Chocolate and Vicodin

Long ago now, author Jeannette Fulda sent me a copy of her memoir, Chocolate and Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn’t Go Away. I’ve written before about how sometimes it’s difficult for me to read other migraineurs’ blogs and books—sometimes their words are so close to home I don’t feel able to read their stories despite my appreciation for their willingness to share. I have such love and empathy for others who suffer from chronic illness, especially illness that involves debilitating pain and discomfort, but sometimes I don’t feel strong enough to read their stories in full.

So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I accepted Jeannette’s book. I put off reading it for a bit because I was afraid I wouldn’t like it and would then be in the awkward situation of having to let Jeannette know it wasn’t my cup of tea. (This is a common worry I have as a bookseller: I frequently meet and befriend authors, which makes it more exciting and a little more nerve-wracking to read their work!)

Thankfully, I really loved Jeannette’s book. Yes, it was sad and painfully honest at times; so many of the emotions and struggles she wrote about could have come directly out of my journal or yours. But her personality shines through on each page: she somehow remains funny and optimistic for much of her story, giving her tale a dose of levity that is much needed when writing about such an unrelenting health problem.

I’ve written before about how even informal attempts at bibliotherapy have allowed me to understand my own chronic illnesses better, especially migraine disease. Jeannette’s book made me feel comforted; I met a friend in the pages of her book and spent several hours hanging out with her,.

What books have you found most helpful in coping with migraine? Answer below and be entered to win a free copy of Jeannette’s book! (A winner will be randomly chosen.)

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (15)
  • Holly G.
    6 years ago

    I actually haven’t sat down to read a migrainer’s big and I’m not sure why that’s never crossed my mind! I’ve read online blogs and its comforting to know there are others experiencing what I’m going through and seeing how others cope. On the other side of things (the avoidance side) I actually do read a great deal of fantasy books.

  • Sara
    6 years ago

    I liked A Brain Wider Than the Sky by Andrew Levy.

  • One2gh
    6 years ago

    Heal Your Headache by David Bucholtz. It’s not a fun read that captivates you but it helped me learn about triggers, more importantly, my triggers. It helped me learn how to best handle my migraines, how not to get into rebound. It helped me feel like I could control my migraines instead of my migraines controlling me. Do I still have migraines? Oh yes! But I am VERY careful about what I put in my body! That had made a HUGE difference in my life. I have learned alternate means of dealing with my migraines. Ice helps if its not too bad. In the middle of the night if its a 5 or below on the pain scale I can get up mess around the house and it will go away. I have seen a chiropractor who has helped tremendously. I still take meds everyday but I am in control! I spent too many years letting my migraines rule me!

  • singnsk8ngrama
    6 years ago

    This article was titled “Chocolate and Vicodin” and I read it because I wanted to find out how those 2 things, or combination of them, affected Migraines. However, NO MENTION of either of those was made in the article, it was simply a recommendation to read a book. Is that the TITLE of the book? I don’t get it. Thanks,

  • Paulaff
    6 years ago

    I agree with you! I was very disappointed to only find the book title.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    Sorry you were confused, but so glad you asked for clarification. Sara hit the nail right on the head. The book is called (it’s a long title) “Chocolate and Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn’t Go Away.”

  • Sara
    6 years ago

    Reread the first paragraph -“author Jeannette Fulda sent me a copy of her memoir, Chocolate and Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn’t Go Away”. It is a book that I have heard of before…

  • Monica
    6 years ago

    The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon takes on the subject of depression, not migraines. It is an intense and honest account of the author’s struggles with major depression, as well as a lot of research about the illness. Even though it is not specifically about migraine I find it helpful (because depression is comorbid with migraine) . It is about coping with such an overpowering invisible illness, an important part of which is educating yourself about this thing that is part of you.
    The worst book ever was recently recommended to me: You Can Heal Yourself by Louise Hay. It oversimplifies all illnesses and blames the patient for their affliction. Why are you in pain? Because you are too negative and guilt ridden. Just let it go, it’s that easy. Worst book ever.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    Thanks Monica, that book sounds interesting and something I’ll have to look into. And yes, those books that say guilt is the cause of all illness really floors me. As if!

  • arden
    6 years ago

    Bill Bryson’s books always give me a good laugh and that is a marvelous distraction when the body is in migraine mode.
    I keep a journal too but the things that I write when migraining are definitely my migraine talking. When I read them later I see what darkness and confusion I was in, even though at the time I thought it was “insightful”.

  • Julie
    6 years ago

    So that explains why it feels so theraputic and feel like such a release when you journal and get your feelings and expressions and experiences down on paper. Then to go back later and to read it and to learn and grow from it. Create goals, meet them and make more goals and so on. That is why they encourage you so in therapy to Journal and to make it such a priority. It all comes together now. And as migrainers we experience new levels of pain and our senses are so keen we can appreciate things on a different level than others that are not in chronic pain on a daily basis. I’m having an enlightened moment here. Thank you for the insight. My eyes are really opened now. I get it. My “ah ha” moment has arrived. Thank you.

  • Abby
    6 years ago

    I loved A Brain Wider Than the Sky: A Migraine Diary by Andrew Levy. It helped me feel connected to a history and community of our disease. Other books address HOW to heal you headaches. This one was more empathetic and relatable on a prose and literary level. I loved it.

  • Sara
    6 years ago

    Me three!

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    I did too Abby. I thought “A Brain Wider Than the Sky…” had some of the best descriptions of a migraine attack I’ve read. I totally agree with you, everyone with migraine should read that book. Oops, there’s that word, “should!”

  • joclaire
    6 years ago

    I’ve never actually found any books that have helped me so to speak, however I do find reading blogs from fellow sufferers helpful.

    I have recently been given a diagnosis of Basilar Migraine, after suffering from Classic Migraine (With Aura) since my teens and have read as many accounts or blog posts as I can to understand this rare condition, and help give me confidence that I’m not going mad!

    Joanna

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