Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc. is pleased to present Part Six in our continuing series. Written by Peggy Artman
My journey with migraine began when I started having what I believed to be sinus headaches. I went through a phase where I caught a lot of upper respiratory viruses, which turned into sinus infections. I had pain in my sinus areas, such as my cheeks and forehead. I also had pain behind my eyes and tightness in my neck. Since I was busy with my career, most of the time, I went to walk-in clinics. After some time passed, I started feeling like I had one constant sinus infection with nausea and dizziness. That is when I finally started seeking help from ENT doctors. Those doctors prescribed antibiotics and a steroid dose pack. Then, this seemed to work well enough to keep me functioning. However, after a while, these treatments stopped working. So I continued seeking care, and I had many CT scans of my sinuses, which all showed that I was clear. In fact, the doctors noticed I didn’t even have sinus cavities in my forehead. After a while, dizziness was a constant companion with my other symptoms. I finally gave up on ENT doctors because they told me they couldn’t help me anymore.
So I went on with life, still struggling along, but surviving. I think I had episodic migraine attacks at first. I was so miserable that I tried special diets and other complementary treatments, but none of those treatments made any difference. The years went on, and ten years later, I was still struggling with a lot of pain. I was so frustrated that I gave up for a while. Then after another year or so, I decided to take matters into my own hands and demand the sinus surgery. I found a new ENT that had a completely different attitude about my situation than my previous doctors did. He was very kind and was willing to help me figure out what was going on. First, I had another CT scan of my sinuses. The CT scan showed no abnormalities. Then he gave me an exam to check my ears for vestibular disorders. We talked about the misery of my symptoms, including the dizziness, and then he recommended I see a neurologist for migraine disease.
The neurologist confirmed that I had migraine disease, and I was so excited at the opportunity to be able to do something new about the miserable pain I was feeling. This neurologist prescribed a preventive medication and a triptan. I did lots of research online to learn as much as I could about migraine disease. I found some online support groups. I started participating and learned so much during that time. As time went on, it became evident that my migraine attacks were going to be complicated to treat since I didn’t respond well to medications.
As of now, I have chronic migraine disease. It has not been easy. I had to give up my career. I continue having to give up on doing some fun things with my family and friends. Eventually, my life felt so small. Now I try to focus on doing what I can do each day to fill my life with purpose and to take care of myself on the bad days. I still wish I could work. I miss being around other people, but I discovered that working in migraine advocacy and helping others is very rewarding. It is an exciting time for those with migraine disease because new treatment options are available. It is satisfying to be in a group of other migraine advocates where we know we are not alone.
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