Migraines and Superstitions

I’ve heard how athletes are incredibly superstitious.  They all kiss a certain sign on the way to the field or rub the head of one of the managers as they go to bat or wear the same swim suit since they were 10.  I’ve always thought they were nuts.

Until I realized I do the same thing but not with sports… with migraines.

I started getting migraines when I was 14 and they didn’t know much about them and I was given Tylenol 3 which did NOTHING for me.  I would get about one a month.  I stopped getting them when I was about 20.  I got one each time I was pregnant and then one after giving birth, but nothing too significant to really worry about.  I thought they had something to do with hormones and didn’t think about it.

THEN (insert sinister music)

Last year I had 7 in 6 days.  But that was it.  A fluke, I’m sure.  It was the worst week of my life and I spent it in a dark room bemoaning my fate and yelling at my children.  But a year went by.  All is well. Or is it?

I’m getting them again and this time they’re random.  I had 2 three weeks ago, 1 two weeks ago and 1 this week.

I don’t mind the vision issues, the vomiting, or the fact that the left side of my body goes numb.  I can handle those things.  It’s the unknown pain factor.  My vision blurs and I panic because I don’t know how bad this one will be.

Will I be able to function or will I be rolling around in bed wondering exactly how many pills I can take before I cross the line?  I hate that unknown.

And so I’ve become superstitious.  I’ve cut out Diet Pepsi because caffeine can cause migraines.  I’ve stopped wearing a swim cap because it’s tight and maybe the pressure is causing migraines.  If I don’t fall asleep by 11:30 I take an Advil PM because lack of sleep can cause migraines.  I’m drinking water as much as I can because dehydration can cause migraines.  The hardest one is that stress can cause migraines but the fact I keep worrying about getting a migraine is WHAT IS CAUSING THE STRESS!!!

But I still live in constant fear that all of a sudden my vision will blur and I know I have 15 minutes.  15 minutes to take meds and find a dark room and get someone to pick up my kids or watch them and to contact my husband and let him know that I’m out for the rest of the day.

And I have to be out for the rest of the day because I make really bad decisions when on pain meds.  I’ve promised my eldest a car if he’d just be quiet.  I told my daughter she could raise a pony in her bedroom if she would go to a friend’s house.  I may have told more than one medical professional I would be their love slave if they found a cure.  (What really worries me about this last one is that I remember saying this to a couple people.  I just don’t recall who those people are…)

But if one of them found a cure, I’m pretty sure I’d follow through.

13 responses to “Migraines and Superstitions

  1. Try Maxalt-MLT. It works great for migraines, I take it when the first vision flashed appear. It does make me pretty sleepy for about two hours, but then I’m fine, and almost never have to repeat doses. I’m sorry for you!!!

  2. That’s an ordeal, Marianne. My wife gets them, infrequently, but when they occur I can’t help but feel for her (and thank God it’s not happening to me). I hope you find some relief, and the trigger that sets one off (so you can avoid them). Take care.

  3. As an infrequent migraine suffererer, the above post was only partly funny, because they suck. But I do get “normal” headaches regularly, get this, when I exercise. Yes, really. So not only do I not really like to work out, but then my head is pounding for the rest of the day. Quite a lame deal as are your migraines. I would look into prescription strength meds and hope they help.

  4. I used to have frequent migraines. Two weeks of every month were spent in bed. Then my doctor introduced me to Imitrex. It was better than the strong drugs a previous doctor had given me. It didn’t wipe me out like the hard drugs. Then after a hysterectomy (unrelated) I realized that my hormones had something to do with it and the headaches slowed down after the surgery. Now I have prescription anti-nausea pills to help with the last bad symptom remaining for my infrequent migraines (lack of sleep a frequent cause). Hope you find a treatment that works for you. They are the pits.

  5. I’ve been lucky enough to have never had a migraine *knock on wood*, but judging from everything I’ve heard about them, they sound absolutely horrible. I hope you find your solution soon.

  6. I’m allergic to alllllll kinds of food (I’m convinced it’s mostly the chemicals used as preservatives in packaged foods), and anything msg (Chinese food) which will bring on a migraine. Because of that I am eating better than ever–mostly fresh foods. Recently, after a spate of migraines that wouldn’t respond to the meds I take, I found that too many hours on the computer (the way I hold my head) was causing them and was able to adjust the monitor and be careful of the time spent on computer work. I’ve had them for over twenty years, so I know how awful they can be.

    Like Julie, Imitrex works for me (but only if I take 2 Excedrin with it) and your doctor has to find out what the correct dosage is for you. Hope some or any of this helps you identify the trigger for you.

  7. livrancourt

    I’m sorry I’m not your neighbor cuz I’ve got a 14-year-old girl handy who could be on-call for emergency kid-watching. You could send them to my house without promising anyone a pony.

  8. Ugh…migraines are so brutal. I cannot stand them. My last one almost gave me a panic attack. I hear you on the stress thing being a catch-22 — you worry about getting one and worry that worrying might cause one. Ack. I’ve found that if I don’t drink a lot of water (I have a very active job), I get headaches, and sometimes that turns out to be a migraine. Mine have gotten progressively worse over the years, which is disturbing.

    I wish I had some sort of advice. I am starting to try Tai Chi and yoga and might start doing martial arts to help strengthen and tone my body and mind in hopes that a holistic approach might have some effectiveness against the migraine monster.

  9. Sedation? Can’t you get some good “knock out” meds??

  10. The irony of this post is that an hour after I wrote it, I got a migraine. Thanks for the suggestions. I’m trying a few things right now and hoping they work!

  11. The unknown and lack of control over pain and other changes in our bodies is most definitely the worst….worse than the actual event (whatever it is).

    Hope these quickly become a thing of your very distant past!

  12. Exedrin migraine helps really well I use it to help me

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