Wednesday, September 14, 2011

sometimes i do things that make sense.

like, finally realizing that i have migraines and that those are serious and the 10+ years i've spent trying to medicate with otc stuff just won't cut it anymore. yep, for over a decade i would get hit with a migraine, take 800mg of ibuprofen, and huddle in a dark room, weeping and moaning and writhing in agony. the pain would get so intense i would go from migraine to migraine/panic attack, making the whole thing worse. this would be followed by a day or two of loopiness, something i now know has a name: postdrome.

i have been educating myself on migraines lately. i have been studying my triggers and trying to determine what phases i'm in when i'm in them. i'm noticing that ovulation, weather changes, stress, overhead florescent lights, and lots of smoke or pollutants in the air set off a migraine. i'm tracking the pre-migraine phases,starting when i get all bitchy and anxious and irritable. then my vision starts to get a little wonky, like i'm seeing stuff but looking directly at things hurts. i also have trouble processing information, making it go in one ear and out the other. that's when i know it's going to hit soon.

that happened yesterday. the vision started to get weird and i was having trouble thinking. so i took my first ever dose of imitrex. and waited.

the pharmacist warned me i would get light-headed so i curled up on the bed to wait it out. there was a little bit of an odd feeling in my head but the miraculous thing was that the pain never hit. the storm of agonizing pain never rushed over me. it just...faded. i wasn't laying in the dark, trying not to throw up, wondering if this was that "worst headache of your life" that the websites warn you about, the kind that necessitate a trip to the hospital. i wasn't crying. it passed over me like a storm cloud you pray away at a picnic. it just left.

it was awesome.

so i'm writing about this because i've been thinking about how badly the migraines have affected my life. i've missed out on things and suffered a stupid amount of pain because all this time i thought i was managing just fine on my own. i didn't want a prescription that i had to take. i wanted to tough it out. i wanted to not be dependent on a drug. i wanted to be stronger than the migraine.

i was so off base it's hilarious.

i know this medicine hasn't worked for a lot of people and i know everyone has a different reaction, but this is like a light going on in a very dark room for me. if imitrex continues to do what it did yesterday, i might actually get a little bit of my life back again. i didn't realize how badly i felt until i felt good again. it's remarkable how that works.


  1. Amber I just wish I could hug you right now and do the happy dance with you!

    I went through this exact torture throughout high school. I never knew that my headaches were migraines either. My mom would get them occasionally, too. But she was of the "no medication just go to sleep" ilk. So that's what I would do. The whole dark room, writhing in agony deal. Only I stressed myself out so badly during those years that I would get them like weekly. Talk about missing out on things, right?

    When I was in my early twenties, the migraines were getting worse so I finally saw a doctor for it. (Gee, what a novel concept!) The first thing he said was "Oh! You have migraines". The second thing was "Get a CT scan". Because apparently, aneurysms are sometimes a cause so of course he wanted to rule that out right away.
    -- Did you know that and have you been checked out for it? --

    Well for many years after I continued to struggle with them, but at least I had medication that would usually work. Then, miraculously, in my thirties they went away. I had made a conscious decision to eliminate as much stress as possible from my life, which was mainly my perfectionist-related anxiety and toxic people. I also found out what my allergies are and got proper treatment for them. Now I very rarely get actual full-blown migraines; it's kind of morphed into weather-related sinus headaches, which otc (aleve) actually does take care of sometimes!

    Well I'll conclude all of this rambling by saying I am sooooo happy for you that you are finding some relief finally. I know too well how horrible migraines are for screwing with your life, and the euphoric freedom you feel now.

    Love, rainbows, puppies, and all that...

  2. I am so happy to read this, and to hear that a medicine did exactly what it is supposed to do (hallelujah!) and that you feel better! Yay!

    I get very occasional migraines, with the precursor of scintillating scotomas (flashing lights in my vision) that are too freaky. The thunderclap headache hits the second the lights move to the side and out of my vision, and the headache hits on the opposite side of my brain as whatever side the lights moved away to. MSG is one of my triggers for sure. I just figured that one out during my last migraine a few weeks ago. And maybe skipping dinner/low blood sugar. Migraines are so weird. And painful. And the "hangover" feeling for days afterward is not cool.

    I am sooooooooo glad you have found a medicine that helps. :) xoxo.