Those Sneaky Triggers
Even in a safe, controlled, migraineur-friendly environment, triggers can pop up.
Sunday was the first day I felt almost-good after a week and a half of migraines and back pain. I’d actually taken a few days off due to the bookshop’s being closed for a couple days during Christmas and due to my not feeling well, but on Sunday afternoon I felt ready to put in a couple hours of work.
I felt as if I were walking around on the lam, as if I had somehow escaped this awful week of illness. How did I suddenly feel almost good? How was it that my back wasn’t spasming with every step? How in the world did I get away without a migraine for the first time in days? It felt like I was getting away with something and might get caught any moment.
My co-worker and I met at my favorite local coffee shop to have a one-hour meeting to discuss a huge upcoming author event (we host a lot of people, from the super-famous and the not-yet-famous, at my bookstore—it’s pretty incredible). The coffee shop is just beautiful—a huge, open space with a lot of natural light, a hand-crafted bar, and a combination of tables and comfy chairs that invite you to settle in with a good book (or, in our case, a pair of laptops). No fluorescent lights anywhere, which is a blessing to this light-sensitive migraineur.
But sometimes natural light isn’t the answer, either. R. and I settled into a table toward the back of the café, at least 60 feet from the huge front windows next to the entrance. She sat facing the window, and I was grateful, as I have a hard time focusing on another person if (s)he is backlit so strongly.
Though I could see R. clearly and had my back completely to the bright light from outside, I wasn’t immune to all that sunshine. I wear glasses all the time these days, and the sunlight was barreling right into the café windows and bouncing off the inside of my glasses’ frames. It looked as if a little Tinkerbell were hovering in my periphery, dancing around as I spoke. It took me a couple of minutes to realize that the blinding, dancing light was real and not part of a migraine aura.
Due to my having been sick the entire week leading up to this meeting, I was especially sensitive to environmental triggers. I felt the migraine making its way into my head and let R. know as much. We wrapped up the meeting as quickly as we could, and I packed up my computer and left. Thankfully, gulping down a big glass of water and doing some deep breathing actually put the migraine into remission—it’s as if it were coming on full-force and only retreated once I gave in and removed the trigger from my environment.
Have you ever had a trigger pop up unexpectedly? Were you able to get away from the trigger before a full-fledged migraine set in?
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?