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My First Blog Post

Wondering why this was a good idea and then remembering..

So, why start a blog post about my migraines? Well this is a question I am still asking myself….

I mean really, do I really want to spend my free time (rare and valuable migraine free time) writing about the one thing in my life that at times makes me utterly miserable, bed-ridden and as of recently; a jibbering mess unable to form even vaugely coherent sentences?

So do I? Do I really? Well, yes actually I really do. Because  Migraines are a different experience for all migraineurs. We have different triggers, we suffer different symptoms and we even suffer different types of migraines. Just because something hasn’t worked for me, doesn’t mean it might not work fantastically well for someone else. And if I can help others find even a little relief in their Migraine journeys, well then that would make it all worth it.

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A Trip to A&E…the second time

Only once before have I been to A&E with a migraine. And I always said never ever EVER again. Despite being told by the 111 operator that the symptoms I was describing were similar to that of a stroke and to get my butt to A&E asap to get checked out. Every single person I had interaction with there, from the receptionist to the doctors I saw, made me feel like I was just wasting their time and NHS resources.

After 3 hours sat in a waiting room with lights so bright for my poor migrainey self that I may as well have been sat on the sun. They did tests and ascertained that it wasn’t a stroke and was ‘just’ a migraine that had ‘transformed’ and was giving me different symptoms due to some new meds I was on (hhhmmm…). And so they gave me aspirin. ASPIRIN!?!?!? And sent me away. Cheers.

So last week my parents said midway through my third week of daily migraine hell (more to come on this) that enough was enough. The multiple GP’s at my GP surgery I had spoken to weren’t doing anything and my parents were so concerned as my speech had been affected (which isn’t one of my normal symptoms) that they were taking me to A&E, I just wasn’t well enough to refuse.

Despite me being barely unable to stand or speak to her, the receptionist eyed me coolly and snootily asked if I had seen a GP because ‘GP’s deal with HEADACHES not A&E’. The triage nurse was no better. He may as well have shouted ‘time waster’ and rolled his eyes at me as he sat there, sighing and huffing and puffing away as I sat doubled over in the chair in pain, trying to form my words into ‘normal people’ sentences to explain that I was in the midst of the worst pain of my ENTIRE Migraine history.

To be continued when I am pain free and not in week four of migraine hell…

The ‘Cefaly’

‘the vibrating head device’

After joining the Migraine Buddy app, I noticed several people had started mentioning something called their ‘Cefaly’. A few people had gone as far as to say that they could now not live without whatever this ‘Cefaly’ was. This intrigued me greatly. After a fair bit of Googling my own Cefaly was soon winging its way to me. It’s pretty costly at £249, but in the UK you can try it for 2 months and if not satisfied you can return it during this ‘cooling off period’ and they refund  £200.  Here is my review.

What is it? The Cefaly is in my mind basically like a mini Tens machine that you wear on your head. The Cefaly emits pulses via an electrode stimulating the trigeminal nerve across your forehead. According to their website this can lead to a reduction in migraines of 50% and a reduction in medication of 75%.

So how do you use it?  You stick the sticky electrode to your head, attach the Cefaly  (it has tiny magnets and sticks to the electrode) and turn it on one of 3 programmes; one to stop a migraine attack in process, one for prevention and one for stress reduction. Each programme lasts for 20 minutes. The website recommends you use it for 20 minutes daily as a preventative and then if you have a migraine you can use it on the migraine attack programme.

What does it feel like?  Now this is difficult to describe, I have never tried a traditional tens machine so am unable to compare them. I referred to it to my friends and family as my vibrating head device…as to me it felt like the inside of my head was vibrating. There was also a sensation similar to pins and needles and as the programme intensity increased almost a feeling of pressure in my head. The muscles in my head also felt like they were getting tighter and tighter. It wasn’t exactly painful, nor was it particularly comfortable. However as time went on and I got used to it, I actually started to describe the migraine prevention setting as quite relaxing.

Did it work for me? I ended up returning the device at the end of the cooling off period and claiming my refund. The preventative programme certainly didnt seem to be helping prevent my migraines during the time I tried it. Generally the migraine in process programme didn’t get rid of the migraine, however whilst the device was on mid migraine and vibrating away, it appeared to somewhat ease the pain I was in for the 20minutes the programme lasted. However the second it finished, pain was back full force. You can repeat the programme, but I tend to want to sleep if possible during a migraine and a vibrating head device isn’t particularly conducive to sleep.

My other main issue is my migraines tend to start overnight whilst I’m asleep so similar to the issue I have with abortive meds, unless I used the Cefaly right at the first signs of a migraine, then nothing will touch it.

Would I recommend it? Despite it not working for me I would say yes its worth a go. Due to reading others positive reviews and the fact that you can try for 2 months for £49 and get £200 back I think if like me you are desperate then yes give it a go.

One point to mention though, it only comes with one electrode, meant to last 20 uses. I found after only about 6 it was really losing its stick and as it’s approx £20 to order 3 more electrodes this would start to really add up the £££. So after some Googling I invested in some tens wipes that prep the skin and also a tens gel that makes the electrode sticky again. I do have quite greasy skin though so it may just be me that got through the electrodes so rapidly.

 

My First Ever Migraine

Speedy run through of the history of my migraines.

I will always remember my first migraine. I was in Year 4 (approx 8 years old) and had been looking forward to the School Disco for weeks and weeks; ticket bought, outfit chosen, dance moves practised, I could not wait!

And apparently neither could my first ever migraine which decided to appear mere minutes before I was due to leave for the aforementioned disco. Until this point in my childhood, I had suffered mild headaches. But this first migraine, well, just wow, I had felt nothing like the pain, it was excruciating! My mum tucked me up in her bed with a cold flannel on my head and told me in no uncertain terms to ‘join the club’, as all the females on her side of the family have all suffered migraines. Lucky lucky me.

And I was lucky as I then had a further 4 or 5 years of no more than mild headaches. Until the age of 13 hit. Oh dear, that was a bad bad time. I spent so much time at school in the sick bay that I might as well have set up permanent camp and done all my lessons from there.

I got sent to my first ever Neurologist who said, as my mum had thought that yes, I was showing the classic symptoms of episodic migraine. Being 13, and a pain, I had yet to work out how to sucessfully swallow pills without a massive overdramatic display of choking and gagging on them. So was sent off with a prescription for Sanomigran in liquid form (a 13 year old let loose with a thick gloopy medicine led to my carpet enjoying tbe vile taste of the medicine as me).

And 18 years later I now know how to swallow tablets but am now a sufferer of Chronic Migraine.