A lot of people in my family are prone to photo-sensitivity in many forms. My brother and I are known as "sun-sneezers", and when I'm having a hard time getting that sneeze to come to me, I look into a light at different angles, and I can usually make it come out. Unfortunately, this doesn't MAKE me sneeze...I kind of need that "tickle" to be there.
That having been said, I've had migraines since about 2004, when I was 14 years old. All through high school, I tried changing my diet; my mom helped me do a vegetarian diet, a dairy-free diet, even vegan for a while...and that was terrible on me. I'm apparently quite the carnivore, but I am also severely anemic. My least favorite bit of diet change was eliminating caffeine from my diet (except from OTC meds). No dice.
Another unfavorable factor in my quest to find the cause of my migraines, was to change the amount of sleep I got. When I started having them, I was sleeping 9 hours a night. For an adolescent, that's fine. I tried changing my sleeping patterns in college, since I did a lot of diet changes in high school. Since it was favorable at the time to sleep a bit less, I decided to try 6 hours of sleep, which seemed to work well for about 4 weeks. Of course, college is a bit stressful, so after that, I decided to try more sleep. 11 hours a night didn't change anything, but I definitely felt lazy.
I've always been mildly active; never too sedentary. As they have increased so much in the last few years, I haven't been as active. Exertion is a trigger for me. I live on the third floor of an apartment building, and the stairs have not been getting easier. I typically don't carry anything up with me; not even my purse, or my son. My boyfriend typically does this because by the time I'm on the third floor, I need to brace myself on a wall. I have tried to "walk it off" and to take them slowly. It's not uncommon for me to go straight into the bathroom because the way my heart pounds in my head makes me feel sick.
I've taken a few different brands of birth control pills to try and control my migraines, and most of them made me sick to my stomach. I pushed through taking them until I wasn't sick anymore. After that initial bit of being sick, and realizing that they didn't work, I moved on to another, by my doctor's instruction, and tried 4 different brands of birth control total during high school.
For a while, my doctor had me take Imitrex. I was instructed to take it before getting a migraine. Unfortunately, I don't have any type of aura, aside from the occasional ocular pain, but that's only minutes from a migraine arriving. When I told my doctor that, she told me to update my eyeglass prescription. I did as instructed and I had no decrease in severity, frequency, nor did my ocular pain disappear.
My mother also has severe migraines. She frequently gets sinus infections and has many allergies. I, on the other hand, have no allergies, and only got sinus infections until I moved out of her house, as she is a smoker.
I have had attacks triggered by sharp sounds...such as a metal bowl hitting a tile floor. After only months of working in a restaurant, I learned how to catch them very quickly before they could make that sound. Sometimes light triggers an attack, which is hilarious, because I live in Florida. Sharp, strong smells trigger attacks as well. Hitting my head on something, of course, can be a trigger.
Even on days where I have the rare opportunity to stay at home and relax, mostly lounging around on the couch, the bed, or the floor, I still get a migraine. Recently, they have only been getting worse. Usually reaching peak severity around 9pm.
The pain usually occurs on one side of my head, in the temple-area, and above my eyebrows. My eyes and the surrounding area feel sore.
Sneezing offers a few seconds of relief, sometimes. Multiple sneezes, too close together cause me pain, though. I am more sensitive to light, and I frequently wear sunglasses when it's bright in my apartment. I always wear them outside. I rarely drive now, so I also will just cover my eyes with my hand, which blocks out more light.
My only means of receiving comfort during an attack is by using ice packs on my forehead, and sometimes on the back of my neck. I am always laying in bed at the point where I need these. This is usually by 7, on the scale of 1-10. By 8, I'm losing my lunch. When my boyfriend asks if I need anything, I usually reply with asking for a gun. By 9, I'm crying and wanting to go the hospital. By 10, I'm at the hospital.
One time that I went to the hospital, they drew blood, did a CT scan, and gave me a shot. I have no idea what it was, but it was effective for about a week...possibly two. All of their tests showed nothing wrong. In my senior year of high school, my doctor determined that I had been faking my migraines the whole time and that the only cure was to stop faking them.
The other times I went to the hospital, I didn't receive a shot, or anything. They drew blood, told me nothing was wrong, and sent me home. I believe this is because of my age, and the hospitals were all owned by the same group, sharing the same records.
I am very much at a loss of what to do, what direction to go to find a doctor that will help me further. At the moment, I don't have insurance...but the new year is coming up. Even when my migraine isn't very bad, it always gets worse. I work 40 hours a week, and I expend a lot of energy all at once to pretend that I feel okay. Sometimes, even with my best effort, I can't hide how much pain I'm in. I have a one year-old...there's no escaping taking care of him, no matter how bad I feel.
My self-esteem is gone...I feel really useless to everyone because I have been taking about one day off from work each week for the last couple of months, or just going home early.
I rarely have a day where I'm migraine-free. My life isn't stressful. I'm happy, I'm doing well at work. Sure, I put school on hold, but that's not causing me any stress. My son is beautiful and healthy, and my boyfriend and I are very much in love.
Where I'm at now is getting 2-3 migraines a week, with lots of rebound headaches. I usually try to take something early, whether it be the "migraine" OTC medications, or a Fioricet, which are completely ineffective now. I try to get these into me before they become too severe.
The screen brightness is down on every electronic that I handle. I have people turn it down for me before I even look at it; this means, my TV, laptops, PCs, work computer, cell phones, tablets...everything. I take every measure that I can.
Sometimes, I feel like I don't care anymore. I feel that no matter what I do, I'm going to get a migraine. So, I carry groceries up the stairs, or I carry my son up the stairs. By doing these things, by not asking for help when I do need it, I'm negatively impacting my relationship with my boyfriend.
I know that this is very, very long-winded, but I'm starting to get scared.