April 1, 2022

Migraine headaches


I've suffered from migraines for decades. 

One of the worst things about these debilitating headaches is losing time to write.  With a migraine, the precious day fades away without the opportunity to pen a single word.  It's impossible to be creative with a pounding headache.    

A migraine feels like the tip of a knife stabbing the temple of my head.  With this amount of pain, it's difficult to think clearly or to make good judgments.  Once while driving with a migraine, I bypassed a familiar street I needed to travel on to get home.  The ability to think straight had been lost and I drove past my turn.

At times, a migraine can produce flashing lights or zigzag patterns.  It can also bring on the chills and nausea, and it may affect the bladder and bowels.

Like most migraine sufferers, I have triggers that set off the pounding headache.  Of the fifteen common triggers listed below, the first eleven can give me a migraine.

Loud noise
Bright lights
Air travel
Foods with additives like soy*   
Changes in barometric pressure 
Female hormones
Certain medicines
Certain fragrances
Certain baking odors
Change in sleep patterns

Though I know what can set off a migraine, sometimes it's difficult to control or to avoid these triggers.  So, for years I explored methods to give me some relief.  I tried a bioidentical hormone cream, acupuncture, essential oils, and cannabis, but none of these treatments worked. 

Finally, I saw a neurologist.  He too, suffered from migraines.  So, here was someone who understood these debilitating headaches.  He prescribed the vasoconstrictor Imitrex.  And voilĂ .  Imitrex stops a migraine in its tracks.  I reach for this wonder med at the first sign of a migraine attack, which in my case can be any of the following:  a tightening across my forehead, sinus pressure, feeling foggy brained, seeing light flashes, or having blurry vision. 
It's a godsend to have a reliable medicine.  Without Imitrex, I'd be curled up in bed for up to six hours trying not to throw up and missing out on composing blogs, editing my stories, fine-tuning queries, advising clients, and doing social media marketing.  A migraine can make me feel miserable and can ruin a major portion of my day.  

Migraines will probably affect me for the rest of my life.  That's a fact, not a complaint.  I accept this.  Luckily, when I feel one coming on, there's a medicine that brings relief in about fifteen minutes.  As long as I can get ahead of a migraine before it manifests, I'm good to go.  Pain-free, I can tackle my writing tasks.  And without a migraine, I can make the most of a precious day. 

Carpe diem! 

*Soy lecithin is added to many foods such as ice cream, soups, breads, and chocolate.  If you get headaches after having a meal, read the packaging labels.  Find out if soy lecithin is one of the ingredients.