Gordon's story

“I remember being very frightened, I thought I was having a stroke”

Gordon Nellins

I am a single parent with two teenage boys. I work full time and I am permanently exhausted. I don’t sleep very well if at all, so I am constantly tired and grumpy…my company is rarely sought!

The big plus is that my boys are fabulous.

Recently, unfortunately, my oldest boy has started to complain of migraines. It breaks my heart to think of him suffering the way I have for most of my life. I can only hope for his sake that there is a cure out there waiting to be discovered sooner rather than later.

When they started

I was seventeen when I had my first full blown migraine. I remember it so clearly. One of the few clear memories I have from my younger years (I’m not sure if my memory loss is as a direct result of the migraines).

I remember being very frightened, I thought I was having a stroke.

Looking back I know I was suffering various symptoms of migraine throughout my childhood without understanding what was wrong with me!

As most migraine sufferers will tell you the only slight relief available during an attack is complete darkness. My migraines come in cycles and lately that means daily.

Managing my migraine

I can’t afford to lose my job, so I must work around the migraines as much as possible.

Over the years I have met with the ‘experts’ and tried all prescribed medicines; none of which have had any effect.

I use aspirin to try to manage my migraines. Manage is probably the wrong word, what aspirin can sometimes do is to delay the migraine for a couple of hours.

What else works? The only other thing that has had any positive effect for me was acupuncture. Unfortunately the effects are short lived and daily treatment is impractical and expensive.

Migraines are not just physically debilitating but also mentally destructive. I can become impatient, grumpy, angry and very frustrated.

All migraine sufferers know the detrimental effect migraines have on work, relationships and confidence.

My migraine

There are many triggers including coffee, air pressure, cheese, chocolate, alcohol, tiredness, but they are just triggers. What I mean by that is that even if I avoid all triggers I will still have a migraine; what a trigger will do is change when I have a migraine.

My symptoms include broken vision (it’s like looking at everything in a broken mirror that is constantly moving) and loss of feeling usually in my face and fingers. These symptoms normally go hand in hand with an inability to think clearly or recall common words or people’s names. Highly embarrassing!

No sooner do I begin to rejoice at the return of my ability to think and see, than the pain kicks in…and I do mean kicks in…I imagine it is a similar experience to having a large man in hob-nailed boots kicking my head!

I will leave you with that imagine as that is how I feel most of the time!

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.