When the migraine-free time comes to an end, what do you do?
Have you ever thought you were pretty much in the clear with migraines, that the illness was a thing of the past? And then did you have the experience where the dreaded illness came back full-force, leaving you with many migraine attacks, wondering how you ever could have thought migraine disease was gone from your life?
Recently I wrote a post about realizing all of a sudden that my migraine frequency was WAY down compared to the same time frame (April - July) of years past. I am grateful for a reprieve from severe attacks (the majority of the episodes I’ve had in this time period have been mild and easily treatable) and am savoring the time I have before migraine makes itself known again. You see, this illness is chronic, meaning it comes and goes, surfacing, hiding under the water, and resurfacing again when things line up just so.
Many years ago, I was feeling so incredibly good I wondered if I might have to leave this blog all together. After all, how could I call myself “The Migraine Girl” if I never had any migraine attacks? If you’re wondering if I wrote about it, you’re right: I did. (Check it out here.)
Who would I be without migraine? What sorts of things would I change about my life? These are the types of questions I pondered the longer I went without any attacks.
And then they came back.
They always come back.
For awhile they were sporadic—maybe one every two weeks. In retrospect, I can only guess what made them appear again, more and more frequently. Was it because I was feeling so good I no longer was as careful as I should have been regarding self-care? Did I not exercise as much? Did we experience a particularly tumultuous few months of weather with accompanying barometric shifts? Or did the migraine just find a new way in via emerging triggers I hadn’t dealt with before? It’s hard to know.
Here’s what I am finding myself having to learn over and over again. It’s a lesson learnt best when I’m feeling ill, and it’s a lesson I tend to forget during those rare periods when I am migraine-free for more than a few weeks. This illness is chronic. Migraine disease has no cure, and its ebbing and flowing, its waxing and waning, are attributes that will be part and parcel of this illness forever. The best I can do is make good use of my migraine-free times, do my best to treat my body well (exercise, eat right, make time to relax, and avoid known triggers), and be cognizant of the fact that it’s more than likely that migraine will be a part of my life until I pass away.
It’s hard not to be disappointed when they return after a period of good health, though. I understand that. I have a question for those of you who have been fortunate enough to have migraine-free periods of time: how did you cope when the migraines came back? What sort of attitude do you have toward your illness now? Do you hold out hope that someday this illness may release its grip of you?
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?