Friday, 19 July 2013

Migraineur Of The Month: My Mum Mrs July!!!

This is a very special edition of Migraineur Of The Month, for Mrs July is my Mummy! Her real name, apart from Mum, is Jill. She has been my biggest supporter, advocate, carer, friend and migraine buddy over the last 14 years. I honestly don't think I'd be alive if it wasn't for her. She constantly refused to give up on me and refused to give up till we found the right help. And she taught me to 'hang on in there' because it would get better. She's given up a huge portion of her time carting me around to various Doctors appointments, all over the world I might add, and all of this while being a migraine sufferer herself. Mum's migraines started later in life - as had her mothers before her. Mum was, I think, treated appallingly by some members of the medical profession - which meant that she wasn't going to take the same crap when directed at me! I count myself very lucky to have a Mum that just completely and utterly understands what I go through. So, here is her migraine story. Over to you Mrs July! 

70th Birthday Jill!

Can you remember & describe your first migraine? 
I was 52/53years old when I got my first migraine.  The main symptom was an incredibly painful right sided headache. I’d once before had what was described to me as a tension headache but this was much worse. Thumping pain that lasted all day. I didn’t know what it was. My GP eventually (after 2 years) sent me to a specialist, after my husband told him just how awful these 'headaches' were. The specialist recommended Immigran tablets. The effect, on me, was terrorizing; I thought my head was exploding – a quite different feeling to the normal thumping. I was on my own and frightened, and only just managed to stop myself calling for an ambulance  No one had bothered to explain what the effect might feel like so I didn’t take them again even though I know they help others, and I clearly had a bad reaction. My GP also decided my headaches must be psychological and gave me some Librium! It was many years later that I realized I was experiencing menopausal migraines and that my Mother had had them too. My Mother’s headaches had not been recognized as migraines either. I eventually got HRT treatment and specific advice and support at the fabulous National Migraine Centre

Best migraine top tip anyone’s ever given you? 
Take medication early – don’t wait to find out if the pain really is a migraine. By then it is too late to stop it developing.

Worst Trigger? 
Muscle spasm. For example sitting with my neck twisted to the right, perhaps to talk to my neighbour at a dinner party. I have an old water-skiing injury that flares up and causes trouble despite having long passed menopause! 

Favourite migraine comfort (apart from a hug from your beautiful daughter)?
Cold milk and plain salted crisps.

What’s the worst assumption that’s been made about you and your migraines?
That they're just psychological . What a nerve for a thumping, suicidal pain that could last 3 days.

I know, because you’re my Mum, that you didn’t have access to Triptans for a long time. What medications/help did Doctors give to you in the meantime?
As mentioned above I once tried Immigran tablets, otherwise I was only ever given Librium. I quickly found that ordinary painkillers like Solpadeine were useless. I suffered with migraines for about 5 years before a new GP gave me some Naramig to try. They transformed my life. I now use under-tongue Zomig, as advised by my daughter! Though prescribed and agreed upon with my GP. 

What are you most proud of doing despite living with migraines?
Helping plan my elder daughter’s wedding and more importantly, seeing her married!

If you could be the Queen of England for a Year what would you do!?
Get together all those pompous, arrogant, sarcastic Doctors/Specialists who had ignorantly decided my migraines were just fuss, and give them all, main line three day thumping head pain with every kind of nausea, vertigo etc ., complete with the bruised body after effects. What sweet revenge!

Mum doing some intense rowing in Central Park, NYC, 2010

In my youth I worked in the Cosmetics business. I was Creative Manager for several major companies. I stopped working when I married for a ‘proper’ job as wife and mother – much more demanding. I love sport but find that golf and windsurfing can trigger migraines. Generally it is a price worth paying as I now have the drop on ‘best practice’ and if I get into trouble the migraines only last a couple of hours. My favourite place to windsurf is in Normandy, where we have a holiday home - Hibou Blanc

Thank you Mummy! Mum will probably kill me for saying this, but she is currently writing a novel - and when my Sister and I were old enough she took herself off to university and got an MA Degree in English Literature - despite suffering with horrible migraines. Go Mum! 


  1. Ooh I love this one - your Mum looks so glamourous.

    Interesting to hear that golf can trigger her migraines. I wonder why that is?

    I am also lucky to have such a supportive mum who understands as she is also a migraine sufferer. She has had them all her life and has found the opposite to you mum, in that her migraines are becoming less frequent during menopause.

    Thanks for sharing!


  2. Aww thanks! We should get your Mum to be MOTM soon too!! Mum has an old injury which triggers after golf, she gets v stiff and her shoulder starts to ache which always then seems to lead to a migraine..... Xx


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