I Want Everyone to Have One Migraine
I used to say that I would rather have a broken arm in a cast for six weeks than have a Migraine (and I broke quite a few bones as a kid). I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. We all have our threshold in listening to well-meaning people who want to give you unsolicited advice. As my Migraines got worse and worse, everyone wanted to tell me what to do, yet they had never had one themselves.
I started to change my thinking on not wishing a Migraine on my worst enemy. Not that I have any enemies, but if I did I would want that person to suffer worse than I do. I not only want any enemies to have Migraines, I want my close friends and family to have at least one in their lifetime.
It sounds mean, but I’m not the first person to say it. The Migraine Girl eloquently wrote about it a while ago here, I’m sure you’ve thought about it too, be honest.
I have an amazing support system, so even if they’ve never experienced one, they are incredibly sympathetic. In the past few years, my Dad has developed Ocular Migraines. He gets the crazy flashing and zig-zagging pattern that I get before most Migraines. However, when the aura is gone, he’s never hit by a truckful of pain. The aura last 15-30 minutes for him and then he can move on with his day. He knows one of his triggers is red wine, which is hard since he makes wine as a hobby. He moderates and can generally keep it under control.
One of my best friends, goes above and beyond to help me when I’ve been in a Migraine slump. She lives in the ‘burbs, so I don’t get to see her as often. When she and her husband bought a new house she made sure that she had a room in her house set up just for me. Lots of blankets, dark curtains and blinds. It’s been incredibly comforting to know that if I visit, I have a cave to go to if the pain is unbearable.
However, my precious bestie experienced a four-day Migraine. She had just given birth to her second son (I’m the godmother!). I was having some bad Migraines around that time and she understood when it took me over a week to meet the baby. In the meantime, we talked and she mentioned that she was having severe headaches. She felt silly talking about it to me. She had a C-Section so I asked if she was on painkillers, thinking rebound headaches might be her problem. She was taking them sparingly, so that wasn’t it.
In my mind I had wondered if she had an epidural which was causing her pain, but I didn’t want to keep playing doctor with her. I didn’t want to seem like the crazy lady who thinks everyone has Migraine. There could have been a dozen explanations. I have no clue how a woman gives birth and then walks out of the hospital days later. I’d be curled into a ball for a week. She had a doctor’s appointment the next day, so I didn’t push it.
She called later and said that she was having Migraines caused by the epidural she received. The needle punctured her spinal cord and fluid was seeping out. One tell-tale sign after a spinal tap, epidural or lumbar puncture is that you get relief when you are lying down. The cure is a blood patch, which entails taking blood from another part of the body to close the hole in the spinal cord. She said she felt immediate relief.
I was so glad that she got relief and I was incredibly sympathetic. I have no idea how she was handling a newborn, a 2 ½ year old, tons of visitors AND having these headaches. She’s a strong woman! When I finally got to see her and my godson in person, she told me that in a weird way, she was glad she experienced a Migraine. She now understands the nausea, plus sensitivity to noise and light. I mean she understood it before as shown by dedicating one room in her house that shielded me from all of those things. She now understands now how painful and debilitating a Migraine is. She marveled at how I deal with these on a daily basis. I’ve learned coping mechanisms over time, but she was in unbelievable pain of that nature for four days.
Since that has happened, I have thought more that I wish every person had one Migraine in their life. If they had, they would never make a random comment about what you should do to fix your head. People would never downplay how debilitating Migraines are. It would make the invisible so much more visible because people would talk about it more. So yes, I wish everyone had a Migraine once in their life.