I am going to enjoy life after 50 if it kills me!

Posts tagged ‘migraine treatment’

Missing Inaction

I realized recently it’s been over a month since my last post!  How on earth did that happen?

It may have something to do with the fact that it’s the last quarter of the school year and like a car on its last fumes of gas, I am sputtering slowly to a halt.  It happens every year, and the older I get, the worse it hits me and the longer it takes me to recover.  This is my way of forewarning my loyal readers – you know who you two are – it may be awhile between posts until the school year ends.

I actually took two days off work this week due to my migraine.  I made it until about 10:30 Thursday morning when my team told me to go home.  God bless them, they took my kids for the rest of the day.  I knew it was bad when the guidance counselor saw me and told me I “looked like death”.  She’s really much more sensitive with the kids, I swear!

If I’m not mistaken, we have five more weeks of school left.  This is doable.  I can do this.  The key for me is to rest when I need to rest.  I haven’t been doing that, because I feel guilty and lazy if I come home and take a nap, or spend the day in bed on Saturday.  So for the next five to six weeks, I am relieving myself of all feelings of guilt.

I’m even checking into getting a cleaning lady twice a month.  If my budget allows it, I’m going for it.  (That’s me being nice to me!)

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Migraine, PastaQueen, and Me

I have “suffered” from migraine disease since I was five years old (at least that’s my earliest recollection).  My childhood headaches were reasonably predictable.  If I didn’t get enough sleep, or I got overly excited (read: stressed), I would get a raging headache, throw up, then sleep a couple of hours, and the pain would be gone.  I probably had a headache once every week or so.  Sometimes I’d go longer.

As I got older, they became more problematic.  When I student taught, I had a few, one of which had me on the couch in the teacher’s lounge trying to sleep it off.  A snarky P.E. teacher told me I’d never be able to teach if I couldn’t handle a headache.  He was wrong, but sometimes it does affect my ability to teach effectively, and I use all my sick days (which are generous) every year because of them.

When I began the phase of my life in which I was often pregnant or nursing a baby, I did not get any headaches.  It was such a blessed relief to go a year at a time without the debilitating pain.  For several years, my headaches were limited to two or three a year, although I noticed they were lasting seven or eight hours.  But a few times a year – doable.

Then I had a hysterectomy about ten years ago.  All hell broke loose!  Since that time, I have had headaches more often than not.  Over the past couple years, my migraine has become daily, so I get to say I have “chronic daily migraine” now.  Lucky me.

Migraine is hereditary in my family, so I can’t fix that.  I wear sunglasses almost always when I’m outside, and avoid being in the heat whenever possible.  I no longer go to loud, crowded places or anywhere there might be cigarette smoke.  I have tried diet changes, which help significantly, but are very difficult to maintain.  I do better some weeks than others.  I have tried every over-the-counter pain reliever.  Advil works sometimes.  That’s about it.  I got myself a neurologist, who I pretty much fired after months of  “Try this.  Try that.  Huh, those should have worked.”  He never once spoke to me about lifestyle changes, research, diet, or anything else besides medications.  He had me on so much Topamax I got forgetful and was having trouble speaking and acting intelligently.  My own doctor dialed it back, but after several years on this med, I decided it wasn’t really helping since I was in pain daily anyway.  I have tried vitamins and herbs.  I still use Imitrex, which works most of the time.  The problem is, within 12 to 24 hours, my pain is back, and the mental fogginess and the snaps, crackles, and pops in my neck, along with the tightness in my neck and shoulders never goes away, even when the pain subsides.

I was raised in a family in which it was not okay to whine and complain, which is good, but I never feel comfortable talking about being in constant pain.  Even as a blogger, I have resisted more than mentioning that my head hurts.  That barely begins to cover it.

This weekend I was perusing one of my favorite blogs, PastaQueen.com.  I started reading it because its writer, Jeanette Fulda, lost half her body weight over the course of a couple of years.  I have been so impressed with her!  Three years ago, however, she got a headache and it never went away.  When I read her archived posts, I was struck by how similar our lives have been over the past several years, although she lost the weight…  ahem.

Anyway, she wrote an eloquent post on what it’s like to live with chronic pain.  She put into words what I have wished to express to those in my life.  If you are in constant pain, or care about someone who is, please read her post.  I’d also like to add that her new book, Chocolate and Vicodin, hit the bookstores this week!  I can’t wait to read it, and I’ll let you know what I think.  I’m expecting it to be funny, insightful, and just plain good.

My Dysfunctional Chemical Romance

I have become incredibly dependent upon my Imitrex and caffeine to make my life workable.  That was evident today when I woke up with a small migraine.  This is an almost everyday occurrence, but I realized after I got to school that I’d forgotten my Imitrex bottle, which I’d just refilled at the pharmacy.  I drank strong tea – no good.  I downed a 20 ounce bottle of Coke – just kept getting worse.  Way too many Advil – nothing.  By the time lunch rolled around, I wasn’t sure I’d make it until 1:15 when the kiddos would be released early for the day.

The smell of cafeteria food and the lights and noise in the teachers’ lounge were all too much.  I headed to our tiny mailroom, shut off the light, and sat in an upholstered chair with my phone set for 11:55.  I must have started to doze off around 11:50, because the alarm woke me up.  And I started to feel better.  I made it through the rest of the day, and still have only a slight headache this evening.

I need to remember that 20 minutes rest in a dark, quiet place can sometimes do what all the chemicals known to man cannot.

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