Case Study: Migraine – Marilyn

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Listen to Marilyn’s interview, recorded during one of the On-line Tutorials.

Ever since she was about 11 or 12 years old, Marilyn (now age 54) suffered from headaches. Almost every day of her life, she had had a headache of some degree.  Some days it was really bad and others ‘not so bad’, but it was always there.  Over the previous fifteen years she had also suffered from monthly migraine attacks.  But these were not just ordinary migraine attacks!

One day Marilyn was having a particularly painful headache when suddenly she felt really awful and collapsed.  The doctor was called and Marilyn ended up in hospital and it was discovered that she had had a Transient Ischaemic Attack.  (TIA).  Thankfully Marilyn recovered and over the next few weeks her confidence returned.

On another day, Marilyn was visiting her mother.  She had had a really bad migraine the previous day, and was just recovering from this when pins and needles returned to the right side of her body, her face went numb, and the side of her mouth dropped.   When she tried to speak, it sounded like she was talking through a bowl of water.  Marilyn was terrified.  She thought she was having a stroke.  Marilyn’s husband took her immediately to the hospital.  After an MRI scan, she was told that she had just had another TIA  - caused by the migraine.

Marilyn was prescribed triptans, a migraine medication, to abort future attacks.  The triptans reduced the intensity of Marilyn’s symptoms but they didn’t abort the attacks.  In fact, Marilyn began to have migraine attacks up to three times a month -  sometimes once a week – in addition to her daily headaches.

When I met Marilyn she took up to eight strong painkillers every day – the maximum dose.  She had taken these every day for at least 30 years.  Marilyn had been prescribed many drugs to see if they would help, but none of them had made that much different to the frequency of her headaches and migraines.  However, Marilyn felt that without the daily medication, her headaches would be much worse.  She was so relieved that she wouldn’t have to stop taking her medication when she began the Resolution Programme.

Marilyn was excited about the Resolution Magic Programme.  Yet somehow, she was reticent about actually getting started.  Perhaps it was because she had tried and been disappointed with so many treatments before, a part of her really didn’t expect this programme to work.

I was quite excited to hear how Marilyn had got on after her first week, but Marilyn explained that she had been so busy she had not had the time to start the programme.  She was running a teaching course and it was hard for her to take time out during the day to start the programme.  When she got home each evening she was so tired, and she had to prepare work for the next day.

I understood, and asked Marilyn if she had any symptoms before she left home for work -  and of course, she had.  However, Marilyn often set off at 6am and she explained that there wasn’t time to do a session before dashing out the door.

So I asked Marilyn how she would feel if she could make her symptoms disappear.  Marilyn couldn’t imagine life without her daily headaches.

Marilyn confided that  she felt the programme wouldn’t work because her headaches were so severe and she had had them for so long.  Marilyn did not believe it could be possible to send her symptoms away.

I told her about how some other people were using the programme to send their symptoms away, and then I asked Marilyn if she would just do the routine mechanically for one week to see if it would have any impact at all.  Marilyn slowly warmed to the idea.

The next telephone call was once again, disappointing, because Marilyn had still not begun the programme.  I told her about some of the other cases I had helped, like Helen, who had migraine every day for ten years after the days she retired.  And now she was doing well.  I talked about Victoria who had migraine every day for five years.  How it had taken her months of the programme to begin to have gaps of a few days between migraine attacks.  Victoria was till working on it and reducing it all of the time

Little by little I convinced Marilyn that she should try it.  Marilyn planned to fit in one session as she got ready for work, one at each break time in work, one when she got home, and another later in the evening.

At the end of the first week, I couldn’t wait to hear how Marilyn was getting on.  With all fingers and toes crossed, I heard Marilyn pick up the telephone.

‘How are you getting on?’ I asked tentatively.

Marilyn had kept her promise to herself, and she had kept up the routine all week.  The hard work had already begun to show promise. The intensity of her headaches seemed to have reduced and Marilyn felt a little more optimistic.

Each week thereafter brought new revelations.  Marilyn noticed in the early days that she was able to think more clearly.  She was so used to having a groggy head and feeling physically sluggish.  There was a new brightness.  This was beginning to feel really good!

Week by week Marilyn needed no reminding to keep going.  Her chart was highlighting success in neon lights!  The high peaks at the beginning of the chart were now bouncing off the bottom and a new phenomenon had appeared – gaps!  For the first time Marilyn could remember, there were days without headaches.  Within another few months the gaps were lasting for weeks at a time – and still improving.  My monthly telephone calls to Marilyn gave me a super-boost.  There was always some exciting news.

It took Marilyn about one year to bring her daily headaches and migraine to a close.  During that time she gradually stepped down her medication.  The first day she left the house without her clutching a bag of pain killers was a major milestone in her life.  Today she enjoys every day of her headache-free life, and she is so pleased that she finally started Resolution Magic.