Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Demon Migraine - Part III

And we’re back to the topic of migraine. As I mentioned last time, there is no simple answer to the migraine problem, at least not for me.

I’ve been treated by five neurology clinics, six internists, two dentists, and an ophthalmologist. I’ve tried chiropractic, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage, yoga, biofeedback, meditation, and TMJ therapy. I’ve tried over the counter medication, blood pressure drugs, prescription pain killers, anti-depressants, anti-seizure drugs, tranquilizers, at least a dozen herbal and other nutritional supplements, and three generations of migraine drugs. And that’s not counting the double-blind drug trials where I don’t know whether I received an active drug or a placebo - in any case, there was no improvement in the migraine. I try to keep up with the latest migraine news and check with my doctors every year to see if they have any new ideas.

been there, done that, and that, and that

I’ve gone through two complete diet overhauls, I don’t drink alcohol, and I limit the caffeine. I monitor the weather for upcoming storms, I wear sunglasses all day everyday even when it’s cloudy, I go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. I limit my time on the computer and the sewing machine. I do jaw, neck, face, and shoulder stretching exercises three or four times a day. I’ve adjusted my lifestyle to accommodate every possible trigger: no work outside the house, no driving or working outdoors at mid-day, no parties, no restaurant food, no exposure to perfumes. My only shortcomings in this anti-headache regimen are inconsistent exercise (hard to stick to a daily program when you lose several days a week) and my love of sugary snacks.

And I still have migraine headaches every week – one or a few or sometimes even seven. In the last three months I had a total of 46 migraine headaches. Some days I would just drag myself out of bed long enough for a meal and then return to the darkness.

(Or maybe I’m turning into a vampire)

My mother assures me that the headaches will stop or at least lessen after menopause, but I’m not holding my breath. I do maintain some optimism, but I’m not going to book a round-the-world tour or apply for a full-time job until I actually experience this miraculous cure.

To finally wrap up this exposé, my point is that migraine is not just a headache that goes away with a couple of aspirin.

To those who don’t personally understand the experience: people with migraines may seem dull or annoying, they may appear to impact production in the workplace, and they may decline your social invitations. But they really are not just being difficult or making excuses, in fact they are probably working harder than everyone else, just to overcome a constant obstacle. Migraine is disease that can be incapacitating, or at the very least, cause extreme disruption in a person’s life. But we are always fighting back.

To my fellow migraineurs: do not be ashamed or feel inadequate, do not subjugate your health to others’ demands, and do be aggressive and proactive in your search for that combination of therapies that will be your personal cure. And laugh! As my mom has always said, “all you can do is try to find the humor in the situation, and laugh about it. Because if you cry, you’ll give yourself another headache.”

There are millions of us, we are tough, and we WILL get through it!



  1. That is horrible; I'm so sorry. You have a great attitude about what you are dealing with, which is very impressive. I hope that some good and positive news impacts your journey, and soon.
    xo, A.

  2. Thank you so much! I do try to really squeeze a lot of goodness and fun into the times when I'm not sick. And a LOT of laughter!