We all know that saying, "The good, the bad, and the ugly." But let's face it when we're talking about migraines, the word "good" just doesn't fit anywhere!
If you know me or follow me on social media, you know that my migraines haven't always been as horrible as they are today, and I'm not the best at documenting them because I'm concerned that people will be disappointed with my updates.
"Not again! Another Debbie Downer Day for Traci. I might as well quit reading while I'm ahead. Migraine Day 3. No need to check her page out tomorrow; probably have another one since she usually has 6 in a row.”
Ugh, that's the last thing I want. For people I know to be brought down by my brain pain or make anyone feel like I'm trying to get out of something. I was reading an article that states more than 40% of people who know at least 1 person with migraine felt the disease is used as an excuse to avoid family, work, or school commitments, which is awful! I can guarantee the 15-18 days I currently spend with migraine a month are real, and I believe it's important I really start opening up about my migraines more for a multitude of reasons. The main one is for anyone suffering from migraines and needs to read what a fellow migraineur has experienced and currently experiences to feel supported and feel inspired and given hope.
I also hope that if you already knew me and were unaware of what I’ve been experiencing and will probably continue to experience until we get a handle on them, you will have a little more insight into what I live with on a near-daily basis.
I will continue to have more blogs on my Brain Pain throughout the months and hope you will come back to read when you have a moment.
Awareness. Although I have a lot of room to grow and improve, I see myself as fairly successful considering. I work hard to help others through my nonprofit and for-profit work and still manage to do this with my little family and my other part-time job, "migraines." I used to be afraid for previous employers, friends, clients (and even my husband and family) to know how many migraines I had a month, but I've learned to be proud of myself. I want people to know because I can successfully have my life, and as a fellow migraineur, you too can have a full and abundant life with a job and hobbies and families and your migraines. Yes, there will be days you will not be able to get out of bed, but you cannot allow them to run your life even if you spend half or more than half of your life in some pain. If you know me, yes, there are gloomy days, but I try to stay mostly positive.
Management. I have learned to live with migraine pain of various levels and learned how to manage and gauge it, knowing how to assign myself different workloads and tasks based on the level of pain I'm experiencing. I know how to navigate and evolve throughout each day on a whim when it goes sideways because you bet your butt it will! It can be done, and although I have some days that I can't function and the pain is so bad that nothing is strong enough to touch an ounce of the pain and I can't dream of sleeping, there are more manageable workdays than not, even if I feel very uncomfortable. It is about being the "boss" of your migraines and using the best use of your time. It's possible!
Evolution. My first migraine was in the 5th grade. I was out playing too long in the Texas heat, and by the time I came inside, I was already experiencing heat exhaustion. My mom had me sit in front of the air conditioner, but nothing helped, and I remember just wanting to die; my head was pounding so badly as if it was going to explode. Nausea crept in, but I survived.
Thankfully the next experience like this didn't occur again until I was 19 years old, in 1998. That's pretty much when the brain pain ritual of 1-2 migraines a month began. They were much different back then. They were more like bad headaches without aura or warnings of any kind. Initially, I thought they WERE headaches, but when I took over the counter medication, and it didn't work, I had awful nausea followed by projectile vomiting. That was fun, LOL! The only thing that seemed to settle my restless body was 24 hours of quiet, cold, and darkroom. Later I discovered that I was experiencing migraines and was prescribed sumatriptan. When migraines were new to me, they were gentle. Still feeling like a "normal" headache, but when over the counter medication didn't work, I still had a window of time to take my sumatriptan, and I'd be in the clear.
When I aged up into my mid-20's, they just got worse. 4-5 a month. At this time, I was an elementary school teacher, and stress was probably my worst trigger.
By the time I was in my late 30's I was now in the automotive industry and developed an allergy to car exhaust, and I was working in it just about every day. This was when I discovered I needed sinus surgery, and we'd hoped that this might be a cure-all for my migraines. By this time, the migraines were up to 15, occasionally 18 a month.
So, in 2015 I had Endoscopic Sinus Surgery. It helped for a year. Then each year, the migraines crept up until a few years ago, back to where we are today, up to 15-18 a month.
I look forward to delving further into my brain pain-story for you and keeping you abreast of current migraine episodes, therapies, and medications that I will be trying with the guidance of my neurologist and Cove.
These are experiences of my own and are not to be used to self-diagnose. Please call 911 if you are experiencing a medical emergency or contact your physician to discuss a migraine treatment that is right for you.