Migraine Strong is made up of a team of three amazing women, Eileen, Danielle and Jennifer. Their website and Facebook support group features information about migraine disease in a way that encourages their readers to find hope in a situation that often feels hopeless.
The women of Migraine Strong have become a pillar in the migraine community and we’re excited that they’ve stopped by our blog to share more about their story.
Q: How did Migraine Strong get started?
A: We are three professional women who were temporarily sidelined by migraine. We met in private facebook groups where we noticed a commonality in not just our approach to managing migraine, but our spirit. We recognized that we all were genuinely trying to support others in learning more about migraine to help get their lives back.
We saw a need for specific support of diet and lifestyle along with medicines, so Eileen started Migraine Strong and asked us to join her. We started in social media and then started a successful website.
Q: What is your advice to anyone who just received a chronic migraine diagnosis?
A: First, educate yourself so you can understand more about migraine and how to manage it best. Read books about migraine and tap into the many resources on the internet. Knowledge about your disease is so empowering and will start you on your path to feeling better. Second, assemble a support team. Find the best doctor you can and make sure you feel like they will listen to you and partner with you. Third, stay hopeful. Finding the right combination of treatments can take a while. You always have other options to try to help you get control of this.
Q: How long have you suffered from chronic migraine? Walk us through your diagnosis.
A: Fortunately for Danielle, chronic migraine lasted for less than a year and she is back to having episodic migraine. Her time with CM was due to perimenopause and she has been greatly helped by menopause.
Eileen has had chronic migraine for 25+ years. While she has had migraine for most of her life, the turn towards chronic happened after leaving a very stressful job. She spent 18 years as chronic, intractable and had daily attacks. Since finding a wonderful headache specialist, a migraine elimination diet and good preventives, her attacks are no longer daily.
Jennifer was diagnosed with vestibular migraine in 2016 after going to bed one evening feeling perfectly fine and waking up dizzy. It was as if a chronic vestibular migraine switch had been flipped. That dizziness held on for many months until she met a neurotologist in Tampa, Florida that recognized her condition and set her up with an effective multi-modal treatment approach. Symptoms are now episodic for Jenn.
Q: When you experience an attack, what are your worst symptoms?
A: Eileen’s worst symptoms are light sensitivity (the screaming sun!) and neck pain that inhibits every movement.
Danielle’s worst symptom is unrelenting head pain that keeps her from concentrating as well as sleeping.
Rocking, swaying, dropping sensations, tinnitus and nausea are all tough symptoms of Jenn’s vestibular migraine. But, hands down, her worst symptom is vertigo. She was unable to leave her home or hold food down consistently for many months due to this hideous symptom. Fortunately, she’s back to living life and working full time, but every once in a while gets a reminder of how awful vertigo is.
Q: What’s in your migraine attack toolkit?
A: For Danielle it’s a triptan taken with caffeinated coffee and an essential oils blend of peppermint and lavender.
Eileen has Migraine Shields, Timolol eye drops, ginger in any form, peppermint oil, heating pad, magnesium in a roller ball applicator, Allay Lamp and my cocktail of prescription meds.
Jennifer has Valium, Naproxen, Timolol eye drops along with a multitude of natural treatments including, magnesium, ginger, ice & heat wraps, ear plugs, Allay lamp, essential oils and of course my Migraine Shields.
Q: When do you wear your Migraine Shields? Do you use them to help during an attack or prevent?
A: Eileen uses her Migraine Shields to prevent attacks on days that she feels light sensitive and during Zoom calls. Being able to wear them while watching TV or leading a live chat on her phone makes the task so much easier. She also uses them during an attack to help reduce overall light sensitivity symptoms. Work rarely waits for the attack to be over!!
Jennifer uses her Migraine Shields to prevent attacks especially when driving to reduce the effects of flickering dappled light. Working from home she uses them while working on her laptop. She wears them inside buildings with fluorescent lighting to protect against their harsh visual stimulation as well.