologist that specializes in weird and/or hard to treat headaches. She also deals with migraines, which meant that she immediately recognized me rolling my neck as a sign of impending migraine.
”I have good news,” she said. “You’re not shit outta luck.”
Really, that’s all I could hope for.
We started with low dose Diamox and a gabapentin prescription, and put in a pre-authorization request with my insurance for Botox. I went on a low tyramine diet. I upped my fluid and salt intakes.
I’m going to be honest, I didn’t have high hopes.
Then, two weeks after starting Diamox, I went kayaking. I realized something strange.
I didn’t have a headache.
Nornally, I would wake up with beginnings of a headache. By 10 or 11 a.m., I had a full blown migraine.
But it was 11 a.m., and I didn’t even have a headache.
I still have headaches more often than not, but not having a literal constant headache is amazing. I can get things done! I don’t just want the world to stop making noise!
Life without a headache is a dream.
That’s not to say I don’t have issues. Although I still have headaches every day (although usually not until the afternoon!), I also have to deal with Diamox side effects. These include soda tasting terrible, tingling in my hands and feet, and a worsened memory. I called crackers “bread rectangles,” y’all. The struggle is real.
I have hopes that my headaches will continue to improve over time, and I hope that Botox helps. I know it’s hit or miss, but I’m a good candidate, as I don’t have anything like Fibro that could be triggered by it. For now, I’m relishing my headache free hours.