Migraine is a common disease that affects millions of people in Israel and around the world. It is characterized by severe headaches and is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. People who suffer from it report significant impairment in their quality of life. On days of seizures, they are often forced to shut themselves in a dark room and avoid foods that increase nausea. Mostly, they count the moments until the seizure passes and they can get back to routine.
“Just want the world to go away”
Ilana, 38, from Herzliya, has been suffering from migraines since childhood. “When I was little I suffered from terrible headaches, and at first they didn’t really know what it was,” she says. “Because the phenomenon worsened during the army, I was sent to CT head – where we diagnosed the disease. Since then I have been using medication.” Ilana talks about the feelings that accompany her during an attack: “It usually starts with a strong pain on the side of the forehead, which also radiates backwards. “Usually the pain only appears on one side. When that happens I can not concentrate or think logically, I just want the world to go away.”
Over the years, Ilana realized that in many cases stress and tension accelerated the attack: “In the past I worked as an analyst at a large company. It was a job that involved a lot of pressure.
Luckily, today I already know what encourages the appearance of migraine and what relieves it. I realized that acupuncture for example reduces the intensity of pain, and I learned that black coffee can help me and also rosemary. I think that’s part of the thing – to understand what makes you good and what is less and to act accordingly. “
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As someone who has suffered from migraines since adolescence, Nora Eckstein Cohen, 56, understands very well what Ilana is talking about. “It was a terrible time. I suffered from severe headache attacks that were accompanied by repeated nausea and vomiting. The situation was so severe that my parents would take me to the emergency room to get an infusion because I lost a lot of fluid during the vomiting,” she recalls.
Every time Nora suffered a seizure she locked herself in a dark room and just tried to fall asleep and overcome the hard feeling caused by the vomiting. “Fortunately, as I got older, the frequency of seizures decreased. If once the migraine appeared about once a month, today it bothers me once every two to three months.
Nora says that what helps her is medication that she has started using in recent years. “If I ‘catch’ the migraine on time and immediately take the pill, I usually manage to avoid the suffering involved in the severe headaches. For me there is no such thing as leaving the house without a pill. A place so I can catch the migraine in time. “
“I dealt with changing moods and even suffered from suicidal thoughts. Today I understand that everything happened because of the migraines”
Maya Makmel, 26, has been suffering from migraines since the age of 10. Her seizures are accompanied by depression and if that is not enough – in the last year she also suffers from fibromyalgia which causes more chronic pain in her body. “The migraine disrupted my life already during school,” she says. “I had to miss a lot of school days, give up annual trips and had a hard time doing sports activities. I was dealing with changing moods and even suffered from suicidal thoughts. Today I understand that it all happened because of the migraines that led to hormonal disruption.”
Even these days Maya suffers from a significant seizure that occurs about once a week. “Each attack lasts for several days, so by and large I don’t have many days left where I feel good,” she says. Maya explains that it is important for her to raise awareness of the issue, so that people will understand that chronic migraine is not a mild disease. “I am a young girl trying to start her life. It is not easy for me, and unfortunately I have not yet found the treatment that helps me. But I do not give up and think that if I just gain broader public support and understanding, I can get through it better.”
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