Living with chronic migraine for as long as she can remember, Meagan Terwee’s life has been changed dramatically through “revolutionary medicine,” thanks to her persistence and the Neurologist Emily Johnson, MD, at Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences.
As a child, Terwee would get off the school bus with a headache.
“I would ask myself, ‘okay, how can I deal with this?’” Terwee lived day by day, experiencing 20 to 25 “headache days” each month.
Terwee continued with this way of life until eight years ago, when she finally confessed to her obstetrician that she had been having migraines nearly every day.
“Every day? Why didn’t you say anything?” Terwee recalled how her doctor was incredulous.
“Part of my keeping it secret was a way that I was managing the pain and dealing with it,” said Terwee. If ever she opened up to anyone about the pain, nausea and other issues the migraines were causing her, she was often approached with “unhelpful advice.”
“Everyone was just trying to be helpful, but their asking, ‘have you been drinking any water?’ or ‘have you taken any Ibuprofen?’ was not helping me, it would just make me more frustrated,” said Terwee. “Being a woman, hormones could trigger a migraine. Weather would trigger a migraine. Bright, fluorescent lights would trigger a migraine.”
After several years of trial and error with different medications and techniques, Terwee was referred by her primary care physician, Andrea Landon, DO, to Johnson at Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences.
“The pain was such a big problem, so we were trying different things, like Botox,” said Terwee, who at first found relief through the injections she received once every three months. Gradually, the Botox stopped working for her.
“Botox has a cumulative effect and cuts ‘headache days’ in half for about three-fourths of migraine patients after three rounds of treatments,” said Johnson, who was open to trying and learning what worked for Terwee.
A “revolution in headache medications” finally gave Terwee her life back.
“In May 2018, Aimovig received FDA approval, which was the first of a new class of medications called CGRP inhibitors,” said Johnson.
According to the American Migraine Association, “CGRP stands for calcitonin gene-related peptide, and it is a protein that is released around the brain. When CGRP is released, it causes intense inflammation in the coverings of the brain (the meninges), and for most migraine patients, causes the pain of a migraine attack.”
“Anyone who suffers from migraines should take another look at their medications,” said Johnson, “and they don’t have to live in pain, even if they don’t have as drastic of migraines as Meagan.”
A single mom of a 10-year-old daughter, Terwee has been given her life back with Aimovig and the guidance of Johnson. There are no interactions with other drugs, “and it’s a once-monthly injection, super easy to administer,” according to Terwee.
Other big changes for Terwee include her physical activity. Now she is able to run again and do yoga, both of which are passions of hers. She is registered to run a half marathon in April 2020, the Gazelle Girl, and is registered for the 25K during the Amway River Bank Run in May 2020.
Due to all the exercise and feeling better, Terwee has lost 90 pounds in just 14 months.
“Before, when I was having so many migraines, you don’t feel like working out because you are just managing the pain, and trying to get through day-to-day life.
“Now I have my life back.”
If you suffer from headaches and would like to see if you can be helped, please visit the Mercy Health Hauenstein Headache clinic website: