My experience of living with migraine
By: Christine Seaton, who lives with migraine
I’m 32 now and I was in my early twenties when my migraine attacks started to get progressively worse. Back then, my treatment was essentially non-existent. I remember going to a GP who simply prescribed me co-codamol and I was on it for the longest time. Then after a while of not being able to cope I was eventually introduced to Triptans, specifically Rizatriptan.
I was told that due to the type of migraine I have, preventive treatment would be pointless. My new GP thought this was “insane” because it set back my treatment months if not years. It was only when my depression got worse and I saw my new GP just by chance that I got a different kind of healthcare. I got a GP that really helped me through my treatment and we got started on preventive medication. She was honestly a lifeline.
I was advised that it was a long road ahead. During the course of this time I discovered The Migraine Trust which really helped. It helped to educate me more on my condition and helped me educate others. It could explain things better than I ever could. It was through The Migraine Trust that I heard about calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) drugs being introduced and I spoke about this with my GP who reached out to the Neurology department on my behalf.
We had already worked our way through many a list of the preventive medications and Neurology got back with their criteria. I’ve now landed on Topiramate on the highest dose as it’s had the most even, if minimal, success (with the least side effects for me). I also got through the long waiting list to see Neurology and I am now there. We are trying the Botox treatment which has had mixed results for me. I see Neurology every three months for the treatment and keep a migraine diary. Prior to this I used an app called Migraine Buddy which was a good tool.
Living with menstrual migraine
I think my main struggle is menstrual migraines. I am on the mini pill which used to stop my cycle and occasionally still will but when I get a normal cycle my menstrual migraine will hit me like a truck. Although I feel the Botox has helped maybe any other possible unrelated migraines, the menstrual one is just an untamed beast. I recently read an article from The Migraine Trust that said menstrual migraine is less likely to be reactive to treatments which made me a little sad because for me it’s the migraine that comes with all the bells and whistles, such as aura and nausea etc, and often fills me with little hope for my future.
However, I do feel that compared to how things were when I started treatment, people with migraine like myself are now in a better spot. Five years ago if I was asked how I felt I wouldn’t have been positive. But now we have more treatments, more research is happening and our message is getting out there. My employer thankfully has been very supportive of me and without that I wouldn’t have managed. I hope that more and more employers out there support their staff with migraine who are having similar experiences.
I feel like I have given up a lot to my migraine. For example , just from being exhausted when I’ve been ill or from the medication. It really does take it out of you and a lot of people don’t really understand that. I choose not to drive for fear visual aura could spring up at any time and I am always tired.
Why I’m raising money for people with migraine
My Grandpa passed away recently and he always loved giving to charity and he has always inspired me to do good and give back. Part of what has encouraged me to fundraise again for The Migraine Trust and take part in the Virtual Easter Run is to keep his legacy alive and to give back to a charity that has helped in my lowest moments. I want to help them continue to do the amazing work that they do for people like me.
My best friend is doing the run with me and we’re doing it on Easter Sunday (which is also actually my birthday and I can’t think of a better way to spend it, and yes we are dressing up!) The Migraine Trust have for sure inspired me that there is hope and if I can help even a little by raising some money to aid them in the work they do then I have done my part.
You can support Christine’s fundraising here.