Claire’s story

Everyone always used to say "it’s just a headache" but you know your own body

I have had migraine since I was 35, but wasn’t diagnosed by a neurologist until I was about 40.

Claire Harris

My journey

Everyone always used to say “it’s just a headache” but you know your own body and I could tell it wasn’t normal. The migraine were too frequent and painful. I had a hysterectomy when I was 35 and then you get comments “oh its hormonal, it’s your age” etc.

I was eventually referred to see a neurologist and eventually when they checked my headache diaries it was confirmed as chronic migraine. I eventually felt normal, if that makes sense.

I have been having Botox injections now for about four years. I have tried various medications but nothing was working. I have now just started on candesartan but feel that these haven’t helped yet.

Living with migraine

Migraine is debilitating, I have lost time off work due to them, and sometimes weekends are spoilt because I need to go to bed.

I struggle with flashing lights, loss of sight, sound and pain. A few days before an attack I can get warning signs such as I don’t feel I can take things in or sounds affects me. Sometimes there is no warning and it just happens.

The next day after a migraine attack feels like a hangover (which I can say I don’t get now because I don’t drink alcohol) and always takes time to recover from, feel very lethargic and unable to do anything other than rest.

Working with migraine

I work for the NHS and I am a medical secretary.

There are many times I am at work and an attack comes on and I know I need to go home. My employers are aware of the diagnosis.

Until someone suffers as frequently as I do I don’t think they understand. (I wouldn’t wish these on anyone)

I would advise people who think their headaches are different to get help, as you can’t suffer in silence the way I did. I guess I listened too much to other people stating that they were just hormonal and headaches.

I still get support from my neurologist and nurse and have three monthly injections of Botox.

Hopefully I will outgrow these but we will never know, but for now, I have to deal with them
as and when.

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.