Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc. is Pleased to Present This Article Written By Sheena LaMontagne
As I sit here now typing I can feel the pain starting to creep in. The slight pulse starting. But I must write, for myself and for others. With coffee in one hand, and my other on the keyboard silently praying the caffeine does the trick because I don’t know if my stomach can take one more aspirin or Excedrin. But what choice do I have? Options are limited when you’ve tried so many prescription medicines and the choice is either fewer migraines, but you feel like a vegetable and you can’t function normally, or don’t take prescriptions. Use over the counter, hope for the best and pray your liver is stronger than you think and maybe by some small chance you may be able to manage a little.
This is my life.
Somehow, between the last 3 years I went from having migraines every so often (usually do due to certain foods consumed) to a never ending cycle of warning signs. From head throbbing accompanied by all the lovely nausea and vomiting, the nose of a bloodhound trained for the narcotic’s division, to the hangover period. Then, just when you think it’s over, that maybe you’ll have a day of clarity and be pain free, the cycle starts all over again. I honestly can’t tell when it stops and begins anymore. Sometimes it’s the eye pain, brain fog, body weakness, vision changes, word jumbling, feeling cold, movement troubles, shakiness, nausea, light sensitivity, smells, fatigue, feeling lightheaded and the need to pee every two seconds (Just to name some of the major issues I feel constantly) take their turns every day and sometimes all at once.
What happened you might ask. What changed? I am still trying to figure that out. Some doctors claim it’s Hemiplegic Migraine, while another claims maybe it’s due to my Scoliosis. I sometimes ask myself “Is there something I did that I don’t know about for the universe to punish me this way?” Although, I know that is ridiculous. It sometimes feels that way. The one thing I am absolutely sure of is this, knowing your warning signs will be your BIGGEST ally. Those quirky, weird things that happen throughout the day like having to urinate 3-4 times in an hour, feeling extremely hungry all of a sudden (I’m talking about eating as if you haven’t eaten in days hungry) feeling extremely tired and drained all of a sudden, vision focusing in and out, stuttering/slurring words, feeling extremely irritable all of a sudden could be your body warning you long before the throbbing head pain actually comes. During that time I have learned when I start to notice those symptoms, I need to take action right away. Whether it’s having a little caffeine or taking some over counter medicine with a little snack. Maybe enough to curb it so you can make it through your day. Hoping you don’t spend your day in a room curled up in a ball, crying, wishing for anything to stop it from feeling like someone is stabbing a knife into your head and its ready to explode.
Taking those early steps doesn’t always work, but I feel as if it does help me. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s just unavoidable. No matter what you do that migraine is dead set on visiting you that day and there’s nothing you can do about it. On those days, I feel it’s so important to go easy on yourself. It took me many years to figure this out and accept this fact. IT’S OK. It’s ok if you don’t feel good. It’s ok if you can’t check off that 10th item on your to-do list. It’s ok to tell people “ Hey, this is what I’m going through right now I need a minute” It’s ok to take care of yourself. The more stress you put on yourself for not being able to do things the more it will feed the cycle. There will also be times where people in your workplace or life are not going to understand. They are not going to be compassionate. I’m lucky in my workplace they are a little understanding. Although, there are still times where my coworkers say, “you always look so tired”, “what is wrong with you?” “are you drunk?” (that was my favorite someone once said to me in the workplace). Those people will most likely never understand and that’s ok too.
It’s for you to take care of yourself during this time. On the days I have to push through I just remind myself over and over again “the pain will let up in a few hours if I’m lucky. I am strong and I can get through it just like every other day.” We as migraine suffers are so strong even in the times we feel the weakest. It is so important to get to know yourself. Learn your body’s limits, read more about potential triggers and warning signs to notice them in yourself. Read exactly what you are putting into your body. Take note of the stressors in your life. Reward yourself on the days you couldn’t believe you made it through the pain and above all, be gentle with yourself. We are all fighting in the world for something. Some of us just a little more than others. You are not alone. Take Care.