Since my diagnosis of chronic migraine, I have navigated multiple bouts of intractable migraine (IM) and I’m intimately familiar with its persistent and brutal pain. Intractable migraine, also known as status migrainosus, affects less than 1% of the migraine population. Clinically, intractable migraine refers to an attack that is unresponsive to typical treatments and lasts for over 72 hours. In mine and many other cases, they can last much longer, spanning days, weeks, or months at a time.
These attacks disrupt nearly every aspect of my life, but to those who haven’t experienced these long bouts of debilitating pain, it can be hard to understand the magnitude of what I’m going through. By sharing about the reality of intractable migraine, I hope we can expand the way people view migraine disease and the kindness extended to every migraineur facing their own unique battle.
Testing My Resilience
I clearly remember the engulfing helplessness of my earliest intractable attacks. My understanding of migraine disease was limited to what I had seen family and friends experience, and I was terrified as my own attacks spun out of control, increasing in duration, severity, and frequency.
Less than 24 hours after my first emergency department (ED) visit for migraine, I awoke the next day groggy from IV meds. Within my first few moments of consciousness, the unmistakable stabbing pain behind my eyeballs began to pulse. Through tears, I broke down and told my husband how desperate I was for a break. I couldn’t believe I was still in pain and I was worried that my resilience had run out…