Friday, June 4, 2010


I suffer from migraines. A lot. I remember the first time I had one, it lasted an incredibly long time and my family found me sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast in the dark. When they flipped on the lights I started crying. I was 16. Over the years I’ve had spells where they last for an incredibly long time, and then I have wonderfully peaceful spells where migraines are but a distant nightmare.
When I was pregnant the first time I had a migraine for 3 solid months. I remember doing ironing and wishing the steam would stay off of me because the excess heat made me want to gag. I was constantly dizzy and convinced I’d fall over just attempting to walk to the bathroom. Something pregnant women do a lot. But after three months, it went away and it was the last time I suffered a wicked migraine for a while.
When I was pregnant the second time my migraines came back in full force. My head hurt so much that a few hours after birth when I went to shower it hurt to wash my hair. It was like one massive bruise. Unfortunately the migraines didn’t stay away for a very long time this time around.
Instead I suffered a migraine every day at the exact same time. It took me over a year to finally go to the Dr. He was incredibly patient. I think anyone who listens to a migraine sufferer is patient. 
Over the years I’ve tried a variety of medications for my migraines. Some were simply for the pain and very few of them have worked. Most of them just make me sick. Then there was the preventative medication which was an anti-depressant. It worked quite well for a while, but it also caused me to be an incredibly grouchy person. I’m taking so grumpy I’d wake up biting my tongue because everything was making me cranky.
I finally decided that my family deserved a better attitude and stopped taking the medication. My body wasn’t pleased with that idea and it was a hard process to stop taking it. Another Dr prescribed something else for me, but I refused to take it when I saw that if I stopped taking it suddenly I could suffer a heart attack. She wasn’t pleased with me. The feeling was mutual.
Migraine suffering eventually became something I adapted to. Which is really weird for some people to understand. Thankfully I am not fully incapacitated when I have a migraine. My hands shake something terrible, as in I become a fuddle fingers and I spill stuff or will find my writing to be quite wonky. I am terribly dizzy and my sense of smell is so great that I can tell when someone at the other end of the block is doing laundry. And for the record, I really think they should change brands of soap.. 
I can be carrying on a normal conversation an then completely space out. Not because I forgot what I was doing, but because I honestly can’t remember what I was about to say. It’s quite frustrating when your 6 year old says, “Yeah, and then what Mom? Mom, did you lose your words?”
Over the years I’ve read quite a bit about migraine, but most of it is about learning to handle what’s wrong with your body instead of actually helping yourself. So when a friend told me about a book entitled Heal Your Headache I was intrigued.
Not only was the book fascinating, at least to me, it gave me some incredible insight into my own migraines. Strangely enough, it also helped me gain some well needed control over them. It allowed me to notice some of my triggers, ones I was completely unaware of.
For instance, I knew that artificial scents of any kind can give me an instant migraine. Walking down the detergent isle at the grocery is always a fun game to see if I can get what I need before I have to gasp for air again. Yet, I hadn’t put two and two together to notice that something as simple as yogurt was setting me off.  Yet, once it was pointed out it was rather obvious.
The ideas in the book can be overwhelming at first, it took some major readjusting to our menus. But, we survived and with some amazing results. It’s nice to feel normal more times then not in a given month. I've also noticed that after eliminating some of the triggers for a while I've been able to reintroduce SOME of them without problems, some still need to be avoided.
I still suffer a migraine when the weather changes. As in, when it rains. Which can make winter pretty rough considering it rains more then not each winter here. Which means I still feel the need to get the upper hand on them so I don’t have to dash to the freezer between party games and ice my forehead down. 
At the same time I didn’t want to go back on a synthetic medication for my migraines, now knowing the hassle it had been last time. Which led to some research on a natural help called 5-htp. Which, I must add, was also mentioned to me by the same friend who mentioned the book.  I'm hoping between the two I can finally be fully migraine free, time will tell. In the meantime, I feel for those who suffer. I understand...


Tracey said...

I hate migraines. I do not get them as much as I used to but when I do......

Kimberly said...

I suffered from Migraines for 14 years. I had been to two neurologist and neither of them could fine anything wrong. I had 12 spinal taps to relieve pressure in my head. I knew to stay away from things and I was doing a good job at it too. Then about two years ago, I could NOT stand to be outside. As a mother of 4 boys how was I going to not go outsider. We were on a vacation and I thought the world was ending or I was begging mine to at least. It was HORRIBLE. We came home and my DH told the boys mom was sick and just needed to stay indoors. Then one day last summer my vision began to change. With the migraines I had vision disturbances, but only when I had a migraine. I was volunteering in our co-op when I lost my vision completely and began to get sick violently. They called the ambulance and they decided I need a helicopter ride for immediate treatment to a larger hospital. I got to my neuro-surgeon and I had emergency surgery. I had to have a shunt put into my brain to relieve the spinal fluid that was pushing on my brain and optic nerves. This is what was causing my migraines. I have a syndrome called Pseudo-Tumor Ceribri. The surgery was last October and since then I had had 2 migraines and those were contributed to the massive and quick change in a Florida thunderstorm. I can see and be outside with the boys with no problems.

On a note. PTC is aggravated with stress. I would get migraines at 2pm like clock work. My oldest was coming home from PS and my DH was coming in from work. I am also a bit overweight which is another factor in PTC. Check it out... Very interesting stuff.

Sorry such a long post...I just hate to see people suffer and if I can shed some information that may help, I will. I wish someone would have told me about this 14 years ago.


Anonymous said... I get migraines too... my most recent discovery of a trigger is dental work. I read the above article yesterday and thought you might find it helpful

Joanna said...

I was exactly like you i would get migraines everyday until i was just about to fall apart then i heard of a surgery that can cure migraine only 5 doctors in the US preform it...they tested me out with botox first and it helped so much i decided to do the surgery i had it done on the 2 of june and i havent had a migraine since to learn about it go th