“It was like an ice pick was right in my head, the pain was unbelievable,” says Margie Bliga
Margie Bliga says she’s been hit with migraine headaches almost every day for 24 years. And she’s not the only one.
Dr. Peter McAllister, of New England Institute for Neurology & Headache says, “Chronic migraine, 15 or more headache days a month has been described by the World Health Organization as one of the most disabling medical conditions on the planet.”
Margie Bliga says only one medicine helped partially alleviate her headaches some of the time, and she couldn’t get enough of them to cover all of her headache days. So, she would cut her tablets in half to get her through the month until insurance would cover the next month’s supply.
Still though, even WITH the medication, her migraines persisted and made many would-be positive days daunting. “When I look at my pictures, I can remember oh I had a headache that day.” Like back on her daughter’s wedding day in 2004 she was smiling on the outside, but on the inside… “I had a headache that day, oh I was dying.”
“Nobody likes to hear ‘Oh, I have a headache.’ Oh she has a headache again. So I just would fake it, fake it and try not to talk about it.”
THAT WAS THEN!
Today… Margie’s story is totally different. She hasn’t needed to hole up in a dark, quiet room to deal with a migraine for months now. And no more need to fake that smile.
Margie’s pain has lifted since her first monthly injection of Aimovig, which is in a new class of drugs on the market designed to stop the chemical reaction at the root of migraine.
Dr. McAllister says, “Now we have something, a shot in the thigh up to the brain’s migraine center turns it off like a lock in a key.”
Margie can now get back to working out. She can also have a glass of wine if she wants, something that would have triggered her migraines before. If seeing her have fun is proof that Margie is migraine free, you need to check out the video above to see Margie dancing around with her grandchildren. Clearly “Mimi” is the life of the party!
Margie is still amazed by how different life is now. She got so used to muddling through with migraines, she didn’t realize she could have lighter, easier, dread-free days.
“My migraines have vanished,” she says.
Dr. McAllister says Margie is what is called a super responder. “I was a clincial researcher in the trial. A lot of folks are getting a little better or tremendously better.” He says there’s no gaurantee Margie won’t get a migraine again at some point. But, it’s been more than 7 months and she says even stressful situations haven’t brought her down.
“I was traveling to Texas not knowing how I would feel. My flight was cancelled, I slept in the airport, and I never got a migraine,” says Margie.
Dr. McAllister says, “There’s no such thing as a cure, but this gets us very, very close to a cure.”
Emmy-winning reporter Gillian Neff has been covering health topics for 16 years. She is currently a freelance reporter and anchor at News 12 Connecticut and also pursues her passion for medical news through Gillian Neff Health Reports’ blogs and videos.