Kate’s experience of episodic and chronic migraine

My life was governed by the constant fear something I did would set one off

I have always struggled with migraine

They became so severe around 15 years ago that I was signed off work for three months, withdrew from all painkillers due to overuse and started to learn to negotiate adult life as someone with migraine.

I then had no attacks while pregnant and only a few between the two children.

Return of my migraine attacks

It wasn’t until around two years ago that they returned with a vengeance. Vision loss, inability to speak or think properly, exhaustion to the point of collapse, nausea, vomiting and a thumping head, so painful that it must surely be something more serious than a migraine.

My life was governed by the constant fear something I did would set one off. Bad attacks could last seven days or longer, while battling through working life.

Getting into running

I had major surgery a few years ago, which left me unable to exercise. It has been a mountain to climb to get back to fitness and I started running, unable to continue for more than 30 seconds.

I turned 40 and wanted to celebrate it with a positive event, to show how far I have come, so I committed to running 100km in a month.

I chose to support The Migraine Trust because, at my darkest point, I found the website and it led me to the right people who helped me see that I could start to try to regain control.

Migraine ruins lives. Millions of people’s lives. And yet so many people really know so little about them.

A balancing act

I now regularly run 20 miles or more a week. It’s a constant balancing act between the exercise helping to stave off the migraine and getting the hydration/nutrition wrong and triggering an attack but, as I get stronger and learn how my body responds, I’m getting better at managing it. The impact on my life has been incredible.

My attacks are less frequent and shorter. I don’t take any preventive medication and, if I get an attack, I can normally get by with strategic use of basic painkillers. If I have more than a couple of rest days it can kick an attack off.

Running keeps me on an even keel. I have built up very slowly to allow my body to adapt – initially I got a migraine after most runs – but at one stage I never would have thought I could manage my migraine enough to achieve something like this. And I have!