First of all, any of you that are about to say “migraines are just really bad headaches…” I’m gonna need you to exit stage left. This blog’s is not for you. I could rant and ramble through all the facts on why that’s wrong and I won’t change your mind. But, if you’ve ever had a migraine before, witnessed someone with a migraine, felt chronic pain, or feel empathy for others this one is for you, my little angels.
I didn’t start getting migraines until senior year of high school. I thought I did because I’ve always been really sensitive to light and sound. I got a LOT of headaches because I was swimming so lots of long days in chemical filled rooms with loud starts and yelling. When I wasn’t doing that, I was on a stage with bright lights, loud music, and microphones. Genuinely, I don’t remember a time that I wasn’t getting headaches at least a couple of times a week, but ibuprofen could usually knock those guys out.
So, I thought a bad headache was a migraine when I was like 16. It was my head and it hurt. What’s the difference, ya know? DUDE. I got my first migraine in the winter of my senior year. I had just finished a dance camp for show choir where we do like day long camps to perfect the show. It’s long, grueling, and kind of stressful because you know you have to compete in like two weeks.
I’m not sure if it was lack of water, stress, the seasons changing, my depression, or a mixture of a million other things, but my head started to feel a little tight. Like, my neck and my shoulders felt like they were carrying a bowling ball and about to crack under the pressure. I tried to sleep it off and I could even move without sending shooting pains from the base of my head to my temple to right behind my eyes and all the way back around. The tiny little lights that showed that my phone was charging was like someone flashing a strobe in my face. It was kind of like I had super sonic hearing too, I felt like I could hear the neighbor down the street cough and it was being amplified right into my eardrum. This wasn’t like anything I’d ever experienced.
I’ve already kind of talked about pain in a blog. But, you body does everything it possibly can to get rid of the pain it feels. That’s why you feel fevers or your blood pressure spikes sometimes. It’s those little cells fighting off the ones that they don’t necessarily recognize or like. When I get migraines, my body usually tries to ward off the pain by making me really nauseous, giving me a fever, or making me light-headed.
If you’re someone who’s dealt with chronic pain or even like pain from a surgery or something, you know that ibuprofen can only do so much. It can only take so much of the edge off and it can only last for so long. After suffering for hours, I started to see these little spots in my vision. It was like I had starred into the sun. They were little gaps in my vision where there are bright spots – I later learned that people call those auras. I’m pretty familiar with those now.
My parents took me to the hospital when I genuinely couldn’t stop crying and every time I sobbed my head just sent a shooting pain around my head. I had my first ‘migraine cocktail” at 17 years old. It’s an IV mixture of Benadryl, anti-nausea, and another hardcore painkiller. It’s uncomfortable to say the absolute least… you have an IV in your inner arm and cold fluids coursing into you. It’s not amazing, but not having a migraine is worth it.
It’s been 5 years since my first migraine. I’ve gone through about 4 different kinds of medicine to try and get rid of them. I talked a little bit about this in a past blog, but I had issues like weight gain, irritability, and other really shitty side effects because of medications used to prevent migraines.
It’s scary when it’s your head too. You can get an Xray to look at the bones in your arm, but when it’s your head, it’s your brain. You can’t see it. You have to get in a big tube to diagnose it. It’s just always a little bit more scary.
Right now, I take about 100 mg of a drug called topirimate. It’s also been helpful when I was waking up in the middle of the night and eating a bunch of stuff. It’s been the most successful of everything that we’ve tried.
This is the most recent time that I’ve needed to get a migraine cocktail. Pardon my french, but it’s the fucking worst. Lately, I’ve been losing my vision in my left eye, sometimes in both. Which makes literally everything that I’m used to doing virtually impossible.
I don’t get them a lot anymore. Which means that the medicine is doing it’s job, thank god. But, as with any medication, there is some hiccups. I would say I get maybe one migraine a month. Which is far better than getting one to two a week as I was. When I do get them, my coworkers have been so helpful in getting shifts covered last minute and understanding that I’m pretty much a walking zombie.
It’s really hard to explain. It’s really hard to go through. But, as with anything on this blog, the sun will shine through tomorrow. It might be shitty now. It might be painful, confusing, and just annoying… but damnit, we will prevail, my little angels.
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