For 10 years I have lived with migraines; not headaches, migraines… chronic migraines. Sleep days at a time, every sound in the world is a thousand times too loud, every scent makes me nauseated, the sensation a vampire must get from being in the daylight migraines.
TEN YEARS… I cannot even begin to actually fathom how long that time span is, I mean yes I can but wow I can’t believe its been that long.
Today (fingers crossed) is the last day that the pain in my head will control me and my life. Tomorrow is a new day; tomorrow is Botox day. I will elaborate.
The past 6 years I have dealt with a neurologist who has tried everything under the sun to help get my headaches under control; let me help you understand what I have been through.
No processed meats, hot dogs, lunch meat, salamis, pepperonis, anything that is cured or has sodium nitrate in it.
No cheese (the saddest thing ever); no brie, no bleu cheese, no feta, no cheddar, no jack, no melty deliciousness that makes everything taste just a little better.. I am restricted to cream cheese and cottage cheese, although I loosely follow the cheese restrictions, I do end up paying for it later.
No gluten… umm Hi do you realize that gluten is in EVERYTHING, obviously bread, beer, crackers, pretzels, cereal, soy sauce, barbecue sauce, flour, pasta.. the list is forever long. Pretty much EVERYTHING in life is a byproduct of wheat and has some form of nasty gluten in it. The only good thing about reducing gluten is the effect that it was having on my body; bloating, digestion problems, etc. (If you are interested in the effects that gluten does have on an individual check out the book Wheat Belly by William Davis, you will be surprised and possibly disgusted by wheat by the time you finish the book)
No wine! Going to Italy and not being able to drink wine was possibly the most tormenting thing in my life.
No alcohol in general, because it has gluten in it and because of the way that breaks down.
Let’s see I’ve been on countless preventative medications:
Topamax (makes you forgetful.. I went to work one day drove all the way there and forgot my shoes.. who does that?)
Propanolol, Elavil.. these little babies mess with your blood pressure and I would get dizzy and sometimes faint from bending over and then standing back up straight
Nortriptyline.. taken at night but made me feel like a zombie in the morning
Keppra… oh this one way my favorite! I had anxiety attacks, depression, crying for no reason, restlessness at night, killed my appetite.
I have tried Chinese herbs, a widely available herb called FeverFew, no caffeine, acupuncture, chiropractic services, yoga, regulated sleep schedule, less stress, no being on a computer too long, wearing glasses..
I LITERALLY have tried everything short of standing on my head underwater surrounded by sharks, but hey if you told me that it had the slight possibility that it would cure my headaches or at least make them less frequent I would try it. Sad but one million percent true.
Over the years everyone and their mother has suggested things to try from putting potatoes on my forehead to asking god to forgive me for my sins, because after all my migraines are a punishment from god and not a medical condition (let’s be honest I don’t want to have a god debate so I just smile and nod when people suggest this)
At first I really appreciated everyones advice and suggestions but eventually it got to the point if one more person wanted to tell me what they think I should do or what they do to help their headaches I was going to punch them in the face and run away the other direction screaming. I promise you my migraines are nothing like anything that someone with mild headaches has. Quite frankly my headaches are so bad that the team of neurologists that I work with haven’t had someone with a case this bad in “they can’t remember how long”.
Ohhhh I forgot to mention the preventative medications never worked, they all had a placebo effect on me.. my body is highly resistant to medications. For those of you unaware of the placebo effect, it is taking a medication or a treatment and it working but only working because you have willed it to work, and the efficacy of the treatment fades away in a short period of time because the medication or treatment was never actually working in the first place.. awesome!
Also medications to help with the episode I was having didn’t work and if they did it barely took the edge off. It was like having your finger slammed in the car door and to take away the pain of that someone punches you in the face. Not exactly what you want when you have a migraine, I want no pain not less pain. I tried EVERY migraine medication available; Relpax, Imitrex injection, tablet, nasal spray, Maxalt oral disintegrating tablets, as well as the regular tablets.. the list goes on and on.
So tomorrow is the day that I hope all of this fades away.. tomorrow is a new chapter of my life, and hopefully the chapter is migraine free… 31 injections (YIKES!) in the face, head and neck every 12 weeks to stop this craziness that I have lived for so long. Although I am terrified out of my mind of the what ifs.. I can only keep an open mind about what tomorrow morning will bring.
Today I am at a pain level of about 3 (on a scale of 1 to 10) everyday is either a 3,4, or 5 these days. I am on dayyyyyy 30 something of headaches, today I say goodbye to you migraines, goodbye to all the pain, tears, barf and fun you have caused me. Good bye to having to cancel on family and friends, good bye to missing my workouts, good bye to feeling sorry for myself, good bye to missing work, good bye to having to listen to people tell me what they think is causing my headaches, good bye to spending more of my life in bed than the average 26 year old female, good bye migraines kiss my butt.
Tomorrow is going to be a new, great, amazing, spectacular day.. I am trying to remain optimistic.
So please friends the next time someone tells you that they have a migraine and you suggest that they take a Motrin/Tylenol (or whatever works for your little headaches) remember that they are thinking of the 100 things you could go do with that Motrin, nicely put take a hike with it.
Dear Migraines, I am breaking up with you.