As some of you may know, I am a sufferer of migraines. I don’t know what my dealio is. They were a lot worse when I was in college, which I attribute to stress, but I still get them every so often because I’ve eaten a trigger food or gotten hit on the head on “the spot.”
I used to get headaches as far back as elementary school. When I was younger, the doctors attributed it to my eyesight. I was blind and getting blinder (still am, too). They constantly adjusted my prescription, and I was one of those kids with big, over-sized glasses. Nerdalicious.
I used to get off the bus with a headache everyday in middle and high school. It was a constant struggle. Those bus rides were torture–the raucous groups of kids yelling and screaming, the bus bouncing up and down and swooping around the curvy back-roads of Tennessee, the extreme heat on warm days, the sunlight like a strobe through the windows and trees as the bus sped down the road. (P.S. If you Google image “sick on the bus,” it’s apparently a rock band with an album named, “F*ck Heads”).
Then I went to college and took on as much academic and extra-curricular stress as I could. I lived almost everyday in state of minor headache and got a full blown migraine at least once a week. I had WAY too much to do to back out of things when I did have one, so I pushed through. Also, there’s this stigma around migraines for people who don’t have them (I’ve read lots of articles), that the pain can’t be any worse than a normal headache and that the migraine sufferer is just a weenie when it comes to brain pain. I thought that all this was no big deal–the blurred vision, the nausea, the sensitivity to light and sound.
One night in college I had a migraine so painful that all I could do was lie on the cold concrete floor in the dark with a pillow over my head. I knew that I probably needed to go to the hospital, but it hurt to move. I tried calling my mom, but she freaked out and started yelling through the phone so I hung up and turned the phone off. I slept on the floor that night.
I went to the doctor the next day who gave me some medicine and ordered a CT scan. I fell down the stairs in a walker when I was 9 months old and fractured my skull. So my mom begged for the CT scan, even though we didn’t really need it. Yes, I’ve contributed to the rise in cost of healthcare and insurance rates. I’m sorry. I waited at the hospital pretty drugged up from the melt-under-your-tongue drugs I was given. Trippy. I fell asleep on the nasty waiting room chairs at the hospital, even.
These food include but are not limited to the following:
- Aged or blue cheese
- Smoked, cured or pickled meat or fish
- Red wine or beer
- Soy sauce, miso, tempeh
- Yellow cheeses
- Citrus fruit
- Berry pie filling or canned berries
- Beef, pork
- Cheese, especially yellow ripened
- Chicken liver
- Egg Plant
- Fish, shellfish
- Processed meat, such as salami
- Tempeh, tofu, miso, tamari
- Tomato, tomato sauce, tomato paste
- Yeast and foods containing yeast
- Have I mentioned chocolate? It’s a travesty, really.
Some people have lots of trigger foods. Some just have a few. I know what a few of mine are. Red wine (tried that all of once). Citrus fruit. Etc.
- From 6-12, headaches caused by eyesight.
- From 12-18, headaches caused by environment
- From 18-22, headaches caused by stress.
- From 22-present, headaches caused by triggers (food, lighting, sounds, head injuries)
All of this is to say that since I’ve graduated college, my migraine count has dropped drastically. I generally try to control what I eat, and I am a lot less stressed. I found these little mini-oranges called “Cuties” which seem to be just under my trigger level. I can eat one and be fine.
But yesterday, I got a little carried away. And had. Three of them. I felt ok for about 30 minutes, and then I felt the fuzziness and the pain in the back of my neck start to creep up. And I knew it was go-time.
I no longer have a prescription for the melt-under-you-tongue sleeping pills that supposedly make your migraine less hurty, but just make me a grouchy sleeping bear. I stopped taking those when the migraines started getting further and further apart.
I told my coworkers that I had about 20 minutes before it got bad and they told me to head home. I did. I ended up resting in bed/falling asleep with a pillow over my face and the blinds/curtain closed.
Apparently Sean came in at 8:00 to tell me Glee was on and I said, “Mommy?” Yes, I am five. Embarrassing. He kept trying to explain to me what I had said, but I was way too out of it at the time. Good thing I can do embarrassing things in front of Sean, and he still manages to like me.
This was a long story to say that I hate migraines. I hate being incapacitated like that. And I think that it should be considered a real condition instead of a weird nuisance.
Also, I realize that I should chill out on the Cuties.