Alice’s Migraine Diagnosis Story
I suffer from chronic migraines, and I have suffered from these migraines since about the age of 10 or 11. It's not something that I have suffered from all of my life. It's been developing from a young age, and I'm still learning how to deal with it and how I can deal with my symptoms.
I was in year five at school, and I was about 10 or 11. I used to come home from school feeling sick and with headaches, and I didn't know why. I had quite a few occasions while I was at school when my head would hurt, and I would end up having to be sick.
I didn't have any other symptoms than that, and we didn't know what it was. So after a little while and a few months, we noticed a bit of a pattern, and we decided to go and get my eyes tested. And it turns out that my eyesight wasn't perfect. It wasn't super awful, but it wasn't perfect.
So my optician decided to give me glasses and told me that I needed to wear them whenever I read, whenever I was on a computer screen or anything that involved concentrating and up close working. So I have been wearing my glasses to help with my migraines since the age of 10 or 11.
I can't remember officially going to the doctors for my migraines or my official diagnosis until I got into secondary school. I was probably around the age of 12 or 13 when I started my GCSEs.
We were doing formal examinations, and I used to get migraines. I remember in secondary school that was when my auras would make an appearance.
An aura is a sensation that signifies that you're going to have a migraine. For me, my eyesight goes blurry on one side, and that's how it started.
I remember being in a lesson and my vision went weird, and it scared me, and I ended up with a migraine. So that was the sign of my migraines developing.
At this point, we decided that it was time for me to go to a doctor and see something about it.
I found out that dad also suffers from migraines, but stopped experiencing them as he became older. So it turns out that I have inherited it from my dad I guess.
Learning to Cope
So we already knew that it was a migraine without a formal diagnosis, but we wanted to try and treat the effects of it because of me going into my big exams. So I remember going to the doctors and asking for something that could deal with my migraines.
So they gave me a sumatriptan medicine and a preventative. At the time, I was about 14 years-old, and the doctor's told me that the preventative could make me gain weight.
As a 14-year-old, that was not something that I wanted to do, so I took the preventative probably about two weeks and then decided I didn't like it anymore.
I just stuck to the remedy that hopefully would fix a migraine once it had like happened.
Now at this point, when I officially definitely had migraines because my doctors had seen that, and they prescribed me medicine to try and fix it rather than me just using over-the-counter stuff because the over-the-counter stuff just wasn't strong enough anymore as they were developing.
I managed to get through my GCSEs, my big exams, and I just about managed to get through them with only a few migraines. I had to drop some of my exams because of it, but we got through that, and I managed to get excellent grades on my GCSEs.
It still seemed to develop a little bit more. I remember once having a migraine, and I got pins and needles in my hand. Just one hand and on the side of my face, and initially I thought it was because I had been lying on my hand, so I made it numb.
And it turns out it wasn't. That's another aura with the migraines, as well as the eyesight problem; I also got pins and needles in my hands. That one scared me a lot more than the eyesight one because I could like physically feel it.
That is my diagnosis story. It wasn't like a one-day thing when I went to the doctors, and they were like "that's it, you suffer from migraines."
It was more of a gradual development over time of just some headaches, headaches and vomiting, weird eyesight, and then tingly fingers, and lastly, finally trying and hopefully learning to deal with it all.
So it has developed over time, but I've also developed ways of dealing with it over time, and I can sense the signals pretty soon.