Migraine: "I live a full life and know when I have to tweak things." #ShadesForMigraine

Published Jul 3, 2024 • By Somya Pokharna

Meet Sarah, a vibrant business owner and an inspiring advocate for migraine awareness and support. Her journey, filled with passions like music, dancing, interior decorating, and camping, took an unexpected turn when she began experiencing severe migraine seven years ago. Despite the challenges, Sarah has embraced her role as a Community Leader for Carenity's partner association, Shades For Migraine, and has dedicated herself to helping others navigate the complexities of living with migraines.

In this interview, Sarah opens up about her personal experiences with migraine, from her initial symptoms and triggers to the various treatments and coping strategies she has explored. She reflects on the profound impact migraine has had on her personal and professional life and the crucial support she has received from her loved ones. 

Join us as Sarah shares her journey of resilience, her commitment to advocacy, and her hopes for the future of migraine treatment.


Hello, Sarah! Thank you so much for your willingness to share your story with the Carenity community.

First of all, could you tell us more about yourself?

Hello, I am 63 years old. I have had my own business for 30 years. I enjoy music, dancing, interior decorating, cooking, baking, entertaining, camping, golfing, and, before my migraine got bad, boating.

How long have you had migraine for? When did you first start experiencing symptoms?

Seven years ago, I started experiencing vestibular migraine, but I have had episodes in my life where I experienced motion sensitivity.

>> Learn more about lesser-known migraine symptoms​​.

Can you describe what a typical migraine feels like for you? How often do you experience them, and how long do they usually last? Are there any specific triggers that seem to cause them?

I have head pressure quite often with weather changes. I experience head pressure all day, and it doesn’t go away until nighttime when I use my Cefaly. I have had spinning episodes in the past that last for a few hours. My biggest trigger is motion; it can throw me off, like when we tow our camper and it’s swaying.

How were you diagnosed with migraine? Did you see a specialist?

Yes, a neurologist diagnosed me.

>> Read about migraine types and diagnostic approaches​​.

What treatments or medications have you tried to manage your migraine? Have you found any to be particularly effective?

I couldn’t tolerate the side effects of Gabapentin or Effexor. I now use Candesartan, which has helped a great deal. I take supplements, watch what I eat (no caffeine), and use gammaCore (a vagus nerve stimulator) and Cefaly. I still do my vestibular rehab exercises twice a day to keep my brain retrained.

What coping mechanisms or strategies have you developed to deal with migraine?

Staying calm. Anxiety will feed into it if you let it.

How does your migraine affect your daily life, both personally and professionally? Have they also impacted your social life or relationships?

In the beginning, I only worked and came home. I had derealization and was off balance for seven months before I started to get better. It took me a full year to feel normal again. I was constantly on the internet looking for answers. It was stressful on our relationship as we stopped socializing, and we always loved that. Now we always socialize. I still have fear about driving far, fearing that I may get dizzy, but I am working on that. Our life is pretty much back to normal, although I haven’t flown or gone on a boat.


Do you receive support from family, friends, or colleagues? How important is this support to you?

Yes, everyone understands what I have, but I have taken a negative and turned it into a positive.

How do you stay hopeful and positive despite the challenges of living with migraine? Are there any improvements or advancements in migraine treatment that you hope to see in the future?

I am so much better than I was. I live a full life and know when I have to tweak things. This is an exciting time with many new drugs specifically for migraine.

What final words of advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with migraine?

It does and will get better. In the beginning, I didn’t want anyone to know, but now I am proud to be an advocate with the American Migraine Foundation, an ambassador for the Vestibular Disorders Association, and a community leader for the Shades for Migraine campaign. Always remember: knowledge is power.

A big thank you to Sarah for this interview conducted in association with


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Take care!

avatar Somya Pokharna

Author: Somya Pokharna, Health Writer

Somya is a content creator at Carenity, specialised in health writing. She has a Master’s degree in International Brand Management from NEOMA... >> Learn more


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