30 Things About Kerrie's Life With Migraine
- My diagnosis is: chronic migraine
- My migraine attack frequency is: It was constant until last year. Now I’m getting two a day, but they respond relatively well to triptans. I only lose a few hours to migraine each day.
- I was diagnosed in: 2002 (but first saw a doctor for symptoms in 1987)
- My comorbid conditions include: depression
- I take 2 medications/supplements each day for prevention and 2 or 3 medications/supplements to treat an acute attack
- My first migraine attack was: I don’t know, but the first one I remember was in fifth grade. There was rose-scented potpourri in the teachers’ workroom and my teacher left that door open. Either the potpourri was the trigger or my senses were so heightened that it was a memorable smell.
- My most disabling migraine symptoms are: fatigue and cognitive dysfunction
- My strangest migraine symptoms are: tooth pain, feeling like something is in my eye, being unable to use words
- My biggest migraine triggers are: many external things, like food, odors, and weather.
- I know a migraine attack is coming on when: my feet get cold
- The most frustrating part about having a migraine attack is: the lost time.
- During a migraine attack, I worry most about: if I’ll be able to function the next day.
- When I think about migraine between attacks, I think: I hope I have no more than two today.
- When I tell someone I have migraine, the response is usually: “My cousin/friend/ex-husband has migraine. People think it’s just a headache, but it’s a lot worse than that.” (This is a new response I’ve gotten lately and it's wonderful. The number of times I’ve heard it is remarkable.)
- When someone tells me they have migraine, I think: migraine sucks
- When I see commercials about migraine treatments, I think: I’m glad that treatment helps someone
- My best coping tools are: mindfulness, diaphragmatic breathing, distraction
- I find comfort in: my home
- I get angry when people say: “It’s all in your head.” (Even when they’re just trying to be cute.)
- I like it when people say: “What’s a migraine like?”
- Something kind someone can do for me during a migraine attack is: sit with me if I need it or leave me alone if I need it. Also, picking up a prescription I’ve inevitably forgotten to get from the pharmacy.
- The best thing(s) a doctor has ever said to me about migraine is: “I won’t give up on you.”
- The hardest thing to accept about having migraine is: it will always be with me.
- Migraine has taught me: acceptance, patience, calmness, presence, self-compassion, that life is short, among other things.
- The quotation, motto, mantra, or scripture that gets me through an attack is: “When you’re going through hell, keep going” (Winston Churchill) and “Never, never, never give up” (attributed to Churchill, but actually a contraction of a longer statement)
- If I could go back to the early days of my diagnosis, I would tell myself: You can do this. It will feel impossible at times, but you’ll get through it.
- The people who support me most are: my husband, family, dear friends
- The thing I most wish people understood about migraine is: other symptoms can be just as disabling as the pain is.
- Migraine and Headache Awareness Month is important to me because: sharing what migraine is really like is the only way to change people’s attitudes about it.
- One more thing I’d like to say about life with migraine is: managing triggers sounds like it would be easy—if something’s a trigger, you avoid it. Triggers can be terribly difficult to identify. Sometimes triggers are impossible to avoid (like when eating is a trigger, as it is for me), other times we risk exposure to triggers so we can do things we love.
The Migraine and Headache Awareness Month meme contains 30 questions for migraineurs about what it's like to live with migraine. Throughout the month, we'll be sharing Migraine.com writers' responses. To answer the questions yourself, visit the meme's home on The Daily Headache. Your response will be published with a URL that you can share (though you can publish anonymously if you prefer).
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?