Hello Steffi! This is most likely going to be a boring post, but if you are interested in reading about my history with migraines, please continue. And if anyone reading this has or knows anyone with migraines, I hope this helps in some way or gives you ideas of what to try if you haven’t already. Here’s my journey; it’s long and it’s not even over yet.
What’s a headache?
I got my first migraine…I don’t know when. I probably didn’t realize it was a migraine because I never even had headaches. I wasn’t even sure what a headache felt like until almost 4 years ago. I started waking up with these dull aches in my head that wouldn’t subside until 2pm. They weren’t miserable, but I would be relieved when they finally went away. Then I started getting them once a week, and then a couple times a week, and then 2 days in a row. And it sucked. This went on for several months and somewhere in there I had a migraine. Blinding pain that makes me throw up. Got it? Great.
Constant Possible Causation Analysis (CPCA) don’t look that up, yes I just invented it.
- People would tell me I wasn’t drinking enough water. So I sat at my work desk with a brand new water bottle in front of me. It even had a straw.
- Then someone said it’s because I look at the computer all day so it might be my eyes. A doctor visit and $300 later I had a pair of glasses and a solid “I suppose you might possibly have a slight need for reading glasses.”
- Then it was because of the weather. Oh, it’s cloudy today? That’s why I have a headache? What about all the other days I have a headache and it’s NOT cloudy?
- Sometimes it was because I slept too long, or not enough. Even laying in bed too long after I was awake.
- If the sun would shine in my eye at just the right angle for long enough…
- Working out too long
- My time of the month
- Doing handstands, trampoline jumping
- Sitting in a car too long
Basically it seemed anything could’ve caused it and there was always too many variables to try to prevent it from happening again. Keeping a headache diary is very helpful when trying to narrow down the causes; it’s even more helpful to keep a food diary with it in case your headaches are caused by certain kinds.
Let’s cover it up.
Since these headaches starting happening all the time I had to try to actually stop the pain even if I couldn’t prevent it from happening. I hate taking pills so I started with just drinking caffeine. Some days that helped. Then I took tylenol and advil and usually those would work. But since I woke up with most of my headaches, it was a long process to go from waking -> eating -> pill taking -> relief. When I’d have a migraine I’d feel so sick, I couldn’t eat anything so I’d stumble to the excedrin and hope I wouldn’t throw it up. I would. Sometimes they’d go away easy and sometimes they’d last over a day. The headaches just kept coming and I’d eventually start missing work and I would pray before bed that I didn’t wake up with one the next day. I dealt with this for almost 2 years.
TO THE DOCTOR WITH YOU!
At the advice of many friends and family I finally went to the doctor. He diagnosed me with migraines and at 4 or more a month, plus additional headaches, he suggested I try medication. He also wanted to do an MRI because he didn’t like the fact that I woke up with them. (I did the MRI, almost fainted, but I did it. It came out clean, no worries.) I was prescribed a blood pressure medication, Propranolol, because of its popular adverse effects on people with migraines. I was warned about being medicated right away, but at this point it’s been 2 years and I wanted to try anything. He also gave me Sumatriptan, which could be used to cure a migraine at the first symptom. Since my first symptom is simply waking up in agony, I asked for it in non-pill form. It was either nasal spray or a shot so I took the nose juice. We’d try this for 6 months and see where I was at.
Propranolol lowers your blood pressure. I didn’t notice any side effects except weird dreams at first and easily getting lightheaded. I took it in liquid form at first because I didn’t know how big the pill was and if I had to take it twice a day and it was any bigger than a grain of quinoa I couldn’t do it. Turns out it’s really quite small so I switched to the pill and took it twice a day for 6 months. It worked. On the rare occasion I would have a migraine, I could spray medicine up my nose and I would have relief in 20 minutes. I had a few headaches too but they were manageable. So I went back to the doctor and reported my findings and he said I could take the medicine the rest of my life, or stop later or stop now, and the headaches might come back or they might not. I really hated taking 2 pills everyday at scheduled times and there was also being terrified I’d lose my pills and die because my blood pressure would spike from lack of the lowering of the pressure. So I opted to wean myself off of it and see if my headaches came back.
Coming off of this medicine is terrible. I’ve had fluttering heartbeats before, but once I was no longer taking any of it I endured a month of random and frequent heart flutters. It sort of feels like your heart forgot and hadn’t been beating and then all of a sudden it remembered so it fires off a few real quick. It was scary.
Once that was over I had one blissful month, May of 2015, where I wasn’t taking any medication and I was headache and migraine free. Then they came back and one day every week I either had a headache or a migraine for the next 2.5 months.
To be continued.