My name is Danielle Aberman.
I thought I had a brain tumor.
While in college I experienced my first migraine with aura. I was terrified and thought I had a brain tumor as the visual changes were so bizarre. Despite occasional debilitating pain, I completed my degree in clinical nutrition and became a registered dietitian.
Fast-forward about 25 years: I was a busy working woman with a husband, daughter and full life. The migraines started to get worse and worse. So, I made my diet healthier and healthier…. And I gave myself a 4-month long, continuous migraine with bizarre visual changes and other “neurological weirdness.” The healthier I made my diet, the worse my pain was. Again, I was terrified and convinced I had a brain tumor! I needed answers and help so I did what you’ve probably done, too. I went to multiple doctors including one of the most prestigious headache centers in the country. I was extremely frustrated and anxious with the lack of answers from specialists. I was very discouraged with bottles and bottles of useless medications I eagerly tried that didn’t work. I went from being a healthy person taking no regular medications to having a drawer full of amber medicine bottles. I needed a new travel bag for my meds! Each night I worried about whether or not I took the right medications. I’d actually wake myself up, go back to my bathroom counter and make sure! I was unsatisfied with my ineffective treatment plan but even more frustrated with the lack of interest in finding out why the migraines went from sporadic migraines to chronic migraines with no explanation. Then my Aha! Moment: There was no magic medication. I had to throw everything at this monster! Triggers had to be identified and minimized and I had to go to work on some lifestyle changes to put this condition into remission.
“Fixing myself,” became a priority. I plowed through volumes of opinions, evidence-based information and personal stories focused on controlling migraines. This personal experience, plus my professional experience has brought me here. Aside from spending time with my family and friends, nothing makes me happier than helping people understand more about migraine and supporting them in working on their own “Aha! moment.”
My name is Eileen Zollinger.
Migraines have been a part of my life since I was a child, although it wasn’t until later that we truly realized what they were. On and off, they were an annoying disturbance to an otherwise happy childhood. It wasn’t until my mid twenties that they became a more or less permanent resident in my life. And that’s when my search for the magic pill began. (Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t exist.)
My search began with my primary doctor which resulted in a short bout of medication overuse headaches. I moved on to a neurologist and then to a well known specialized migraine center, all to no avail. I finally found a headache specialist who eventually got me on the right track and focused not only on preventive medication, but also on diet and lifestyle changes. Whew! All in all, it took 18 years to get me straightened out, but once the formula was in place, it only took about 4-6 weeks to take me from everyday headache to 2-4 migraines a month.
So here I was, out of my cave and with an answer that I was sure could help others as much as it helped me. I felt like I had found my purpose in life and I was committed to figuring out a way to help others, who were in the same boat I had been in, find what I had found…relief and a way to get their lives back. My passions in life aren’t many; gourmet food, migraine research (I’m a geek about this and I own it), and helping others. In the years since I was able to slay the ‘chronic migraine beast’, I’ve been able to connect with thousands of people and help them identify their personal migraine triggers, encourage them to go 100% all in on the program and succeed in getting the relief they were so eagerly seeking. And while the food in the beginning seems to be simple, there is no reason it needs to be boring!! It would be very difficult for a foodie like me to stick with a plan that was boring and dull.
Our plans aren’t difficult, but they do take a bit of time, planning and most of all commitment. Time to learn some new techniques. Planning for meals, snacks and how you will beat back the ‘migraine beast’. And the commitment to follow through on the plan when what you really want to do is climb back in the cave and give up. I’ve been there. But I was tired of missing my sons little league baseball games and watching my daughter compete in her golf tournaments. I wanted to be able to make plans with my husband and friends and not have to cancel because the ‘migraine beast’ reared its ugly head.
Does this story sound familiar to you? What have you had to give up to the ‘migraine beast’? What would be different if IT wasn’t in control of your life anymore, but instead, you had the control? What if you had some tools at your disposal to manage them and minimize the frequency and severity of the attacks?
As I said, I still have migraines, but I was chronic for 18 years and intractable for a good part of those. I had some type of head pain every day. When I made the diet and lifestyle changes, at the 4-6 week mark, I went 22 glorious days without any type of head pain. I thought I was cured!! I wasn’t, but I was on my way to a new lease on life that included playing and watching golf, walking my dogs, playing baseball with my son, going on vacations with my family and friends (and enjoying them!), dates with my husband and even going back to work after 17 years! What dreams are waiting for you to be realized?