My story begins when I was roughly 5-6 years old. My mother had taken me to see our doctor when I complained of seeing “lightening” on clear, cloudless, thunder free days. I am not sure how quickly these turned into full blown migraines, accompanied by the usual symptoms, but by the time I had reached middle school (9 years old) I was suffering badly and having a considerable amount of time off from school. Even at this age, it had an effect on my social and emotional development as I missed out on so much.
My mother had tried excluding certain foods from my diet, like chocolate and spices and gone down the route of homeopathic remedies. The usual routine just involved going to bed in a dark room, a cold compress, burning aromatherapy oils and seeing the migraine out!
When I was old enough, tablets began being prescribed. It started with just doses of paracetamol (which barely took the edge off of the attacks). I have had numerous medications and the best results I had were 50% effective.
Over the years it has affected work, relationships and confidence. Many things trigger my migraines including smell (cigarette smoke is the worst), thundery weather, foods such as oranges, cheese, rice and wheat. Alcohol has to be kept to an absolute minimum and if I do not have enough sleep that can also end in a migraine attack.
My symptoms usually start with neck pain on the right side, followed by nausea and severe eye pain in the right eye. It is accompanied by strobe-like flashing and vomiting. Pain on the right side of my head is severe.
The attacks used to last a day when I was younger, but developed into occasionally spreading over 2-3 days if they were extremely bad. The frequency has also changed. From younger years suffering with maybe one every other month, to now having 4-6 attacks per month.
My husband has been very supportive and knows exactly how to handle an attack. As a mother of two (our daughter is 10 and son 8 1/2), it does make me feel useless. I do feel like a strain on my family, even though everything is under control when I have a migraine.
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.