One day, when I was six years old, my parents had taken me to see a film in the West End of London. We had gone out after for a meal. I always remember it. We had Fried Plaice, Fried Potatoes as it was in those days and Pease. You didn’t says chips! The next day I had some frightened sensations. My vision started to take on some very strange things. I called them moving blotches. When they stopped I got what I could only describe as pins and needles in my nose. They travelled up my nose down into my throat which went dead. Then the whole of one of my arms went dead. Then it started to throb, a bit like the blood pulsating through it until it came back to normal. Can you imagine what that was like for a six year old? I was near hysterical with fear. Mum told me “Don’t think about it and it will go away” That was her answer to everything. Dad, my wonderful lovely Dad did try to help but this was the days when you had to ring the Doctor and ask for him to make a house call and he would turn up hours later when he had finished surgery. Eventually he did came and gave me a Tranquiliser to knock me out.
“No idea” was his diagnosis “Probably just throwing a tantrum because you wouldn’t let her have any afters. (Known as pudding these days).
“She did” hissed my Dad. “She had an ice cream”
“Well that’s it then” snarled the Doctor “She’s too fat. Put her on a diet”
That was my first introduction to Migraine.
They got worse and worse and I would hit my head against the wall and beg someone to make the pain in my head go away but no it never did. Dad decided he would take me to the Doctor and ‘Tell’ him he wanted a proper investigation into what was wrong with me. Well that didn’t go as planned. I was stripped off, examined to within an inch of my life and the Doctor’s conclusion was – I was just born evil !
My Dad froze on the spot. I thought he was going to wallop the Doctor. Anyway we just had to live with it. Life for me was a hell on earth. I was i trouble with school because I missed so much due to these mystery headaches which the Headmistress said I was inventing. So Dad got around that one by sayiny “Well the next time she is down with one you or any Member of the staff you are welcome to come and watch”
Anyway the years passed and I just suffered. I became afraid to live a normal life of going out very much because it became ‘just in case’. I went to work with the Ministry of Defence, my first job. I still had them but not so bad and my Officers there were fantastic about them. If I got them I was taken to the First Aid Room. They let me rest and then sent me home.
One funny thing did happen though at the MOD. I’d make coffee as usual for my Officers and a cup for myself. Drunk mine, next thing I know, someone was bringing me round. It turned out that I’m allergic to coffee. Now I never knew that there was such a thing. Allergy to coffee? It’s not a listed allergy anywhere, but it does bring on a terrible migraine in my case. Bad enough that if I go somewhere, I had to take my own mug with me because I can’t even risk drinking out of a mug that might have had coffee in it – and believe me I’ve offended some people over that one in my time.
Next they told me that a D and C operation would cure me. It was all down to my period cycle. So I was admitted to Charing Cross Hospital and operated on. Did it help. Not in the slightest.
Then I changed my Doctor. My Doctor then became a gorgeous, older Irish Man called Doctor Counihan. One of those Doctors that you immediately fall in love with because he listens to you and believes you.
He put me on a trial drug for Migraine. He told me that there was no guarantee it would work because it was in it’s first stages and I had to inject myself when I got a migraine. I wasn’t a diabetic then so that scared me half to death. It was called Zomig. Anyway I tried it and it worked when I got an attack. It didn’t cure me but it did cut down the length. It got rid of all the side effects. Now it’s in tablet form. I take on pill when I feel an attack coming on and one after one hour and I go to bed, although if I’m on my own I can sit though them.
What I’m saying is that When people say oh Migraine is nothing – it bloody well is and tell them that!
It has ruled my life since I was a small child. I could have had so much more in my life. Done so much more. I’ve been very lucky, yes I will admit that but the shadow of Getting a migrain is always with me, sitting on my shoulder.
If you are reading this and you suffer from migraine or you know someone who does, and they need a bit of extra help and support get onto
The Migraine Trust
I got onto them when I was at my lowest and they helped me a lot.
Finally, if someone tells you that Migraine is only a headache and to stop moaning, just give then a gentle reminder that Migraine doesn’t respect anyone and it could always happen to them.