My migraine condition began 20 years ago. At first the migraines would happen infrequently, but over time they became progressively worse, until they affected my entire life.
When they began, just once or twice a year, I would simply take over-the-counter pain relief, and they didn’t bother me too much.
From the year 2000, I was on daily over-the-counter painkillers to get through the day, and would collapse into bed or onto the lounge after getting home from work.
By 2010, the migraines were severe, and they happened every day. I twice collapsed at work, and had to give it up. I’d worked in the same field for 32 years, and it gave me a lot of satisfaction. Being forced to retire was very difficult to accept.
I had numerous tests and scans, with one saying my brain was ‘normal’, and I went on very strict diets, to try to find some trigger for the pain.
For two years, I orbited from the bed to the lounge. I couldn’t work, and I couldn’t do almost anything else. I couldn’t participate in family life, and I didn’t even see my parents because I couldn’t sit in the car for two hours to get there.
My condition was so severe that in 2012 I was admitted to the Royal North Shore Hospital, and that’s when I met Professor Michael Cousins. He recommended a trial nerve stimulator, which provided an enormous amount of pain relief, so I had a permanent nerve stimulator implanted some weeks later.
I still get headaches and I still need medication, but the pain is less severe and I now have two to three pain-free days a week. I’m not cured but I’m a lot better.
Today I still find it difficult to live with pain, and it still impacts on my life, but I have learned to accept it.