Journal of Migraine Sufferers

Hi! My name is Lisa. I get one migraine a month, that lasts for 8 to 17 days straight. When I say straight, I mean it doesn't break for five minutes. I have gone to inpatient migraine clinics at Johns Hopkins Hospital here in Maryland. And have also seen other numerous headache specialists. Every doctor has the same opionion. I have uncontrolable severe migraines. Nothing prevents them, nothing aborts them. And I do mean NOTHING. My doctors and I have tried everything from the oldfashioned to the newest trends and everything fails. I've had every test under the sun. Still everything points to migraine. I have finally found a doctor that is so wonderful. He doesn't treat me like I'm a pain in the neck when I call him. And I think that he can really relate, mostly because his wife(who is also a doctor) get's migraines also. Anyway, he has been my doctor for about two years now. He works hard in treating the pain. Which means that I take MSIR (morphine sulfate, immediate release) for the first three or four days. Then I switch to MSContin(morhpine sulfate continuous release) for a few more days until I can deal with the pain. When I tell people this, I get a negative reaction from most. I know the risks involved. But I also know that I have three children and a husband to consider. I had to give up my carreer because of the migraines. After all, who wants an employee that misses two or more weeks a month from his or her job, right? I'm on a strict migraine diet, but, the only thing that I have noticed that really triggers a headache is caffeine. My doctor and I keep open minds when it comes to new migraine help. And as long as he feels that it is safe we give it a try. Imitrex caused me a two week stay in the hospital. I had an adverse reaction to it. The Ladocane nose spray did nothing. I'm not ashamed to admit that I see a physchologist to help me deal with the pain. Hypnosis failed also, but it really helps just to talk with him. I deal with it emotionally now alot better than I did in the past. Is there anyone else that gets migraines this way. I mean, it's awful for anyone to have to suffer this torture for even five minutes. But, sometimes I feel like I'm from another planet. I know that every migraine sufferer is different, but I'd really like to hear from anyone that nothing seems to help. Sorry, for the long letter. I just received another e-mail from someone who totally disagrees with me treating my pain the way that I am forced to do. And since I'm not feeling well today, and I'm about due for my migraine I'm feeling a little anxious and don't feel much like being blasted. Again, I know the risks involved, but I also have a life to try to live as normal as possible. I hope that everyone is migraine free.

---Take care, Lisa

My daughter is only 2 years old and has been diagnosed with migraines. Since the age of 1 year and 3 months, she gets a migraine once a month, every month. It reminds me of a menstrual cycle. Because of her young age, she can't really describe what she is going through. Here is what I observe: blinking of the eyes - I get the sense that she's trying to focus or is dizzy, her head gets really hot at this particular time and she vomits. Now that she is two, she tells me at this time that her head hurts. Her EEG came out normal. What perplexes me the most is her very predictable monthly attack.

In between she seems perfectly well. Do you think she could have a hormonal imbalance? Please comment with any opinions. Thank you very much!

I've been getting classical migraines since I was 18. Migraines run in my family; my sister gets them even worse than I do.

If I take Motrin the minute I start seeing the aura, the pain is bearable. What disturbs me most about migraine is not the headache but that visual aura with the flashing zigzags that precedes it. Is there a way to get rid of the aura?

I'd also like to know if you heard of any association between migraine and motion sickness. I get the latter quite bad in the city where there are lots of stops and starts. I think I read something to this effect somewhere, but want to get more information.

Thanks for everything.

---Marla Comm

I really do appreciate the stories from other migrane sufferers. I hope that my story will bring some relief or comfort to someone else.

I have suffered from migranes since I was 36 years old and am now 60. For the first ten years I actually didn't even know I had migranes. I thought I simply was getting the flu much more frequently than other people, since vomiting and fainting accompanied the fierce pain in my left temple and left side of my neck.

About 7 years ago the migranes began to come as frequently as once a week. I tried many of the prescription drugs but those that did not make me ill were not that helpful. Then I began to use Imitrex in the injection form. It worked perfectly for about a year. But then the rebound migrane would occur 24 hours after I used Imitrex and I was using far too much Imitrex to be safe.

I tried bio-feedback but was unsuccessful. I went to a pain clinic where I was introduced to hypnosis. The headaches became less frequent for a few months but I didn't seem to have the self-confidence that is needed for successful bio-feedback or hypnosis.

A few months ago I began a therapy called "Rolfing". The Rolfing is very painful and expensive but I really do think it helped me. The migranes no longer begin at the base of the left side of my neck nor do they move up to the left temple as they always have before. They settle on the top of my head with much less throbbing than before. At the same time I began taking magnesium (500 mg) because of some literature that I read. The headaches have definitely reduced in intensity and in frequency. In fact, I can now read and teach my college classes even though I have the migrane.

I still use the Imitrex if a migrane is going to interfere with some work that I absolutely must do, or a professional meeting, or a social occasion. But if the rebound occurs and I have the time and privacy to be ill, I let it come and live through it. Today my doctor suggested that I try a nasal spray called "Stadol". She said that it has not been effective as a pain relief for men but that women have found it to be remarkably successful. I haven't tried it yet but any little bit of relief is wonderful. If I hadn't read these messages I would not have known that Imitrex can become less helpful because of the rebound effect. I use it much less frequently now.


I am a 49 year old male who has suffered from Classic, frequent migraine since I was 11 years old. Until November of 1978, my migraines were adequately managed by Cafergot. I would take two cafergot at the beginning of my aura and usually the migraine would abort. Unfortunately, in 1978, I suffered a heart attack from a relatively rare condition known as Prinzmetal's Angina (spastic constriction of the coronary artery). All ergotamines (as well as Imitrex) are counterindicated in Prinzmetal's suffers. To add fuel to my particular "Catch 22", on those occasions that I suffer a bout of angina, the only effective treatment is nitroglycerine which inevitably and immediately triggers a migraine for me. In the past, I have tried just about every traditional and alternative medical treatment for my migraines as are available. At the risk of boring you, I have tried biofeedback, yoga, accupuncture, transcendental meditation, hypnotism, all of the NSAID's, Depakote, Xanax, the panolopy of SSRI's, thorazine, lithium, exercise regimens, Bellergal, Fiorinal, MAO Inhibitors, the whole spectrum of classic anti-depressants, Lydocaine drip, a dental appliance -- any many other medications -- all to no avail. I suffer from a migraine at intervals running from once every other day to as infrequent as only weekly. About 3 or 4 times a year, I enter "status migraine" and must be hospitalized for treatment. Once I was prohibited from taking the ergotamines, I found that the only effective treatment for my migraines is massive doses of demerol and phenergan (or demerol and vistiral). As you can well imagine, Doctors and Emergency Rooms are loath to treat me with narcotics. Instead, they feel much more comfortable treating me as a criminal (my crime, of course, is having developed a disease that causes chronic pain). I should add that my migraines are hereditary, my father and all of his siblings as well as his mother suffered from the same condition.

As I write this letter, I am in the throes of a migraine that has lasted 2 days. The ER I regularly visit has made it clear to me that they won't treat me more often than once a month. Between the exquisite pain, the enormous burden of being made to feel like a criminal, the lack of effective support from "caregivers" (what a hypocritical phrase), and the exhaustion I feel, I have decided to go up stairs into my bathroom, get into my bath, open my arteries at my wrists, and bring a final end to my pain. I must go do it now, so that I will complete my suicide before my wife returns from work around 6:30 PM.

Thank you for having given me the opportunity to vent my spleen just one final time. If you believe that my suffering and end will serve to enlighten the medical community to the disservice that they force upon us, feel free to use my letter.

Good bye.

Editor's Note: I was asked by the author of this letter to pass on the following information:

...feel free to let all the kind people who have inquired about me know that I am not suicidal (thanks to your's and their help) and the intervention of a psychiatrist who is more understanding about my need for pain medication then my other doctors.

My journey into the world of migraines began my junior year of college (1991) while I was living in England on a Junior Year Abroad program. I began getting classical migraines daily, with no apparent trigger for onset or daily episodes. I moved back home, because I needed help in daily functioning, etc. My neurologist at the time tried propranolol (to which I had a horrible reaction) and cafergot (to which I had no response). I began working with a psychiatrist in the area, mostly because I felt that I had nothing to lose, and probably everything to gain by tring an alternative technique. We did relaxation techniques, hypnosis and meditation. It worked like a charm, and I was able to discontinue the medication shortly after I began working with him. Although there were few apparent stressors in my life at the time, other than the debiliatating headaches, I found that these techniques worked for me, in spite of my belief that migraines are more than a simple stress reaction. I went into remission for 5 years, during which time I had a total of 3 headaches. These were easily treated with a shot of Imitrex.

Now, I'm a 25-year-old graduate student, highly stressed to say the least, and I'm having a new syndrome. I get the usual aura, personality change, chills, and tingling sensations, sometimes nausea, followed by NO HEADACHE.

The doc diagnosed it as Migraine Aura without Headache, and put me on a calcium-channel blocker (not working) and midrin for episodes (also not working). I started the psychological treatments again, and I hope that they will soon begin to decrease my headache frequency as before. I'd love to hear from others who suffer from the Aura symptoms without a headache afterward. My address is sclechner