My migraines had taken over. The frequency of my attacks had reached an all time high. I was spending so much of my life just trying to get through each day. Any moments I found to lay down and shut my eyes were capitalized upon. Many times, I could not push through and canceled plans. I was not well. I celebrated the days when I was headache free as they seemed rare. Although I hadn’t been diagnosed yet, my migraines were chronic, meaning 15 or more headache days per month.
I sought relief with an appointment at my Internal Medicine doctor. Since one of my symptoms during a migraine attack was extreme pressure in my sinuses, my doctor leaned towards allergies. Maybe it was just allergies. Maybe I wasn’t experiencing migraines, maybe I was having sinus headaches. Ok doc, I’m willing to humor you. Just make this go away!
When over-the-counter allergy medicines failed, I was referred to an Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor. They did allergy testing and scans. I chuckled when they told me I was allergic to trees. Whenever someone asked me what triggered my migraines, I would respond “Oxygen”. Guess I wasn’t too far off. The scans of my sinuses showed a deviated septum which “might” be the cause to why I was feeling pressure in one specific area. The nurse and doctor assured me the surgery wasn’t that bad and were encouraging that I might find relief.
My mother traveled to Pennsylvania to be with me during some of the recovery. She took me to the hospital where I would be sedated and the doctor would shave off part of my septum. Of course as I lay there recovering from anesthesia, a migraine attack starts. The nurse gave me really good drugs without any questions. Whew! Can I get some of those to go please?
While the surgery wasn’t that bad (because I was under anesthesia), the recovery was disgusting. I’ll let you imagine the details. The icing on the cake was the final part of the recovery when they removed the splints in my nose.
Google “Nasal Splint Removal”. How they actually got those things up my nose in the first place, I’ll never know.
The relief I thought I gained from the surgery was short-lived. The headaches returned. Still on this “may be allergies” kick, I tried Zyrtec and even ventured into doing sinus rinses. I must not have done those right because hours later the rinse would come pouring out of my face if I bent over.
A year after surgery, my migraines were still present. I learned to function as best I could with them present, but sometimes had to admit defeat and find darkness. This couldn’t be how I had to live my life. There had to be a solution. I was not done fighting. Back to the doctor.
Next up was blood work. Inconclusive. Nothing pointed to why I was having headaches. Debilitating headaches.
I began to expand my search for remedies outside of my doctor’s office. Clearly, he was not helping. I read articles; I attended a seminar on migraines put on by the medical center in my town. I learned that medicine used to treat Epilepsy was also helpful in treating migraines. I learned that migraine could present itself as a long list of symptoms, not just a headache. I learned I was not crazy or overreacting.
I needed a doctor who actually believed I was having migraines. I was taking medicine from previous ailments and surgeries, cough syrup with Codeine in it to help me sleep and when that was gone, I took NyQuil. I tried Vicodin, but quickly started needing more and realized that was not a path I needed to go down.
My doctor eventually prescribed me Fiorinal, a combination of aspirin, butalbital, and caffeine. The dosage? Take as needed every few hours. That’s it. No guidance on how this drug can be addictive or can cause rebound headaches or even that there is a limit on how many you can take. But it worked. And I had a giant bottle. My sinus pressure would dissolve, the aches in my body, ears, and teeth would subside, and my head would stop hurting. Even though I was excited to have my magic pills, I was always open to trying anything to help me live a more normal life.
So I tried acupuncture. My insurance covered the procedure, so I found a therapist in network and scheduled an appointment. O.M.G. This wacka-doodle of a lady decided that the root of my migraines was due to my cycle (or lack thereof) and that my hormones needed to be reset. It was horribly painful. Why did the needles go so deep?! She left me alone in a dark room with tears streaming down my face for 30 or so minutes as whatever triggers she hit opened the flood gates. I cried the whole drive home and called my friend sobbing. “What is wrong with me? I can’t stop crying and now I’m going to get a headache!” I cried for about 3 days and knew I wasn’t continuing treatment. I’ll stick with chiropractic and massage thank you very much!
A trip down memory lane! So many things I forgot and so many posts about my headaches.
Facebook posts from 2012 – 2014 highlighting my struggle with migraine.