My Migraine Story: In Honor of #GivingTuesday

Today, I’m putting migraine on the map (you can see my face where Colorado is located on the map above). 

You may not know that I struggle with chronic migraine but people like me fight silent battles each day. In fact, this debilitating neurological disease affects more than 39 million Americans–almost 12% of the population or 1 in 8 Americans.

I have suffered from migraine attacks and cervical headaches my entire life. Though starting 12 years ago, I began to have more frequent attacks. After a car accident 7 years ago, the disease became debilitating–with 15-30 attacks a month. 

During a migraine attack, I’m unable to think or form complete sentences. Normal levels of noise and light are so intensified that I feel I’m in the midst of an air raid. I am often unable to see out of one eye or everything goes blurry or dark. I feel nauseous, flushed, and dizzy. The only thing I can do during an attack is find a dark, quiet room where I can lay down and block out everything. I typically wrap a heating pad tightly around my head to calm the stabbing pain and throbbing pulses that accompany migraine.

I frequently have to cancel plans and it has affected my ability to work outside the home. Especially during an attack, I feel weak and like a failure. It leads to disappointment among my family and friends, coworkers and other volunteers; it isolates me from the ones I love. Migraine is a difficult disease to understand because I don’t look sick and others can’t see my pain. 

I have been on an intense 3 1/2 year journey to reduce the number and intensity of migraine attacks, in hopes of improving my health and quality of life. I am now down to 5-10 attacks per month, thanks to:

• God’s grace and the prayers and support of my family and friends

• the amazing physical therapists at Specialized Physical Therapy in Littleton (especially Jess, Taylor, and Alex)–who have given me hope and are helping to heal me and make me stronger

• my neurologist, primary care physician, and behavioral health counselor–who help me with ways to cope with the pain

• as well as, information provided by groups like the American Migraine Foundation (AMF) and the National Headache Foundation (

If it weren’t for the advocacy and research of AMF, new preventative and rescue medications that specifically target the treatment and prevention of migraine might not have been developed. I take one such medication and for me it’s a game-changer. I no longer live in fear of a migraine attack because I now have a rescue medication that I  can trust to stop the attack.

Research for migraine is so important as it can lead to improved treatments and diagnoses, as it has for me. Some day, I hope these discoveries will lead to the total elimination of migraine. Please donate to the American Migraine Foundation to make a difference for migraine sufferers like me and for our community.

#migraine #AMF #GivingTuesday #hopeinsuffering

About mdesmarteau

Leader. Collaborator. Creator. Problem Solver. Encourager. Advocate. Writer. Wife. Mother. Friend.
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