Hi! I’m Marina
Pregnancy and motherhood are meant to be two of the most exciting times in a woman’s life. But for me, that time was plagued by chronic migraine.
Ever since I was 13, I’ve had episodic migraine (defined as less than 15 headache days per month). I learned to live with migraine and navigated successfully through college, law school, and my career as an Attorney.
Once I got married and became pregnant, the hormone fluctuations significantly changed my migraine pattern. Although some women get relief from migraine during pregnancy, I got worse. My attacks gradually became more severe in both frequency and severity. Unfortunately, I did not have a migraine management plan with a headache specialist for when I got pregnant. My migraine quickly morphed into chronic migraine (15 or more pain days per month). It was not long until I was experiencing daily migraine attacks.
Spending all day long with a crying baby and a rambunctious toddler while in a state of constant pain tested my sanity. I couldn’t lay down in a quiet, dark room, because I had to take care of someone else’s needs instead. The days were a blur while I focused on feeding, changing diapers, and reading books, while mostly in a fetal position on the floor. My husband came home to crying children and a crying wife.
I was vomiting nearly every day. It was difficult to walk down the hall due to weakness and fatigue. None of the treatments my doctors and I tried were working. I took Excedrin Migraine nearly every day to take the edge off the pain and help me function. Every morning I wished for bedtime and a chance for respite from the pain, yet every evening I dreaded falling asleep because it meant I would wake up to yet another day filled with pain.
I leaned on the support of my family, who came to stay with me whenever they could. They helped care for my kids and tried to fill my heart with positivity and hope. And yet, I felt hopeless and alone because I did not know that there were others who suffered like me.
The turning point for me was finding Migraine support groups on social media. I learned that my daily intake of pain relievers was actually feeding my pain cycle. In fact, in addition to chronic migraine, I was also suffering from rebound headaches. Also, I learned that I was not alone and that there were so many others who lived with chronic migraine.
With the help of a steroid taper and occipital nerve blocks, I worked on ending my rebound headache cycle. I began a migraine diet, received Botox for migraine, continued my preventive medication, and attended weekly chiropractic treatment. I began taking supplements for migraine and meditated. I stayed off all pain relievers for approximately 5 months even though I still experienced attacks. This helped me end my rebound headache cycle and get my chronic migraine under control.
After going through this experience, I became passionate about raising migraine awareness, making people feel less alone, and educating others about migraine. Migraine is and likely will always be part of my life. Accepting that has been a large part of my healing process. But I felt more in control of this disease.
As a migraine advocate, I stress the importance of finding a headache specialist for people who experience headaches or episodic migraine because I know how easy it is for migraine to morph into chronic migraine. I also encourage women who are pregnant or are trying to conceive, to explore options with their physicians that I was not aware of when I was pregnant. The nerve blocks, magnesium and ginger supplements, trigger point injections, chiropractic treatment, and some preventive medications are some of the migraine treatments you can discuss with your doctor. I encourage women to look for a team of a headache specialists and an OBGYN who will help them find a migraine management treatment to get through the pregnancy journey safely.
I started the Parenting With Migraine Instagram account to show parents or those who would like to become parents in the future that if your dream is family, migraine does not get to take it away. I hope this Blog will provide more resources to parents about living with migraine and beyond. And most of all, I want to offer hope. Hope to others who are struggling with chronic illness. And there is hope. If anyone is proof of that, it’s me.
If you have any questions or you just want to say hello, you can find me on Instagram.
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