The wave

Completely Unofficial Made-Up Migraine Types: The Wave

Have you ever walked along the beach, your feet tracing the ever-changing line where water meets sand? Perhaps your flip-flops are in one hand and your pant legs are rolled up as high as they go (but the water will splash on them no matter how hard you try to prevent this).

The waves come in, and the waves recede.  With them you notice little tiny ghost crabs scurrying on the shore and then diving down into the wet sand.  Perhaps seaweed gets washed up, only to be whisked away with the next receding wave.  Your feet get wet, then dry, then wet, then dry, then SOAKED, then damp, then dry.  Some waves splash, while others barely make a ripple.

I couldn’t help but think of the ocean and its waves the other day as I tried to find the words to describe yet another Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Type.  This attack wasn’t like The Creeper, as it definitely made itself known when it was present and, when it was absent, I felt great.  And it wasn’t like The Bulldozer, as it wasn’t hard hitting when it was present.  I realized I was experiencing an entire new type of Made-Up Migraine Type: The Wave.

The Wave, generally speaking, is a gentle phenomenon.  (Think the Atlantic Coast as opposed to the Pacific.) For a few minutes, you are completely sure that a migraine is here, and if you were the teeniest bit less lazy, you would have walked over to your purse by now to either spray some topical magnesium spray or to bite the bullet and have your Imitrex.  Once you finally motivate yourself, you realize that the migraine—or whatever it was—is gone. You feel fine.  You might not feel incredible, but you no longer are experiencing the telltale signs of an attack.  “Weird,” you think.  “What was that?”

The tide has receded, but you’re not in the clear, as the waves will always come back.  And here it comes, nibbling at the shore, then rolling over you right as you relax into what you hope will be a healthy day.  Your eyes hurt just the tiniest bit, and you wonder if you’re experiencing an aura because you are having trouble verbalizing your thoughts—maybe it’s not migraine-related at all.  Maybe you’re just tired.  Then you feel tension in your neck and on the left side of your head, and right when you decide that yes, this is indeed a migraine and you need to grab your meds, you start to feel better again.

For me, The Wave is very rare—in recent memory, it has only happened twice.  But I found it so strange and hard to wrap my brain around (so to speak). To have a complete absence of pain and discomfort followed by what surely felt like a migraine followed by another symptom-free time was odd at best.

Have you ever experienced The Wave? Did you decide to take medication or not? How often, if ever, does this happen to you?

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.

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