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Seeking Balance in My Life With Migraine

The last time it happened was in the parking lot of my local library. I was about to get out of my car to heave a few recent reads into the book drop bin when my vision grew cloudy. My stomach began to churn like one of those cruise-ship-vacations-gone-wrong and I could hear my heartbeat in my ears. After 17 years with chronic migraine, you would think I’d be emotionally numb to the spontaneity of an attack. But the reality is, I’m not sure you ever get “used” to it. 

Living with a chronic condition like migraine is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’ve had to make an umpteen number of sacrifices — like working from home and limiting my social interaction — and have way too many weather apps on my phone (thanks so much, barometric pressure changes). It makes you vulnerable in all of the ways you didn’t want to be and cracks you open like an egg.

Perhaps the hardest part about my life with migraine is the near-total loss of flexibility over your own life. I don’t get to plan a day and stick to it if an attack decides to blow through. I don’t get to avoid insurance claims or ignore the pros and cons of treatments. I am at my brain’s mercy. But as time has ticked by, I’ve figured out ways to cope and regain a bit of balance — choosing my neurology practice wisely, becoming a better advocate for myself and setting hard but necessary boundaries with my support system. There is also a lot of sarcasm involved.

Another way I’ve gained balance is by putting the following mantra in practice: “No one knows my body like me.” When I feel especially overwhelmed, I repeat this to myself. It helps me self-soothe when guilt climbs up me like a vine. It’s a reminder that I know myself and my health best, especially when it comes to navigating treatment plans.

Finding the appropriate treatment for myself is like an evolving art form. It takes patience, education and the right doctor — oh, and a hefty dose of grit. It’s taken me over a decade to be somewhat settled in my regime. I’ve tried a sky-high number of medication combinations, holistic treatments, lifestyle changes, massage and more. It took me about a decade, but I’m finally equipped with the arsenal I need to manage my condition. And the key ingredient to how I got there was through open and honest dialogue with my neurologist.

If you live with chronic or episodic migraine, one treatment you could consider talking to your healthcare provider about is AJOVY® (fremanezumab-vfrm) injection, a prescription medicine used for the preventive treatment of migraine in adults. Do not use AJOVY if you are allergic to AJOVY or any of the ingredients in AJOVY. AJOVY is a treatment which can help prevent migraine and is administered via an autoinjector or pre-filled syringe. AJOVY, a calcitonin gene-related peptide antagonist, is a long-acting (12 weeks) treatment. It can be administered quarterly (3 injections on one day every 3 months) or monthly (1 injection per month).These treatments can occur in either your home or your doctor’s office. 

AJOVY may cause allergic reactions, including itching, rash, and hives that can happen within hours and up to 1 month after receiving AJOVY. Common side effects of AJOVY include injection site reactions. For continued important safety information, please see below. 

Whatever you choose to pursue in your life with migraine (I see you trying!), it’s imperative to find the balance that works for you — between living and treating, between advocating and laughing. It may take some trial-and-error, but you’re not alone in that journey. I’ll bring the ice packs if you bring the sunglasses.

And in case no one told you this today, migraine does not define your worth. You may feel powerless at times, but you still have the power to choose — who treats you, what they treat you with and yes, how many weather apps your phone should truly hold.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Do not use AJOVY if you are allergic to AJOVY or any of the ingredients in AJOVY.

AJOVY may cause allergic reactions, including itching, rash, and hives that can happen within hours and up to 1 month after receiving AJOVY. Call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical help right away if you have any symptoms of an allergic reaction: swelling of your face, mouth, tongue, throat, or if you have trouble breathing. Talk to your doctor about stopping AJOVY if you have an allergic reaction.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, and if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

Common side effects of AJOVY include injection site reactions.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of AJOVY. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You are encouraged to report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

APPROVED USE

AJOVY is a prescription medicine used for the preventive treatment of migraine in adults.

Please see Patient Information Leaflet within the full Prescribing Information on AJOVY.com

FRE-43032 September 2020