Carol's story


My name is Carol and I am 54. I had my first migraine when I was six years old. My mother always said it was because I got over excited as I was being a bridesmaid. I was indeed excited I’m sure but that didn’t last for long as after the ceremony I was laying across chairs in a corner in agony crying.

I then got migraines quite regularly, often on a Saturday when I went shopping with my mum and we went to a cafe and I ate cheese biscuits. My mum was certain that the cheese biscuits caused a migraine.

I had many episodes whilst at school and trying to get home on a bus and being sick on the bus was some of the most awful experiences I went through but no humiliation ever equalled the immense pain. It made me want to rip my eyes out and it made me cry like a baby and I have never been a person to cry particularly.

I found that people just did not understand or even care as they would just say it was a headache. Nothing could be further from the truth, it is no headache. I had a headache once and it doesn’t even touch the sides of a migraine.

Once I reached the age of working they just became harder to manage and the work place was even less understanding. I reached a new low of humiliation once when I ran to the work toilets to be sick. I made it up to the third floor, ran in and just as I reached the toilets slipped just to miss the toilet. This then infuriated my personal manager and work went downhill until I was made redundant when I was three months pregnant.

This was quite a turning point for me as I found I was not getting migraines once pregnant and was in the best of health. I have had four children and every time I was pregnant I never suffered migraines. So I personally have concluded from this that my migraines are mostly hormonal.

I have been menopausal for quite a few years now and my migraines got significantly worse. My periods became non-stop and so did my migraines. I was waking everyday in the early hours with a pounding head so bad I couldn’t talk or move. I would just have silent tears running down my face. A living hell I would tell anyone who listened. Luckily for the last 17 years I have been prescribed sumatriptan and as long as I get one down me quickly I can feel better within an hour but sometimes it is just too late. I have always found that a hot water bottle on my head helped in a soothing kind of way but alas not good for my hair after so many hot bottles on my head. I now have the Mirena coil and that has helped in reducing my migraines slightly but I am still suffering.

I have had times I’m ashamed to say that I wish I wasn’t here. When that pain hits and you are being sick and your speech gets muddled and you know you could have at best hours of the pain at worst days of pain it all seems too unbearable. It ruins your life and others around you. I cannot travel as this starts one off. I cannot wear or bear being near people with perfume on as that starts one. I cannot cope with being out of routine or being late to bed. I cannot eat much cheese. I cannot allow myself to get hungry as that’s a trigger. Migraines rule my life.
I can be driving and suddenly I get non-stop yawning and I know a migraine is coming. It often starts with non-stop yawning. I find I cannot speak properly as I cannot find the right words to say. My head just gets fuzzy.

A life of migraines, there is really nothing worse.

The views and opinions expressed in this ‘Migraine story’ are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Migraine Trust.