Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Migraine Story

For a long time I have debated about whether to post anything about my own headaches. I don't want to sound like I am whining, or that I expect your sympathy. On the other hand, maybe you need to know why I care. Maybe you need to know where I came from, and just how far I've come. Maybe you don't care how much I know until you know how much I care, to use an old cliche. So, I thought I would share a taste of my own experiences with you now.

As a child, I had nosebleeds due to vasodilation (blood vessel swelling) that had to be packed and cauterized in the emergency room because they would not stop. My nosebleeds were almost always followed by a headache. In adolescence, they were coupled with back pain and sinus symptoms, and many times I had flashing lights before a headache. Many people believed my headaches to be all in my head because they came daily. My doctor during my adolescent years diagnosed me with migraines, but when imitrex didn't work, she dismissed that diagnosis as a possibility and decided it was sinus. Let's be clear people, triptans do not work for everyone, and sinus symptoms happen during migraine. It was not my doctor's fault however. She was following what she was taught. Migraines are a big mystery in the health profession.

In college I inhaled every quick fix over the counter medication I could get my hands on, including lots of caffeine. This made pregnancy hard with my first child, and with my second child even worse. I took a lot of pain medication to bear through the pregnancy. I hoped my headaches would go away after my children were born, but they didn't. I still feel guilty for that experience as well. The first neurologist I saw decided giving me caffeine and a low-dose narcotic during pregnancy was the answer. The second one thought a more and more powerful narcotic was the answer each time I went to see him. I liked the third one. At least he addressed diet as an issue. The fourth one, my present neurologist, passes "Heal Your Headache" out to all of his migraine patients. I couldn't be happier with that office.

My symptoms have included loss of consciousness, nosebleeds, loss of feeling in my arms and legs on one side or the other, loss of eyesight for short periods of time, inability to remember conversations, extreme muscle tightness and tension all the way down my back and in my head, neck and shoulders, photophobia and phonophobia, depression, nausea, and the list goes on. Do I feel any of those symptoms now? I still have muscle tension, but not to the degree that I used to, and I get a headache once in a blue moon. I am much better due to the 1-2-3 program and the support network I have around me. I hope you, too, have found or will find relief.


  1. Heidi- I can't imagine living with all that. The thought of waking up every day in pain sounds miserable.

    I look forward to buying your cookbook- especially if all your recipes are as good as your artichoke dip and cake & icing ones!!!

  2. By the way, how do I find the recipes you had on here before? I'm not seeing them anywhere...

  3. Thanks Morgan. You are so kind. Go to www.migrainefreecooking.com for recipes. I thought this site might be getting a little crowded, so I had things moved around a bit.

  4. What preventive worked well for you? I am currently taking Depakote and it is making me REALLY tired! I am thinking about trying another preventative.

  5. Hi Robert, The tired feeling and other side effects of a preventive should hopefully wear off after you have been taking it for awhile. Diet is itself a preventive measure, so if you follow the diet and the other lifestyle changes stated in the 1-2-3 Program along with a preventive medication, it will work hopefully work better for you, and maybe you won't need to take as much. That is between you and your doctor, though. My preventive made me tired at first too, and I'm still a little tired, but I don't feel it as much anymore. I don't need to be on a very high dose either. Hope that helps. Thanks for posting.

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