Location: Milton, West Virginia
Years with Migraines: 52
Occupation: Retired from teaching
How long have you had migraines?
I’ve had migraines since I was 18, which has been for 52 years. My first migraine occurred while attending college during one of my classes. I was totally blind for 10 hours with no pain. I did not know what was happening or if I would ever see again.
When do you usually get migraines?
When I first started getting them it wasn’t very often. The older I got it seemed the more I got. By the age of 51, I had a total of 235 days of migraines (or more) a year. Sometimes I’d go to sleep at night and wake up with one or I’d be teaching and suddenly find I had a migraine that started with an aura that lasted 20 minutes and then I would have the pain.
By the time I was 51 I had to retire because I was an art teacher and all the smells in the classroom — turpentine, lacquer thinner, oil paints, photography chemicals, and the kiln – became too much. Lighting affects me, also. If I go into a shop or hardware store with fluorescent lighting, after 10-minutes I get an aura.
What have you tried pre-Cefaly?
At first, years ago, I was going to my general practice doctor and he treated me with caffeine – at the time they sold prescription caffeine pills at the drug store so, he gave me a prescription. When the pharmacy stopped selling those, he told me to fix whole pot of coffee and dump ice cubes in it (to cool it) and drink the whole pot. Sometimes that would help but more often than not, I would go to the hospital in the middle of night and get a meperidine injection. Later on I tried many different medications. I tried (under a doctor’s care) everything from anti-depressants to anti-anxiety drugs to anti-seizure medications to migraine-specific and many combinations of prescription drugs. After 2 years of feeling like a guinea pig, I called my son who’s also a doctor and gave him a list of all my medications and had him tell me how to safely get off everything, at that point I was averaging over 50 pills a day. Once I was able to eliminate everything, I never went back. I do not take any preventive medication now. On occasion I’ll take two acetaminophens and if that’s not enough I’ll go get a cup of coffee with two shots of espresso.
What does your migraine feel like?
Usually even when I’m sleeping I’ll get the eye disturbance thing. It would wake me up because the pain is so bad and it feels like my head’s going to explode. I would try to sleep sitting up. When I have a migraine I can’t be still, I pace the floor and try not to cry because the crying makes it worse. If I lay down it’s like more pressure in my head, which makes the pain worse. I had one migraine last 16-days and it was like a knife going into my temples and like the knife was being twisted.
How did you hear about Cefaly?
On the TV the program called The Doctors and again on Dr Oz. In between I also read about it in an article in a pull out section of my local Sunday paper. I looked it up online and took the information to my doctor (but I did not print the scientific studies from your website). After printing the scientific studies and giving those to her, she called me up and said ‘This is wonderful. I do not see how it would not work. I am excited about giving you a prescription to get this.’ So she gave me the prescription and I ordered the headband.
What’s your Cefaly experience like?
Every single morning I use it for 20-minutes. I’m into my 2nd year of using it and I only had two migraines last year! This year also two migraines. I started it in 2014 in July and the first week I had 1 migraine that lasted an hour and another that lasted 20 minutes — it was the aura only and it aborted itself so I’m not sure that really counts since I didn’t have pain. The next week I had another one with aura and it aborted and didn’t turn into pain. The next week I had two the same day, the first one aborted then the second one came, with pain, that lasted several hours. I had four migraines that next week. I could tell a difference the very first week because instead of having a migraine every single day, I only had basically one that week instead of seven, and the next week 0, and the next week basically two. I keep a migraine calendar and for the past two years there’s basically nothing in it. Before Cefaly, (starting at age 51) I was having 235 days of migraine or more a year… for comparison, last year I had two days of migraines. That’s very few days without migraines.
When I worked and was teaching school, trying to deal with kids, it was excruciating. I had no life without pain except for a few days a year. Then, after the pain, you spend the next day trying to recover. You’re just strung out. It takes you another day just to get back to where you can reset. Now with 2 a year, it’s thank you, God.
What made you want to share your story?
I have recommended Cefaly to so many people. I was on a cruise ship and I was using my Cefaly in my room. The room steward knocked on the door but I couldn’t answer it because I was wearing the device and I didn’t want to risk moving and interrupting my session. I said loudly for him to come in and told him I was OK. He asked if he could talk with me about my device and I told him all about it. He had migraines too. Another time, for some reason, some woman, was close to purser’s desk and she looked distressed. I Iasked her if there was anything I could do to help and she said she was having a migraine. So I told her all about Cefaly.
Cefaly has really made life worth living again. I can actually do things and go places. Now that we’ve retired, my husband and I love to go on cruises. Most of the time on The cruise, on in-port tours, I would sit on the bus while everyone else was still on the tour. I would be having a migraine and wanted the peace and quiet and the coolness of the air conditioner to either deal with the migraine or try to avoid one altogether. Now I get to go explore new environments with my husband and live my life to the fullest!
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.