Joanne Atkinson, 46, Abbotsford, NSW
Every month, I suffered with nausea, cramps and unbearable stabbing pain. It might sound like a bad case of PMT but my misery was caused by migraines.I'd been getting the headaches since I was 19. I'd be sick for days and get an awful stabbing behind my eyes. It happened once a month without fail.My GP gave me medication but it didn't ease my agony. I couldn't make plans because I'd never know how long a migraine would last.
I hated the fact my daughter Jessica was growing up thinking it was normal to see me curled up in bed, crying. 'Do you need me to be quiet?' she'd ask. It broke my heart. My GP tried anti-inflammatory injections but their effects never lasted long. I took preventative drugs, tried acupuncture and massages, all without success.
When my 40th birthday came along, I realised that I'd been suffering for over 20 years. I was at my wits' end. Heading back to my specialist I begged for help. I wanted my life back.But nothing prepared me for his next suggestion.'We could try Botox,' he said.'I'm not here to sort out my wrinkles,' I sighed. But I was shocked when he explained the treatment, normally used to smooth out faces, was now recognised in Australia as an effective treatment for chronic migraine sufferers.
'I'll try anything,' I said.A week later my doctor injected Botox into my forehead, neck and even the tops of my ears. Medical experts aren't sure why it works, but they believe it interferes with the pain signals sent to the brain. When the constant throbbing behind my eyes disappeared I was thrilled and when my usual migraine was due, I was stunned when it didn't kick in. 'It's worked,' I cried, hugging Jessica with relief.
I've been having Botox for more than six years now and it's changed my life. I still get the odd headache but I'm able to live without worrying when a migraine will strike. My wrinkles have vanished too, which is a bonus!