Thursday, March 1, 2012

Guest Blogger!!--Lisa Cheatham

I met Lisa on a migraine forum, and we soon discovered that our migraine journeys are very similar.  Lisa is a mother and a long-time migraine-sufferer, like me, like a lot of us. Talking with her on the forum, knowing that she understands exactly what I am talking about, and having the opportunity to share our struggles, experiences and stories has been a real source of inspiration and strength for me. I knew that I wanted her to share her story on my blog and was super-jazzed when she agreed. So, I'll stop blathering on now. Here is Lisa's story...

The first time I ever got a true migraine I was 12. I was with a sitter while my mother worked and all I remember was that entire day my eyes kept going a little weird. That there, was my aura.

As the day progressed, I became increasingly sensitive to light and sound, and was very nauseous. I remember the babysitter's daughter was listening to music as we rode in her van, and with every beat of the song I felt like I was going to die. It sounds dramatic, but at the point the migraine was in full force and it seemed as though the music couldn't get any louder . Eventually we arrived back to her house and I found solace at the foot of the toilet. I don't remember anything after that.

I started getting these migraines a few times a year after that. I cannot pinpoint exactly when they got worse.

A few times a year turned into a few times a month.

A few times a month turned into a few times a week.

Eleven years later, I am a 23 year old single mother and suddenly what I thought to be "my normal" has turned into one long drawn out cycle of a chronic headache. I do have pain free days, don't get me wrong, but it is short lived and I am back to being in pain and all of the other symptoms that go along with it. I am always thinking about head pain, and scheduling around it... just in case.
My migraines can last from a few hours to a few days, and since I get multiple migraines a week they tend to run together. It becomes a constant battle to break the cycle. If I don't have a migraine, there is a decent chance I have a low grade headache for the heck of it... I guess that's my body's cruel way of reminding me it has the upper hand... and that a bad one could be lurking at any time. The joke is on me at all times. 

Nowadays they start with blurry vision and a tired eye feeling. This sign could very easily be overlooked if I haven't become such a pro at this! I get flashes of light in my peripheral vision, like streaks of city lights, that would be captured in a photo from a moving car.  

Pounding pain. Every noise I hear will coincide with a severe thump inside my head, and bright lights make it feel like someone is pressing their thumbs into my eyes. I will have some numbness/tingling in my arms and legs, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. This is my normal migraine, give or take the vomiting because if I am lucky and medicate in time then I can beat the vomiting.

As if my normal migraines weren't pleasant enough to deal with I also have what I call my "monster migraines". These have trickier symptoms in addition to the above such as stumbling when walking, slurred speech, passing out, my left arm becomes VERY heavy. They are almost like stroke symptoms.

As of now I am on the preventative Topamax. I was against it for years but after seeing a neurologist I figured I would kick the tires, so far I don't feel that it has helped my headaches. 

I go through my abortive drugs in no time at the beginning of the month, and am left begging at the doorstep of my family doctor for samples. Good thing my family doctor is the most wonderful and caring doctor I have had yet, he usually helps me out no problem. I use the triptans maxalt, imitrex, or relpax as an abortive. Due to their cost, insurance companies only cover 9 pills. Nine pills are only enough typically enough for 4.5 migraines. For a chronic migraineur, it doesn't go far. Many times I take a triptan with 800-1000 mg ibuprofen.
For the migraines that stick around and do not go away, the next step is a toradol IM injection from my family doctor's office. If their office is closed, urgent care centers may be open. If urgent care centers are closed then I sit around at home until it is bad enough to go to the ER and then they give me IV fluids, toradol, and compazine.                                                  By, Lisa Cheatham


1 comment:

  1. Lisa-Thanks, again, for doing this and, hopefully, we can get you to come back and write more stuff for the blog in the future... : )

    Oh, and, I hope you do better on Topamax than I have!