December 21, 2011

there were days i just wanted to throw my head away and find a new one...

i said last week that i'd talk about migraines this week, so here we go
{probably if you've never had a migraine, this will bore you to death}
i started getting migraines back when i was a teenager, although i think then, we just thought they were really bad headaches, even though my dad was a migraine sufferer.

into my twenties they kept coming and by my thirties i knew that my hormones played a huge part of how i was feeling. right before and right after my monthly period, WHAM. they would hit with such force that often i was incapacitated.

by forty, i was really keeping track of what was causing the god awful pain and realized there were multiple triggers. 
chocolate, the smell of cologne/perfume, nitrates and hormones {still} 
many other things i had to go back and think about
 as i laid in a fetal position, moaning.
"maybe it was the aged cheese" "maybe it was eating too late" "maybe it was just stress"
"maybe it was the bright sun" "maybe it was the change in weather"

i tried many prescription migraine pain relievers and eventually built up a tolerance to the one i lived with the most, midrin. after a few months of acupuncture, the migraines were still there, but my medication in decreased doses, was working again.

then they started again. stronger and more frequently.
i had turned 46 and read that my hormones being all over the place due to peri menopause, was without question, the number one cause of my now, twice a week, migraines.

i was desperate. 
fortunately for me the day i went to see my doctor, she was out, but her nurse practitioner saw me and realized how desperate i truly was. this is not to say that my doctor wouldn't of also seen my desperation, but sometimes i think things happen for a reason.

she said that she truly believed i needed to be put on a preventative and how they can be a tricky thing to prescribe and not everything works for everyone, but that she was going to do her best.

to the rescue.
a drug by the name of amitriptyline. typically used for depression she told me, but in low doses was found to prevent migraines. i said GIVE IT TO ME. she warned me it might not work and that the playing game would begin to find something else that would, but that we'd cross our fingers that this would be my miracle.

and it was.
for five months now, i've been taking 25mg of amitriptyline right before bed every night and have had four migraines during that time, that were bad, but i had the strength to deal with them.

one of the side effects of this medication is that it can make you sleepy. 
to me that's not a side effect, that's a win win situation.
it also causes dry mouth, which i have really noticed. but when you're a migraine sufferer, a side effect like dry mouth, is easy to live with.

to this day, i still have triggers though and perfumes and anything with a florally scent are the number one things that about kill me. 
i have to use unscented laundry detergent. i can't wear perfume unless it's a natural oil based one from aveda and even then i rarely do. my hubby can't wear cologne. 
well he could, but i'd never get close to him and that would suck.

i can't sit near someone who has perfume or cologne on in a plane, or a movie theater or in my car. 
some hand soaps are too strong for me. air fresheners, forget about it.

so for any of you who suffer from migraines, i know your pain. 
and for those of you living with someone who is a migraine sufferer, their pain is real.
don't ever doubt how miserable they feel at any given time.

now with my story out there, i pray that if you are a sufferer and still looking for a cure,
that you can at least try "my drug" and see what happens.


  1. I have had friends in the past who lived with migraines and I know how debilitating they can be. GOOD that you found a medication that is helping so much. I'm sure during this season, with overwhelming fragrances everywhere you go, it's especially tricky.

    Thanks for sharing your personal story.

  2. i am glad you are getting relief!

    my husband has asthma/allergies so reacts to soaps, lotions, perfumes, etc. as well. we are a no cologne family.

  3. Whew! That's a lot to go through. I have only had a couple migraines and so I can just imagine how awful it would be to have them often. My daughter has migraines, I will tell her to read your post.

  4. Good, Beth, that you have some relief. I had a friend who had migranes, blacked out the room and went to bed with them. I've seen it's devastation. xo Jenny

  5. Preventive if the only way to go. I know 2 people who take beta blockers to prevent migraine and they work. Yes, every now and then a migraine will slip in but it's never as bad as it used to be.

    My youngest suffered with these for years and he might now be outgrowing them. Stress was always a big one for him and not enough or too much sleep. It's a balancing act isn't it, trying to isolate what causes them...but in fact, I think the brain is just programmed that way and there's nothing you can pinpoint as to "why".

    I think I've had them as father and my sister suffered with them and I'd say they are hereditary. I have had some so very bad I could barely lift my head and always thought they were sinus, but in fact, I'm more convinced now that they have been migraine.

    And I'm glad to know about the scents and perfumes...noted my dear!!!! ♥

  6. I've dealt with migraines but very rarely are they they intensity that classic migraine sufferers get. And like you, the meds that worked, lost their effect. I didn't know there was a preventative on the market. I'm so glad you have been able to gain control of your migraines.

  7. I am so glad you found something that is helping you get relief, Lovely One ! Here is to good medicine ! Cheers !

  8. OMG- you could be my migraine twin!! Exact same triggers, timeline and medicine. Pick me up off the floor because I just fell off my chair. My doctors thought I was crazy for YEARS when I told them they had something to do with my periods, or cheese or wine. I wanted to cry with relief when they finally acknowledged that hormones have something to do with them. I am sending you a private email. Thank you for posting this!!

  9. I am absolutely with you on this one, amitryptiline 10 mg was prescribed for me when I was having alot of body pain and wasn't sleeping well. The drug is awesome. Also I used to have 'killer type' headaches and would pray someone would just put me out of my suffering, since I had a hysterectomy I have had NO headaches for over 10 years. NONE.
    so it probably IS hormone related also cannot have scented anything, soaps, perfumes NOTHING. Even glade air 'things' do me IN.
    Life is ok other than all that.

  10. right there with you beth...every month (except for when i was pregnant!!). have dealt with these for 18 years...i completely get it!!!!!

  11. I really didn't know this about you, and my heart breaks just reading it. I have had some bad headaches, and one that sent me to my doctor in my early 20's, but thank the Lord, have never suffered from migraines. I'm so sorry that you do, but glad that you found something that helps.

  12. Beth, Yes I am also a migraine sufferer since my teens. And I too am on Elavil (amyitriptyline) though for my spinal condition as it helps with my chronic nerve pain in my legs at night. I remember questioning the Dr. saying, "Isn't this a antidepressant?" He said, "Yes, but doesn't your back make you depressed too?" For me, it has been a win, win, win, win! No more migraines, cramping legs, I am sleeping better, and it has helped with my depression over my spinal condition. Thank you for posting this Beth. We forget sometimes how sharing our stories can help others.

  13. I have followed your blog for awhile.......Kate of Country Girl mentioned to me your post about headaches.
    I have had a headache for 8 weeks........oh, do I ever understand what you are talking about.

  14. Five months pain free is fantastic. So glad you found a manageable solution for you, Beth.

    Wishing you a happy, healthy and photo-filled Christmas. xoxoxo jj

  15. I'm so glad that things have picked up! I started getting migraines when I was 11, and I STILL get them! But since I had acupuncture some years ago I no longer have intense pain, and they are less frequent. I still feel nauseous though, and my vision goes to pieces - zig zaggy lights etc etc. It's totally debilitating and I hate it, but live with it. Your pain sounds unbearable - I hope that the recent relief is sustained. xxx

  16. dear beth, i take this risk of sounding wise and simplistic!! But DO TRY this. go for a walk in the open, for 30 minutes everyday ... alone. i hope the weather in your city permits this. if it doesn't try walking indoors! no treadmill please!!

  17. WOW...that sucks Beth...I can't imagine what cronic migranes would be like. I hope this new drug continues to work...hormones can really do a number on us...thinkin of you.

  18. i'm SO glad you've found something that is helping you... and that you shared it so someone else can perhaps benefit. if they ever discover anything for my disease i'll be sure to follow your example and let others know, because sometimes that's what it takes to get the info to the people who need it.


**I love reading the comments you leave, as they make me feel like we're sitting in my kitchen, having a cup of tea, discussing life and wondering where all the time has gone ...beth