Tammy’s Migraine Story

Written by Tammy Berg for Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc

My first experience with migraine was around the age of twenty-five (not sure about migraine and all they entailed) I went to the hospital. I was given my first shot of Demerol. For the next couple of years, I had them reoccurring about the same time as my menstrual cycle. Then they started to get worse and trips to the emergency room became more frequent, so much so that I got red flagged.

I was not sure at this point what a migraine really was. In my thirties when I started to see a doctor on a regular basis is when he diagnosed me with migraine. This was an awfully long process, it started with a food journal and learning if I had any food triggers. For thirty days I had to write down everything that went into my mouth. I learned of a couple triggers in this category such as milk chocolate, MSG, and red wine. Then we moved onto environmental triggers. My first trigger was flowers and their scent, then perfumes. For about ten years, it was a trial and error with so many medicines. In that time, I went to a neurologist and was just given more medicine and a feeling like you only have headache.

I got to a point where I just wanted to give up after no one believed me. I started missing family events, going on trips and work. I would commit to things and then end up not going and people starting not to invite me. This led to other issues within my life like anxiety and depression. When I finally got diagnosed with migraine I was in my late thirties. I found that migraine is a genetic neurological disease and is hereditary.

I was not diagnosed with chronic migraine until about the age of forty. During this time is when I had discovered more of my triggers and that my body was one of them. My hormones are never at a level place which causes a migraine attack. The hormonal treatments made them worse. I learned that the change in weather patterns triggers an attack. It was nice to know that I finally had a reason for all this, and I was not just suffering from a headache.

I am almost fifty now and still try new medicine and different treatments, some are helpful while others provide no relief. I currently cannot work as I am not reliable. I told my last employer I cannot control migraine, or how they affect me. I have tried several new medications and some work for a time then just stop. This journey is very frustrating, and I am glad I have a good support team. I still suffer to this day and am trying to get disability.

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