Samantha: With CEFALY, I Am Empowered
First Name: Samantha
Location: Reno, NV
Years with Migraines: ~20
How long have you had migraines?
I’ve had migraines for about 20 years. They started when I was going through puberty. I can still vividly remember the dream I had before waking up with my first migraine: I dreamed a carpenter was drilling a hole in my forehead.
When do you usually get migraines?
I am more prone to get migraines when I am dehydrated, exhausted, over-stimulated by intense smells or bright light (including light from electronics), or going through hormonal shifts. I avoid excess muscle tension and stress as much as possible, and the idea of red wine with dinner is a nonstarter.
What have you tried pre-Cefaly?
Before CEFALY I was primarily using prescriptions to prevent and treat my migraines: between two and five prophylactic medications, including hormonal birth control to smooth out major swings in hormone levels; and four to six prescription options for migraine treatment, in addition to over-the-counter pain relievers. Going to summer camp when I was a teenager required being equipped with my migraine treatment algorithm and a bag of pills.
What does your migraine feel like?
My migraines are usually preceded by aura: a strange smell, numbness in my fingers, and/or bright flickering lights at the edge of my vision. Between 2 minutes and an hour later the intense pulsating pain starts, right behind my eyebrow on one side. Occasionally I will have a headache that gets out of control and intensifies into a migraine. During migraines I am acutely sensitive to light, sound, and smells. During my worst migraines I focus on avoiding the nausea more than the pain, because the nausea makes my pain and the migraine snowball.
How did you hear about CEFALY?
I learned of CEFALY in October 2016 in some reading material at my neurologist’s office, and I asked him about whether I was a good candidate. He wrote me a prescription and I think I filled it right away, but it took me almost a year before I was using my CEFALY consistently. When the Dual came out in 2017 I immediately enrolled in the exchange program so that I could try the new acute treatment program. I’ve had great success with the Dual.
What’s your CEFALY experience like?
My personal experience with CEFALY’s preventive program is that I use it every night – it is part of my bedtime routine. I experience a gentle buzzing and tingling in my forehead during the treatment. Sometimes I fall asleep before the program is finished. I wipe the electrodes down with alcohol wipes when I feel like they’re not sticking well. This seems to help revive the adhesive, and I notice a difference in how intense the program is when the electrode is not well adhered to my skin. I’m very happy with how long the battery life is; the only time I’ve noticed it is a problem is when I need more than one acute treatment program within a period of a few days. I use the acute treatment program 2-5 times per month, most often when I feel a headache escalating and I’m concerned about it turning into a migraine. When I get aura and know a migraine is coming I take my abortive migraine medications, lay down as soon as possible in a dark room, and put my Cefaly on the acute treatment program.
Thankfully my migraines are well controlled now with prophylactic medication and CEFALY. I take my CEFALY with me if I’m going to be farther than an hour from home, or if I know I won’t be able to return home during the day. I think CEFALY has helped me decrease the number of medications I use prophylactically or for treatment; it has also decreased the number of migraines I experience every year and the number of hours I spend consumed by migraine pain. I spend less time now visiting my neurologist than I ever have, and my most recent neurologist has been very supportive of incorporating CEFALY into my treatment plan. CEFALY has been a life-changer for me because it has given me the courage to do things that previously I wouldn’t have considered because of the potential for a migraine to ruin the experience. Armed with my CEFALY, I am empowered to address a migraine quickly rather than wait for a drug (and its side effects) to take the edge off. I understand some individuals hesitancy to pay for the CEFALY device up front, but it has proved a worthwhile investment for me.
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