From around the time I was 10 years old I started to get these head aches. When something hurts so badly you can remember over decades as it burns into your personal strand of fate.
Why does this happen, having to live daily life with this much physical pain. I know there are so many other diseases and conditions that potentially could be so much worse, but this is the hell of my reality and I have lived with it for 34 years.
The first migraine, that I can recall clearly, was when I was about 10 years old. My step-mother (at the time) and my aunt decided to take us to Medford, a town slightly larger than Grants Pass, with the benefit of a mall & shopping center. I started feeling sick on the way to Medford and had a full blown agonizing head ache by the time we arrived. My head hurt so bad and the light hurt my eyes that I wasn’t able to go inside. My step-mother had the brilliant idea to leave me in the car while they shopped, in the summer heat. Needless to say, in today’s society, she would have gone to jail. Two hours later, they finally came back to the car and as we were driving home she had to pull the car over so I could vomit. Not a pleasant 1st experience in anyone’s book.
I don’t recall any more after that, nor did I realize what it was at the time. The second attack (that I can recall) happened when I was twelve years old, in middle school. I was getting ready to take an Algebra test (see, math can be harmful to your health haha). I looked down at the green sheet of paper and while I could see color, when I would try to read anything on the page there was a blind spot in the page. When I could finally read the paper, my head hurt so bad it felt like a tiny leprechaun pounding his hammer into my skull.
From there they headaches grew continually worse. When we come onto 10th grade and we had to change my Geometry period (again harmful to my health) from first to last. This seemed to help with the number of attacks I was getting because I started getting the head aches several times a week.
As time progressed the headaches would come and go. From mild to excruciating levels of pain. Tried medication after medication to treat and to prevent the headaches; some would work for a while or wouldn’t help at all. I started with a medication called Cafergot; taking this medication once at the start and then a 1/4 pill every half our after that. I’m not sure if this is similar with others, but when I took this medication, I learned that after I vomited three times I would start to feel better. In general it sucked all around.
In my late teens and early 20’s I didn’t have any attacks, in fact I thought I had outgrown them and wouldn’t have them ever again. Then in about 1996, several months after having a miscarriage and moving my family 2000 miles away, then trying to pack my house on my own (which I sucked at as my husband will attest to) I started getting migraines again, having auras in the middle of work. I went back to the Cafergot, as that is what I knew worked. Later finding out, there were better options now out on the market.
I’ve going through neurologists and various drugs, finding out that nothing seemed to work to prevent the incidents. All coming to the conclusion that the side effect was worse than the headache and not worth the pain. I started a new medication that seems to have worked for a number of years and continually try different options to get some sort of relief.
I have tried all the herbal supplements, the daith piercing, diets, exercise (although it’s hard to exercise when you can’t get out of bed because your head wants to fall off). I know which foods to avoid, I can’t have rich chocolates, red wines, citrus based artificial foods, etc. I can’t sleep too much, or sleep too little, or have my sleep interrupted because sometimes it will cause a migraine. If I get too busy and forget to eat, I’ll get one.
Extreme heat causes them, when I lived in Arizona, if I wasn’t in an air conditioned location, I could stand it for a very short time and then I would end up with a migraine. My in-laws thought I was a real wuss for that one. Bright lights can cause them, in high school I took a present to a friend, the bag was a shiny opalescent color and the lights hit it just right to glare into my eyes and I ended up having to go home with a migraine.
In general, I average at least 3-4 headaches per week. However, a good majority of them do not have an aura. These I could always tell by a knot in one of the veins on the back of my neck. Knowing from that buildup, I would eventually end up with a migraine. Over the last two years, I have had to take 3 trips to the emergency room due to the migraine. This is not something I had to deal with previously.
I work as a 911 dispatcher, while you would think it’s the stress of the job, there are kinds of stress you learn to turn off and on. The problem them becomes, when you get the migraine and start stumbling over words like you don’t know how to speak.
This is how my weekend started, little head aches building into larger ones, eventually causing me to sleep. The last 3 days, I would wake up be up for a few hours, chilling out since it was my day off, only to be knocked out with a migraine. The second, two days, started with an aura, which I can’t recall clearly having one of those in over 20 years. I took myself to the ER to hopefully knock it out again, which seemed to help, until this evening when yet another aura strikes this time at work…
Trying to read the screen or the clock….looks something like this.
No words can describe the feeling of a migraine and each one is different. Each person has their own experience, albeit an unpleasant one.
For those of you who suffer them, I feel your pain. For those who don’t, I hope you never do. For those of you suffering other forms of chronic pain, my heart goes out to you.