Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Years with Migraines: 34
Occupation: Small business owner
How long have you had migraines?
I am 39 years old. I have had migraines since age 5. I didn’t really get decent treatment until I was in my mid thirties and a doctor finally prescribed a sumatriptan.
When do you usually get migraines?
Hormones and weather are triggers. Red wine can also be a trigger if one of those other factors is present. Exercising will sometimes give me a migraine too.
What have you tried pre-Cefaly?
I’ve been on a merry go round of medications, trying to figure out what would help to reduce the frequency and severity. My medicine cabinet looks like a pharmacy with a host of preventatives that didn’t work, rescue medications, and over the counter medications. Sometimes I feel like I ought to have earned an honorary pharmacy degree at this point.
I keep data on my migraines to help identify triggers and to help determine which medications and treatments are working, and which aren’t, because I have a lousy memory for such details.
In August of 2015, I had 17 migraines. It was brutal. I went to urgent care twice. At that time, I was on two preventatives (an anticonvulsant and a tricyclic antidepressant) and I was experiencing some really terrible side effects from both. In particular, the tricyclic antidepressant caused dry mouth so severe that I could hold water in my mouth and still feel thirsty. It was ridiculous. I was licking my lips and teeth all the time like an old person. I could barely function to take care of my three kids (ages 9, 8, and 4 at the time). I had to rely on friends and family to handle a lot of the “back to school” stuff for me, because I spent the majority of the month in bed or in excruciating pain.
My neurologist was ready to try neurotoxin injections as I had run out of options. With my (very good) health insurance, it was still going to be quite costly. Also, it would involve dozens of injections and if it didn’t work I would just have to deal with it until the medicine wore off 3 months later. I read about people who suffered terribly from side effects from these injections. I was really hesitant to take this step, but I was desperate.
What does your migraine feel like?
A lot of the times it feels like someone has hit me on the back of my head with a baseball bat – not the initial hit but the pain and ache you would feel just after. I also feel a stabbing sensation in one eye.
How did you hear about Cefaly?
I had heard of the Cefaly from a friend whose friend was using it successfully, but I was nervous about the price. My friend convinced me, though, that paying $350 once for something that didn’t involve dozens of shots was better than paying a sizable amount of money every 3 months for the injections. I was very skeptical, but after speaking with a Cefaly user who said it had “changed her life,” I decided to postpone the treatment of injections and try Cefaly.
I received my Cefaly on September 15, 2015. At first it was uncomfortable to use and the very first time it triggered a headache. I thought I had wasted $350. I didn’t believe that it could really make a difference. However, it started to work almost immediately. That very first month I only had six migraines, and the highest intensity was a 6 (not the 8s and 9s that had sent me to the urgent care for a shot of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory the previous month). I thought, “Ok, I’ve had good months before… This could be an anomaly,” but I kept using it.
Then in October I thought I was pregnant, so I immediately discontinued both of my preventatives and continued with the Cefaly. I was sure that I would start seeing an increase in migraines, but that month I only had 5. Again, the most severe was a level 6.
Between October 22 and November 26 I enjoyed my first 30+ day stretch without a migraine in years. In fact, I hadn’t gone that long without a migraine since I was pregnant. I had three migraine days at the end of November (probably due to the stress of hosting Thanksgiving, and the change in my diet) and the most severe was a 6.
In December I had two migraines – one on December 1 and one on December 29. The most severe was a 6.
January brought a lot of emotional upheaval and a lot of weather. I had 8 migraine days and the most severe was an 8. I also was unable to use the Cefaly for a period of time due to sinus congestion (I couldn’t deal with the vibrating on a stuffy nose).
In February I made significant dietary changes – giving up gluten and sugar – I had 9 migraine days, but the most severe was a 6. Most of them were “baby migraines” – level 3 or so.
Between February 20 and March 22 I enjoyed another +30 day stretch without migraines. The dietary changes started working. I only had a migraine during my menstrual period in March, which lasted four days. The severity was between 4 and 6. I’m working with my doctor to supplement my progesterone (which is low) and she is hopeful that doing that, along with the dietary changes I’ve made, and the Cefaly, will keep me migraine free.
What’s your Cefaly experience like?
To go from 17 days of migraines in a month to four is a LIFE-CHANGING difference. Again, the 8s and 9s I was experiencing before have been reduced to 4s, 5s, and 6s. Both the frequency and severity have been reduced, which is miraculous when you consider the fact that I am no longer on any daily preventative medications! Not only have I been spared all that suffering, the device has more than paid for itself in terms of the co-pays that I haven’t had to pay ($15 per prescription, if not more… $100 at urgent care each time… $20 per doctor’s visit…).
My last doctor was the one who prescribed the Cefaly (he’s moving so I’ve switched) and he and my new doctor have both prescribed Cefaly to their patients on my recommendation. Three of my friends/relatives are using it now, because of me. I tell everyone who mentions migraines to me that they have to try it – even sales clerks and other strangers I never would have believed the difference it could make in my life without side-effects. I wish I hadn’t been so skeptical and waited so long to buy one.
What made you want to share your story?
I am so grateful to your company. You’ve given me my life back.
Want to share your story too? We’d love to hear from you! Please send an email to m DOT coder AT cefaly DOT us. Please include your name, contact information, and let us know where you’re located so we can set up a good time to talk.
If you’re wondering if Cefaly is right for you, click here for more information and, of course, check with your doctor.