Life is a struggle with Chronic Migraine & all I can do is take it day by day – Colette Collins, Patient Story

My Chronic Migraine Story

I have been suffering from migraine for as long as I can remember. They would have started in my teens, and I can remember having them in secondary school. It wasn’t until I fell pregnant with my son Luke in 2004 that my migraine got a whole lot worse. On my second pregnancy with Cillian migraine got worse to the point that I couldn’t manage them and unfortunately from then on, my life has not been the same as I live with migraine.

I have been diagnosed as a Chronic Migraine sufferer and I’m attending Dr. Martin Rutledge in The Hermitage Clinic. To say I’ve tried every treatment is an understatement. When I first attended a neurologist in 2007, I was started on a preventative and remained on preventatives for several years. I have tried the alternatives like acupuncture, reflexology, and Botox but to no avail. I would get a small window of relief with each treatment but then that would wear off and I would have to start over again.

I gave up full time work in 2009 as at that time I was also suffering from depression, and I just couldn’t hold down a full-time job. I now work from home part time but at the minute I find that hard to maintain. Lucky for me the people I work for are very understanding when I have a migraine but at times, I feel embarrassed at the number of days I am sick and unable to work.

Life is a struggle with migraine and all I can do is take it day by day. I can no longer plan as chances are I will have a migraine and will have to cancel. On good days I’m ok but on bad days I struggle. I can hardly get out of the bed, and it hurts to lift my head from the pillow. My husband starts work early so I’m just about able to get the boys to school and then it’s back to bed in a dark room with no noise.

Not only do migraine affect me but they have a knock-on effect on the family, but I am lucky with Diarmuid, Luke and Cillian. Some days Luke will have to make the dinner after doing a day in school and they will have to do endless trips of toast and water to me in bed. But it’s the guilt I feel for having this disability and I feel like I’m a burden on my family.

People don’t realise how debilitating migraine can be. I would have a brain fog and even trying to add basic sums is impossible. I would wear sunglasses constantly for the glare and I’m not able for bright lights and loud noises. I’m physically not able to speak and I just want to be left alone. The pain in my head is unbearable and the sickness I get is awful. I try not to let them take over my life, but it is hard. There is a loneliness with migraine as it’s a silent illness and you must be alone a lot of the time.

I wish I could say that my migraine will get better but to be honest I just don’t know. I started Erenumab last week and I’m waiting for an appointment with The Hermitage Clinic for DHE treatment. I had this last year and I got 2 months relief. I’m now getting them for 4/5 days a week, so any kind of relief is welcome. On the other days I will still have a manageable pain.

We are lucky to have the migraine association to go to for help with migraine. It is through the association that I learned about Dr. Rutledge and the various treatments available. I also attended a group support session in Limerick a few years ago and it was great to meet with people experiencing the same as myself and we could understand what each of us was going through.

I often wish that I didn’t have this illness and I often get upset about how sick I am, and I do pray for a miracle that will see me no longer living with this horrible pain.

Colette Collins, Patient Story

*Please note, this story is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reused without permissions from The Migraine Association of Ireland to protect each patient’s GDPR rights. If you would like to use this story, please contact us first to request permission. Thank you.*