I began having migraines when I was 3-years-old. At first my mother tried to treat my pain with what was available in 1964, and that was limited to over-the-counter. Eventually she took me to a pediatrician who recommended a visit to the Washington State University Medical Center. They ran every known test they could with no answers except that I was evidently having migraine headache. This didn’t seem unusual to my mother since they ran heavily throughout my family, including my mother.

After several unsuccessful trips to the Emergency Room (ER) in the ’60’s where they did not give pain medication to children, my mother started researching hypnosis. At that time, little was available on hypnosis, so she investigated how it worked. After several visits to learn hypnosis, and having some success with her own migraine condition, she began using some of the techniques with me. For many years we had great success with this method.

When I was 18 I entered the Air Force. I got pretty lucky and didn’t experience a migraine for the first 2 years I was active duty. Then one night while driving home I was hit with the “migraine of all migraines.” I couldn’t even make it home but I was able to make it to a friend’s. I did everything I could think of, took pills, used hot towels, but nothing helped and it got worse so that by 3:00 a.m. my then roommate drove me to the ER on base. One doctor began treating me with oxygen, which seemed to work well and quickly. When the neurologist came into the room I casually asked if chicken pox could cause such an extreme migraine; he went running from the room leaving me baffled. When the regular doctor came in and took one look at my face (of course, where the hot towels were) he diagnosed chicken pox with encephalitis, and put me in quarantine. The next day I woke up and was paralyzed from the neck down. The hospital refused to admit me because of the extreme contagiousness of the disease! This is where my friends stepped up to help me!

Following that, my migraines became quite frequent and any subsequent trips to the ER meant the usual narcotics, which only lowered the pain, but never relieved it. This went on for another 20 years until I ran into a doctor who refused to prescribe narcotics but eventually gave me Toradol (Ketorolac 60mg/2ml intramuscular injection) and told me if I came back that night she would give me the Demerol. I was so mad I was ranting to my husband on the 30-minute drive home. When all of a sudden, about 15 minutes later, I realized the pain was gone!

Eventually I saw my Primary Care doctor (PC) and insisted on a Toradol prescription for home use. After a great deal of arguing I got the prescription, although for eight vials a month, but it helped a lot until I turned 38. That’s when my headache started coming nearly every day. Finally, I suggested to my PC that we run more tests because I also suffered from chronic blood clots since age 19. The first study showed that my right jugular vein was clotted off. With that news, I got excited thinking “shunt, or maybe a balloon,” and “pouf” the migraines would go away! He immediately put the breaks on that and instead ordered a MRI/MRV/MRA, which is a type of MRI that visualizes the veins and arteries of the brain. The results where astounding, in fact they ran the test twice not believing what they saw! Each time they got the same results. The entire right side of the veins in my brain had clotted off. There was no solution at that point but to wait “collateralization.” Collateralization is when a blood clot occurs in a vein and after time the body creates a new vein (or veins; some are created from capillaries, and some are newly formed veins), which did slowly come over the next 10 years. Now I am down to 4-8 migraines a month, and the Toradol takes care of them every time.

It’s been a blessing not to have to go to the ER any more where the often treat you like you’re drug seeking. I hope that my story will open some doctor’s eyes about the home use of Toradol for chronic migraine sufferers. That’s my story and that’s my migraines and I am still breathing and kicking, so don’t give up there’s always an answer…eventually!