“And then a throb hits you on the left side of the head so hard that your head bobs to the right…There’s no way that came from inside your head, you think. That’s no metaphysical crisis.
God just punched you in the face.”
There are approximately 13 million Americans who suffer from a painful neurological condition called migraines; it’s more than 10% of the population or 1 in 4 households.
I am one of those Americans.
It’s believed that migraine headaches tend to run in families and there’s a 70% chance that a child of a parent with migraines will develop them at some point in their lifetime. Wow. I can’t say that knowing that years ago would have made any difference (as my mother has them.) It doesn’t change the fact I have them. I can’t say that I would have even been “prepared” for them.
What can prepare someone for a monstrous pressure in the base of their cranium / brain stem which steadily becomes the feeling of a ball peen hammer hitting you upside the head repeatedly while at the same time crushing your skull in a vice? This of course (for me) is accompanied by other symptoms I don’t feel the urge to discuss at this time. TMI.
The sad thing is… many people think folks with migraines don’t have a serious problem, they’re faking it, it’s “just a headache”… Gads… I could go on and on. Consider this. Migraine attacks can cause strokes, comas, aneurysms or death. Each and every time someone with chronic migraines HAS a migraine we actually wonder HOW BAD it’s going to be. I’ve ended up at the doctor’s office / hospital getting injections to knock my ass out because it was that bad.
“ We once saw a documentary on migraines. One of the men interviewed used to fall on his knees and bang his head against the floor, over and over during attacks. This diverted the pain from deep inside his brain, where he couldn’t reach it, to a pain outside that he had control over.”
I wish I could describe that pain, deep inside the brain. I’ve said on more than one occasion to my husband and friends that it would hurt less to run my head through a concrete wall. It’s true.
But did you know there are migraines where there is NO pain? A couple of friends of mine at work have these silent migraines. They don’t have the headache, but they have other symptoms. They are just as debilitating.
There are 10 or more different types of migraine and many people have a combination migraine that sets in – which is what makes diagnosis and treatment so hard. I have a tri-graine: Abdominal, Basilar and Transformed / generally without aura. In a good month, I will only have a few. In a bad month, I have had 25-31 days worth of headache-hell. And months stack up. Fortunately, I’ve been running on the low end of this for a few months. I’m grateful. For a while there, it was f-ugly.
I’m on day two of this particular migraine attack – triggered by nitrates and yet another weather system that moved in. (I swear I could be a meteorologist.) I read a blog post the other day where a woman was on her 112th day. My God. 112 days of wanting to ram your head into a wall or beat it against the floor because the external pain is controllable. I so get it. I feel ya sister.
“His headache was still sitting over his right eye as if it had been nailed there.”
I have run the gambit on prescription drugs – lemme tell you, some of that stuff is like taking candy. Just doesn’t work worth a darn. And the kicker is… REBOUND migraines / headaches. For the love of all that is pure and holy in this world. You think you got it licked and it comes back meaner and badder than the original. Tylenol 3 and the “cets” do that to me… Lorcet / Percocet / Darvocet… etc. That’s a big no-no. I’ve been through everything from Imitrex to Maxalt and Treximet (which is the only thing that works for me right now. Dare I say, “THANK YOU, TREXIMET.”) I also take daily preventative drugs that work okay, but still doesn’t solve the problem. Of course, I’m assuming the problem can be solved. I don’t know that is the case. But I can hope.
I’m searching for options. I’m looking at acupuncture, massage, herbal remedies, nape piercings, and other alternative therapies with no decisions having been made yet. I’m tired of the drugs. I’m tired of the migraines. I’m tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired and all anyone seems to want to push are pills.
However, with that said… I really am tired (migraines tend to do that) and I need to get some rest. I’ll let you know how things go at a later date and what decisions I’ve made. I have a feeling it’s all going to be a process of trial and error that will fall under my blanket of “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”
Cheerio and ta-ta for now.