Winning the daily battle

by Cat
(London, United Kingdom)

The Migraine Beast

The Migraine Beast

I had my first migraine at 14, but was not diagnosed until I was 24 when I started to experience visual aura as well as the pain. I am now 30, and six months ago my migraines developed into hemiplegic migraine with brain stem aura; I have attacks about twice a week when I cannot move or speak for three to five hours before the pain of the migraine begins.

I have battled constantly against the condition, which at its worst has caused me excruciating pain on five days a week. I am determined not to let migraines rule my life and have completed my university degree and law school and am now a practising financial crime lawyer. I have worked in the Houses of Parliament in London and on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. I am currently working from home on four days a week but with my migraine consultant and employer I have planned a program for returning to work and have started going into the office on one day a week. I look forward to being able to manage the hemiplegic migraine and brainstem aura so that I can get back to work full time and go out with my friends again.

At times I despair, when it seems I have tried every treatment and lifestyle change only to keep on having frequent migraines. I try to tackle one day at a time and make sure I recognise and appreciate any small achievement or joy each day. I am lucky to have a caring and supportive husband and understanding friends and family. I have lost count of the special celebrations and events I have had to miss over the years. I still arrange to go to them all. I always have something to look forward to and even though it is quite likely that a migraine will force me to cancel, I do not want to rule out the chance of going at all.

My current weapon against the migraines is botox, which I have injected every three months. I also stick to a strict regime of sleeping regular hours and eating and doing gentle exercise at regular times. I keep an emergency kit with me at all times, containing rizatriptan, a snack, a caffeinated fizzy drink, sunglasses, a sleep mask and noise-cancelling headphones. I also have a medical bracelet with key information on it about my condition in case I have an attack and cannot move or speak.

I often think of the millions of other sufferers out there and it is inspiring to read their stories, see their artwork and know that I am not alone.

The fight goes on!

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