Memorable Migraine #7: Do You Believe in Life After…?

The year: 1999.

The place: a huge music amphitheater outside of Pittsburgh, PA.

The occasion: an amazing, rollicking, full-on Cher concert.

Yes, you heard me right. A Cher concert. And it was not my first time seeing her that summer.

In early July 1999, I went to see Cher at home in Atlanta and couldn’t stop gushing about how much fun the show was. At that point, I’d been to many, many concerts, but few were as over-the-top and deliriously exciting as a multi-costumed Cher show. When in Pittsburgh later that month, I told my cousin M. all about it, and we did a little research and found out that there were plenty of tickets still available to Cher’s late July Pittsburgh concert.

Obviously we bought tickets.

The show was great. Loud and hot and sweaty and funny. My sweet little cousin L., M.’s daughter, was about 9 at the time and entertained us with her dramatic dances.

As the concert wrapped up, I started seeing sparkles in the corner of my eye. All that blasting instruments and flashing pyrotechnics and sweaty summer temperatures had gotten to me: the migraine was on its way.

This was before I had been formally diagnosed with migraine, and I knew very little about how to take care of myself apart from finding a dark, cool room. So I tried to ignore the oncoming monster as we exited the park and began to drive home.

Except we couldn’t drive home. The parking lot was jam-packed. Thousands of people were trying to leave a small space all at once, and we sat in a gravel lot, not even moving an inch for minutes at a time. 93 minutes later (yup, I remember the exact number), we at last crept out of the parking lot and hit the road toward my cousins’ house. I struggled to keep it together as I drove the family home.

We pulled into M.’s driveway and I couldn’t take it. I burst into her house, up the stairs, and dashed into the bathroom just in time to be sick for several minutes. It was not the first time that I threw up from a migraine, but it was indeed the very first time that I truly associated the awful headache, visual disturbances, and dizziness with the nausea and vomiting. It was a pinnacle moment in my migraine life, one that helped push me forward toward getting the care I really needed.

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