|© mast3r - Fotolia.com|
This is the first time I've bothered to mention this on my blog but since I've had a day that was made null and void by a severe migraine, I decided I want to end it with something productive. So here's my attempt, written with all the lights turned off, drugs taken, brightness turned down on my computer screen, fan blowing on me gently, and the room quiet and waiting for something.
Migraines are mysterious.
Migraines are merciless.
But often times they are seen as just as "big headaches." Take some aspirin, get some rest, you'll be fine.
Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.
Migraines don't usually go away overnight. I have gone through two weeks at a time with a constant migraine, of varying intensity, but there nonetheless. And I know of folks that have had migraines last for even longer than that. So just taking some aspirin and getting some rest doesn't really work - at least not for some of us. Because they aren't "just headaches."
Migraines can be debilitating. Sometimes I can continue to function with one but on a bad day, like today, I am forced to do nothing. And I mean nothing. Reading hurts, looking at the computer screen hurts, listening to music hurts, practicing piano definitely hurts...yup, see how bad it gets? If something keeps me from my piano that says something. I can perform if need be, albeit in a bit of a drugged-up state, thanks to all the endorphins that come with walking on stage but afterwards? Oh boy. You don't want to see me after a performance under the influence. Not pretty.
Migraines make me want to cry...or worse. But because they are so painful and debilitating any thoughts of doing either are quickly realized as impossibilities. Imagine that.
Migraines make me feel pathetic. Here I am, a wife and a mother, and I am made worthless to my family. I remember several times when my daughter was much younger and not yet in school when she had to nurse me through the day. It might have been somewhat fun for her - a chance to truly play nurse, but it wasn't so fun for me nor did I feel it was really right. I am thankful that I have a family that is so understanding and helpful but I wish it didn't have to be this way so much of the time.
Migraines are difficult to figure out. I've tried so many different medications, many of which have had way too many side-effects to be bearable; I've driven long distances to go to special clinics; I've kept charts trying to make some sense of all the possible factors; I've had many different doctors that have completely different philosophies; I've tried to figure out the triggers; I've tried different things in regard to my diet; I've checked the barometric pressure on a regular basis...it's been a lot of work but yielded very few consistent theories. Out of it all I have learned just a few things which I'll share now, for what it's worth.
- It's challenging to find a good doctor who can really help with migraines. I finally ended up with a neurologist that has migraines herself and this has meant the world to me. With her I feel comfortable because I know she gets it. She listens to me, has figured out that my body is not very good with medicine, and has taken more of a "let's just get you through this approach." We tried some of the preventative options but they were not well-received by my extremely sensitive system. Instead, she has put me on a daily regimen of supplements and has found for me several different options that I can use once a migraine sets in. There are good doctors out there and they take some work to find but it's worth it.
- It seems like MRIs are not necessary unless a neurologist does a basic set of tests (that doesn't require machines, radiation, or big bills) and he or she sees a need to proceed with the big guns. I had two neurologists, after seeing me once, order MRIs after only speaking to me for about 10 minutes each. It was such a knee-jerk solution for them. Migraine = MRI but seriously? Do you know how much those tests are? Plus talk about migraine inducing!
- Rebound migraines can be more debilitating than your average migraines but they can happen so incredibly easily. I had no idea that the medicine that works best for me, Maxalt, is only supposed to be taken every couple of days. For whatever reason, none of my doctors or pharmacists ever told me this little detail. So for little old me, that was having migraines for days on end, for weeks on end, taking Maxalt every day was causing massive rebound migraines! Of course I was also running out medicine on a regular basis, being forced a few times to pay $75 per pill when I was desperate and had run out of what our insurance would pay for. Somehow I stumbled upon information about rebound migraines online so I asked my neurologist about it and she confirmed what I had figured out. I immediately started keeping track of when I took Maxalt, allowing for 2 to 3 days in between doses, and instantly reduced my attacks and their severity. For a long time I also didn't know that I could take advil at the same time I take Maxalt. And on top of that I can also take an anti-nausea medication I take. It pays to ask the pharmacist or your doctor! Perhaps I'm the only person that didn't know these things but I want to go on the record for passing on these important bits of info.
- I have discovered a website, migraine.com, that has a wealth of information daily. They also have a twitter account at @migrainedotcom.
I wish I had more helpful information to offer but like I said at the beginning of this post - migraines are mysterious. I certainly hope that more research will be done in the years to come so that this those of us who deal with them on a regular basis will find more relief. Until then, if you're someone suffering from migraines, go easy on yourself - it's not easy to live with these things. And for those of you that know someone with migraines, thank you for supporting them and believing them. It means the world to us and makes living with them so much more tolerable.
Now my head is really hurting so it's time to sign off. Here's to a new and better day tomorrow. Stay healthy, everyone!