Thursday, 27 November 2014

Me, My Life and Migraines...

I have been wanting to write this post for a very long time and this cold Thursday afternoon seems like a good time to write my heart out! 

This is about Me. My Life and Migraines...

Roll back a few years to teenage Jade. 16 years old and in good health. No worries other than the odd school bickering and no allergies that she was aware of. Then one day she was reading/watching TV and she began to struggle to see. Checker board patterns filled her vision and the numbers on the page began to vanish partially. 

Rubbing her eyes she tried to figure out what was happening and then the headache came. The worst headache she had ever felt. Head throbbing, feeling nauseous, unable to see and now the most horrible part...the pins and needles. The left hand side of her body began to feel numb. Arm, leg and face all full of pins and needles and the worst was her tongue and throat was like it too.

Panicking she told her Mum what was happening and as the words came out she began to cry. She was so scared. 
Worried thoughts whizzed through her head...."What is wrong with me?" "What do I do?" "Am I going to die?!".

Flash forward 10 years. I am still here and what I had been suffering with was my very first migraine...the first of many. This illness has stayed with me through my teens into adulthood and the symptoms have never eased off. I have a migraine once every few months, one of the lucky ones compared to some sufferers but it doesn't make them any easier to cope with.

My Symptoms...

As mentioned my symptoms consist of the checker board 'aura', loss of vision, severe headache, numbness and nausea. I also have had vomiting and most recently and most terrifying was the speech difficulty and confusion. 

During my most recent attack I began to feel very confused, my brain wasn't processing information as it should have been and my words weren't coming out right. The more scared I became the worse it got and I experienced a horrible panic attack (something I have suffered with since I was pregnant with Ted). 

I was so scared I was having a stroke and I wouldn't be able to speak again. My life was literally flashing before my eyes as I imagined never being able to tell Ted I love him again. 

I cried.

As I was at work my colleagues calmed me down and the words came back to me. I had to get Joe to collect me and I went to bed as soon as I got home. Which leads me to the next part.

My Treatment...

I have seen several doctors about my migraines with most of them being quite unhelpful. I think there is still so little knowledge about migraines, their triggers and treatment that most GP's don't know how to handle them.

I was prescribed with some medication to take when I felt a migraine coming and after taking it started having palpitations. It was concluded I had an allergy to the meds and the GP advised to stop taking them (she didn't add this to my medical notes though..helpful!).

I was once referred to a neurologist who told me to keep a diary of what I eat etc to find a trigger. I discovered when I ate peanut butter I would have a migraine. This happened twice so isn't a confirmed trigger but I don't want to risk it so avoid it just in case. 

I have tried paracetamol, ibuprofen, Migraleve and co codamol all of which didn't ease the symptoms. The only thing I can do is sleep it off. When I sleep the headache eases and the other symptoms don't affect me. I don't know what else I can do but it works for me. 

My Daily Life...

I am not going to say migraines affect my day to day life because I get them every few months but when I do get an attack I have to drop everything. If I am at work I have to go home, if I am at home I have to get Joe to come home from work to have Ted. 

I also get what some people refer to as a 'Migraine Hangover'. After an attack my body is so drained from fighting it that I have no energy. I feel exhausted and pretty much how I would feel after a heavy night out but this can last for days after. 

In the lead up to a migraine I have noticed I feel very grouchy and out of character, I also struggle to concentrate on anything for any period of time. 

I have racked up so many sick days at work due to my migraines and have missed out on special occasions too! 

My Worries...

I am a worrier. I always have been. You can imagine the things going through my head when an attack happens but the worries don't just stay there. I am scared Ted will get my migraines as I recently discovered they are genetic and my littlest sister suffers from them as did my Granddad. 

I used to worry constantly about losing my job due to sickness days and my managers total lack of understanding of my condition. Luckily my new manager is so supportive and another colleague also gets migraines so they are very caring. 

I don't know how my migraines will affect me in the future, I once read online that the more migraines you have the more likely you are to have a stroke in later life....thank you internet I really needed to hear that! 

Nobody seems to understand that migraines are not just 'headaches'. The term is loosely thrown around when someone gets a bad headache and most people don't appreciate how painful and scary they can really be.

Migraines and Me Now...

Since my last attack I have been seeing a new doctor. She is so nice and really seems to want to help me. I was concerned my attacks could be triggered by stress as things have got on top of me over the past few months and the panic attacks/anxiety also became more frequent. She has referred me to a councillor for some help with managing my stress levels and hopefully in turn my migraines. 

I think I am probably always going to have migraines and I am learning to live with them. I just wish people understood the condition more, I want to raise awareness of a great charity called The Migraine Trust

"The Migraine Trust seeks to empower, inform, and support those affected by migraine while educating health professionals and actively funding and disseminating research."

This isn't a sponsored post or endorsed by them in any way I just want to share what great support they offer. They are a charity that doesn't get a great deal of support and I hope that I can help raise some money for them in the coming months!


  1. Gosh Jade, it sounds awful. It must be really scary for you, and it certainly disrupts your life, even if it is only every couple of months. I hope the new doctor can suggest something that helps.

    1. Thank you Kate, it really isn't nice but I think I get more upset that nobody understands it. It took a long time for friends and family to really get what I go through and now my little sister has it :( xx

  2. You have just described my life and my migraines down to the T. It's awful isn't it?! I get aura migraines with numbness too. It terrifies me.

    1. Aw no, so sorry to hear you have them too. Nice that we're not alone though isn't it! Have you found any triggers/treatments? xx

  3. I had horrendous migraines when I was pregnant with T. The first time I thought I was dying and went to A&E. I couldn't see, couldn't walk straight and my head felt like it was being ripped apart from inside. I really feel for you lovely x

    1. So scary isn't it? I think they need to do so much more research in to them!

  4. Oh Jade it sounds awful. I had a lot of them when I was a teen however I rarely get them now. I hope they find something that will help!

  5. I feel for you! I too have suffered since being a teenager and came incredibly close to losing my job at my last job before kids - the only thing that saved me was getting pregnant as they backed off in a hurry! I have been diagnosed with chronic daily migraine - at my worst I was having 3 or 4 a week - as well as chronic tension headache and cluster headache. They are horrible to deal with, even mild ones, so I just wanted to say I understand totally - it's not just a headache, and they can be terrifying, especially when you are alone with your kid(s) and nobody is around to help you parent. Big hugs!

    1. Oh Zoe mine seem like nothing compared to that! It is so awful that they don't get treated like a proper medical condition :( xx

  6. Hello!
    Just wanted to say I've suffered from migraines just like yours for 12 years now (I'm 24!). I get the numbness, loss of speech, confusion, paralysis of my arm, loss of sight, nausea, the 'hangover' - the lot, every time!
    Last September i had the worst attack I've ever had - it struck at work and after being taken home I was visited by the on-call doctor and eventually taken into hospital. Since then I was having weekly severe attacks, saw various doctors and neurologists, had MRIs and was prescribed loads of different medication.
    As a last option (an option that the neurologist suggested wouldn't help) I went for Accupuncture.
    It has changed my life.
    From taking 4 prescribed pills a day (and 3more during an attack) and having an attack pretty much weekly, the migraines immediately stopped. I came off my medication completely and since that day in the beginning of April I've only had 1 minor attack (between my 4th and 5th session).
    I don't think it's very regularly recommended by doctors (no idea why!) but I had a total of 6 sessions and since my last session, 2 months ago, I've not had a single attack!
    Please give it a go, I hope it works out for you like it has done with me!!


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