Vicky's story

I once had a migraine when I was driving which was scary

Vicky Staples

I was on the school bus aged 14 when my friend asked me what I was doing because I was trying to crawl under the seat! This may seem funny but it wasn’t at the time. I was scared, I had lost the vision in one of my eyes and was starting to lose the feeling in my fingers. The bus was loud and I believed crawling under the seat would help! It wasn’t till later my mum told me that what had happened to me was a migraine.

This was not to be a one off occurrence and I have suffered regularly since. They are not a bad headache which many people think. For me they are painful and debilitating attacks. I have migraine with auras so I will lose my vision, then the feeling down one side of my body and then I will lose the ability to speak which is not great when you are trying to tell people what is happening to you. I then will have a severe headache that will leave me unable to function. For a few days after even brushing my hair can be difficult as my head is tender from the swelling.

Treating my migraine

In my twenties I was put on beta blockers to help prevent migraines. They left me lacking energy and in the end I came off them. I chose to live with the effects of an attack and work my way through a variety of migraine relief medicines instead.

In my thirties after having a brain scan, due to increased attacks, I was put on Pitzofen to prevent migraines. It has an unfortunate side effect of weight gain and for somebody who has struggled with their weight for over 25 years this was not great. At times I had to up my dose especially when I was stressed with my work (I was teaching at the time). I was also worried about constantly taking medication but the doctor said you wouldn’t take an inhaler from an asthma sufferer and this is a similar in that it’s a life long condition.

Stress is a trigger

My migraines tend to come after a period of stress in my life and this is one of the reasons why I have left teaching so hopefully I will have less stressful periods in my life.

In December 2018, my doctor took me off Pitzofen and but me back on beta blockers. I cried, remembering when I was on this medication before. However, it has been mostly positive and I’ve only suffered a few attacks since but I have noticed that I have lost weight, which is positive.

I know that people suffer worse migraines than me so in some ways I am lucky. I just would like a positive breakthrough into what causes people to have a migraine and then hopefully a permanent cure can be found. This would be life changing to the six million of us who suffer. Many of us don’t know when an attack may happen. I once had one when I was driving which was scary and I had to pull over to wait for my vision return before I could get home.

Raising funds for research

I ran the Greater Manchester Marathon to raise funds for migraine research. It was a personal challenge. It took me out of my comfort zone but it helps knowing I can help make a difference to a charity that is close to my heart.

I want to thank you for reading my story, spreading the word about migraine helps non sufferers understand what happens when an attack happens. I also want to thank my family and friends who have been with me when I have been unable to function due to an attack and looked after me.

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.